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The best apps for freelancers

Liane Cassavoy | Sept. 24, 2014
The whole freelance, be-your-own-boss thing sounds liberating--until you realize you're also your own business manager. You need to track your time and expenses. You need to make sure you get paid. Luckily, there are several apps that can make the business end of freelancing a whole lot easier.

Basic time tracking is free. Upgrading to a multiuser account ($5 per user, per month) adds more sophisticated features, such as the ability to export data to Excel and add a company logo to reports.

Shake

Freelancers often find themselves in need of some legal help, specifically when it comes to creating contracts to define their working roles — and how and when they'll be paid.

Your choices used to be bleak: You could hire a lawyer you can't afford, or you could consider dusting off an old contract that may or may not still be useful.

Now, you can turn to Shake. This iOS app (versions for Android and the Web are in the works) lets you create legally binding agreements quickly and easily by answering a few simple questions.

Shake includes options for creating agreements for freelance work (both for the freelancer and the client), confidentiality, buying and selling, renting and lending, loaning money, and more.

The resulting agreements not only look professional, they're also incredibly detailed. If you're loaning money, for example, Shake asks you for the loan term and interest rate and automatically calculates the monthly payments for you. Shake can save you time and money, and may prove very useful when it comes to  protecting your reputation.

Shoeboxed

Organizing receipts, tracking mileage, reporting expenses. An accountant's dream — and, often, a freelancer's nightmare.

All of these tasks can be made easier with Shoeboxed, an incredibly useful app for the Web, Android, and iOS. It allows you to photograph receipts or business cards with your phone, and adds them to your document library.

Need to track mileage? Simply tap a button in the app when you begin driving. And if you have stacks of paper receipts that you can't deal with, just drop them in a prepaid envelope and put them in the mail: Shoeboxed will handle them for you.

Gmail users will also appreciate the Gmail scanning feature, which automatically locates e-receipts in your account. Be warned, though: this Gmail scanning feature may prove overzealous if you make a lot of online purchases. Everything you buy will be saved to Shoeboxed, whether you want it there or not!

Shoeboxed pricing starts at $9.95 per month for the Lite version, which is a small price to pay for such easy expense tracking.

 

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