Since I’ve been freelancing for many years, I’ve definitely cultivated a list of tools I absolutely cannot live without. The four tools below make working so much easier and allow my business to run much better and faster. Here they are.

1. Accounting Software

It’s so important for every freelancers to treat their business like professionals. Sometimes, because freelancers can work whenever they want, freelancers are lax about their business finances and accounting. However, online invoicing software makes it so easy to stay on top of business finances these days. You can use online accounting software to send invoices, track expenses, and pay sub contractors.

2. A Nice Computer

Many new freelancers are on a budget, and I completely understand that. However, freelancers are hard on their laptops and computers because we are on them all the time. I personally feel that freelancers should save to buy a nice computer. I prefer Macs, and I recommend them to all of my friends, especially digital entrepreneurs. Although it might seem like the best idea to buy a cheap laptop for $300 during a Black Friday sale, it’s actually preferable to spend time saving for a quality laptop or desktop that will last you a very long time.

3. A Place to Work

In just a few months, I’m going to get my very first office. I’ve been working online for almost six years, and in that time I’ve always hunched over my computer in my room or in a coffee shop. In my most recent apartment, I even had to turn my room into a video studio since I started producing video content for clients. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to moving to a bigger space where I’ll have my own office for the first time.

As evidenced by my experience, you don’t need an office to run a professional freelance business. However, having your own space to work with inspiring quotes on the wall, pictures of entrepreneur friends, and lists of goals, is a great way to get motivated and work. It’s also even better if your office or workspace has a door so you can separate from your business when it’s time to finally stop working.

4. An Incredible Network

People and especially friends aren’t exactly “tools” but in many ways, having a strong group of other entrepreneurs as friends can absolutely help your business to grow. I have a very small mastermind group that talks once per month, and I learn new things from them every time we talk. They share new ideas and tools that they come across, like social media schedulers, and the names of people who have helped them with their websites or other parts of their businesses. My network is definitely the most valuable part of my business, and without my fellow entrepreneur friends I wouldn’t be nearly as far as I am today.

So, if you’re a new freelancer or even an experienced one, make sure you don’t go without the four tools above. Each and every one of them will help your business to be more professional and will also help you to work better and more efficiently as time goes on.

What is your favorite business tool?

Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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