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Why freelancers should stop using spreadsheets for time management

Being a freelancer often tends to mean that you are the sole person responsible for your business - in every aspect. A common obstacle that many sole proprietors face is trying to reduce time spent day-to-day tracking time on projects, invoicing, billing, managing tickets etc... all things that typically detract businesses from growing their bottom line.

Many freelancers often choose spreadsheets and manual processes, like Excel and Google Sheets, as resources to manage their business as well as track time. Little do many realize that there are much better solutions than using spreadsheets for these items, especially for time management and that they can not only increase their productivity, but also make the process of conducting business easier. 

 

Why so many Freelancers use spreadsheets for time tracking

With various projects on the schedule at any given time, it's no secret an organizational tool is needed to keep tasks and work time in order. Therefore, pertaining to tracking time, using spreadsheets tends to be one way to feel like you’re able to manage your business requirements. 

Many professionals also use spreadsheets to manage business processes and time tracking because they’re  comfortable or familiar with using a manual and seemingly controllable system that gets the job done. However, what they may not realize while leveraging tools that support their current comfort, is that these tools for business management will exacerbate their business challenges as they try to grow and scale their business. Excel, and other spreadsheet solutions, aren’t one size fits all, so what is? 

We’ll dive a bit deeper into solutions that support time tracking and business management, but first, here are a few items that you may want to consider prior to using spreadsheets for time tracking.

Limited integrations - Using spreadsheets, like MS Excel and Google Sheets, creates incredible room for error. And, that's a lot of unnecessary stress to put on your business. Being able to track time and project management in a way that not only supports accurate billing, but also quickly syncs with your other business systems is imperative. Only using spreadsheets forces freelancers to rely on manual input and uploading to properly track projects - limiting the use of integrations with other software and dragging down an efficient business process.  

Limited functionality - Spreadsheets are really just and only that - spreadsheets. They can be customized to fulfill your immediate, functional needs, but really lack the dynamic ability that many billing and time tracking solutions leverage to complete business management. Sure, there are formulas and charts, but when programs don’t speak with one another to support how the time you’re spending is applied to the projects you’re working on, their limited functionality loses its charm when projects become more complex.

Limited memory - Unlike smart technologies that help support billing efficiency, if a business owner is leveraging spreadsheets for time tracking, they’re also most likely dependent on other time tracking solutions like calendars and sheer memory, to make sure that they’re on top of their game. Why add manual processes to further manual requirements? 

 

What Freelancers should use for time tracking instead of spreadsheets

The best opportunity for freelancers to support their business while saving time, money and effort is to invest in billing software that integrates project management with accounting and time tracking. Sounds too good to be true?  It might sound crazy, but, yes, all of these needs can be created and managed within a single billing solution for freelancers. 

Upgrading to a robust all-in-one software for billing and time tracking like Billwaze is a great way to be more efficient, accurately manage revenue and time while also making more money in the process. Many time management solutions help you track time, but the right software will also support other areas that the freelancer needs - creating an all-in-one management system that is centered on revenue growth. 

If your time tracking software isn’t integrated into a robust solution that has all of the below features, you may want to rethink how to approach managing your business:

Time Tracking: Choose solutions with a timer embedded in the software functionality.

Invoicing: When finding the solution that offers it all, consider one with customizable templates for invoicing. With this option, invoices will be scalable, easy to produce, and tailored to the individual's personal brand.

Managing payments: To add to the aspect of saving time, it's important to choose a platform that accepts different payment types such as credit cards, PaypPal, STRIPE, and ACH. Clients will find it easier to make online payments and freelancers will receive the payments faster and more efficiently.

Client Portal - Freelancers are constantly wanting to do work so they can get paid and reap the rewards. However, time after time when they try to grow their business they often find themselves inundated with not just providing clients with the best services, but also with billing questions and administrative tasks that simply eat at their time. The Billwaze client portal gives freelancers back their time by enabling self-service to their clients. Clients will be able to not only pay online, but peruse their entire invoice history, seeing what’s been paid, what hasn’t, their account balance, and more!

Reporting: It's a good idea to think about a solution that provides reporting consisting of real life stats on finances, sales, expenses, and taxes. Capabilities such as this will make it easier to look back on previous analytics so more informed decisions can be made for the future.

 

So what should you use?

The goal with any time tracking system is to not only keep track of projects, but to make your freelancing business more efficient and successful. Having a solution that makes time tracking easier and more efficient will make this possible.

Investing in one platform for everything from expense and time tracking, to payments, and even reporting will have freelancers saving time and saying "yes" to more potential clients.

Build time back into your schedule and increase your bottom line in seconds. Freelancers can sign up for a 14-day free trial of Billwaze today to show just how easy it is to track time and enhance your business. Get started with a free trial today!

 

Stephanie Milne Stephanie Milne

Stephanie is a copywriter who enjoys helping companies understand the value of billing software

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