How I Save 11 Hours Every Month & Organize my Business for FREE
Proposals, contracts, invoices, time sheets…it all made my head hurt when I starting getting my first business clients. Perhaps my fellow creative professionals would agree with me—thinking about paperwork and processes is something we want to bury in the closet part of our brain. There was always a voice in my head wondering if I was doing everything right…
- What exactly did I need to have in my contract?
- How can I easily write a proposal and have my contracts signed online-instantly? I didn’t want to scan documents back and forth, and back and forth.
- Can I send invoices without making a PDF and emailing it to a client?
- Could I somehow accept payments online?
- What about keeping track of my time, especially now, when I have multiple clients and projects?
- There’s probably a tool out there—and I’ve heard of so many—but they all cost something.
Many people have the same questions when they begin to freelance or build their business. I’m still beginning my journey as a freelancer, and I still have a lot to learn. I’m also on a budget and didn’t want to pay a monthly fee simply to get my business organized. While there are many awesome paid project management tools out there, there were only a couple free ones that had the functionality I needed. And they were indeed free – so that was the best thing!
The tool I use is called AND CO. (Not sponsored – FYI!)
AND CO was recently acquired by Fiverr. Its mission to empower freelancers has made it possible for the tool to be completely free of charge. I got super excited when I read this — seriously, no fees (except online cc processing fees, of course) and no paid plans.
So what does it do? It offers tools for proposals, contracts, projects, invoicing, time tracking, income, expenses, and more. I’ve found it really simple to use, and it has saved me a massive amount of time.
My AND CO Workflow
1. I add basic client information into AND CO’s system.
2. I draft a proposal for their project(s). This includes the overview and goals, scope of the work, budget and timeline and other important details.
3. I add a contract to the proposal for signatures from the client and myself. AND CO has a great contract template that makes this easy from client to client. It’s not fully customizable, but you can add sections to the contract as needed. There is also a way to upload documents to the proposals you send, so this would be great for client questionnaires or information forms.
4. Next, I create a new project for the proposal, once accepted. In the new project, I outline the project details and you can add tasks to the project to complete. I haven’t fully used the tasks functionality yet, but I’m sure it will come in handy when I organize my process even more.
5. Within a project, I can do time tracking for my hourly clients. This is my favorite part about the tool. It makes it easy to create time sheets according to each project. Very simple to do!
6. Once a project is complete, I can then invoice the client. You receive an email once the client views and pays your invoice. And, done! I archive the project and clean up my dashboard so I’m ready for what’s next!
AND CO – Final Thoughts
Overall, I would recommend AND CO for those starting out in your business. It works for freelancers, LLCs and small businesses, and truly does save me hours of my time. I think back to when I would do this manually and it wasn’t pretty to say the least!
If you’re thinking of other project management tools, I’ve also heard great things about Dubsado, Honeybook and 17Hats.
I also wrote a post detailing 11 cheap tools I use to run my business, with some good recommendations as well.
So, bottom line, it shouldn’t cost a penny or suck up too much time to organize your business. I’m thankful for AND CO to be able to really focus on my client work and the serve my customers and community!