Flexibility. Freedom. Engagement. Respect. Earning potential. Work-life balance.
These are just a few of the factors that have influenced the growing crop of freelancers in the United States and beyond.
Today, more than 55 million people in the United States identify as freelancers, workers who have an earning potential of more than $1 trillion. Representing all sorts of professions like designers, marketers, analysts, and writers, the number of freelancers has grown three times faster than that of the entire United States workforce since 2014. By 2027, more people will identify as freelancers than any other American job category.
For many freelancers, Evernote is the primary tool to help manage their workload.
Here’s how Evernote can help you along every step of your freelancing journey.
Accomplish more by starting and staying organized
Getting organized even before you get started with a freelance client or project is key to your success. There’s no wrong way to set up your system in Evernote, but committing to a consistent one will make your workflow easier.
Separate your clients by creating a notebook for each one. Keep every note, email, document, photo, or audio file in that notebook. To organize even further, make notebook stacks, which are collections of notebooks that you group together. For example, you might keep all your drafts for the client in one notebook; finished, approved work in another; and invoices and checks in another. When they’re all stacked together, you’ll always know where to find the piece you need. You can even narrow down your search to a particular notebook and find what you need that much faster.
Another way to organize with Evernote is through tags. When you land a new client, assign tags to each piece of content that relates to that client. How you tag is dependent on how you prefer to use Evernote, but here are a few suggestions:
- Tag, you’re it. Use tag(s) to identify key contacts and collaborators on the project. Assign each individual to the project name or title so that you can find them fast when you need to find relevant notes.
- The home for random ideas. Never forget the ideas that come when you least expect it. When you’re inspired, save ideas, photos, audio clips, or scanned images into Evernote and tag them as ‘story ideas’ so you can rediscover them later. The next idea you capture could be your next big pitch.
Freelancers can have virtual assistants too
Many people think of Evernote as just a place to take and store notes, but for freelancers, it can be so much more. When you freelance, it’s all up to you, so why not bring in some help? After all, Evernote can be your reminder service, research assistant, idea factory, communication and sharing center, and even a way to keep all your tax documents safe and together. Here are just a few ways Evernote makes your freelance life smoother:
- Don’t let anything fall through the cracks. Add reminders with due dates so you can track milestones and deliverables. You’ll find reminders in a to-do list pinned at the top of your note list. You can sort them, annotate them, or mark them complete as you work on the project, so you always know where you left off. You can set it up to get email alerts when each item in your reminders list is due.
- Create a research repository. With the help of Web Clipper, instantly transfer your internet research directly to Evernote. You can send the stuff you save right to a note to help you along with your other freelance work. Or clip your published work as an archive of work samples.
- Handle communication. Don’t let email get lost in the shuffle. Forward it directly to Evernote. By sending email to Evernote, you can collect all the details into that client’s notebook to find later.
Pro Tip: Jump right into the particulars of your work using templates in Evernote. It’s all set up for you—whether it’s brainstorming ideas or meeting to kick off a project—thanks to a whole host of helpful, reusable forms.
All business, all the time
For a freelancer, there’s typically just one person running the show: you. With the help of a few Evernote integrations, you can plug some powerful apps into your workflow to save time. Here are just a few:
IFTTT can be particularly helpful when it comes to working together with clients who prefer services other than Evernote to moderate and manage projects. A few IFTTT applets you could choose include:
- Automatically create a new Trello card when you add a new note to a specific Evernote notebook.
- Use Evernote with Siri.
- Create a note with Google Assistant.
- When you close out a project, archive notes to Google Drive by using the ‘Drive’ tag.
Zapier: Like IFTTT, Zapier automates tasks outside of Evernote. For example, Zapier lets you create a Google calendar event from an Evernote reminder, get Slack notifications, and save Google contacts to Evernote, just to name a few of these timesavers.
Pocket: Curate, review, and save articles to Evernote with the ‘save to Pocket’ feature in Pocket’s native app.
Slack: If you’re an enthusiast of this all-in-one communication platform (we are here at Evernote!) you can now create private notes and share note links right from within Slack. Best of all, your notes stay private until you decide to share them.
Once you’ve finished a contract, it’s time to get paid. Evernote can help you with that, too.
Use the Evernote camera on your smartphone to scan checks, invoices, receipts, and other payment documents and save them into Evernote. You’ll need them when it comes time to pay your quarterly taxes.
Tag any notes that are related to contract money ‘payment.’ At the end of the year, you can pull up all your pay-related documents with one search. That’ll make tax preparation much simpler.
Pro Tip: If you want to organize even further, create a note link that connects to your contract or client note so you can track payments back to their sources.
On the flip side, freelancers need to monitor expenses. Tag notes with “expenses” or “expenses + year,” and at the end of the tax year, you’ll have a record of all your payments in one place. Export those into a PDF or move them into a spreadsheet for tax purposes.
Finding your next freelance gig
Landing your next opportunity is one of the most time-consuming aspects of freelancing. Looking for work becomes part of your daily job, so it’s vital to have a process in place to track opportunities and network with potential job leads.
Stay connected. From conferences and conventions to meetups and happy hours, your next gig could be a handshake away. Use Evernote on your smartphone to scan business cards to exchange information, gather contacts, and in some cases, link directly to contacts via LinkedIn—all before you leave the event.
Social opportunity. A lot of freelancers are using social media channels to connect with influencers and find new gigs. There’s so much to take in, how can you keep track of it all? In Evernote. Here’s how:
- Within a note, create a table to track not only your work search activity, and all the social channels where you network. Add hyperlinks or even include a document directly from Google Drive.
- Keep a portfolio of your work in Evernote, and share single notes or an entire notebook link with potential clients in seconds, from wherever you are.
- Drag and drop files, images, or links directly into a note and then create and paste a public link (URL) for the note to share it. Clients can view the note from any device or browser whether they have an Evernote account or not.
Pro Tip: Try Postach.io, an Evernote-based blogging platform that lets you create a personal portfolio website. Include clippings, files, images, and screenshots that provide potential clients with a view of your best work. Creating a post to your Postach.io blog is as easy as creating a note in Evernote and tagging it ‘publish.’
Connecting the dots
Freelancing isn’t just for creatives. Contractors and freelance workers come from every walk of life; from office employees to medical and technical professionals to service workers. As more of us join the ranks of gig-seekers, Evernote helps keep us focused, organized, and productive. With Evernote, you can gain a real professional edge in a competitive landscape.