Juggling multiple projects, deadlines, and clients can be overwhelming without the right tools! Freelancing requires staying organized, managing multiple tasks simultaneously, and communicating with clients effectively.
Project management tools transform these challenges into a streamlined workflow, automating repetitive tasks and keeping track of progress.
In addition, the project management software can handle admin tasks like invoicing and time tracking so that you can focus on your creative side.
Ready to take your level of organization and mental clarity to the next level? Whether you’re looking for a simple task manager or a comprehensive project management suite, I’ve got you covered. Don’t waste another minute juggling spreadsheets and emails.
What is project management, and why does it matter for freelancers?
Project Management involves breaking down complex tasks into smaller, manageable parts, assigning responsibilities, and tracking progress to ensure the project stays on schedule.
Freelancers work on multiple projects simultaneously, making it challenging to keep track of progress, deadlines, and priorities. Project management tools can help them stay organized, prioritize tasks, and meet their clients’ expectations.
Secondly, freelancers usually work independently, managing every aspect of their projects, from communication to invoicing. Project management tools help you automate repetitive tasks, such as time tracking and invoicing, and free up more time to focus on delivering quality work.
Lastly, project management tools help freelancers collaborate effectively with clients and other stakeholders. Platforms like Monday or Asana provide a centralized platform where everyone involved in the project can communicate, share files, and track progress in real-time, minimizing miscommunications and ensuring everyone stays on the same page.
You can watch my video Free Copywriting Tools and Software I Use in My Freelance Business to better understand which tools are right for you.
What should you look for in project management software?
Some important factors to consider when looking for the right project management tools are:
|Task management||The software should offer tools to help you create and assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress|
|Collaboration||It should allow team members to communicate easily through messaging, file sharing, or other means.|
|Project tracking||The software should allow you to track the project’s overall progress, including timelines, milestones, and goals.|
|Resource management||The software should help you manage resources, such as people, equipment, and budget, and allow you to allocate them appropriately.|
|Analytics||The software should provide reports and analytics to help you evaluate project performance, identify potential issues, and make data-driven decisions.|
|Integration||It should integrate with your team’s tools, such as email, calendars, and file-sharing systems.|
|User-friendliness||The software should be easy to use and navigate, with an intuitive interface that doesn’t require a lot of training.|
|Security||The software should be secure, with features such as user authentication, data encryption, and regular backups.|
What are the best project management software tools for freelancers?
While there are many project management tools, only a few are truly fit for freelancers and solo businesses.
Here are the best options for 2023:
Asana is my personal favorite tool for creating projects, assigning tasks to team members, setting deadlines, tracking progress, and following a content calendar. Asana offers a free version for up to 15 users, making it a popular choice for small businesses and freelancers.
Watch my video Cold Pitching for Freelance Clients to discover how Asana can help your client acquisition efforts!
- Great User Experience
The UI is easy to navigate, with the option to color code projects for a personalized view.
- Custom Fields
Custom Fields allow you to provide additional key information at a glance, so that viewers have a clean but complete view of what stage the project is in.
- Task Templates
Asana Task Templates provide a framework for tasks that can be reused and customized for different projects.
- Robust Free Plan
Asana offers free plans of up to 15 members. Features include unlimited projects, tasks, messages and more.
Over 100 integrations are available, including Microsoft and Google products.
Asana’s pricing plans are designed to meet the needs of teams of all sizes and levels of complexity. Let’s take a closer look at the features and pricing of each of Asana’s plans: Basic, Premium, and Business.
- Basic $0
Perfect for small teams or individuals, and allows you to collaborate with up to 15 teammates.
- Premium $10.99
Includes features such as custom fields, timeline view, and more integrations. It allows for up to 100 teammates.
- Business $24.99
Designed for larger teams, the business plan includes advanced features such as advanced admin controls, priority support, and personalized onboarding.
Asana streamlines project management for freelancers, offering a range of features and pricing plans that make it an excellent choice for businesses of all sizes.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and scattered in your business, I highly recommend UpLevel with Asana taught by Louise Henry. Her course was a GAME-CHANGER for growing my business!
ClickUp is a project management platform that has a cult following among solo business owners. From task management and time tracking to project collaboration and resource management, ClickUp is designed to meet the needs of teams of all sizes and industries.
- Multiple Views
ClickUp has 15+ views including calendar view, and mind map view.
- Multitask Toolbar
The multitask toolbar allows you to manage lots of tasks at once, by decluttering your dashboard with a bulk update.
- Real-Time Collaboration
Similar to Google Docs, you can see who else is working on a document and track changes.
- Task Management Visuals
ClickUps task management visuals give project managers a way to create to-do lists quickly.
- ClickUp’s time management tools allow project managers to look at their team’s calendars to see how busy everyone is.
ClickUp’s pricing is based on the number of users and includes a yearly and monthly plan. Overall, ClickUp’s pricing is competitive and transparent, making it a popular choice among project management tools.
This plan is the best for personal use and for beginners
- Unlimited $5
On top of everything in the free plan, this plan includes the bulk of ClickUp’s features
- Business $12
The business plan is an ideal solution for larger businesses that would benefit from the enhanced security.
- Business Plus $19
This plan is particularly fitting for multiple teams. It provides the same privileges as the Business plan with a few more exclusive features.
ClickUp has a slightly steeper learning curve than its competitors. But due to its competitive pricing and versatility, ClickUp is a great option for small teams and independent workers. It also offers enough features and functionalities for larger enterprises. I highly recommend trying ClickUp’s free trial to experience the full range of features and see how it can benefit your specific needs.
Trello is one of the most well-known web-based project management tools. Known for its classic KanBan-style interface, it uses a card-based system to represent individual tasks, that you can move around and assign to team members.
Trello comes with free preset templates including team management, design, sales and more.
Trello cards are usually designated for an individual task and include task descriptions, attachments, subtasks and more.
Trello operates on a Kanban project management system and allows you to oversee your project progress at all times.
Butler is an automation feature that allows you to create commands on your Trello board to reduce repetitive work.
- Mobile Optimization
You can download the Trello app to create new tasks, manage existing ones, add checklists, and more.
Trello offers a free plan with basic features, a standard plan for small teams,a premium plan for businesses with diverse projects, and an Enterprise plan with custom pricing for larger organizations.
A great plan to get started with. Includes 10 boards, 10 MB per file, and 250 actions/ month.
- Standard $5
Ideal for smaller businesses on tight budgets
- Premium $10
Ideal for growing businesses
- Enterprise $17.50
ideal for larger companies, not necessary for teams smaller than 100
As a freelancer, I started using Trello because of its ease of use. Several online business owners I looked up to over the years had switched from Trello to more robust tools like Asana and ClickUp.
It will suffice if you’re an absolute beginner and don’t plan on expanding your freelance business into a larger team. You’ll probably outgrow Trello sooner or later if you do see growth and expansion in your future.
As a freelancer, you’ve probably been added to your client’s Monday board at some point. Using Monday.com, organizations can quickly add members, manage tasks, customize workflows, and track multiple projects. The high-level overview of a project’s status is very appealing to freelancers.
- Excellent customer support
Monday.com is very responsive, takes customer feedback seriously, and consistently releases new features that address user needs.
- Project Budgeting
Monday gives you a clear picture of your budget and includes operating costs, labor costs, equipment, and more.
- Intuitive Mobile App
Monday’s app allows you to access your boards and communicate with your team from your iOS or Android device.
- Easily Manage Workloads
Monday allows you to arrange tasks in groups and assign each task to a person on your team.
- Efficient Collaboration
Team members can share files, and comment on task items.
From basic plans for small teams to more comprehensive plans for larger organizations, Monday.com’s pricing options vary in features and pricing.
- Individual Free
This plan is best for individuals who just want to organize and keep track of their work.
- Basic $8
This plan provides features to help in managing a team’s work in one place.
- Standard $10
This plan helps in collaborating and optimizing the team’s processes.
- Pro $16
This plan streamlines and runs the team’s complex workflows.
This is meant for organizations that need enterprise-level features, like large-scale automations, integrations, and security.
I used Monday at a large company where I was in charge of content marketing. I loved that you can view all of your tasks in one place with Monday.com’s “my work” feature. In terms of aesthetics, it’s probably one of the most appealing project management tools I’ve used. Customizability was so robust that it was almost amazing. However, most freelancers don’t require that level of customization. Because Monday is so robust, it’s a great option for expanding your business and onboarding team members.
Notion.com is an all-in-one productivity platform that offers a range of tools for note-taking, project management, database creation, and collaboration. Among online creators and solopreneurs, Notion is exploding right now. The company’s claim to fame is their templates, which once downloaded, help you manage information and learning, tasks, and finances. Since Notion templates simplify freelancing, selling them has become a very profitable source of income for creators.
- To-do list block
Notion offers checklists to keep things simple. To add one, click anywhere in the text editor.
You have the option to use text elements such as lists, headers, links, dividers, quotes, and callouts.
- Table database block
Notion’s blocks allow you to manage projects, track productivity, or keep organized notes.
- Ease of Use
Notion incorporates well known project management elements into its project management software and its clean aesthetic makes navigation easy.
- Public Pages
Public pages allow you to create a quick and easy web page to share information.
Notion’s pricing varies depending on the number of users and the features required, and each plan comes with different limitations and capabilities.
Unlimited pages and blocks, share your projects with five guests, sync across all devices, content API, 5MB file uploads
- Plus $8
All previous features, unlimited file uploads, version history
- Business $15
Includes a contacts database, projects timelines, client portals, financial dashboard and a prospecting pipeline to help you develop your leads over time.
Contact for pricing. SAML single sign-on, SCIM API, advanced security, dedicated manager capabilities, customer contract
For freelancers who create content – both for clients and to market themselves – Notion is perfect. You can work on multiple projects with a small team or work as a solopreneur. This forever-free plan gives you enough features to get the most out of project management, and you can upgrade at any time.
You’re probably already using Wrike if you work with marketing teams in your freelance business.
By centralizing team conversations and consolidating all project-related activities in one place, users enjoy the ability to communicate directly on specific tasks at a project level.
- Detailed Analytics
Wrike analytics give in depth insights into projects and include metrics such as milestones, time tracking, and task duration.
- Task Tool
With the task tool, businesses can easily keep track of individual and overall task progress, and break projects into smaller tasks.
- Three-Pane View
The Wrike dashboard has a unique three-pane view that gives you a consolidated view of your workflow.
- Built-in Time Tracking
This software can be used to monitor your team’s productivity and identify issues that are slowing your team down.
- Organized File Management
This tool provides effortless access to files and attachments at all times.
Wrike’s pricing varies depending on the number of users and features required, with annual subscriptions offering discounts. Custom pricing is also available for large teams and organizations.
For teams getting started
For growing teams
For all teams across an organization
For large teams
For teams with complex work needs
Wrike is ideal for individuals and small to large businesses managing creative teams or specializing in professional services. The dashboard and features of Wrike can be challenging to navigate for new users, according to G2 reviews.
In my mind, Basecamp is synonymous with its famous founder Jason Fried and his game-changing book ReWork. As a pioneer in remote work, Basecamp is loved by teams managing many projects within a hybrid model. As evidenced by Basecamp’s minimalistic design, the founders believe that anything that’s unnecessary should be eliminated. Mobile apps and email notifications make remote communication easy.
- To-do lists
You can break down the project into tasks that need to be completed and assign tasks, set a due date, and attach documents.
- Message Board
The message board keeps teammates up to date on progress.
Campfire separates project-related discussions so that communication channels aren’t flooded.
Basecamp allows you to schedule important dates and sync calendars for all team members.
- Automatic Check-ins
Basecamp reduces the number of meetings required by replacing them with automatic check-ins.
Basecamp offers a simple pricing structure that includes all features for a flat fee of $99 per month, regardless of the number of users. There are no hidden fees or upsells. Basecamp also offers a free plan for teachers and students to use.
- Team $99/month
Up to 10 users and 2 TB of storage
- Business $199/month
Up to 10 users + unlimited clients
- Unlimited $199/month
Unlimited users and clients with 5 TB of storage
Basecamp is best for small to medium-sized businesses that require a straightforward and intuitive project management tool. The company offers a 30-day free trial to try out the full software version before committing to a subscription.
A standout feature of nTask is its file function, which lets you finish some tasks later, so that you can concentrate on the most crucial ones first. nTask has an excellent design with elegant backgrounds, giving a pleasant working environment. Gantt diagrams facilitate the flow of work and improve efficiency. The software also offers a free plan, making it accessible to freelancers and small teams with limited budgets.
- Project Planning
You can create your project strategy with features like define work capacity, set currency, resource allocation, and budgeting.
- Extension Features
The extension features are one-click solutions for multiple complex tasks such as financial summaries, milestones and a docked view.
- Task Tracking
You can track tasks by assigning repeat tasks, adding attachments to tasks and creating unlimited sub tasks.
- Workspace Personalization
You can customize your workspace with pictures, giving it a name, inviting more team members and creating a unique URL for the workspace.
- Risk Management
The nTask Risks feature allows you to avoid lost time and budget efficiently.
nTask offers flexible pricing options that cater to the needs of different individuals and teams.
- Premium $3/month
Includes features of basic plan, plus unlimited projects and advanced filters.
- Business $8/month
Includes features of premium plan, plus custom fields and 10 GB of file storage.
Includes features of business plan, plus 100 GB of file storage, and custom onboarding.
nTask is best suited for individuals, freelancers, and small to medium-sized businesses looking for an affordable project management tool with robust features to help them streamline their workflow. You can sign up for a 7 day free trial to see if nTask is the right fit for you.
Should I pay for project management software or use free versions?
If you’re new to project management software tools, always start with a free version and see how you like it. Whether you should pay for project management software or use free versions depends on your needs and budget.
Free versions of project management software are often suitable for small-scale projects or for individual freelancers who need basic functionalities like task tracking and time management.
However, if you’re working on larger projects or collaborating with a team, it may be worth investing in the paid version that offers advanced features like resource management, project budget tracking, and team collaboration tools.
As a freelancer, you are constantly working on deadlines and have a lot of moving parts to manage. So while it may take a little bit of time and effort to master any project management software, relying on spreadsheets and google docs, in the long run, will cost you more money and time.
The most organized and diligent freelancers will fall behind if they don’t use project management software. The key is choosing a project management software that will remain with you for years since switching platforms can be a real pain.
Want to finally get organized in your freelance business?
As a freelancer with multiple streams of income, I was on the verge of giving up until I learned how to use Asana.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and scattered in your business, I highly recommend UpLevel with Asana taught by Louise Henry. Her course was a GAME-CHANGER for growing my business!