When it comes to working these days, the traditional nine to five job model is no longer the standard. There are an increasing number of folks who are striking out on their own, freelancing for all or part of their regular income. If you count yourself among those with the entrepreneurial spirit, then you would agree that spreadsheets are one of the indispensable tools.
When it comes to the choice of spreadsheet tool, there aren’t many options. If you have the budget to invest, you can go for MS Excel. It has the best features and support. But if you’re tight on budget, go for Google Sheets. It provides you a good enough set of features with an additional ability to share and collaborate. The support is also adequate and find some good online tutorials on using Google Sheets.
If you’re a freelancer, here are 6 ways you can use spreadsheets to be more productive and organized.
1. Bookkeeping And Managing Your Finances
[pullquote]You can take care of simple bookkeeping matters using spreadsheets.[/pullquote]
While you need to have the final forms in a tax-friendly software, you can use spreadsheets to easily manage your finances by listing the income and expenses.
There are various ways to use spreadsheets regarding money and calculations. Make sure that you refresh yourself on these before you begin using them for work. You can find many free tutorials and templates of spreadsheet tools such as MS Excel or Google Sheets.
2. Organizing Tasks
Spreadsheets are great for organizing task and activities.
Of course, the best way to do this will depend on the type of freelance work that you do.
For instance, you might list all your current jobs in one spreadsheet.
Additionally, you can also include the start and finish dates for the job, as well as amount you expect to be paid for your services.
3. Organizing Clients
A third way that you can take advantage of spreadsheets is to organize your freelance jobs themselves.
If you work with several different people, it can become a challenge to remember the details of each job quickly. However, you can learn how to use a spreadsheet to note everything of importance for your current work in one easy to peruse location.
For instance, if you are an interior designer, you might have a few words about the type of window treatments that were being discussed or note that the wife hates a particular color.
4. Brainstorming Ideas
Another way that spreadsheets can help you is when you are brainstorming new ideas for your clients or for your own practice.
By putting ideas into various categories, you will start to get a better picture of where you can take the projects you have on the table.
5. Track Number Of Hours
A fifth way to use spreadsheets is to keep track of your hours. While you might want to have separate records related to each job that you are working on, you also need to be able to see how much time you are investing overall.
By working with a master spreadsheet that contains your total hours worked, you will be able to gain more control over your day. Combined with specific job worksheets, you will be more organized and efficient as you go through the day.
One of the reasons that this can be helpful is to track non-billable hours. You might be spending more time each week on these mundane tasks than you realized. As you begin to record your time, you can start to organize your day and week to reduce the time you waste with repetitive tasks.
6. Managing Your Team Or VAs
Should you decide to hire a team or a virtual assistant, you can also use a spreadsheet to keep track of their time. By adding a separate note on your current system, you will be able to determine how to break up tasks best.
You will be glad that you took the time to learn more about spreadsheets once you begin implementing them into your daily work plans. As a freelancer, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to save time!
Find some online or local instruction that will help you to understand the basic operations related to using spreadsheets. Keep a copy of shortcuts and important formulas to remember either on your computer desktop or print one and post it where you can see it while you are working. Also, spend some time in creating templates that can be used again in the further projects.
The more you work with your spreadsheet program, the easier it will become to use it. Over time, you will be surprised that you ever worked without it!
For more information and tips on being a freelancer here on Bit Rebels, click here!