Hiring freelancers is a great way to get additional help for your business. Rather than taking on the overhead associated with hiring additional full-time employees, using freelancers allow you to get the help you need when you need it. Then, when the project is complete, you and your freelancers part ways.
However, you probably know that working with freelancers isn’t necessarily frictionless. There is less overhead associated with freelancers than with employees, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any additional admin tasks. You’ll still have to allocate work, communicate with them as issues and questions arise, provide a way for them to deliver their work, validate their invoices, and more.
Luckily, with the rise in popularity of remote work, there are many collaboration tools that you can use to streamline the management of your team. Here are some of the best options available today, as well as how much they cost — some tools are more cost-effective than others, especially if the company charges per team instead of per seat.
When you’re working in the same place as someone else, you can pull that person aside and show them your screen. When you’re not, you’ll have to get creative.
CloudApp allows you to capture anything on your screen, including screenshots, images to create GIFs, and screen, voice, and webcam recordings. You can easily annotate your content and add items to emphasize things of importance (or blur sensitive content). Sharing the content you’ve created is easy; you can upload your files to the CloudApp cloud, and send just the link needed to access these files to your colleagues. You can also use the provided cloud space for your own files, such as code snippets, documents, and ZIP archives.
You’ll also get built-in analytics tools, so you can see who’s viewed your files and where they’re located.
Cloud App Pricing
CloudApp offers a free 14-day trial for all new users. Once that period is over, CloudApp offers three different plan types, as well as a custom enterprise-level solution. All licenses are billed on a per-user basis, and you can pay monthly or annually (annual subscribers get 10% off their subscriptions).
For a simple, easy to use, inexpensive method to pay your freelancers, look no further than Dwolla.
While Dwolla does offer a full API that you can use to connect your app to the banking system, they also offer a simple transfer platform that you can get up and running in just minutes. This platform allows you to send or request payments via email, as well as send mass payments with the CSV upload tool. You can think of Dwolla as a simple alternative to PayPal.
Dwolla operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Your fees are equivalent to a percentage of the transaction total, but you’ll never pay more than $5 per ACH transfer.
Microsoft Office might be one of the most well-known and popular productivity suites around, but Google’s G Suite productivity tools make much more sense for remote teams due to its robust sharing and collaboration features. You’ll get email services, word processing, digital storage, calendar, spreadsheets, and more, all of which can be easily shared with and accessed by others. It’s likely that you’re already familiar with the tools offered by Google — G Suite is simply a branded version with a few additional perks that professionals would find useful.
Furthermore, G Suite subscriptions mean that your users have Google logins, which means that you can use Google Hangouts for chatting and video conferencing.
G Suite Pricing
If you’re a new user, you can get a free, 14-day trial. Afterwards, G Suite is billed on a monthly basis based on the number of users you have, and you can choose from two different subscription plans.
I Done This
Silly name aside, I Done This is a task management system that makes it easy for people to provide quick daily status updates.
Upon logging in, you’ll see a list of your team members, as well as their lists of entries. Each entry comes with a visual marker indicating its status: done, goal, or blocker. Done entries are those that have been completed. Goals are entries to be completed. Blockers are those that are hindering progress.
With I Done This, you can, at a glance, see the progress each person’s made, or in the case of a blocker, why there’s a delay. If there are any goals that weren’t completed on a given day, they are automatically carried over to the next day.
I Done This Pricing
All plans come with a free 14-day trial. Afterwards, you can choose from three different subscription plans.
I Done This is billed per user. You can pay on a monthly basis, or you can opt for an annual contract, which also gets you a discount on your subscription.
If you’re interested in using I Done This just for yourself, you can opt for the single-user hobby plan that is designed for personal use only.
MeisterTask is a visually stunning, intuitive project and task management tool that takes its cues from the Kanban productivity method. You can add as many team members as necessary and assign them tasks.
The dashboard allows you to keep tabs on what each person is doing, as well as the status of that task. Each task is logged on its own card, and the card allows you to track who it’s assigned to, attach relevant documents, and write comments relating to the task.
There are five columns available: Open, In Progress, Review, Done, and Ideas. As each person makes progress on their card, they move it from one column to another.
Each of your users can filter and isolate their tasks so they can use their task cards to create daily schedules/to-do lists. MeisterTask’s also offers desktop and mobile apps in addition to their web-based interface, which means that your users have access to their lists no matter what device they’re using or where they are.
MeisterTask operates using the freemium model, which means that there will always be a free version available. However, if you want to integrate MeisterTask with any of your other task and productivity tools or take advantage of the workflow automation features, you’ll need to spring for a paid subscription. These licenses are billed per user on a yearly basis.
Payoneer is a system that allows you to send payments to your payees worldwide. You can use it for one-time payments, or you can automate payments. Record keeping is easy due to its reporting features (which include payment history, freelancer information, account history, and more), and at tax time, you can automatically generate the required tax forms.
You can make payments with credit cards, bank transfers, online wallets, and international checks, and you get free money transfers. Freelancers can withdraw funds that they receive directly into their bank accounts. You can also use Payoneer to make mass payouts.
Payoneer is registered and licensed to operate on a global basis so that you can pay freelancers around the world (yes, the software supports payments in multiple currencies). For your safety, Payoneer will handle any issues with payment going through — the company will work with the receiving bank and user on your behalf. You’ll also get preemptive fraud protection and detection.
You can open up a Payoneer account free of charge. Afterward, you (or your user) is accessed a small fee, depending on the specifics of your transaction: the payment type, the type of receiving bank, and so on. Note that customers that handle a high volume of transactions using Payoneer will receive a discount on the feeds they’re accessed.
You’ve probably heard about Slack, since it’s become one of the most popular communication and collaboration tools for remote teams all over. It can also be used for public chats, like this Slack Bitcoin channel:
As a messaging app, Slack is infinitely flexible. You can have as many teams as you’d like, and you can easily control who joins which team(s). The ability to create channels means that you can collect conversations about different topics in an organized way. You can also create ad hoc channels, which is useful if you need a way to communicate with someone, yet you don’t necessarily want them to join your permanent business channels. Everything that gets sent is saved and easily searchable, and its built-in sharing tools mean that you can easily send files to your colleagues.
What makes Slack stand out amongst its peers, however, is its infinite support for integrations with third-party tools. Slack claims that it “integrates with nearly every enterprise and productivity product available,” so if you have a number of tools that you use, you can use Slack to manage them all and have it act as a dashboard for the tools you’ve chosen. For example, you can integrate with Trello so that every time a new card is created, Slack sends a message to the appropriate parties, or you can hook up an incoming inbox so that you’re notified whenever you receive new messages.
If you’d like to try Slack out before you commit, you can do so with the free plan. You’re limited in terms of the number of messages Slack stores for you, as well as the number of apps and services you can integrate with your account.
The paid subscriptions are charged per active user on a month-to-month or annual basis. You can choose from two different paid subscriptions, with the more expensive option offering extras such as single sign-on, guaranteed uptime, and other advanced security features.
Toggl is a time tracking tool that’s designed for simplicity, speed, and ease of use. Simply type in the task you’re doing and click Start to begin tracking the amount of time you spend on that task. You can easily label the tasks based on project, so you can get time totals without doing any math yourself.
Toggl offers browser buttons and desktop apps, so you don’t have to stay on the Toggl website to track time. There’s also an Android and iPhone app available.
Toggl will always offer a basic plan that will always be free, but new users get a free 30-day trial of the premium features available to those with paid subscriptions. You can choose from three different subscription plans, and you can pay per user on a monthly or yearly basis (those with annual billing cycles will receive a discount on their plan).
World Time Buddy
If you’re in San Francisco, your co-founder is in London, and your freelancer is in Bangkok, when is a good time for everybody to meet? Instead of doing complicated time zone math, you can use World Time Buddy to easily set up a meeting time that works for everyone. You might end up with someone showing up at 7 AM local time and someone else showing up when it’s 10 PM where they are, but at least no one is showing up at 3 AM.
Bonus: this tool is free.
Working with freelancers can be a great way to get help with your business-related projects, but there can be some overhead involved with working with freelancers. However, there are many task and productivity tools designed to minimize the friction involved with a remote team, and this article lists just some of the options available to help you communicate, collaborate, and send payments without too much trouble.