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    8 Tips and Tools to Make Life Easier for the Self Employed

    Going out on your own can be scary but there’s some cool things around that help make life easier.

    1. Toggl – a girl’s best friend. Something you have to think about when you go out on your own is working out how much to charge people for what you do. A critical part of being able to do this is knowing how much time you spend on a given task. Toggl is a free time tracking tool that I’ve been using for about six years. I upgraded to the paid ($5USD per month) pretty early on to get all the fancy reporting. I love Toggl and you too can have a relationship with Toggl at www.toggl.com

    2. Mail Chimp – if you’ve got a client base you want to communicate with you need to check out the free e-newsletter tool called Mail Chimp. We’ve been using Mail Chimp for WorksWonders and it makes managing your database and communicating with your ‘peeps’ dead easy. Find out more at www.mailchimp.com

    3. Survey Monkey – is another free tool allowing you to ask your clients or customers what they want and to find out more about them. These surveys are easy to set up and the feedback can be invaluable. Check out www.surveymonkey.com

    4. PicMonkey – yes another member of the monkey family. I only discovered PicMonkey very recently and instantly fell in love. Great for making images for your social media pages. All you need is the time to play and create at www.picmonkey.com

    5. Social media – a no brainer in today’s world but it’s finding out the best social media tool for your business. LinkedIn is great for professional networking, Facebook works well if you want to communicate regularly with people interested in your products and services, Pinterest is very visual and great for showcasing products, Twitter – well I’m still trying to figure that one out and of course there are a million others that have been invented while I was typing this. Don’t think though that social media will take care of itself it does require a lot of time and effort.

    6. A good accountant – if you want to do your own accounts great, but for me having someone I can rely on to do my accounts and GST means I can get on with the things I love doing in my own business. It also means I’m not spending hours trying to master something I’m neither good at nor inclined towards.

    7. A cleaner – if you’re a working woman your swinging double shifts. You’ll be full on at work, and then there’s always something you need to be doing at home. If you’ve got other passions in your life be they sporting, crafty or kids, then time really is precious. Take a load off and get in some help.

    8. Networking – this is a must if you work on your own. You need to pal up with some other like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off, vent when you need to and also to refer work onto.

    By Angela Bensemann, Director of WorksWonders and Halo Communications