Time tracking for freelancers

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In the world of freelancing, if you want to stay on top, you need to be well-organized. Billable hours, tight schedules, multiple projects, or managing finances are just a few pieces of the puzzle.

When you're freelancing, you're your own project manager. It can be challenging, especially in the contemporary world, where the demands and expectations are higher than ever.

But with the right time tracking for freelancers, you can turn your career into a profitable business and achieve an almost perfect work-life harmony.

Why freelancers need time tracking

Although time tracking is popular these days, it's a real life-saver for freelancers. It's not just a tool for tracking time, very often it's a system that helps to organize the whole business and associated processes.

Freelancers need time tracking for 4 main reasons:

1. To organize schedule

Freelancer hours are different than standard employee time and pose more difficulties. Unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job, freelancers often juggle multiple projects with varying deadlines.

There are also the non-regular hours of work and flexible schedules that make it more demanding to stay organized.

Hence, time tracking allows freelancers to find out how much time they spent on each activity to allocate time properly and plan ahead.

As a result, freelancers can better manage their workload and avoid overcommitting. Smartly organizing work schedule is one of the best ways to prevent burnout.

2. To make smarter business decisions

We all know that tracking time itself isn't the best idea. The main purpose of using time tracking software is to gather data on work hours.

Time tracking data can help:

  • Determine how long it takes to finish a project or task. What's the estimated time and final deadline? What both clients and freelancers can expect?

  • Allocate adequate time budget and provide accurate quote per project.

  • Track billable hours and non-billable time.

  • Observe computer usage to understand how you spend your time.

  • Access interesting insights—what works in one project may not be so good for other projects; is that activity good for you, or maybe you're doing something wrong?

When you track time, you become more aware of your time management. But you can also easily understand which projects are profitable, and which are of little value to your freelancing career. Or you can use the data to decide if you want to raise your rates.

3. To accurately track billable hours and create invoices

Even if your rates are based on the per-project quote, it's a good idea to know what activities your freelance work involves. That way, you'll be able to precisely determine your perfect hourly rate.

The billable rate should incorporate aspects such as knowledge of the industry, expertise and experience, and other business facets specific to your industry.

The right billable rates mean a higher margin and profitability. Freelancer time is as precious as of any other employee and it's important to know your worth. That's what time tracking for freelancers is for.

Additionally, freelance time tracking apps provide features necessary to create professional invoices. You can quickly make them based on time tracked and send them directly to your clients with just one click.

4. To improve project management

Because as a freelancer you're your own boss, you need to manage yourself efficiently. You're the manager, accountant, employee, HR, and customer support—a one-man band. That requires lots of effort.

Even a free time tracking app can provide you with project management features that can help you oversee all freelance-related aspects.

Benefits of using a time tracking app

Check all the advantages of using a freelance time tracking app and how it can elevate your efficiency:

  • Automatic timer tracks time for you so you can focus on your work.

  • Timesheets with time entries provide you with precise numbers of tracked hours.

  • Advanced reporting features capturing exhaustive data on your work give you lots of data.

  • The desktop app works in the background and collects the full documentation on your work so you can understand how you spend your time.

  • Track billable hours worked and increase earnings and profitability.

  • Project management features make the system a unified hub for all your projects with data on clients, tasks, expenses.

  • A good time tracking app will let you track expenses and monitor financial health of your freelance business.

  • Integrations with other apps provide a smooth workflow

  • You can access your data from any place in the world via web or mobile.

Overall, next to detailed tracking, freelance time tracking app optimizes and automates work. That eliminates paperwork and helps to focus on growing your business. So you can sleep sound at night knowing things are falling into place and the next client is just around the corner.

Key features to look for in a freelance time tracking app

The main goal of time tracking apps is to make life easier. And while you can choose from numerous functionalities, not all will be relevant to your business needs. Take a look at the basics that will help you improve productivity instead of adding to your workload.

Ease of use

The core functionality is a user-friendly interface, which allows to easily move around the tool, even for non-tech-savvy users. You should be able to easily create tasks, access your data, and manage all clients and projects.

Automatic time tracking

There's no use for tracking time if you have to manually log time entries. In TimeCamp, you don't have to spend hours on filling timesheets. The automatic desktop app gathers all your data. You can access it any time to monitor workflow.

Reporting and analytics

As a freelancer, you need to focus on maintaining relationships that are profit-making. Sometimes it can be hard to assess which projects are good to your freelancing business.

A time tracking data solves that problem. It provides you with specific, project-oriented insights to assess project profitability and how much it takes to complete specific tasks. That way, you can easily determine your perfect freelance rate, be it per hour or per project.

This helps to make wiser business decisions and choose clients smartly. Know your worth and stop giving people discounts.

Invoicing and budgeting capabilities

Financial management is crucial, especially if you're your own boss. You need to plan and oversee your budget but also keep your hand on accounting (taxes, costs, expenses, bookkeeping, payments, etc.).

With a proper invoicing system, you'll be able to set adjustable rates, create invoices, easily export and share them with clients, connect to other invoicing, accounting, and payroll software, and get paid quickly.

Integrations with other tools

If you're using different tools, you can find it helpful to connect them to your time tracking app. First, it'll automate your workflow (no need to switch between different apps, avoiding repetitive tasks, and automatic data transfer). Second, you'll get more valuable stats and figures on your work.

Also, if your clients provide you with access to their software, you'll be able to easily integrate their platforms into your workflow.

Additionally, the availability for different platforms, operating systems, and different devices lets you quickly sync your work from anywhere.

Free plan

You don't need to go over the budget with time tracker. A free plan allows you to use the tool at no cost. Additional pricing plans usually include more advanced features. If you decide they'll help you freelance, you can always upgrade.

Also, the free plan gives you the convenience of testing the software and checking if it corresponds to your needs.

TimeCamp offers a free forever plan for unlimited users and projects.

How time tracking works for freelancers

Time tracking for freelancers works just as for any other type of business. The only difference is that you manage all the platform yourself.

On the example of TimeCamp, a free time tracking app, here's a short guide on how to use time tracking for project management as a freelancer, step by step.

1. Create an account and set up projects with a project time tracker

The first step is to create an account. At TimeCamp, all you have to do is type in your email address, create a password, and you're done. All's set and ready to go. You can register here.

After registration, you need to create a first task. However, it's best to create projects and split them into tasks so you can track time accurately from the very beginning.

PRO TIP: If you create a coherent project structure, you'll organize the workload and optimize workflow. You can create projects, tasks, and subtasks. Add tags and use color coding to get a transparent overview of your work.

2. Track time spent on tasks and projects with a time tracking tool

In TimeCamp, you can track time in four ways: directly on the web with the timer, with the desktop app, via mobile devices, or through the website plugin. (You can always add, edit, or remove time entries manually).

However, it's best to download the desktop app as it automatically tracks time and registers all activities.

Note that you can track time in the offline mode since all your activities sync with the cloud after you go back to online.

3. Set hourly rates and export reports for easy invoicing

You can track project budget, margin, and overall profitability by setting billable rates. Also, you can set the currency, define billable hours and non-billable time.

Based on tracked time (all insights available in reports), you can create personalized invoices and send them to your clients with one click.

4. Monitor, review, and adjust

Whether you want to review the accuracy of tracked time, billable hours, or check if it's time to raise your rates, you can easily access all your data in dashboards.

What's more, with real-time updates on your work hours, you can quickly spot bottlenecks, prevent project delays, and avoid unnecessary stress.

You can set reminders and alerts, as well as email notifications to keep your budget under control

TimeCamp: Essential Time Tracking for Freelancers

Time is money, they say. And TimeCamp helps to make the most out of this invaluable asset. It's a free time tracking app for freelancers.

TimeCamp has all the necessary features designed to help you streamline your work:

  1. Ease of use: Intuitive interface with no steep learning curve. All you have to do is log in and start tracking your time.

  2. Automatic time tracking app: TimeCamp automatically tracks your time. All you have to do is work.

  3. Detailed timesheets: Every time entry is accurately logged into transparent timesheets. You can choose from a daily, weekly, and calendar view.

  4. Comprehensive reports: TimeCamp reporting provides you with detailed breakdown of your working hours, including your standard billable hours, project time, idle time, overtime, PTO, holidays, tracked vs estimated time, and more. You can export reports and share them clients.

  5. Tracking expenses: To see how much you spent on projects and keep a record of business expenses.

  6. Invoicing: Get paid faster with quick and easy invoice management.

  7. Integrations: You can connect TimeCamp to other apps to automate work.

  8. Available for all platforms as a desktop app, mobile app, browser plugin, and web app. So you can access it anywhere you are.

TimeCamp helps to smoothly run your business to bring you higher client satisfaction and more profits to your freelancing enterprise.

How do freelancers track time?

In general, it's not a secret these days that most of freelancers who track their time use time tracking apps. But there are as many apps as many styles of work. And it's important to choose the right system tailored to your needs.

If you're a freelancer and want to track time, you need to take into account a few crucial factors:

1. Consider your project management style and needs

Do you need to only to track time to measure productivity or get more in-depth data? Do you want to additionally manage projects or need a simple time tracker?

From all the solutions, you can choose from multiple options: time trackers, to-do lists, task management apps, advanced project management software, digital planners and calendars, bookkeeping and accounting software, or invoicing apps.

Or, if you're more of a traditionalist, you can choose the classical pen and paper methods. These, however, usually take more time and may be less effective.

Note, that usually, a good time tracking software combines all the above. TimeCamp, for example, is a universal free time tracking app that adjusts to the needs of its users and comprises functionalities from all the best productivity apps.

2. Evaluate your budget and invoicing needs for accurate financial tracking

Are you in charge of accounting, or do you have an accountant? How much money can you spend on software? What are your needs?

Not every tool will be suitable for you. It's best to choose an app that provides you with the core financial features (budgeting, invoicing, and tracking profitability). Also, it shouldn't be too pricey.

If you have an accountant, your project time tracker should be able to generate data necessary for bookkeeping.

3. Look for integrations with your existing tools for a streamlined workflow

What does your workflow look like and what tools do you need on a daily basis?

It's important to choose time tracking software that connects your favorite apps so you can have everything under control. It also helps to keep your data accurate and safe.

Wrapping Up: Maximize Your Efficiency with TimeCamp

Time tracking is essential for every freelancer to achieve success. Whether you are juggling multiple projects, managing client expectations, or trying to find a balance between work and personal life, having a reliable system to track your time can make a significant difference.

Start tracking your time with TimeCamp and boost your productivity and earnings today!

Keep your time under control with TimeCamp, a simple overtime tracking software!

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