The Best Software Solutions for Freelancers and Independent Professionals

A few of our favorite platforms for freelancers and independent professionals, including invoicing and accounting solutions, project management tools, banking options, and more.




Text Link


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

I’ll admit it - I have shiny-object syndrome when it comes to software platforms. Something new catches my eye, and I HAVE to check it out. I’m always convinced that my system can be further optimized. As a result, I’ve wasted more time migrating from one platform to another than I care to admit.

So I figure SOMEone oughta benefit from all of that time I’ve spent, and that person is you.

Here are a few of my favorite platforms, and also a few I’ve tried which haven’t worked for me. I’m including them because others swear by them, and who am I to say that my opinion and experience is any better than theirs?

Accounting and Invoicing Platforms

Wave - free accounting

Wave is accounting software that lets you track all of your expenses and income, and send invoices. The best part: it's totally free.

This is a platform that is not one of MY faves, but I know that a lot of people swear by it. I just could not for the life of me figure out how to "reconcile" my transactions. I ultimately decided that just keeping a spreadsheet is the way to go, for my particular situation... until I got an accountant and he forced me to adopt Quickbooks. But as I said - I've seen numerous Facebook threads discussing accounting options for freelancers, and Wave ALWAYS comes up - there are lots of people who are apparently much smarter at this stuff than I am. 🙂

Quickbooks - easy-ish accounting

Quickbooks has long been a leader in the accounting platform space. It lets you send invoices and track expenses, among other things.

TBH, I don't love it - First I tried it two separate times and defected both times because I ended up feeling like it was overkill for what I need, and I didn't like paying for it. I also found the customer service experience rather frustrating. But a lot of people use Quickbooks and seem to like it - mainly because it makes things easy for their accountant, I think. And that’s exactly why I find myself using Quickbooks again - because my accountant asked me to. Sigh.

Freshbooks - accounting for small businesses

Another one that lots of people swear by is Freshbooks. It’s geared toward freelancers and self-employed / small business types, and it has some features that pure accounting platforms don’t have - like time-tracking and project management functionality.

I personally didn’t find the platform to be worth the cost, and I didn’t love the user experience - but ultimately, the biggest reason I didn’t end up using Freshbooks just had to do with the fact that my accountant asked that I use Quickbooks.

Ditto - Protected Payments Platform

Obviously I'm a little biased, but we're building Ditto because we believe it needs to exist.

Ditto is a protected payments platform built for project based work. It’s NOT an accounting system (at least not yet) - you can’t track your expenses in Ditto. If you run all of your projects through Ditto, however, your income will be nicely consolidated, and you’ll only get one 1099 form at the end of the year.

Fave features:

  • protected pay (aka escrow) means you never have to wonder if or when an invoice will be paid
  • the proposal converts into a project portal, complete with payment functionality - so you never have to actually create and send an invoice
  • it takes care of tax forms, so my clients don't have to send me 1099s / I don't have to track down a ton of forms every January
  • no monthly fee

Note: Ditto is best for project-based work. You can definitely use it for hourly work - many people do - but you’ll have to adjust your invoicing practices to collect for an expected or minimum number of hours up front. Your client basically “spends down” from the bank of hours in the project fund.

Online Banks for Freelancers

Ally Bank

I used Ally bank in the past and liked it, but it's more geared toward personal use than business use. (It is my understanding that as your business becomes increasingly “professionalized”, it’s really best to get an actual business bank account as opposed to using a personal checking account as your business account - this article from Forbes gives more detail.)

Lili Bank

Lili is billed as "banking for freelancers", so I considered using it because I love supporting an ecosystem that’s supporting independent professionals. For me, the fact that Lili was mobile-app only, at least as of 5/2021, made it a non-starter.

Mercury Bank

Mercury is one of the banks I currently use, and I've been really happy with it so far. There are no fees, no minimums to worry about, and the online experience is very nice - it’s clean and feels super modern. The mobile check deposit functionality is a must for those few and far between times I still receive a regular paper check (gasp!) - and the authentication via the Authy authentication app is now my favorite bank login experience.Mercury seems to be developing some interesting financing options for businesses, as well.

Quickbooks Online Checking

I’m experimenting with the Quickbooks Online Checking account right now. The jury is still out on this one. I signed up for it thinking that it might make managing my income and expenses inside Quickbooks easier, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case. They can’t do mobile check deposit, at least not as of May 2022, and while I need to deposit a check very rarely, I DO occasionally need to, so I can’t rely on this as my sole business checking account. On the plus side, and one of the other reasons I gave it a whirl: Quickbooks Online Checking pays 1% interest on the money in the account — not bad at all in today’s economic environment.

Software to Supercharge Your Workflow & Project Management

Typeform - beautiful online questions

Typeform is a really pretty, pleasant way to answer questions. It just feels nicer than filling out a form - very polished, and easy to customize to suit your brand.

I've noticed that lots of freelancers use Typeform as an upfront questionnaire to gather information from clients. This is an excellent usecase, as you can 1) screen out clients who may not be a good fit and 2) gather information that'll let you come into that introductory call super-prepared and ready to rock-n-roll.

^^ As a client, I'm always impressed by that. ^^

Notion - organizes everything

I'm a big, big fan of Notion.

The TL;DR version is that it's the first digital organization system I've actually stuck with, longterm. I use it for everything (and that's exactly why it works for me - because it has become my "go-to" second brain.)

Notion is a place to take notes, save bookmarks, and organize content. They also recently released their public API, so you can automate stuff (using tools like Zapier, for example.)

Want more?

Airtable - spreadsheets on steroids

Airtable is awesome for information that can be organized in spreadsheet-like fashion. My favorite feature is the ability to create a nice-looking form which can be easily be shared or embedded on a website, and then have that form feed directly into a spreadsheet. (There are all kinds of other views, too, which can also be shared or embedded.)

It can take a little time to learn your way around and get the table set up the way you like/need, but there are lots of tutorials available, and/or you can start with a template and just make modifications.

There are also all kinds of automations and other fancy things you can do - Airtable is considered part of the "no code" movement.

Trello - classic kanban boards

TL;DR: Trello is pretty much the grand-daddy of Kanban boards, and many freelancers use it. Trello has many of the same pros/cons as Asana, as far as I'm concerned. If you reach the point where you're choosing between the two, just ask Google :)

  • Like Asana, Trello has hundreds of templates, and also boasts "power-ups" - so if you're a project management geek who just loves this kind of stuff (and can get anyone else you're working with to buy in, too), you may be in heaven.
  • Trello and Asana both let you change the background image and color schemes for your environment, which is kind of nice. Notion is a little more bare-bones, visually.

If you want to go all-in on Trello but don't want to spend time setting things up yourself or sifting through the many templates, this course may be of interest to you.

Asana - pretty project management

TL;DR: lots of people love Asana. I like it, too, but had trouble making it "stick" - the amount of time devoted to set-up seemed to outweigh the amount of time saved. That being said, if you're ready to go all-in with integrations and automations, Asana is worth considering.

Asana is powerful enough to be used by enterprises, but it has a very generous free tier. If you want unlimited guests (clients, for example) or some of the more advanced functionalities, you'd need to bump up to the $11/month option, but most freelancers can probably get by with the free version.

Asana might be a good option if:

  • you plan to grow your team and will need to be able to assign tasks to others, track dependencies, or track time
  • and/or if you want to leverage the many templates or integrations available for Asana and get fancy with automations

Asana cons (in my opinion):

  • While Asana is pretty user-friendly and very full-featured, you'll need to link out to separate docs and files if you want to incorporate large chunks of text in a way that doesn't feel awkward.
  • Asana assumes that your life and work can easily be organized into projects. 1) this isn't always true and 2) it can somehow feel a little difficult to get an at-a-glance view of the overall picture - life, work, etc - when it's separated and presented this way.

Miro - the best brainstorming tool

I love love love Miro.

It’s great for solo mind-mapping, for working through product flows, for client workshops... the possibilities are really endless.

Miro has a very generous free tier. The whiteboards are infinite, so you could really get away with never paying, if you don't need the fancier functionality or enhanced privacy features.

No items found.