This guide will show you how to manage your freelance business with Hectic. Manage client communication, project management, time tracking, and invoicing all in one place, so you have more time to focus on the work you love doing (and non-work stuff, too!)
It all starts with a client
Whether it’s your first client ever or your 100th, your work as a freelancer is always for someone. Your relationships with your clients are once of the most valuable assets for your freelance business.
Just like in your business, everything in Hectic centers around your clients. If you’re just getting started with Hectic, go ahead and add a client (even if you haven’t landed a contract with them yet).
Getting to work
Projects come in all shapes and sizes. When you land a client, they could need just a few hours of work from you, or it might become your main focus for months at a time. There’s no wrong type or scale for the projects you work on; you’re the boss, so you get to choose! But no matter what your projects look like, you need a system for tracking them.
In Hectic, projects are the big-picture work you’re doing, and every project is broken down into deliverables. Deliverables are the specific, concrete steps you’ll need to take to get the project done.
To get started, add any projects you’re currently working on in project management. Within each project, add the specific deliverables you’ll need to complete, along with deadlines. Each deliverable should have a status, too; usually “not started,” “in progress,” or “done.”
As you work on your project, keep track of your time using the stopwatch feature located in the upper right part of the app.
Once you start the timer, you can select which client + project + deliverable you’re working on, and we’ll add your hours appropriately. Then, when you’re ready to bill the client for your work, it will just take a few clicks to generate an invoice based on your hours worked. Say goodbye to complicated spreadsheets, messy notes, or forgetting what hours you worked.
Keeping your business on track
As a freelancer, landing new projects can be one of the more stressful parts of your job. Maybe you have enough work now, but what if that dries up next month? Or maybe you have plenty of prospects, but have trouble turning those into actual paying clients.
With Hectic’s forms, you can embed a lead generation form on your website then quickly turn that interested prospect into a client. Once you’ve determined that it’s a good fit, you’ll need to send the client a proposal, quote, or contract with details on your rates and the services you offer.
Turning prospects into clients
The first step in turning a prospect into a paying client is understanding what their needs are. That’s what the discovery phase is for, and it can help save you time and frustration down the road. When you first hear about a potential project, use forms to send the client a brief survey asking for their budget, the scope of the project, and any other details that will help you write a compelling proposal. It can also be helpful to have an initial phone call or meeting with the client to talk through their needs in more detail. Schedule with ease using meeting scheduler.
During the discovery phase, you’re both getting to know one another. Your goal isn’t just to land the client; you should also make sure you have compatible working styles and will be able to meet their expectations. If the client or project isn’t a good fit, it’s much better to learn that now (vs. after you’ve signed a contract with them).
If the project does feel like a good fit for your business, then the next step is to write a proposal or contract. This should include all the details about how the project will work: timelines, rates, and any other expectations you want to set in writing. A good contract can help protect your business and set you up for success once you start work.
Pro tip: By using deliverables blocks in Hectic proposals, your projects and deliverables automatically generate once your proposal is signed.
Once the client signs, it’s time to get to work (after a little celebration, of course 🥂)!
Centrally-located client communication
In Hectic's client portal, you can enable (or disable) core Hectic modules for each of your clients to view. Your client doesn't need a Hectic account to log in to their client portal and see the information that you have curated for them. Get started with client portal by clicking your profile picture and name in the lower left corner and selecting "Client portal."
Add your colors and favorite font to customize your portal. Make a branded experience* complete with a custom domain and email. Allow your client to work approve projects, send tickets or requests, pay an invoice, and schedule a meeting with you all in one place.
*Client portal is available with the Pro plan.
This is what’s it’s all about, after all! You’re a freelancer so you can make a living while being your own boss and setting your own rules. So why is making sure you get paid still so stressful?
It doesn’t have to be. With Hectic, you can automate billing, or send invoices with just a few clicks. Include expenses that can be reimbursed by your client and easily add those to your invoices as needed. Integrate with PayPal or Stripe for easy online payments.
Manage your accounting
Of course, there are costs to doing business and losing track of those means you can't know if your business is truly profitable or not. When you add expenses in Hectic, we'll create a profit and loss report combining fees, expenses, and revenue so you get the full picture of the accounting health of your freelancing.
Your easy-to-export profit and loss report will also be your best friend as you are preparing taxes. Or it will make you the accountant's favorite client because it's always tax season when you're a freelancer.
See how it all fits together with homebase. Choose a focused view to see anything that needs your attention from schedule to signed proposals to project work to be done. Or view the calendar to get an overall picture of your business along a past or future timeline.
And, always, if you ever have questions or ideas, you can always reach out using the blue ? in the lower right corner. Vote on features that serve your business and see what's coming next on the roadmap here.