Without a sales team to find clients or an accounting department to settle the bills people owe you, becoming an entrepreneur can be daunting.
You can spend nearly as much time doing paperwork, tracking down payment and finding clients while owning your own business as you can actually working.
Last week I wrote about "unintentional entrepreneurs" who find themselves working as consultants, freelancers or whatever -- but basically working on their own because they were laid off.
Give a listen to the podcast by WalletPop's Aaron Crowe and Andrea Chalupa about these new entrepreneurs and how they're learning the ropes:
I'm one of those "unintentional entrepreneurs" and work as a freelance writer and editor. After more than a year since being laid off as a newspaper editor and unable to find full-time work, I've come to the conclusion that I'm a part-time freelancer. Working for myself, I've learned, means a lot of legwork to actually get to do the work that will earn me money -- making contacts, sending out queries for contract jobs, sending invoices, e-mailing back and forth to go over work details. The list goes on and on.
Beyond free online calendars and personal planners to help this growing workforce, there are other online tools that can make a company of one a bit easier to run. Here are a few:
Outright.com offers free online bookkeeping for the self-employed and small business owners. Outright plans to charge for extra services someday, but for now it's all free.
Keep track of invoices with Freshbooks, another free site, and bill clients easily. It's another chance to do less of the number crunching work you hate to do.
Shoeboxed allows you to mail them your receipts, which they will scan and categorize so you can track them. Starting is free, although there are plenty of ads, and plans that you pay for have more features.
Mailchimp can help by sending e-mail newsletters to customers, manage subscriber lists and tracking campaign performance. You can look like a sophisticated marketer without paying for one.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at www.AaronCrowe.net
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