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Try out this 'freelancer OS' for free!
My friends at Hectic are offering 1 month free for Healthy Rich readers 💖 Try it for invoicing, project management, client communications, sales tracking and more.
Last week, I taught a workshop for freelancers in partnership with the freelancer platform Hectic (update May 2023: now called Moxie). In case you missed it, the replay is available here (complete with a brief technical snafu — don’t worry; we fixed it quickly!).
As I mentioned when I was telling you about that workshop, I’ve recently started using Hectic to manage my clients and projects for Healthy Rich, and I’m instantly in love with it.
I was just going to do the workshop with the team and move on, because I already had my business systems and tools in place. But I started poking around the Hectic platform and got sucked in. It solves several problems I’ve dealt with in a client-facing business, and I wish I’d discovered it when I started freelancing three years ago. It’s a perfect tool to streamline and professionalize as a solo business owner — and the only one of its kind I’ve found that has a price tag that makes sense for freelancers.
I gave in and signed up, and I also became an affiliate when the team offered it, so I can offer you a one-month free trial if you want to try it out.
So, here’s the quick spiel (and I’ll get into details below if you want to learn more):
Hectic is a company and a platform dedicated to making life better for freelancers. It’ll replace any tool you need to run a freelance or consulting business: client management (CRM), project management (Trello, Asana, etc.), accounting (invoicing! expense tracking!), proposals and contract signing, calendar scheduling, time tracking, synced calendar and even a business phone number.
A solo subscription costs $20 per month or $192 per year. You can get a one-month free trial by signing up through my link and/or entering the code DANA91 when you sign up.
More about Hectic
Here’s some more detail about those features I mentioned.
Hectic sold me on the value of this feature alone. Tools like Salesforce to track your communications with potential clients (CRMs for “client relationship management”) are typically designed for big teams and are prohibitively expensive for a one-woman shop. Hectic includes the vital elements of a CRM along with its entire platform for a lower price than Salesforce’s most basic plan.
This feature is useful if you’re tracking pitches as a writer, and I use it to keep track of my emails with prospects for financial education consulting. I love that you can connect it to your email account, so you can compose and read emails alongside any other activity you’ve noted for the client. You can also note the potential value of a project or assignment, so you can see how much money is on the line and how far along it is in your pitch/sales pipeline.
You probably use a calendar, spreadsheet, planner, Trello or something similar to keep track of your freelance work already. I was sold on Notion for project management before finding Hectic. I still love Notion, but I love even more that Hectic integrates project management with all of its other features.
Hectic’s project management gives you the basics you’ll get with any PM tool like Asana or Monday: list, Kanban and Gantt views; sorting and filtering; priority and status tracking.
Ever tried to do your expense tracking inside of an accounting tool like QuickBooks or an invoicing tool like Wave? Invoices on those platforms are fine for freelancers, but the accounting is overly complex. And connecting your bank account to automate creates a nightmare.
I find Hectic accounting much simpler to use for expense tracking, and I love that it’s easy to create recurring expenses to automatically track monthly and yearly software subscriptions. It even gives you the option to track pay to 1099 contractors if you ever subcontract work.
Invoicing and time tracking
Invoicing is part of Hectic’s accounting feature, but deserves its own shout-out, since this is probably one of the first tools you look for as a freelancer, especially if you’re tracking hours.
I like using an invoicing tool (rather than creating and emailing docs manually), because they make it easy to track revenue. Reports from an invoicing tool let me see revenue by client; and revenue for the month, year or quarter. And they make it super easy to track when invoices are paid and which are overdue.
Like most other invoicing tools, Hectic’s includes a payment integration, so clients can pay you with a single click right from the invoice. It integrates with Stripe, so clients can easily pay by card or ACH deposit this way, and your invoice will be automatically marked as paid.
As you move a client through your Hectic pipeline, you can create a new proposal, quote or contract right from the client management tool, so it’s affiliated with all that communication you had with the client before closing the deal. You can create projects and invoices from there, too.
Regardless of the stage at which a client or project comes to you, you can conveniently integrate it with other stages. I’ve been searching for years for a way to seamlessly connect project management to invoicing — it seems so obvious! — and I finally found that in Hectic.
Hectic also makes it easy to invoice for projects in increments with deposits. That’s surprisingly convoluted on other platforms. You can just create a “deposit” invoice and automatically apply any paid deposit to future invoices for the project.
When you use Hectic (especially if you’ve ever used any other invoicing or project management tool as a freelancer before), you’re going to notice how well this stuff meets your specific needs as a freelancer. It’s incredibly refreshing in a world where every tool seems to be just a little off because it wasn’t designed for the kind of work you do.
Hectic lets you create proposals, quotes and contracts from scratch or using a template they’ve created with guidance from a lawyer. The lawyer fees this saves you alone are worth years of a Hectic subscription.
You can create a new agreement for a client right in the platform and send it over for them to sign. (No more DocuSign! Sorry, DocuSign, but…)
Ready for a cool time saver? Once a client agrees to a contract, you can automatically create a project that includes all the deliverables and due dates included in the contract!
Calendar and meeting scheduler
I was paying for a subscription to Calendly, but poof! Hectic has that, too. I like Calendly’s design slightly better, but the controls are identical, and Hectic’s interface is still intuitive enough for me to feel good about sending folks through it. Definitely beats the email back and forth of meeting scheduling!
Hectic also includes a calendar that integrates with your Google calendar (if you want), so you can see your schedule, project due dates and work dates, invoice due dates, and meetings all in one place.
Business phone number
Finally, this one tipped me over the edge. I recently looked into Google Voice to set up a public-facing phone number for Healthy Rich. I’d have to pay extra for my Google Workspace account to use it, or use a free option through my free personal Gmail account. Fine, but not perfect.
Getting a free phone VoIP number with a Hectic account? That was a delightful surprise that solved the problem :)