I fancy myself a reasonably organized particular person. But on the subject of freelance writing, it’s straightforward for me to lose monitor of issues.
Did I save that contract in Microsoft Word or Google Docs? Am I on bill quantity 1038 or 1039? I assumed I used to be proud of the speed my shopper is paying me, however I’ve been engaged on this mission for who is aware of how lengthy — is it even price it?
When we’re our personal boss, we now have plenty of balls to juggle. If you had been working in a standard workplace, you may need a system for categorizing information or an accounting crew to trace work-related bills. But because you’re by yourself, how are you supposed to trace every part?
In swoops Bonsai. In this Bonsai Review publish, we’ll break down what it’s, the way to use it, how a lot it prices, and extra. Ready?
What is Bonsai?
Bonsai is an internet platform that goals to assist freelancers streamline their quite a few every day duties.
When you create an account, go to the dashboard to entry issues like your contracts, invoices, proposals and shopper data. By holding every part in a single place, you possibly can keep organized and hopefully accomplish duties extra effectively.
Bonsai’s purpose is to give you every part you want for a contract mission, from begin to end (or proposal to cost). You’ll obtain a 14-day free trial while you join, which ought to provide you with time to get a really feel for the way Bonsai can affect your every day life.
What are you able to do with Bonsai?
Here’s what you are able to do with Bonsai.
Keep monitor of shoppers, initiatives and duties
From your dashboard, you might have a piece for shoppers, the place you possibly can retailer data like shoppers’ contact data and social media profiles, and even how a lot cash they owe you.
For instance, let’s say I enter data for my three predominant shoppers, Finance Company, Travel Blog and Beverage Website.
Then you possibly can create initiatives for every shopper. Under Finance Company, I could add initiatives for bank card items, scholar mortgage items and fairness items. For Travel Blog, the initiatives may very well be January weblog posts, February weblog posts, and so on.
Finally, you possibly can create particular duties beneath every mission. For occasion, beneath January weblog posts, I would add every particular person weblog publish as a activity, assuming I write a couple of weblog publish per 30 days.
This is actually a digital model of a binder crammed with folders and color-coded tabs. Monica Geller from Friends and Amy Santiago from Brooklyn Nine-Nine would have a subject day with Bonsai in the event that they had been freelance writers.
Time your self
In the highest proper nook, you’ll see “Start Timer.” When you click on this, you possibly can select a particular mission and even a activity to time. You may also add notes, like “analysis” so you already know you spent that point researching, not writing.
The timer is very useful in the event you cost shoppers by the hour. I don’t cost hourly, however I nonetheless choose to make use of the timer. If I cost $100 for a chunk however understand it required 10 hours of labor, I would suppose twice earlier than taking up the same project.
Before signing up for Bonsai, I used a time tracker referred to as Time Doctor. The program skilled a number of glitches over the months I used it, which was annoying as a result of I used to be charging by the hour again then. So far, Bonsai’s timer has been extra dependable and correct.
Kim T., a author who has been utilizing Bonsai for 2 years, says the invoicing software program may be her favourite a part of the platform. “Bonsai is nice for easy invoicing and cost,” she explains.
“Effortless” actually is the suitable phrase. You can create an bill, then hyperlink it to the timer in order that the period of time you spend on a mission routinely exhibits up within the bill. This can prevent time plugging in numbers in the event you cost hourly.
Or chances are you’ll select to create invoices manually. Bonsai supplies you with bill templates, so that you don’t have to begin from scratch.
I despise creating invoices in Microsoft Word, even with Word’s templates, so I’ve to agree with Kim — Bonsai’s invoices are an enormous plus.
Write proposals and contracts
Time to pitch an enormous mission? You would possibly want to put in writing a proposal.
Bonsai supplies a number of proposal templates relying on what kind of labor you’re proposing. There’s one for writing initiatives that divides the proposal into Context & Objectives, Timeline and Why Me.
There are additionally templates for different sorts of work, like Design or Consulting. (Because everyone knows not less than one author who has experience in a couple of subject!)
Once a shopper accepts your proposal, you possibly can write up a contract. Bonsai’s contracts are much more customizable than its proposals, and it’s the customizability that Kim says makes Bonsai stand out from different platforms. There are quite a few contract template choices, together with a “customized” choice that helps you create a contract from scratch.
Record enterprise bills
The Expenses part is the place you’ll hold monitor of things like Uber and Lyft rides, airplane flights, enterprise meals — something a shopper would possibly reimburse you for. You can subdivide bills into classes like Advertising, Office Expenses and Supplies. Bonsai will monitor which billable bills you might have been reimbursed for and which of them you’re ready to be reimbursed for.
You may also monitor non-billable bills, which might be helpful when tax season rolls round and also you’re pondering, “Oh, what enterprise bills can I write off?”
Be your individual accountant
The extra shoppers you might have and the extra various your freelancing work is, the extra seemingly you’re to profit from an accountant. But in the event you’re already paying for a subscription to Bonsai, why hassle hiring an accountant? Use the platform to behave as your individual accountant!
You can hyperlink the Accounting part to your Expenses and Invoicing sections to trace your online business funds. The format is helpful for monitoring each billable and non-billable bills so you possibly can see how a lot you’re spending in your writing profession versus how a lot you’re bringing in.
What may enhance about Bonsai?
The invoicing could also be handy, however the system isn’t flawless.
You can solely customise invoices to a degree. The sections are “Item identify,” “models,” “fee” and “complete.” But for considered one of my shoppers, I have to have a separate part for “merchandise code,” and I don’t want a “models” column.
It can be nice if I may simply substitute “models” with “merchandise code,” however sadly this isn’t an choice.
When you arrange an bill, you select a cost methodology, and some of those strategies contain charges. I at all times request direct deposit once I can, however Bonsai expenses a $5 price for direct deposit. I’d moderately simply create an bill by Microsoft Word and pocket the $5. They do provide instantaneous payouts as a kind of other although, and the price is 1.5% of the whole bill to have it deposited into your account instantly.
Kim has been utilizing Bonsai for for much longer than I’ve, and though she’s a fan total, she finds herself wishing she may use the platform for extra complicated duties.
“It’d be fantastic if I may take a shopper/mission and run a report that tells me the whole quantity billed because it pertains to the whole hours spent,” she says.
We can solely hope Bonsai continues to develop every part in order that freelancers can do much more with this system.
Bottom line: Should you give Bonsai a strive?
If you’re a contract author with a number of shoppers and/or initiatives, it’s definitely price establishing a Bonsai account. Storing all my data in a single place has made me really feel much less frazzled.
Your capacity to entry sure options is dependent upon which plan you choose. Here are your choices:
- Bonsai Starter ($24 per 30 days): Ability to create invoices, proposals and contracts, monitor bills, entry a fundamental CRM, and use chat help.
- Bonsai Professional ($39 per 30 days): All the options you possibly can entry with a Starter membership, in addition to the power to subcontract by Bonsai and white-label (or legally substitute a model’s emblem with your individual). You may also add a number of customers to your account and combine with Zapier, Calendly, and Quickbooks.
If you’re searching for a extra inexpensive deal and are open to long-term dedication, you possibly can join annual billing. You’ll obtain the equal of two months free, which involves solely $17 per 30 days for Bonsai Starter and $32 per 30 days for Professional.
You would possibly give the two-week trial a go and see if you wish to join Bonsai Plus. However, I don’t see a lot use for Premium until you both have some very particular, superior wants, otherwise you make use of different individuals and wish to add them to your account.
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