I fancy myself a reasonably organized particular person. However relating to freelance writing, it’s simple for me to lose monitor of issues.
Did I save that contract in Microsoft Phrase or Google Docs? Am I on invoice number 1038 or 1039? I assumed I used to be pleased with the speed my consumer is paying me, however I’ve been engaged on this venture for who is aware of how lengthy — is it even price it?
Once we’re our personal boss, now we have a variety of balls to juggle. Should you have been working in a standard workplace, you might need a system for categorizing information or an accounting workforce to trace work-related bills. However because you’re by yourself, how are you supposed to trace every thing?
In swoops Bonsai. On this Bonsai Evaluation submit, we’ll break down what it’s, learn how to use it, how a lot it prices, and extra. Prepared?
Bonsai is a web-based platform that goals to assist freelancers streamline their quite a few day by day duties.
When you create an account, go to the dashboard to entry issues like your contracts, invoices, proposals and consumer data. By protecting every thing in a single place, you’ll be able to keep organized and hopefully accomplish duties extra effectively.
Bonsai’s purpose is to offer you every thing you want for a contract venture, from begin to end (or proposal to fee). You’ll obtain a 14-day free trial once you enroll, which ought to provide you with time to get a really feel for the way Bonsai can affect your day by day life.
What are you able to do with Bonsai?
Right here’s what you are able to do with Bonsai.
Preserve monitor of purchasers, initiatives and duties
Out of your dashboard, you will have a bit for purchasers, the place you’ll be able to retailer data like purchasers’ 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 principal purchasers, Finance Firm, Journey Weblog and Beverage Web site.
Then you’ll be able to create initiatives for every consumer. Beneath Finance Firm, I could add initiatives for bank card items, pupil mortgage items and fairness items. For Journey Weblog, the initiatives could possibly be January weblog posts, February weblog posts, and so forth.
Lastly, you’ll be able to create particular duties beneath every venture. For example, beneath January weblog posts, I’d add every particular person weblog submit as a activity, assuming I write a couple of weblog submit monthly.
That is primarily a digital model of a binder full of folders and color-coded tabs. Monica Geller from Associates and Amy Santiago from Brooklyn 9-9 would have a area day with Bonsai in the event that they have been freelance writers.
Time your self
Within the prime proper nook, you’ll see “Begin Timer.” Whenever you click on this, you’ll be able to select a particular venture and even a activity to time. You can too add notes, like “analysis” so you already know you spent that point researching, not writing.
The timer is very useful when you charge clients by the hour. I don’t cost hourly, however I nonetheless desire to make use of the timer. If I cost $100 for a bit however understand it required 10 hours of labor, I’d suppose twice earlier than taking up an analogous task.
Earlier than signing up for Bonsai, I used a time tracker known as Time Physician. This system 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. To date, 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 could be her favourite a part of the platform. “Bonsai is nice for easy invoicing and fee,” she explains.
“Easy” actually is the suitable phrase. You may create an bill, then hyperlink it to the timer in order that the period of time you spend on a venture routinely exhibits up within the bill. This could prevent time plugging in numbers when you cost hourly.
Or it’s possible you’ll select to create invoices manually. Bonsai supplies you with bill templates, so that you don’t have to start out from scratch.
I despise creating invoices in Microsoft Phrase, even with Phrase’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 venture? You may must write a proposal.
Bonsai supplies a number of proposal templates relying on what sort of labor you’re proposing. There’s one for writing initiatives that divides the proposal into Context & Targets, Timeline and Why Me.
There are additionally templates for different sorts of work, like Design or Consulting. (As a result of everyone knows not less than one author who has experience in a couple of area!)
As soon as a consumer accepts your proposal, you’ll be able to 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.
Document enterprise bills
The Bills part is the place you’ll preserve monitor of things like Uber and Lyft rides, airplane flights, enterprise meals — something a consumer may reimburse you for. You may subdivide bills into classes like Promoting, Workplace Bills and Provides. Bonsai will monitor which billable bills you will have been reimbursed for and which of them you’re ready to be reimbursed for.
You can too 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 personal accountant
The extra purchasers you will have and the extra numerous your freelancing work is, the extra probably you’re to learn from an accountant. However when you’re already paying for a subscription to Bonsai, why trouble hiring an accountant? Use the platform to behave as your personal accountant!
You may hyperlink the Accounting part to your Bills and Invoicing sections to trace what you are promoting price range. The format is beneficial for monitoring each billable and non-billable bills so you’ll be able to see how a lot you’re spending in your writing profession versus how a lot you’re bringing in.
What might enhance about Bonsai?
The invoicing could also be handy, however the system isn’t flawless.
You may solely customise invoices to some extent. The sections are “Merchandise title,” “models,” “price” and “whole.” However for considered one of my purchasers, I must have a separate part for “merchandise code,” and I don’t want a “models” column.
It will be nice if I might simply change “models” with “merchandise code,” however sadly this isn’t an choice.
Whenever you arrange an bill, you select a fee methodology, and some of those strategies contain charges. I at all times request direct deposit once I can, however Bonsai prices a $5 price for direct deposit. I’d somewhat simply create an bill via Microsoft Phrase and pocket the $5. They do provide immediate payouts as a kind of other although, and the price is 1.5% of the full 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 general, she finds herself wishing she might use the platform for extra complicated duties.
“It’d be fantastic if I might take a consumer/venture and run a report that tells me the full quantity billed because it pertains to the full hours spent,” she says.
We are able to solely hope Bonsai continues to develop every part in order that freelancers can do much more with this system.
Backside line: Do you have to give Bonsai a attempt?
Should you’re a contract author with a number of purchasers and/or initiatives, it’s actually price setting up a Bonsai account. Storing all my data in a single place has made me really feel much less frazzled.
Your means to entry sure options will depend on which plan you choose. Listed here are your choices:
- Bonsai Starter ($24 monthly): Capability to create invoices, proposals and contracts, monitor bills, entry a fundamental CRM, and use chat assist.
- Bonsai Skilled ($39 monthly): All of the options you’ll be able to entry with a Starter membership, in addition to the power to subcontract via Bonsai and white-label (or legally change a model’s emblem with your personal). You can too add a number of customers to your account and combine with Zapier, Calendly, and Quickbooks.
Should you’re in search of a extra reasonably priced deal and are open to long-term dedication, you’ll be able to join annual billing. You’ll obtain the equal of two months free, which involves solely $17 monthly for Bonsai Starter and $32 monthly for Skilled.
You may give the two-week trial a go and see if you wish to join Bonsai Plus. Nevertheless, I don’t see a lot use for Premium except you both have some very particular, superior wants, otherwise you make use of different folks and wish to add them to your account.
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Photograph through JKstock/ Shutterstock