You’re probably aware that you have to spend money to make money. The good thing about a freelance business is you can start with a pretty bare business budget and still see results. You can build a solid foundation without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on bells and whistles. Here are important (and relatively affordable) business tools to invest in first that won’t break the bank:
What You Need for Your Freelance Startup
Get a System to Collect Money
By definition, freelancing is working for many different bosses instead of being employed by one boss. Collecting one check from an employer is as simple as pie. Invoicing and tracking many payments can get pretty challenging. Invest in a system that will make this process easier for you and the customer. Due offers invoicing  and ways to collect payment  online that are affordable.
Start an Email List
An email list is key because it’s where you’ll keep in touch with your people. Typically, email services charge by the number of people on your list. A small email list won’t cost too much to manage in the beginning. MailChimp is the email service I used at first. It’s currently free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent per month. The next plan up starts at $10 per month. MailChimp has a cool feature where you can estimate the cost of your email list as it grows here .
Sign Up for a Project Management System
Freelancers juggle many projects at the same time. A project management system is one way to stay organized so you can meet all of your deadlines . The good news here is that many project management systems are completely free to use unless you get premium features. Asana and Trello are both systems that I’ve used in the past to manage different projects. Having a system in place to manage your projects will be a lifesaver when it’s time to outsource.
Invest in the Right Marketing
Putting money into marketing can be a tricky business because you can easily go down the rabbit hole. There are many marketing strategies  and social media platforms where you could invest your money and time.
If you don’t have much money to invest right now, the foundational elements are your website and social media pages on platforms most used by your audience. Your website and social profiles are like online business cards.
I’ve used WordPress for most of my websites. I’m a non-techy person who taught myself how to build sites with WordPress from scratch. There are a plethora of YouTube videos on how to start a WordPress site. Wix and Squarespace are other “drag and drop” website builders that may be easier to set up.
Invest in Teachings that Won’t Break the Bank
No need to drop a lot of money on a business coach right away. Instead, focus on looking for clients and doing the work. Much of the information you need to learn about business comes from running your own business. If there’s an aspect of business you need to learn from a pro, try books first or affordable courses and then move on to the more costly options when you really need it.
Starting a business doesn’t have to be expensive. Build the foundation and then invest back into your business as the money starts coming in.
Republished by permission. Original here