As a freelancer, keeping your work organized and on track is crucial to sustainable success. Despite that, most project management tools aren’t built for you—they’re made to help organizations and teams work together, which can make it feel like an uphill battle to find the right solution for your solo operation.
As a team with a lot of freelancers, we’re all too familiar with the struggle of trying to use tools that don’t work how we do. Based on our experience, Monday.com is the most flexible traditional project management solution that works as well for freelancers as it does for larger teams. However, it’s not the only option. Keep reading to learn more about our favorite project management tools built for (or adaptable to) the way freelancers work.
Top Project Management Tools for Freelancers: Golden Eggs
While each tool on our list excels in different situations, a few stand out among the rest of the pack. We’ve highlighted a few below that work best for dynamic freelance workflows, whether you’re juggling several projects or working in highly collaborative and complex partnerships.
Asana offers more structure so it’s easier to get started, making it the perfect choice if you’re already juggling a lot of projects and don’t have time—or the need—to build your own solution. You can get started using Asana today for free.
ClickUp offers the advanced task hierarchy features you need to manage even the most complex projects, whether you want to see what’s happening from a high level or on a granular level. Sign up today for free.
Indy is quickly becoming the go-to solution for freelancers who want basic project management features within a platform that can also handle proposals, contracts, and invoicing. Try Indy’s free-forever plan out and upgrade when you’re ready.
Our Project Management for Freelancers Review Process
In our full guide on traditional project management software, we talk about the best solutions overall, determined through our own rigorous testing and hands-on research. We then took everything we learned and tapped into the vast freelance experience of our team to identify the best possible solutions for freelancers in particular.
From there, we divided those top contenders into three categories, depending on the features you need and the types of projects you regularly work on, including:
- Traditional project management tools
- PM platforms that include built-in proposals, contracts, and invoicing
- The best PM options for heavy collaboration with clients and others
Clicking those links will take you directly to the category you’re interested in. Alternatively, you can keep reading on to see how different project management tools meet the varying needs of freelancers in different situations.
Within each category, you’ll find our top recommendations, what makes them different from one another, their standout features, and who should choose which one.
The Best Traditional Project Management Tools for Freelancers
Traditional project management tools can give you a flexible yet structured framework to organize all of your projects and client work. Venerable brands like Monday.com, Trello, and Asana are time-tested and offer solutions to help you track tasks, deadlines, and projects from start to finish. While they’re usually built for teams, we’ve hand-picked the ones that are best at being tailored for a team of one.
Monday.com – The Flexible Choice
As a freelancer juggling multiple clients and projects, trying to stay on top of everything can feel chaotic, to say the least. Monday.com is the most flexible and versatile traditional project management tool, helping you turn what used to feel like chaos into order.
You can lean on project templates to get you started, but the real power comes using relational database to track everything about your business from clients and leads to expenses, inventory, and taxes. Keep everything in sync in terms of your sustainability as a freelancer and what needs to be done next for each one of your clients.
When it comes to managing the details of your work, you can view projects as Kanban boards, Gantt charts, timelines, tables or calendars. Build dashboards that provide an instant snapshot of where your work stands, how much each project costs, or any other pertinent information. And, when you want to shave more time off of your day-to-day, utilize Monday.com’s automation builder to automatically move tasks to a new status, set due dates, create new tasks, and more.
Monday.com is generally built for teams, so you may find it delivers more features than you need as a solo user. Their paid plans require three user seats, so the free plan may seem like the best fit. Just be aware that key features like dashboards and automations aren’t available to you on the free-forever tier.
So, if you can get by with simple access to Monday.com’s templates and boards, you won’t have to pay a dime. Otherwise, you might end up having to pay $24 to $30 per month to get the most out of this platform.
If the price is right, Monday.com gives you an endlessly customizable system for organizing all aspects of your freelancing business.
Check out our full Monday.com review to take a closer look.
Asana – Great for Juggling Dozens of Projects at Once
If you already have more work than hours in the day, you need a project management tool that can help you find the most efficient path to client satisfaction.
With Asana, you can start organizing your work in no time. You’ll love the intuitive interface and task hierarchies that makes it easy to organize projects and entire portfolios of work. Plus, you can leverage one of Asana’s over 100 templates to quickly plan your workload capacity, create a personal editorial calendar, set up a client kickoff meeting, and more. The template will give you a framework and automatically create placeholder tasks and views, then you can tweak it from there to match your needs.
Asana also comes with solid reporting features to give you an instant summary of what’s on schedule, behind, or coming up next, spanning several client projects or just focused on one. And, with its streamlined mobile app, you have the flexibility to manage and plan work wherever you are.
Asana offers a free plan with unlimited projects, tasks, storage, and messages, which is pleasingly generous for freelance workers. While extra features like automations, forms, and approvals require a paid plan, Asana’s affordable prices mean you get a ton of value for just $10.99 a month with no requirement to pay for more than one seat.
For freelancers drowning in work but determined to keep every ball in the air, Asana is a lifesaver. It lets you organize, schedule, and complete projects with confidence.
See our full Asana review to learn more about what makes it one our favorites.
Trello – The Easiest Project Management Tool
Trello is hands down the easiest, most hassle-free project management tool we’ve ever used. It’s intuitive from the moment you log in for the first time—there’s no convoluted configuration or steep learning curve to worry about.
You get intuitively customizable columns, cards, checklists that let you get organize the details of your project work with drag-and-drop simplicity. In just a few minutes, you can have a streamlined process set up to track your work for each client in a unique workflow, one card at a time.
Want to give your clients access to their own board on Trello? No problem. Set up any number of boards and segment off individual ones for each client with defined workflows using columns like “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done.” Plus, you’re in full control of who sees what. If you prefer to keep all your work in one place and don’t need to invite clients into the software, you can manage everything on a single board to make it even easier.
Trello may be simple, but it’s also remarkably powerful. In fact, it can handle hundreds of tasks and projects within an interface that makes sense from your first click. And, you can start automating aspects of your daily work, even on the free plan.
While Trello specializes in Kanban-style project management, but it offers other views if you need them. Thought, admittedly, they’re not as capable as Trello’s boards. You can also use Trello Power-Ups to unlock capabilities like KPI reporting, table views, and portfolio health.
While you may eventually want something with a bit more flexibility, we used Trello as a small team for years before eventually needing something more powerful. So, we can personally attest to its usefulness, even as a team with relatively advanced needs.
If you’re ready to spend less time struggling with complex software or overcomplicating your processes, Trello is the way to go.
Check out our full review to learn more about how Trello works and why we love it.
ActiveCollab – Built-In Time Tracking
If you’re a freelancer charging by the billable hour, ActiveCollab works as the bridge between your work efforts and your earnings. With the software’s built-in time tracking, you’ll never lose a minute of work (or the money that comes with it).
For just $8 a month, ActiveCollab gives you a personal timesheet to log your hours, a stopwatch timer so you can track time spent on project work whether you’re on your desktop or mobile, and the ability to tie time to both projects and individual tasks. Track time via stopwatch by choosing the project or task, then press start and dive in. When you’re done, hit stop and your time is logged to exactly where it should be. No other tool at this price point offers time tracking this detailed.
You’ll be able to set up fixed fees, bill clients by the hour, log expenses, and mark time as non-billable, as well. ActiveCollab will automatically calculate costs based on the rates you establish for different jobs, making invoicing at the end of a month or project so much easier.
There are no limits here. Unlimited projects, tasks, and clients are included with every ActiveCollab plan so you’ll never run out of room for new work or have to pick and choose who you can track time for. You can also step up to to the still-affordable top-tier plan to unlock built-in quotes, invoices, and payments directly through their platform. The time you save not having to piece together time records and billing will pay for itself.
While there’s no free plan, you can try all of ActiveCollab’s features free for 14 days. See your billable hours turn into earnings and you’ll wonder how you managed your business without it.
Check out our full review to learn more about how ActiveCollab can help you manage time-based projects with ease.
The Best Freelance Project Management Solutions with Built-In Quotes, Contracts, and Invoicing
As a freelancer, managing and doing the work is only half the battle. You also have to court new leads, close contracts, and get paid when you’re done. While separate tools for contracts and invoicing exist that can be integrated with traditional PM solutions, managing multiple platforms can get inefficient.
Thankfully, there are a few project management tools built specifically for client-based work that include these features for billing and getting paid. If you’re tired of chasing down payments or are struggling to seal the deal, this selection of software options is for you.
Teamwork – Built for Scaling Client-Based Businesses
As a freelancer, you started your business to do work on your own terms. But, to scale your impact and income, at some point you’ll want to lean on others to help you shoulder the weight of your ambitions. When that time comes, Teamwork is the perfect solution.
It provides all the features you need to seamlessly manage your client work, including unlimited client access, billable time tracking, custom branding, intake forms, and invoicing.
Say you’re a freelance web designer with more work than you can handle. Teamwork makes it easy to bring on two developers to support you for a specific project or sprint. They’ll be able to log their time, collaborate with you in Teamwork’s built-in chat and document creator, and work from the same project templates and timelines you set up. Your clients won’t even need to realize that you’ve added more team members to help you out.
The best part? Teamwork is extremely affordable. They offer a very generous free plan for up to five users that includes all the platform’s essential client management features: time tracking, timesheets, client views, and more.
The only downside is that all Teamwork plans except for Enterprise put a cap on the number of projects you can have going at once, with only two allowed on the Free Forever plan. However, their limits are quite high on the paid plans, ranging from 100 on the Starter plan to 600 on the Grow plan.
Check out our full Teamwork review to learn more about it.
Indy – For Freelancers Who Want to Remain Solo Operators
Indy was made specifically with solopreneurial freelancers in mind. The intuitive interface simplifies your workflows, from generating leads and sending your first proposal to submitting the final invoice.
When you sign up, you get instant (and free) access to over 100 proposal and contract templates for any type of freelance work you can image—all written by real lawyers. Whether you’re a writer, developer, or designer, Indy has a professional template to help you get started on a new client or project.
Once your proposal is accepted, you can easily turn it into a binding contract with e-signature capture in just a few clicks. Then, when it’s time to bill your clients, Indy makes invoicing just as straightforward. Simply enter your billing details, review the invoice, and send it directly to your client. They can pay immediately through the Indy invoice, streamlining the payment process.
No more chasing clients down for payment or figuring out how to accept credit cards on your own website.
Indy also provides a centralized storage system with built-in approval workflows so you can share any type of content with your clients and get their buy-in within the interface. Built-in chat keeps all of your project communications in one place, as well.
While the software is still developing new features, Indy’s free plan already provides a solid set of tools for any solo freelancer looking to simplify their workflows and client management. Why juggle multiple tools when you can handle proposals, contracts, invoices, and billing in one place?
Check out our full review to see how Indy can help you spend less time managing the business side of freelancing and more time doing the work you love.
The Best Freelancer Project Management Platforms for Collaborative Projects
If your project work requires heavy collaboration with other freelancers or your clients, you need software built with that in mind. While other options on our list may get you part of the way there, most are missing a feature or two if transparency and communication are vital to your success.
From free and lightweight options to ones that can manage the most intricate projects, each of the tools below makes collaboration seamless.
ClickUp – Great for Complex Projects
Juggling multiple complex projects with lots of moving parts—and people—often means feeling like you’re spinning plates. What you need is a tool that eliminates anxiety through transparent lines of communication. Enter ClickUp.
This fully customizable platform streamlines collaboration and organization. Chat, edit docs, and assign tasks all within the same interface. No more bouncing between apps or missing critical updates, as real-time notifications that ping across devices let nothing slip through the cracks.
With over 15 different project views, you can see your active work from a wide or narrow view. Break big projects down into more digestible spaces, lists, and folders. Create nested checklists and subtasks within tasks to ensure you’re taking on convoluted project processes in the right order.
In ClickUp, you’ll always know where your projects stand. Custom reports give you a snapshot of timelines, budgets, and progress so there are no surprises for you or your clients.
Best of all, ClickUp delivers a lot of these key features on its free plan. You’ll get smart notifications, the ability to assign tasks via card comments, unlimited users (so you can bring clients into your workspaces), chat, and proofing features without having to pay at all. And a mild step up to the first paid plan unlocks guest access permissions, cloud storage, teams, and much more.
ClickUp has a ton of valuable features—check out our full review to learn more about them.
Basecamp – Customizable Client Access
Basecamp is one of the project management platforms built specifically with freelancers in mind, giving you complete control and transparency to meet client needs on your terms. Forget long email chains, confusing access levels, and cobbling together multiple tools. Basecamp provides an intuitive, centralized hub for communication, sharing files and project assets, scheduling, and more.
Everything starts off private to you, but with just a few clicks you customize exactly what each client can see, from to-do lists and documents to team comments. Clients get the visibility they want into your work for them without you having to give them full run on the platform.
Say you’re designing a website. You can share specific pages or elements as needed, but keep the rest of your Basecamp material under wraps until launch. Or, for content creation, give access to your client’s editorial staff so they can upload files and review drafts but not see internal team feedback. The level of client and guest access in Basecamp can be perfectly tailored to your workflow and your clients’ needs.
All the essentials are included for $15 per month. That gives you 500 GB of storage, unlimited projects, a calendar, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, timelines, and messaging with real-time chat. Although not the cheapest option, the value is impressive. You can see for yourself by utilizing Basecamp’s 30-day free trial period.
Head to our full Basecamp review to learn more about what it can do for you.
Notion – Best for Collaborating on Written Content
If spreadsheets, docs, and rigid project management tools leave you feeling constrained, Notion frees your mind and creativity. As a writer, your ideas can flow best when you have a platform that helps you capture thoughts as they strike. Notion provides an open canvas tailored to the way freelance writers work.
With Notion, everything in the platform functions as a page. Pages can exist as standalone documents, nested items within a wiki, entries in a database, or a mix of all three. This concept makes it easy to build a personalized system for managing projects, content, and clients.
With over 50 content blocks to utilize, you can embed text, media, spreadsheets, and more directly in the pages you’re working in. That makes it easy to build dynamic content without having to carry over a draft from your PM software to a document editor and then again to your CMS or site backend.
On top of that, Notion’s granular sharing makes it simple to collaboration on and deliver work. Give clients, authors, and editors access to everything or limit their access to select pages. Notion makes it easy to work openly with some and privately with others, all in one place.
Notion’s flexibility does come with a steeper learning curve than some other PM platforms and it may feel unfamiliar for writers used to more rigid tools. But, give Notion a chance and you’ll find a very capable collaboration space where you can create content the way you want.
Check out our in-depth review to see how Notion’s balance of structure and flexibility leads to a writing experience like no other.
Here at Crazy Egg, we cover a lot of project management topics, from best practices for different methodologies to guides for developing processes, certifications, and more. If you want to take a deeper dive into various aspects of project management, check out any of our related posts below:
- Best Free Project Management Software
- Best Visual Project Management Tools Compared
- Best Simple Project Management Software
- Best Project Management Courses Reviewed
- Starter Guide to Project Management Methodologies
- The Kanban Methodology
- Waterfall Project Management
- Agile vs. Waterfall Project Management
- Critical Path Project Management
- The Beginner’s Guide to Project Management Processes
- Ultimate Guide to Project Management Planning
- Project Management Certification
- Five Project Management Principles You Need to Know