A freelance business is mainly composed of time spent in creative/client work and time spent in administrative work.
Many freelancers discover early in their journey that the administrative side of things can easily “eat” your productive time if you are not conscious and careful.
Products like HoneyBook were born with this problem in mind.
What is HoneyBook?
HoneyBook is an all-in-one client and business management solution created for freelancers.
These solutions came to life mainly because freelancers are usually a jack of all trades in their business. They are the accountant, the collection department, customer service, and a lot more.
How do you do all of that on your own while keeping sane? You use an all-in-one platform like HoneyBook.
Since according to an Economic News Release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 70.4 million freelancers in the U.S. alone, it isn’t a surprise to know that there’s plenty of business and client management solutions available for such professionals.
I will dive into the best five HoneyBook alternatives for freelancers.
Top 5 HoneyBook Alternatives
Hectic is an online tool designed to help freelancers solve the need for control and organization in their business.
It gives freelancers more time, and focus to grow their business.
It’s true. Manage your projects, invoice your clients and collect the payments, organize your finances, and a lot more, without paying for ten subscriptions and saving time and headaches switching from one platform to the other or trying to figure out how to integrate your tech stack.
Hectic is a tool entirely focused on freelancers.
One of their core values is to “put freelancers first” and after testing this tool and reviewing it, I can tell it’s true.
And their founders keep iterating to evolve as the freelancing industry does, and as they gather feedback from their many users.
- All-in-one platform
- Designed to serve freelancers’ needs
- Cost-effective option
- Simple and easy to learn
- Some features may be considered “basic” if you are looking for very niche-focused solutions. For example, while Hectic can be great to run a freelance photography business, it’s not entirely focused on photography businesses nor a custom solution only for that niche.
Hectic offers three tiers. Their Essentials plan is 100% free and you can use it without adding your credit card. Hint: it’s a real plan you can benefit from and not just a trial.
The second tier (most popular plan) runs at $11.99 per month. Their third plan is for Teams of up to 10 members, and has custom pricing options if you need it for bigger teams.
Bonsai or Hello Bonsai as it’s also known, was created to help freelancers do the “business chores” that creatives and busy professionals may find boring or painful.
Invoicing, proposals, collection, accounting, file management – these are all part of your business operation, so you’ll have to do them, right? Why not making them easier and increase the time you spend on revenue generating activities?
Thrive on your freelance journey (and live to tell it) using Bonsai.
- Top quality platform
- Created for freelancers
- Comprehensive approach to running a business
- Pricing can be a difficult commitment for some freelancers
- Extra fees may be added to your payment processing in some not-US locations
Bonsai’s initial pricing runs at $24 per month. It comes with a free trial, and a there’s a free tier as well.
Bloom.io is combines the best features start your freelance business or grow it if you already have one.
Typical freelancers use 10 tools to operate their business (on average).
Paying $5 here and $5 there for software subscriptions very often piles up until you end up with surprisingly high bills.
Bloom.io solve this for cost and productivity problem for freelancers providing them with the tools their need at a cost that’s a no brainer.
- Great value for money
- Innovative features
- Made for creatives and freelancers
- It has a free plan
- Its communication features could be improved
- Team collaboration is under development
Their free plan provides you with many of Bloom.io’s features for one project. You can sign up for the starter plan for $39 per month (yearly pricing) or $49 if you decide to pay per month.
Manage your proposals, contracts, invoices and basically all-things-client work using Plutio.
Track your work time and share it directly to your clients’ inbox or manage a team of use these features to manage your own team of freelancers.
Plutio simplifies project management and provides a fresh approach to running an online business with its modern dashboard. Its minimalist design allows you to tag, customize, and organize things in a way that truly will inspire you to focus!
- Easy to integrate
- Cool mobile app
- Great customer service
- The minimalist design may be seen as a con by some
Start at $19 monthly and there’s a free trial available.
We can’t close without mentioning 17hats.
Focused on automating and optimizing of process is a good option for people that want to focus more on client work than on business errands.
Get your time back. One example, 17hats e-signing features and email automations eliminate the word “paperwork” from your vocabulary and kill that obnoxious back and forth you always encounter to get one contract signed.
Focus on the work that makes you the money, and not on the busywork.
- New features are added consistently
- Easily integrates with many other services
- Not a great fit if you have a big team (consider it if you plan to scale)
- Their visual design has a lot of room for improvement
Pay from $25 per month (yearly) or $45 per month if you prefer to pay each month. There’s a 7 day trial available.
Choosing a HoneyBook alternatives to run your freelance business
We have examined the best alternative options to HoneyBook together, do you feel ready to decide?
If you are still seizing a few things, it would be good to keep reading for my final advice and conclusion.
Ask yourself these questions:
1) Which is the best for my process?
While these HoneyBook alternatives are very similar, or all-in-one solutions, they are not exactly the same.
Take some time evaluate your process and make a list of the features that you need to run your business and rank them in order of importance.
Go through the list of tools above again and consider which of the tools is a better fit for your needs. It’s not only about having every feature available but feeling comfortable and happy with the features that you use the most.
2) Will I be able to afford this tool for many months or even years?
Don’t get sold on things you don’t need, and don’t commit to prices you won’t be able to afford in the long run.
One of the keys to successful freelancing is finding stability. You need to find a tool in a price month that you feel comfortable paying every month, and with the mindset that this will be a long-term investment for your business. Stay away from financial burden, and also save yourself some pain now because if you end up cancelling later on because the payments are heavy you’ll likely have to do some work to start over with a new tool.
3) Which tool aligns with my long-term goals?
You may be starting out, but how will the business landscape look for you twelve months from today in terms of growth? Just consider that choosing a tool that can scale with you is a lot better than one that will become pricey if you increase you team of collaborators, if you earn more, or that won’t be a good fit for the vision you have for your freelance business one, two, or five years from now.
There’s plenty of tools for freelancers alternative to HoneyBook around but in my honest opinion very few differentiate from the crowd. I have listed my top five.
You want to choose a tool with “the three Ps”. One that fits your process, pocket, and plans. From the list above you have a good starting point to evaluate, test, and decide. Don’t skip the free trials and make use of the free plans and reviews available. My top choice for freelancers in any stage is Hectic (that’s why I placed first it hehe).
I like Hectic because it’s simple, modern, and very comprehensive. In my opinion it could be a great fit for a lot of different freelance businesses in different niches because it was made to help freelancers specifically. Yes, freelancers mainly, not SMBs, not “solopreneurs”, etc.
That alone makes it worth the try. I would recommend you took advantage of their Essentials Plan which is free forever and will give you great value without even registering a payment method.
Best of lucks with your search and feel free to let me know what you think!
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