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Is the Platform the Proper Device for Rising Your Writing Profession?

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I fancy myself a fairly organized individual. However relating to freelance writing, it’s straightforward for me to lose observe of issues.

Did I save that contract in Microsoft Phrase 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 value it?

Once we’re our personal boss, we’ve loads of balls to juggle. In case you had been working in a conventional workplace, you may need a system for categorizing information or an accounting crew to trace work-related bills. However because you’re by yourself, how are you supposed to trace every part?

In swoops Bonsai. On this Bonsai Assessment publish, we’ll break down what it’s, the best way to use it, how a lot it prices, and extra. Prepared?

What’s Bonsai?

Bonsai is an internet platform that goals to assist freelancers streamline their quite a few each day duties. 

If you create an account, go to the dashboard to entry issues like your contracts, invoices, proposals and shopper info. By holding every part in a single place, you may keep organized and hopefully accomplish duties extra effectively.

Bonsai’s objective is to offer 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 if you join, which ought to provide you with time to get a really feel for a way Bonsai can affect your each day life.

What are you able to do with Bonsai?

Right here’s what you are able to do with Bonsai.

Preserve observe of purchasers, initiatives and duties

Out of your dashboard, you might have a bit for purchasers, the place you may retailer info like purchasers’ contact info and social media profiles, and even how a lot cash they owe you. 

For instance, let’s say I enter info for my three important purchasers, Finance Firm, Journey Weblog and Beverage Web site.

Then you may create initiatives for every shopper. Below Finance Firm, I’ll 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 many others.

Lastly, you may create particular duties beneath every mission. As an example, beneath January weblog posts, I’d add every particular person weblog publish as a activity, assuming I write multiple weblog publish monthly.

That is basically 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 subject day with Bonsai in the event that they had been freelance writers.

Time your self

Within the high proper nook, you’ll see “Begin Timer.” If you click on this, you may select a selected mission and even a activity to time. You may as well add notes, like “analysis” so you recognize you spent that point researching, not writing.

The timer is particularly useful should you cost purchasers by the hour. I don’t cost hourly, however I nonetheless favor 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 identical task.

Earlier than signing up for Bonsai, I used a time tracker referred to 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. Up to now, Bonsai’s timer has been extra dependable and correct.

Create invoices

Kim T., a author who has been utilizing Bonsai for 2 years, says the invoicing software program is perhaps her favourite a part of the platform. “Bonsai is nice for easy invoicing and cost,” she explains.

“Easy” actually is the suitable phrase. You possibly can create an bill, then hyperlink it to the timer in order that the period of time you spend on a mission routinely reveals up within the bill. This could prevent time plugging in numbers should you cost hourly.

Or chances are you’ll select to create invoices manually. Bonsai offers you with bill templates, so that you don’t have to begin 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 mission? You may have to write a proposal.

Bonsai offers 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 & Aims, 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 multiple subject!)

As soon as a shopper accepts your proposal, you may 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.

File enterprise bills

The Bills part is the place you’ll maintain observe of things like Uber and Lyft rides, airplane flights, enterprise meals — something a shopper may reimburse you for. You possibly can subdivide bills into classes like Promoting, Workplace Bills and Provides. Bonsai will observe which billable bills you might have been reimbursed for and which of them you’re ready to be reimbursed for.

You may as well observe non-billable bills, which will 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 purchasers you might have and the extra various your freelancing work is, the extra possible you’re to profit from an accountant. However should you’re already paying for a subscription to Bonsai, why trouble hiring an accountant? Use the platform to behave as your individual accountant!

You possibly can hyperlink the Accounting part to your Bills and Invoicing sections to trace your corporation finances. The format is helpful for monitoring each billable and non-billable bills so you may 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 possibly can solely customise invoices to some extent. The sections are “Merchandise title,” “items,” “price” and “whole.” However for considered one of my purchasers, I have to have a separate part for “merchandise code,” and I don’t want a “items” column. 

It might be nice if I may simply substitute “items” with “merchandise code,” however sadly this isn’t an choice.

If you arrange an bill, you select a cost technique, and some of those strategies contain charges. I at all times request direct deposit after I can, however Bonsai fees a $5 charge for direct deposit. I’d relatively simply create an bill by Microsoft Phrase and pocket the $5. They do supply prompt payouts as a kind of other although, and the charge is 1.5% of the overall 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 may use the platform for extra complicated duties. 

“It’d be great if I may take a shopper/mission and run a report that tells me the overall quantity billed because it pertains to the overall hours spent,” she says.

We will solely hope Bonsai continues to develop every part in order that freelancers can do much more with this system.

Backside line: Must you give Bonsai a attempt?

In case you’re a contract author with a number of purchasers and/or initiatives, it’s actually value establishing a Bonsai account. Storing all my info in a single place has made me really feel much less frazzled.

Your potential to entry sure options relies on which plan you choose. Listed here are your choices:

  • Bonsai Starter ($24 monthly): Means to create invoices, proposals and contracts, observe bills, entry a primary CRM, and use chat assist.
  • Bonsai Skilled ($39 monthly): All of the options you may entry with a Starter membership, in addition to the power to subcontract by Bonsai and white-label (or legally substitute a model’s brand with your individual). You may as well add a number of customers to your account and combine with Zapier, Calendly, and Quickbooks.

In case you’re on the lookout for a extra inexpensive deal and are open to long-term dedication, you may 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. Nonetheless, I don’t see a lot use for Premium until you both have some very particular, superior wants, otherwise you make use of different folks and wish to add them to your account.

This publish accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. Meaning if you are going to buy by our hyperlinks, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thanks for that!

Photograph by way of JKstock/ Shutterstock 

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