In the freelance business, staying organized can be a challenge. Managing clients, invoices, tasks, and clients can quickly become overwhelming when running your own business. That’s why CRM is the fastest-growing software in digital marketing, and 65% of companies start using a CRM within their first five years in business.

bonsai crm
Bonsai CRM for freelancers

But, there really is so much work getting your first clients in the first place between emails and texts, quotes, proposals, and maybe negotiation.

That’s after any networking, promotion, and job board applications on sites like Upwok or Fiverr.

The last thing you want after landing that hard-earned gig, contract, or project is a last-minute scramble to create the branded links, proposals, invoices, and communications that come along with running a small business.

Believe me, I’ve been there!

CRM (customer relationship management) software is designed to help freelancers organize their business and replace spreadsheets, databases, and apps you may otherwise use. 

crm deal stages for lead generation

If you’re ready to choose a CRM tool, there’s never been a better time.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the best CRM for your freelance business in 2023:

freelancer tool keap
Keap | Where small business growth happens
4.5
$129 per month

More leads. More revenue. More repeat customers. Keap helps small businesses like yours grow through powerful CRM and marketing automation.

1) Keap

Take your business to the next level—in sales, profits, and impact—without sacrificing the personal touch that brought you this far.

Keap is my favorite CRM tool for freelancers and small businesses due to its expansive feature list and omnichannel software mix.

Looking to speed up your process? Keap helps you follow up faster – 84% of Keap users get more clients, and 75% see an increase in revenue.

keap freelancer crm
Collect leads automatically

Keap’s all-in-one CRM is designed for small and growing businesses like yours, including:

  • Accounting
  • Coaches
  • Consultants
  • Financial Advisors
  • Gyms & Fitness
  • Insurance
  • Marketing Agencies
  • Nonprofits
  • Photography
  • Professional Services
  • Real Estate
  • Startups and more!

Top Features

  • Automated lead capture
  • Desktop & mobile app
  • Email & text personalized follow-ups
  • Easy scheduling & appointment reminders
  • Drag-and-drop workflow and pipeline builders
  • Invoicing and billing software with recurring payments
  • Customized checkout
  • Reminders, reporting & analytics
  • Your own business phone number, voicemail, and auto-reply messages
  • Automatic Google review requests
  • Live coaching, support, and setup

Overall, I would recommend Keap to any small business or freelancer who wants a full business solution.

crm features keap
Keap CRM features

Although the software can be a bit pricey, you may find that you save money by combining features of your other tools and software into one.

Best for a quick start
Bonsai | The #1 Self-Employed Product Suite
4.5
$24 per month

Bonsai’s all-in-one product suite with smart automation lets you focus on your passion, not your paperwork. Manage your clients, deliver great work, get paid, and track your finances.


2) Bonsai

Bonsai is a freelancer and small business CRM software. Keep everything organized in one place with tasks, documents, contracts, invoices, payments, and more.

Top Features

  • Time Tracking
  • Contracts & Agreements
  • Invoicing
  • Payment Tracking
  • Project Management
  • Document Storage
  • Scheduling & Booking
  • Taxes

Finding success as a freelancer affords you the opportunity to design your own career, but it comes with its share of administrative tasks that can be overwhelming. Bonsai CRM software helps streamline the core functions of managing your freelance business.

The CRM tool is specifically designed for freelancers and includes a comprehensive suite of features such as time tracking to make sure jobs are accounted for, invoicing for efficient payment processing, and document storage for easy organization and retrieval.

Plus, payment tracking, so you never miss an invoice, project management to keep tabs on any active jobs, and tax management to ensure compliance.

With Bonsai, it’s easy to stay organized, productive and successful in your freelance career.

Overall, Bonsai is a great CRM software for freelancers who are looking for a quick solution. It’s easy to use, customizable, and budget-friendly. 

Best for creatives and teams
Monday CRM for Freelancers
4.5
$24 per month
Track and manage all aspects of your sales cycle, customer data, and more in one place. Close more deals by automating repetitive work. Automatically assign leads to reps, set reminders for upcoming activities, get notified when a lead opens an email, and more.

3) Monday CRM

Monday sales CRM uses the standard project management tool’s dashboards and automation, plus extra sales views like deal stages and a centralized customer database.

With email tracking and templates, you can get notified when a lead opens or replies. Then, use your custom templates to reply with fields for auto-filled information.

One of the unique features of Monday software is the interactive interface. It’s easy (and fun!) to drag and drop tasks, projects, and timelines.

monday crm
Monday CRM deal stages

Top Features

  • Visual funnel chart
  • Sharable email templates
  • Deal stage tracking
  • Email tracking
  • Lead scoring
  • Track leads

Going through your to-do list on Monday is more fun than your average to-do list!

Colors, animations, and visuals make the work feel a bit more enjoyable.

I will caution, though, that Monday can take some time to set up compared with tools like Keap CRM or Bonsai.

monday crm dashboard views

Templates are a great place to start, but with the essential project management tool, you will be able to customize your setup to get the most out of Monday.

Overall, if you’re looking for an interactive CRM, Monday is a great choice with affordable pricing plans. And you can always upgrade your plan as your business grows.

Best on a budget
HoneyBook | The all-in-one platform for those who do it all
$1 per month

Over 100K professionals trust HoneyBook to book clients, send invoices, manage projects, and get paid. Create interactive experiences that make it easy for clients to select services, e-sign contracts, send payments, and more—all in one go.

4) HoneyBook

HoneyBook is a traditional CRM for freelancers and small businesses and one of the best CRMs for freelancers with advanced tools.

HoneyBook is designed to help you manage new leads, client relationships, invoices, proposal templates, and contracts and “feel more organized” (according to 95% of members).

I found HoneyBook a bit clunky to use, but easy to start with their $1 deal. Plus, they are constantly adding new features!

Top Key Features

  • Contact management and marketing automation
  • Workspace for collaboration, file sharing, and storage 
  • Template emails & forms for client onboarding
  • Customizable proposal templates & contracts
  • Invoicing with payment tracking 
  • Automated follow-ups to get paid faster 
  • Online booking with checklists 
  • Scheduling reminders & calendar sync 
  • Analytics & reporting
Dubsado CRM

5) Dubsado

Dubsado is a CRM for freelancers. It helps you streamline your workflows and keep your business organized.

Although it has fewer marketing features and client touchpoints than Keap or Monday, it is still a popular Honeybook CRM alternative among virtual assistants, DJs, music producers, and bookkeepers.

If you want to use automated workflows (a popular CRM feature), then Dubsado will cost you $40 per month.

Dubsado CRM calendar

Top Features

  • Client Management
  • Customizable proposals
  • Form templates
  • Invoicing
  • Workflow automation
  • Appointment booking
  • Public company roadmap
  • Appointment booking
Freshworks crm tool

6) Freshworks

Freshworks CRM, formerly Freshsales, is an omnichannel CRM automation software for freelancers. It provides customer experience and marketing automation tools to help you manage your business more effectively.

Top Features 

Freshworks CRM, formerly Freshsales, is an omnichannel CRM automation software for freelancers. It provides customer experience and marketing automation tools to help you manage your business more effectively.

  • Visual Sales Pipeline
  • AI-powered contact and lead scoring
  • Sales sequences
  • Bot sessions
  • Activity Timeline
  • SMS and Zoom integration
  • Additional enterprise features (i.e, territory management, revenue forecasts, audit logs)

Overall, Freshworks offers an enterprise solution at an affordable price point.

Freshsales CRM is designed to fit various industries and businesses of all sizes, including:

  • Real Estate
  • Manufacturing
  • SaaS
  • Hospitality
  • Insurance
  • Logistics
  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Legal
  • Education, and more!
crm email marketing
Monday CRM onboarding

FAQ

Do freelancers need CRM?

You can run your business without installing a CRM for e-commerce or other services, but it can help. A CRM solution like Keap allows you to track a client’s relationship and mark their progress, and building relationships with your customers can help you improve profit and revenue.

monday crm deal view
Deal stages and lead tracking

What is CRM for freelancers?

Customer relationship management systems are developed for freelancers to centralize customer interactions, transactions, and project activities. The company should offer affordable prices for freelancers and solopreneurs with limited budgets.

How do you choose between a free vs. paid CRM for freelancers?

The choice between a basic free CRM plan and a paid CRM plan can be a difficult one for a new freelance business.

While it’s tempting to go with the free plan, in some cases, investing in paid CRM software may be the better option, especially if you need unlimited users, have multiple clients or need advanced marketing features.

When should you use a free CRM for freelancers?

A free plan for a basic CRM is often limited in features and functionality, while paid CRMs typically offer more advanced marketing tools.

Free CRM tools typically offer fewer features but may be sufficient for basic customer relationship management tasks such as tracking leads, managing customer data, and tracking sales.

CRM contact management spreadsheet
CRM contact management from spreadsheets to interactive dashboards

They are also usually much simpler to set up and use than paid CRM tools.

However, they often lack the advanced features found in paid CRM, such as sophisticated analytics, automated marketing campaigns, and customizability.

Free CRMs may also have limited storage capacity, making them suitable for smaller businesses with limited data needs and sales processes.

When should you use a paid CRM for freelancers?

Paid CRM tools for freelancers are more expensive but come with more advanced CRM features, client management, and marketing tools.

In addition to task management, the best CRM system will include extra features freelancers can use to bring in new leads, such as detailed analytics, automated marketing campaigns tailored to customer segments, task management tools, sales management, email marketing, custom fields for greater flexibility, and access to additional third-party applications that can integrate with your CRM.

Paid CRM features also typically include more comprehensive customer support than what’s typically offered in a starter, free plan.

Additionally, they often provide larger storage capacity allowing you to store larger amounts of data without needing an extra external server or cloud solution. 

How do you choose the best CRM for freelancers?

When deciding which is the best CRM tool for your freelance business, it is important to consider both the cost of implementation and ongoing maintenance fees, as well as the sales and marketing features you need to manage your customers most effectively.

If you have a large number of customers or complex analytics requirements, then a paid CRM may be worth investing in; however, if you only need basic customer relationship management tools, then a free plan might suffice.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide which option best suits the needs of your freelance business in order to maximize efficiency and productivity while maintaining profitability.

What is lead generation automation in a CRM tool?

Lead generation automation is especially beneficial for freelancers who want to generate leads quickly without having to manually reach out to potential customers.

Automated lead generation systems can identify target customers based on criteria such as location, industry, business size, or other factors set by the CRM user.

This helps freelancers find new customers in a fraction of the time compared to manual methods.

Moreso, you can track progress through your sales pipeline to identify areas for improvement within the funnel.

What is automated onboarding with CRM?

Onboarding processes are also easily automated using CRMs. Automating onboarding helps freelancers provide tailored experiences for each customer that helps them get up and running quickly while staying engaged with your brand and products.

This can be done by automating welcome emails, product tutorials or demos, surveys, or questionnaires related to the client’s needs and likes/dislikes. 

Automating onboarding processes can help freelance businesses improve customer satisfaction and boost customer loyalty.

By using any of the best CRM for freelancers, you can provide new customers with tailored experiences.

With automating onboarding, you can consider welcome emails, product tutorials or demos, surveys, or questionnaires.

All of these elements can be used to create personalized experiences that make it easier for customers to start using your service or product.

Welcome emails, for example, are often sent out automatically after a new customer signs up for your service – providing them with helpful information about your products and services along with other important details such as contact information in case they have any questions or concerns. 

Adding videos and tutorials to a CRM dashboard for client onboarding

Video tutorials or demos are also useful when it comes to automated onboarding processes – they can provide your clients with step-by-step instructions on how to set up, use, and navigate through a product or service while eliminating the need for costly support staff.

Surveys and questionnaires are also beneficial when it comes to gathering feedback from clients on their experience with a product or service, allowing you to identify areas where improvements could be made in order to better meet customer needs.

What is customer outreach automation with CRM tools?

Customer outreach automation is also possible through CRM for freelancers, which makes it easier to ensure they remain engaged with their customers throughout their journey with the company. Automated emails and notifications keep customers informed of new offers or discounts they might be eligible for while reminding them of upcoming renewal dates or service expiration notices, so they don’t miss out on important opportunities related to their business activities.

Email marketing is an important tool for freelance businesses to generate leads and grow their customer base. By utilizing the best CRMs for freelancers, CRM users can create powerful marketing campaigns that target specific segments of their customer base.

How do you use CRM software for email marketing?

Using CRM tools for email marketing allows CRM users to easily create custom messages tailored to the needs of their clients.

In addition to your client management dashboard and business apps, many of the best CRMs for freelancers also include Gmail integration and can connect to your Google contacts list.

Final Thoughts

Automation is an essential part of any streamlined workflow and ensures tasks are completed quickly and efficiently. With the right CRM, freelancers can automate mundane processes, like customer follow-up emails, lead nurturing campaigns, contact segmentation, and more.

With the right CRM, you can focus more on what matters most for your freelance business – building strong relationships with clients and growing your business. 

In addition to marketing and sales processes, a CRM tool is powerful for project management, client communication, and social media integration.

Freelancer CRM projects often involve numerous tasks across multiple teams or departments – from development to delivery – CRMs make it easy for freelance businesses to track progress against deadlines so they can easily monitor project status and stay on track for successful completion. 

As a freelancer, managing your customer relationships is key to success. Investing in a CRM specifically designed for your business can be a great way to streamline and organize your workflow. Whether you’re looking for an interactive CRM like Monday or one with automation capabilities like Freshworks, there is something out there perfect for you.

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