By Amy Boyington
You never know how much is involved in freelancing until you start doing it. It's only then that you'll realize that the business aspect of freelancing consists of a lot of paperwork, tracking, and organization on your part.
After my first year of being a full-time freelance writer, I decided I needed a better strategy to keep my projects organized and onboard my clients. That's when I was introduced to AND CO, a then-free tool that offers project management, invoicing, time tracking, proposal and contract creation, and other invaluable tools for freelancers.
The app has since been my go-to tool for keeping tabs on my projects, income, and expenses. Although it's recently switched to requiring a subscription to enjoy most of its functionality, I still find AND CO to be one of the best investments I've made in my business.
What is AND CO?
AND CO is literally an all-in-one solution for freelancers. It started in 2015 as a paid subscription service, but transitioned to a free service when Fiverr, a well-known freelance platform, acquired the app in early 2018. Beginning in early 2019, AND CO again started to charge freelancers for its service with monthly or annual plans. You can, however, still use it for free to manage one client and have access to basic contracts and proposals.
Freelancers of all types can use AND CO because it's not specific to any industry. You can tailor the proposals, contracts, invoices, and project management tasks to the needs of your clients and projects.
AND CO is also helpful in assisting freelancers with organizing their own business through income and expense tracking, and a Shoebox system that keeps track of receipts, documents, and anything else that affects your income and taxes.
AND CO Pricing
- $18/mo when paid annually
- Free for 1 active client
Using AND CO for Organizing Your Freelance Business
Here are a few of the primary ways to use AND CO to organize your freelancing career, clients, and projects:
Tracking Income and Expenses
I started out tracking my freelancing income and expenses on a spreadsheet I designed myself. Once I found AND CO, I added its features to my tracking repertoire as a backup. You never know when you might make a calculation error, so it's nice having this app to catch anything I might have missed.
AND CO does fall a little short, though, in its inability to automatically track transactions to and from my business bank account. I still have to add everything manually. Still, it is a good second set of eyes for my calculations and I've made it easier by getting into the habit of adding everything when I do the same on my spreadsheet.
You can assign any income to a specific project you've set up in AND CO for easier reference later. This will help you see all the revenue you've gotten from each client for specific projects throughout the year. AND CO also lets you upload receipts of payments and will file that information for you in your income report.
Adding expenses is similar to adding income. You can manually enter the information or attach a receipt showing what you've paid. You can also set each expense to repeat if it's something you pay weekly, monthly, etc.
Here's an example of an added expense that I repeat monthly:
Creating Proposals and Contracts
Writing proposals and contracts is probably the part of freelancing I dislike most. I'm not a lawyer, so the terminology can sometimes be overwhelming to understand and adjust to. AND CO has taken this massive stress off my back by giving me templates for creating proposals and contracts for clients.
This is what it'll look like in the app when you're ready to draw up your own proposal/contract:
The proposals and contracts were made with help from the Freelancer's Union, which is an organization focused on advocating for, and supporting, freelancers. So you can be confident that these forms include the most critical and necessary information for a successful client-freelancer partnership.
AND CO offers plenty of ways to oversee your projects with each client and ensure they run smoothly.
Using the Shoebox Feature
Shoebox is a helpful project management feature in AND CO that tracks your important receipts, invoices, documents, and anything else you need to save for a project. Think of it like a filing cabinet that never gets in your way or gets cluttered with never-ending paperwork. I love that you can email receipts and documents right to your AND CO account for the app to file in your Shoebox.
Some projects work better with hourly rates than flat fees. Instead of using a separate app to track the time you spend on a project, you can use AND CO's built-in tracker. You can find the timer button at the top of the page, click on it to start tracking, and stop it whenever you're ready. Then, input the task you tracked and assign it to a project; AND CO will take care of the rest when you invoice.
Your Projects section is where you can add your projects for each client. This is an example of what you'll see when you create a new project:
You can then assign yourself tasks, due dates, lists, and more—whatever you need to keep yourself on track with the project. You can also postpone tasks for later or create recurring tasks for daily or weekly work.
Invoicing has never been easier with an app like AND CO. Not only can you create invoices for each client you have set up in your account, but you can also find out when your client views and pays them and AND CO will automatically track the payment as income.
You have total control over the invoices you create on AND CO in terms of how you want your client to pay you, how you price your work, and more. Add as many line items as you need, and pick your due date. Clients can pay you via PayPal, Stripe, or WePay, and you can connect each of these accounts to your AND CO account for a smooth integration.
Here's an example of what an invoice looks like:
AND CO makes it easy to keep track of your invoices, too, by showing you a full history of them, including the date and time you created and sent it. The app also lets you know when your recipient views the invoice, which gives you peace of mind knowing that it was received by the right hands and is in the process of getting paid.
Do you have recurring work for a client? If so, a subscription payment might be perfect for you.
Let's say you're doing social media management work and every month, your client wants you to create 15 posts with graphics for each of her social media platforms. You can use AND CO's subscription function to set up auto-charging for your client in lieu of invoicing. You can even add sales tax, if necessary, like you can in a regular invoice.
Is AND CO Right for Your Freelancing Business?
I won't lie—I was disappointed when AND CO switched from being 100% free to recently deciding it was going to start charging freelancers for having more than one client (which, to run a successful freelancing business, you absolutely need!). However, its price is nominal compared to other services that don't offer everything AND CO does. You can currently purchase it monthly for $24 or save $72 on an annual subscription for $216. That's about what I pay for my tax software every year, and I see AND CO as being just as necessary for my business.
Ultimately, whether AND CO is worth it will depend on what type of projects you do and how you go about creating and sending proposals, contracts, and invoices. But if you're struggling to get an organized process moving for all the business-y stuff, then AND CO will serve you well.
Amy Boyington is a freelance writer and blog manager for lifestyle entrepreneurs and businesses. After working a few unfulfilling 9 to 5 jobs, she took it upon herself to create a career path that meshed with her family life. She now works with clients all over the world in a flexible freelance career that helps her be both a businesswoman and mom to her two children.