Hello Bonsai review - proposal, contract, and invoice software for freelancers [2021]

Saas Copywriter

Bonsai is used by 250,000+ freelancers to grow and manage every aspect of their business. It can help you close more projects with better clients, and get paid 14 days earlier on average.


Try Bonsai FREE for 14 days


Disclaimer: Some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, which means I might get a small commission if you click and sign up for a Bonsai plan :)

There comes a time in every freelancer’s life where trying to manage projects with Word documents, multiple online apps, and long email threads just doesn’t work anymore.


You’re either starting or growing your freelancing business, and you need to look professional to your clients – but the reality of trying to juggle e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is getting a little out of control.



An accurate portrayal of freelance life...


As you get busier, it’s super important that you start automating as much of your paperwork and admin as possible. And that’s where all-in-one freelancer management tools like Bonsai come in.

What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is a popular online software platform that helps freelancers streamline their daily tasks, admin, and workflows.


With core features like simple fill-in-the-blanks contracts and proposals, digital signing, invoicing, and fast payment options, you can ensure every project runs smoothly from start to finish.




Bonsai can take your business from feeling like it’s on fire to feeling like you’re finally getting somewhere. It gives you a ton of time back every week so you can actually enjoy the life you’ve created for yourself instead of being chained to your laptop!

Keep track of your projects, clients, time, and money

The benefits of using Bonsai are huge if you’re a freelance copywriter. 


Bulletproof contracts keep you on the right side of the law and protect you if a project goes wrong for any reason. 


Branded, personalized proposals take just minutes to send out, and look professional so that you can close better deals faster.


And automatically generated invoices ensure clients can easily pay you for deposits, completed projects, and retainers.


Bonsai’s current features:


  • Proposals
  • Contracts
  • Invoices
  • Time tracking
  • Task management
  • Forms
  • Accounting
  • Bonsai Tax


Let’s take a look at these features individually.

The Bonsai dashboard

Dashboards are always a huge deal breaker for me when I’m choosing between products. 


Before discovering Bonsai, I used And.Co for a few years – but Bonsai’s dashboard is more modern, clean, and intuitive. It’s very easy to learn and find your way around all the features that you need for your specific business.


When I found Bonsai, I immediately took the 14-day free trial of the software. I liked the dashboard and extra features so much that I made the messy switch of all my projects and clients from And.Co...which I have got to say completely sucked, because I had about 3 years of information to move across :(

The Bonsai dashboard - fast to learn and easy to navigate

Proposals

Proposals are one of those things that you often can’t avoid as a freelancer. They stand between you and getting that next dream project. Any way that you can make your proposal can stand out and look good – as well as include all the necessary things to sell your services – is a huge bonus, especially if you're competing with other freelancers to win work.


Bonsai has a ton of proposal templates so you never have to start from scratch. Proposals can sometimes take hours to write up if they're complex, so the templates make life a lot easier. 


You can add your own logo and imagery to the templates to personalize your offerings and create brand awareness for your services - which is something a lot of other freelancer management platforms are lacking.


Hate writing proposals? Bonsai make them a breeze!

Upsell service packages

Another very handy feature in the proposals section is that you can offer single or multiple service and package options. This means your clients can choose from a few different types of services to fit their needs. 

This can help you increase the value of every single project and maximize your earnings. Who doesn’t want that!?

Contracts

If you’re freelancing without a contract, there might come a day where you really wish you had one. 


Most of the time you’ll be working with great clients, or covered by your clients’ contracts. But if the proverbial shiz hits the fan with ANY client, for ANY reason, you’ll be relieved that your contract is in the background covering your butt.


Even if it’s a small matter of clients giving you endless edits, you can point to the specific clause in the contract they signed which states how many editing rounds you both agreed to. 


So when Anonymous Octopus appears in your Google doc for the 5th time demanding stuff gets changed AGAIN, you can be all like “Oh HELL no, 2 edits is where I stop”, and your contract will be there for you.


Bonsai’s bulletproof contracts have been written by lawyers specifically for freelancers. They’re editable and flexible, and provide total peace of mind for you as you work on your projects.



Contracts are one of Bonsai's most popular features

Invoices

Invoicing is a huge part of your life as a freelancer. 


Instead of struggling with creating manual invoices in Word, Gdocs, Photoshop, or whatever your current method is - Bonsai is about to make life easier for you with their fast invoice creation and super handy feature set.


This helps you get paid faster (on average, 14 days faster with 3x fewer late payments according to Bonsai’s customer research).


If you create a contract, Bonsai automatically generates the invoices you need right out of the gate. Seriously one of my favourite parts of the whole platform!


The invoicing feature also helps you with:


  • Scheduling and sending
  • Payment reminders
  • Late fees
  • Multiple global payment options (e.g. ACH, Stripe, Paypal, credit cards, and wire transfers)
  • Partial payments
  • Recurring payments



Invoice faster...and get paid faster!

Time tracking

I charge per project, but many freelance copywriters charge per hour. 


Being able to track your time accurately when you’re charging hourly means you can easily get things done and report to your clients, providing transparency and proof of work.


I sometimes use a timer to check projects aren’t taking so long that I end up working below my internal hourly rate. This helps ensure I reach my monthly revenue goals. 


I previously used Toggl for time tracking, but it’s so much easier keeping everything in one place on Bonsai instead of jumping around and trying to get work done between different tabs on my screen.


Bonsai’s time tracking also gives you timesheets and billing functionality, plus you can use it on the web, on the mobile app, macOS app, and a Chrome extension.


Make life easier by tracking your time with Bonsai


Task management


The task tracking feature in Bonsai helps you organize and prioritize your projects so you can see them at a glance and make sure you’re not dropping balls or missing deadlines.


You can create reusable task templates to help save even more time when it comes to managing your projects and workload. If you’re working with other people, or your clients, you can invite them to collaborate with you in the Bonsai app to assign tasks and add comments.



Get organized and prioritize your days with the task management features

Forms

Bonsai’s forms let you quickly create and send everything from lead captures, to client intake forms, to offboarding and project ending surveys. 


If you need to collect information from your clients for any reason, the forms feature lets you do this effortlessly.


By providing a better service and better communication, you can start to attract your ideal clients and give them a premium experience when they work with you.


Forms are also a great way to collect client testimonials that you can add to your website.

Intake forms help you choose better clients (with better budgets!)


Accounting


I’m going to drop an honesty bomb here and admit that I SUCK at maths. Which also means I’m not that great with my accounting. Which also means I have trouble managing my outgoings, projections, and cashflow. Ugh.


All of these are kind of important when you’re a freelancer. So if you’re like me and the thought of doing your accounts makes you start screaming internally – get a good accountant, and also start using something like Bonsai’s accounting system


This is a suite of financial tools that are very user friendly and give you a great snapshot of your business health – including income reports, expense tracking, tax reminders, and more.

Take care of your finances with Bonsai's comprehensive accounting features


Bonsai Tax

Bonsai Tax is a new feature that gives freelancers more peace of mind that they’re prepared for tax time. 


It helps you save money (hurrah!), track expenses, maximize your write-offs, estimate quarterly taxes, and manage 1099s.


Based on Bonsai’s customer research, you stand to save quite a bit of your hard earned freelance dollars when you use their tax feature. 


Excuse me for a second while I imagine all the things I could do with an extra $5,600…



Bonsai mobile app

Another plus for Bonsai users is the mobile app.


If you need to do light project management on the move, it gives you all the necessary functions you need when you’re not at your desk – such as track time, send contracts and invoice, and monitor your expenses. Think of it as a "Bonsai lite" version of the platform.

The very cool Bonsai mobile app



Benefits of using Bonsai

Being a freelancer means you need to wear a stack of different hats every day. And a lot of the things involved with running a business mean doing things we’re not good at.


I just want to write stuff! I’m terrible at accounting, I can’t draft my own watertight legal contracts, and if I write a proposal from scratch it can take me a couple of hours. 


Bonsai takes a lot of tasks off your plate that you need to do, but might not understand. And also the tasks where you’d rather fling yourself off a cliff than sit down and do them. I’m looking at you, taxes.


So let's go over the benefits of Bonsai that are crucial to take your freelance business to the next level:

  • Show your clients that you’re a professional who takes your work (and their business) seriously
  • Create and send invoices faster
  • Draft branded proposals in minutes that look good and help you win more projects for higher fees
  • Keep organized with everything you need to run your freelancing business in one place
  • Protect yourself and your business with bulletproof contract templates
  • Get paid on time with automatic invoices and payment reminders
  • Prioritize and manage your projects better
  • Understand and communicate with your clients using forms and surveys

If you take the 14-day free trial to try out the Bonsai platform, or have any questions about switching from your current platform or processes to Bonsai, drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you!


I’ve tried just about every freelance management software out there for freelance copywriters, and this one had me totally sold in minutes :)

Try Bonsai FREE for 14 days


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