Running a Business with Basecamp’s Free Trial

As a freelancer, I have been using the Basecamp’s online project management tool for quite a while. I’ve been a contractor with a login to clients’ paid versions and I’ve been running my own free trial version quite successfully. Together with Highrise, it’s a good little knowledge management system. If I’m disciplined enough to document my quoting, processes and milestones, it’s less stuff clogging up my head when I switch off the computer.

The Free Basecamp Account for the Freelancer

37 Signals offer a free trial for Basecamp, which allows one single project, 2 writeboards and 10 MB of file storage. In my day job as a freelance copywriter I don’t need to collaborate with others on my own writeboards, nor do I need to store files on there. For the solo worker, it’s simply a super-charged to-do list and milestones marker, or project calendar. So why bother? Because if I didn’t use Basecamp, I would be scribbling on post-its or covering my Mac desktop with virtual Stickies.

How I Use the Free Basecamp Account

What I love is the ability to click between the Basecamp dashboards of my various clients from my own free trial login, depending on the job I’m working on at the time. The launchpad will show you which client dashboards are available to your login in each product of the 37 Signals suite.

Basecamp launchpad

Being limited to a single project under the free plan, I’ve just labelled it with my business name. I then create a new to-do list for each client. I can still add milestones and events to my timeline and create to-do list templates to suit any repetitive tasks that may occur for different clients. The ability to create a project template exists but, naturally, it’s unable to be applied because of the restriction of the free trial to a single Basecamp project.

I’ve also started using Sherpa for when I’m not in the office. It’s a free app that supports multiple Basecamp accounts, so I can stay on top of client project changes while I’m out and about.

Are you a freelancer using Basecamp? What tips can you add?