Best free project management tools for solopreneneurs 🗃️

    Contra Tips
    · 19 min read

    As an independent freelancer or solopreneur wearing multiple hats, you know just how difficult it can be to keep all your projects organized. Between client work, administrative tasks, meetings, and personal to-dos, your list of responsibilities expands infinitely. Before you know it, you're dropping balls all over the place.

    Does this sound familiar?

    • You completely forgot about a client deadline until the evening before
    • Finding important files or reference materials is a hunt through tons of folders
    • No idea what team members are actually working on
    • Can't remember if you responded to that important email
    • You keep asking, "Now, what was I just doing?"

    When you've got no project management app system in place, confusion, tension, and falling behind are inevitable. You think you can keep it together with sticky notes and email trails, but that only works for so long. (We're looking at you, post-it note wall kanban board.)

    The good news? There are plenty of excellent free online tools designed to rescue busy solopreneneurs from project chaos. By leveraging the right software, you can get organized, keep communications flowing, and hit deadlines. We want your solopreneur career to run as smoothly as your freelancing, hiring and talent management does on Contra, so we've put together this guide to help you find the right project management software for you!

    What to look for in a free project management software

    When evaluating free pm software platforms, there are a few key features to consider based on your needs:

    Task management functionality

    Having tools that allow you to create task lists, set due dates, assign tasks, mark milestones and progress is essential. Prioritize software with robust options for organizing all your to-dos in one place.

    Communication and collaboration tools

    As a solopreneur, you likely need to communicate constantly with clients, contractors, agencies, and other collaborators. Seek programs with built-in messaging/comments and file sharing for smooth coordination. Collaboration tools make all the difference in client communication - and having the ability to send over a Kanban or smartsheet with all the project details is essential.


    Since every freelancer's workflow is different, it helps to have platforms that are highly customizable. Look for software that can tailor views, columns, and statuses based on your process. See if there are project template options to make your online project management easier. Whether you need to time track or want to give your clients a task track view, you should be able to build the tool you need.

    Ease of use

    Who has time to learn overly complex software? Opt for intuitive programs with interfaces that allow you to use key features immediately without a steep learning curve. The last thing you need in a project track tool is a project dashboard that is more confusing than your actual work.


    Having mobile access to your project management platform can be a lifesaver. Choose tools with iOS and Android apps so you can handle tasks and communicate no matter where you are. Plus, you'll want to find out what your clients or customers prefer - a simple list or a smartsheet makes all the difference in keeping everyone on the same page.


    Even if you are currently a solo operator, you want software that can grow with you. See if you can upgrade to more robust plans if you expand and need enhanced features.

    Our top free project management software picks 🏅

    With those features in mind, let’s break down some of the top free project management software options available:

    1. ClickUp: the project management powerhouse

    In today's world of complex projects and remote teams, having a robust project management tool isn't just a 'nice-to-have' – it's a necessity. ClickUp has exploded in popularity due to its incredible capabilities, intuitive design, and remarkably generous free plan, making it a great choice.

    Why ClickUp?

    All-in-one versatility – ClickUp prides itself on being the “one app to replace them all.” Its core features cover every stage of project management: task creation, project views (lists, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc.), timelines, team collaboration, time tracking, goal setting, and even docs and wikis. This means less time hopping between tools and more focused work.

    Limitless customization – What sets ClickUp apart is its flexibility. It uses a unique hierarchy where projects break down into sub-projects, tasks, and subtasks – essentially letting you mirror your team's precise workflow.

    The power of the free plan – Many tools severely limit free versions, but ClickUp stands out. You get unlimited users, unlimited tasks, core features like time tracking, multiple project views, and a generous 100MB of storage - more than enough to manage sizable projects effectively.

    Boosting productivity with AI: ClickUp's AI features make it the smart assistant you never knew you needed. Generate task descriptions, auto-summarize threads, and create drafts – ClickUp accelerates processes and frees up brainpower for strategy.

    Is ClickUp right for you? 🤔

    ClickUp offers a fantastic foundation for teams of any size. However, the vast customization can be a little overwhelming for those seeking pure simplicity out of the box. Here are a few considerations:

    • Your team's size and needs: For smaller, straightforward projects, ultra-simple tools might be a better fit.
    • Tech comfort level: Some team members might need guidance adjusting to a more robust platform.
    • Growth plans: ClickUp scales incredibly well, making it a good investment if your team or projects get more complex over time.

    2. Trello: where visual simplicity meets project power

    When projects feel overwhelming, Trello cuts through the noise with its refreshingly simple and visual approach.  It's built around the popular Kanban board system, making it perfect for teams who want to visualize progress and streamline their workflow, and its generous free plan is often enough for individuals and small teams.

    Why Trello?

    Kanban board focus – Trello's foundation lies in boards, lists, and cards. Boards represent projects, lists are your project stages (like "To Do," "In Progress," "Done"), and cards are individual tasks. Move cards across lists to instantly see work progression – it's satisfying and motivating.

    Card-based simplicity (with power) – While simple on the surface, Trello cards pack a punch. Add descriptions, checklists, due dates, labels, attachments, and team member assignments for detailed task management within each card.

    Focused on collaboration – Invite unlimited users to your boards for free. Comments and @mentions facilitate clear communication directly on cards, keeping task-specific chatter organized and easily referenceable later.

    Power-Ups (integrations) available on free plan – Even on the free plan, you get one Power-Up per board! Add calendar views, connect Google Drive, integrate Slack, and much more. Pick the Power-Up that best enhances your workflow

    Is Trello right for you? 🤔

    Trello's free version and intuitive design make it perfect in these situations:

    • You're a visual learner: Seeing tasks move across the board creates a sense of accomplishment and clarity.
    • Simple & streamlined projects: If you need basic boards to organize work and see who's doing what, Trello excels.
    • Individuals & small teams: Trello's free plan accommodates smaller teams effortlessly and can manage personal projects seamlessly.
    • Need more structure later: It's easy to upgrade to paid Trello plans later, providing a smooth growth path.

    Limits to Consider

    • Less in-depth reporting: Trello doesn't offer complex reporting on the free plan.
    • Fewer project views: If you need Gantt charts or complex timelines, a different tool might be better.

    3. Asana: User-friendly task management and communication

    Asana makes it enjoyable to organize work, track progress, and align with teammates. This popular platform focuses on intuitive task breakdowns, straightforward communication abilities, and a clean interface – all surprisingly robust within their free version.

    Why Asana?

    Workspaces for individuals and teams – Workspaces function as a “home base” to house related teams, clients, or departments. Great for separating priorities.

    Project views and dashboard – Break initiatives into individual projects. Choose between list layouts or interactive boards to manage work - customize based on preferences.

    A focus on todos – Create tasks, add descriptions, set due dates, create checklists, and assign tasks to team members to indicate ownership.

    Unlimited tasks and projects - Manage endless tasks across multiple projects without frustrating limits - a major perk Asana offers.

    15 free collaborators - Asana lets small teams of up to 15 members collaborate on the free plan.

    Is Asana right for you? 🤔

    With task organization, communication, and flexibility as strengths, Asana fits well when:

    • Task clarity and ownership are crucial to progress.
    • You prefer both list and board project arrangements.
    • Keeping team conversations tied to tasks is important.

    Things to keep in mind

    • Limited reporting or automation options.
    • No unified dashboard to view all projects.

    4. Flexible work management with a free foundation offers visually appealing 'work OS' where teams of all kinds can plan, track, and collaborate on projects. At its core, it emphasizes customization and offers multiple ways to visualize your work. While known for its robust paid plans, even's free option has considerable appeal.


    Built around boards – Projects live within organized boards. Add different column types (text, dates, status, etc.) to craft the precise project view you need.

    Basic automations – The free plan includes basic automation to streamline recurring tasks and save time

    Two seats for free (great for small teams) – Collaborate with a partner, client, or teammate without extra cost.

    Visually appealing interface –'s colorful, modern design adds a bit of fun to the workday and aids in visual organization.

    200+ Templates to build projects and flows – Jumpstart projects with pre-built templates designed for different industries and project types.

    Is right for you? 🤔

    • Simple workflows:'s free project management tool version is great for managing straightforward projects, especially if you only collaborate with one other person.
    • Visual learners: If seeing tasks in different arrangements (tables, timelines, calendars) improves your project clarity, delivers.
    • Need variety: The ability to mix-and-match views allows to serve multiple types of projects even without upgrading.

    Potential limitations to keep in mind

    • Limitations: Some advanced features like detailed reporting, workload monitoring, and more intricate automation are locked behind paid plans.
    • Scaling Up: While the free plan accommodates two users well, expanding beyond that will require an upgrade.

    5. Hive: Simple and intuitive project management for solopreneurs

    Hive offers a refreshingly simple yet powerful project management platform perfect for solopreneurs, freelancers, and tiny teams. Its generous free "Solo" plan provides a smooth, no-fuss way to organize work and align with collaborators.

    Why Hive?

    Get running fast - Hive's clean interface allows new users to get up and running incredibly quickly compared to more complex platforms.

    Variety of project views - Whether you like a list, Kanban, or Gantt chart timelines, Hive lets you view work in ways that feel clear to you.

    Built-In Team Messaging - Skip the messaging app shuffle. Hive's integrated messaging keeps project discussions neatly centralized.

    Is Hive right for you? 🤔

    • Freelancers and solopreneurs - For independents juggling client work and personal projects, Hive provides a single place to track everything.
    • Tiny, close-knit teams - Two collaborators make Hive great for small partnerships tackling objectives together.
    • Those seeking simplicity - Hive prides itself on an intuitive, no-fuss user experience rather than endless customization. When it comes to the ability to manage project details, Hive just works!

    Some limitations to watch for

    • Limited to 2 users - Larger teams won't fit within the Solo plan's strict user cap.
    • Missing advanced features - Complex reporting or automation tools only exist on paid tiers.
    • Potentially “too streamlined” - If you love intricate customization, Hive may feel overly simplistic.

    6. Airtable: A spreadsheet-database hybrid for customized workflows

    Airtable takes a remarkably innovative approach to project management software by fusing the familiarity of spreadsheets with the power of flexible databases. For those comfortable working in spreadsheets or who love customizing systems, Airtable’s capabilities make it a compelling free option.

    Why Airtable?

    • Unlimited bases – No restrictions on how many “workbook” projects you can create – manage work and personal initiatives without arbitrary caps.
    • Highly customizable – Tinker with tables, fields, and views to craft systems for your unique use case – a soloprenuers paradise for task management.
    • Smooth collaboration – Invite teammates or clients to bases and control their permission levels easily.
    • 1,200 records per base – Each base allows 1,200 spreadsheet-style rows, providing healthy room for smaller-scale projects.

    Is Airtable right for you? 🤔

    • Spreadsheet devotees seeking enhanced functionality.
    • Those who love organizing data in flexible ways.
    • People wanting total customization over rigid systems.

    Watch out for:

    • Learning curve for beginners.
    • Limits on records, automation and views exist on free tier.

    Other potential free project management app tools to consider 🥈

    While the above options will give you plenty to play with as you build out your free project management system, others offer similar – if not more basic – functionality. Some alternatives to consider include:


    Wrike offers a decent free version suitable for small teams. Another strong project management tool, Wrike helps you manage project details for better team collaboration. Wrike operates a bit more like a task management software, letting you track project time, automate workflow details, and track time all in one project track.

    Features include:

    • Basic task management with a clear hierarchy
    • Spreadsheet-like table view
    • Real-time team collaboration
    • Shared team dashboards in Gannt chart and Kanban styles
    • Up to 2GB storage space

    Zoho Project

    Part of the Zoho suite, its free plan can help teams get started. Simply set up an account on Zoho Project, and you'll gain access to a variety of project management software tools - including Gantt chart, smartsheet, and Kanban tools.

    Zoho Project has features like:

    • Task tracking, milestones, and Gantt charts
    • Kanban boards for visual management
    • Limited reporting
    • Basic feed for task-based collaboration
    • Up to 3 users on the free Zoho Project plan


    Features core project management with task lists, file sharing, and messaging. Like Zoho Project and Trello, Teamwork helps you to project plan and delegate across a fluid project management tool. It's a great project management app for the free version as well!

    The free plan includes:

    • Task hierarchy and time tracking
    • Gantt charts for basic schedules
    • Simple reporting functions
    • Project templates
    • Accommodates up to 5 users


    Provides unlimited users and guests along with some robust features within its free plan. A project management tool focused on being primarily a PM software, Nifty brings together features you'd find in larger enterprise software such as basecamp, Asana, and Ganttpro.

    Its features include:

    • Milestones, tasks, and time tracking
    • Docs and collaborative files features
    • Discussions for team communication
    • Custom roles and permissions


    Podia is an excellent project management software for building no code solutions for your teams. Podio heralds itself as a leading project management for advance project management - with the ability to create custom workflows and project timeline details. For teams who rely on Jira and similar task tools, Podio is a great task management tool.

    Its features include:

    • Automated workflows
    • Customized project dashboards
    • Project plan workflows and project plan features such as kanban board tools.


    Primarily a task management tool, but adaptable for small teams. The user interface is easy to navigate - a plus for project management software - but the ability to track project details, track time, and automate workflow options is less effective. But with a customizable dashboard and the ability to operate as a lean project manager, Todoist gets the job done!

    The free version offers:

    • Organized task lists and subtasks with recurring dates
    • Simple project boards for tracking work stages and project timeline


    Similar to Todoist, but allows fast setup of Gantt charts with greater features. Teamgantt gives you plenty of features in a single project management app if you enjoy team collaboration across simple Gantt charts.

    With a basic Teamgantt account, you can:

    • Build out lists with timelines for users
    • Track projects with multiple milestones

    Other need-specific options

    While dedicated project management app options provide robust structure and helpful automation, sometimes going back to basics gets the job done perfectly well. Options like spreadsheets and document apps can work for simple organizational needs.

    Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel

    Spreadsheet programs (sometimes referred to as smartsheet software) like Google Sheets and Excel offer blank canvases for you to build your own workflow.

    Create a workbook for a project, leverage tabs for statuses, color code tasks, add due dates - get creative structuring data your way without imposed systems. The smartsheet formatting keeps things tidy. Best for individuals or very small teams open to a manual yet flexible approach.

    Google Docs

    For quick documentation rather than task management, a simple Google Doc or Word Online doc can suffice to outline project details, parameters, resources, and notes in one place. Break out sections by date, milestone, or other categories to stay organized. This barebones option works if your needs are primarily documentation-based.


    Notion offers another blank canvas approach to managing projects as an adaptable workspace for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. Its stellar free plan provides room for custom databases, document organization, and shared workspaces - helping you cut down on the app shuffle without restricting structure.


    If you're looking for a project management tool that is focused on timesheets and time tracking, you'll want to check out Paymo. Less a project management tool and more a time-focused project manager to track time, Paymo allows you to keep an eye on billable hours for a variety of project types. Take a look at Paymo to see how it may play a role - especially if you hire and manage contractors!


    Zenkit has a project management app designed for teams that deal with sensitive data across their systems. With a security-first focused project management software, Zenkit helps you manage project details without risking data being lost or sent to the wrong users.


    Similar in scope and function to Wrike, Ntask is one of the suite of project management apps that use organization styles - such as Gantt charts and kanban boards to help you manage a variety of project types and purposes.


    An interesting element of Proofhub is its flat-rate system for team collaboration. Proofhub is similar to many other project management software options on this list, but it does offer quite a few task management and project plan elements that are valuable for various teams and organizations. Don't underestimate Proofhub as an option!


    Are you a Gantt chart pro? Then you'll want to check out Ganttpro - the web's leading online Gantt chart builder for teams. Ganttpro allows you to use Gantt charts to their fullest with a variety of different features and built-in integrations.

    Hey, it’s free - so find what works for you!

    As you can see, there is no shortage of excellent free project management apps for overloaded solopreneurs and small teams.

    So, which to pick? We’d say to experiment with 2-3 platforms that seem most appealing and set up a simple test project. Play around in the interface and use core features like creating tasks, collaboration, and project views.

    Does it feel intuitive or overly complex? Does it offer the tools you need to get work done? By actually test-driving systems, you’ll quickly get a feel for what gels best with your work style.

    The key is not necessarily finding the “best” pm software on paper – but rather the best one for YOU—the system you’ll actually use consistently rather than letting it fade into the background. Identify your must-have features, pick a tool aligning closely with those needs, customize it to your workflow, and run with it! 🚀


    What are good projects for project management?

    Any project that involves multiple tasks, collaborators, deadlines, and key milestones can benefit from project management software. This includes client work, business initiatives, events, product launches, content plans, and more. Pick software that aligns with the size and complexity of your projects.

    How can I manage my projects for free?

    Many project management platforms like ClickUp, Trello, Asana, Hive, and offer generous free versions packed with helpful features for individuals and small teams. Take advantage of these free plans to organize tasks, communicate, customize views, and track progress without paying.

    Which is the best project management software?

    The "best" software depends on your needs and preferences. Top options highlighted in the article include ClickUp for robust functionality, Trello for visual boards, Asana for straightforward communication, Hive for simplicity, and Airtable for customization flexibility. Test 2-3 options using free plans to see which platform feels most intuitive for your workflow.

    Which app is best for making project work?

    Apps like ClickUp, Trello, and Asana make organizing project work simple by allowing you to create task lists, categorize based on status like "To Do" or "In Progress", assign tasks to team members, set due dates, mark milestones and add helpful details directly within each task. This level of functionality streamlines project work immensely.

    What is the best free project timeline tool?

    For free timeline creation, TeamGantt offers an easy way to build task lists with due dates that automatically populate visual Gantt chart timelines. Trello also facilitates simple timeline views through its calendar Power-Up. For more advanced timelines, ClickUp allows multiple customizable timeline views like traditional Gantt, calendar, sprint, and more.

    What is the best calendar for project management free? For free calendars integrated with project management, Trello's calendar power-up provides a helpful high-level snapshot tied to your board's tasks and due dates. Asana also offers a basic calendar view for free. For even more robust calendars, ClickUp offers customizable sprint, timeline, and schedule views along with calendar integrations.

    What is the best way to keep track of projects?

    The best way to track projects is to use project management software like ClickUp, Trello, or Asana. These tools allow you to organize all tasks, deadlines, team communications, files, status updates, and important project details in structured systems purpose-built to help you stay organized and aligned as work progresses. Keeping everything in one centralized place is key.

    What is online project management software?

    Online project management software refers to web-based platforms and tools (rather than desktop software) that allow individuals and teams to plan projects, create tasks, set due dates and milestones, assign work, track progress, share files, and communicate with collaborators online. Popular examples covered in the article include options like ClickUp, Trello, Asana, and more. The benefit of online pm software is accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, smooth sharing/updating abilities across teams, and avoiding version or device conflicts.












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