Top Must-Have Tools for Every Freelancer
A freelancer is a self-employed individual who offers services to clients. Almost every business need can be provided by a freelancer including project management, marketing, graphic design, account/bookkeeping, etc. Freelancers work with organizations, non-profits, and even government agencies. Basically, freelancing work comes from all over the employment sector. Some freelancers focus on specific niche skills such as copywriting while others focus on general areas.
In 2019, more than 57 million Americans were freelancing and if a recent study conducted by Upwork is anything to go by, more than half of Americans will be joining the bandwagon in the near future. It's easy to see the appeal of freelancing as a career. In addition to being a fast and affordable way to become your own boss, freelancing brings flexibility and convenience into your professional life.
But freelancing is far from perfect and to excel at it, you are going to need some help.
Freelancing can be a demanding profession. In addition to the endless list of administrative tasks, you have to deal with every day, staying on top of deadlines when working with multiple clients can be challenging. Fortunately, there’s a vast array of freelancing tools you can use to organize yourself and perform these tasks quickly. These tools will help you keep organized, observe deadlines, create
contracts, and chase invoices to ensure that you get paid on time.
Communication is the cornerstone of every successful business. Freelancing, like any other business, requires constant communication with clients and colleagues. Having strong, consistent communication channels will help you maintain contact with your client and communicate with minimal distractions. Here are top communications tools to consider when freelancing.
Skype is one of the most popular video and voice calling app. It's free to make voice and video calls to other Skype users. Skype is convenient, affordable, and a good option for freelancers as it allows them to communicate with potential clients face-to-face when interviewing for new gigs. Yeah, even freelancers have to interview for work and this video calling app comes in pretty handy for that. However, a lot of people complain about the quality of calls on the Microsoft owned app.
When it comes to freelancing, Slack is a great time saver. Slack is particularly important when you are working on a project that requires a collaborative effort, providing both private and public chat channels for team-oriented communication. Slack brings team communication and collaboration into one place, allowing teams to get more work done. Your clients can add you to their in-office channel if they use
Slack inhouse. There are also channels that can help network and market your skills but you need to be invited to join.
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As a freelancer, being in control of your projects is beyond important. Productivity tools will help you optimize the time you spend on projects. There are plenty of online resources you can use to keep track of time spent on various projects, take notes during client meetings, create contracts and invoices, and organize your to-do lists. Here are some of the top productivity tools freelancers should consider using.
Creating contracts is one of the most challenging tasks freelancers have to perform. Bonsai is a productivity tool that helps you create ironclad contracts for any type of freelance work, and then e-sign them. You can create contracts free of charge.
Bonsai also helps freelancers create invoices and get paid online for just a dollar. Bonsai uses technology to streamline the process of creating contracts and can also be used to send invoices. Creating contracts is free but sending an invoice will cost you one dollar.
In freelancing, you need documents. You need slides to pitch your ideas for prospective clients, spreadsheets to create a budget, et cetera. Also known as Google Apps, G Suite is a set of cloud-based productivity apps powered by search engine giant Google. G Suite is designed to help you find the best way to manage your time, communicate, and share files online to improve productivity., and more.
There are multiple platforms within G Suite — including apps such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar — all designed to help you stay productive and organized.
Harvest is a cloud-based tool offering online invoicing services but also doubles up as a time tracking tool. You can use Harvest to create and integrate invoices, including hours, expenses, and project details. Timesheet features on Harvest include scheduling, project management, team management, and time tracking. As a freelancer, using Harvest will give you insights into how you spend every hour of a work filled day and improve service delivery.
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Every business needs to take security measures to protect its clients’ data as well as other sensitive information. As a freelancer, you are also in charge of IT security in your office. You are responsible for ensuring that all the information in your possession is protected from online threats at all times. For that, you’ll need some help. Here are some security tools every freelancer should have in their arsenal.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a tool that every freelancer needs. Adding a VPN to your freelancing tools is an excellent way to ensure that your clients’ data, as well as your personal information, is secure.
Freelancers could be using free public Wi-Fi quite often, which will expose them to cyber risks like MITM attacks. In comes the need for a VPN. What a VPN does is it encrypts the traffic passing through your local network for greater privacy online. A VPN with a no-log policy leaves little to no digital traces online and therefore less material for would-be hackers.
A password manager is a computer program intended to help you store and manage online credentials. In addition to helping you store login information, a password manager app will also help you generate strong, unique passwords for your online accounts. Using strong passwords is essential for protecting user data online. With a password manager app, you will be able to login to websites you use automatically without actually typing the password. You only have to remember the password to
your password manager app.
Project Management Tools
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When you are a freelancer working with multiple clients, losing track of things such as deadlines is easy. Project management tools provide a way for freelancers to track progress and manage time for successful projects. As a freelancer, these resources give you an effective way to deliver projects on time and organize tasks.
Use these freelancing tools to manage your projects effectively.
Time is a valuable resource in freelancing. This is a well-developed time management resource that helps you plan your daily tasks, allowing you to monitor your hourly work. You can customize your tasks by client or project and set up notifications. Toggl creates charts that can help you track your time and avoid time-wasting or taking too much time on a single task. With features such as idle detection and auto tracker, Toggl helps you make sure that you are not wasting time and complete projects within set deadlines.
Working on multiple projects simultaneously can be taxing. Trello is an excellent personal organizer and project management tool that can make your work easier. If you are a list maker, you can use the application to organize any tasks you have and save time. It helps you create lists and cards you can use to manage your projects and track progress. When working as a freelancer, sometimes you will need to chip in with your client’s team or collaborate with other professionals in your line of work.
Trello is one of the best collaborative tools out there.
If you are a freelancer with a team to manage, Asana is the ideal management tool for you. Asana combines several freelancing tools needed to get work done more efficiently into one, streamlined application. Asana will help you keep your team on track, increase productivity, boost efficiency, and support better communication with your team. Asana organizes your team’s conversations and tasks in one easy access area keeping you from wasting time with multiple emails; quite useful in a
Freelancing is a flexible and convenient way to make money, but it’s not without its fair share of challenges. A career in freelancing can be both rewarding and fulfilling, but you’ve got to have the right tools. Being a freelancer is akin to running a one-person business, which can be demanding and frustrating. Luckily, there is a myriad of freelancing tools designed to make things a little easier for freelancers. These freelancing resources will help you improve client relationships, enhance workflow,
and maintain demand.
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