As a freelancer, although you are often in business by yourself, you don’t work alone. You’ll have clients that you deal with on a regular basis, and you’ll frequent co-working spaces and cafes when you need to get out of the house.
To help maximise your time with all these interactions, you need to make sure that you’re getting your work done and not frittering away time because you’re suddenly around other people!
As a long-time freelancer myself, there are certain tools that I use in my business that allow me to get things done. But I’m also a huge fan of cool, new stuff… I love shiny, bright objects, and whenever Apple releases a new iPad or iPhone, I’m green with envy for those that grab the first iterations out!
But I digress…
If you’re freelancing, there are tools you SHOULD be using in your business and then there are tools that are just plain fun to have. I’m going to cover the five essentials, then I’m going to follow up with some fun tools that will help (even if just a little) you with your business, albeit on a smaller scale.
Five Essential Freelancing Tools
As a freelancer, you need to make sure that you have your butt covered when it comes to all the legalese stuff, like client contracts, disclaimers and copyright information. This site is dedicated these types of legal documents with access to free information and templates for you to use. If you need customised options, there is a small fee to pay.
Wave apps provides some great tools that include free invoicing software and mobile apps for invoicing on the go. They offer a great accounting software program that is cloud based and allows you to manage your incomings and outgoings, something you should be doing right from the start (but you’ve got this covered, right?!). If you’re just starting out, Wave apps is a good option as there are no upfront costs, but you will be subject to paid advertising while using their apps plus marketing emails. You can remove these by upgrading to their paid model.
It doesn’t matter what type of computer you have, whether a Mac or Windows machine, Chrome is the best browser to use as a freelancer. You can customise it with so many different plugins, that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it (as I often do…). A couple of plugin’s that you’ll find beneficial once you’ve got Chrome installed:
- Share As Image
- Awesome Screenshot
- Evernote Web Clipper
- Save to Pocket
Those are just some of the plugins I use on my Chrome browser daily. You’ll find many more in the Chrome Store.
If you’ve got a blog, then you need CoSchedule. I’ve been using this now for over 12 months and it has helped me keep on track with my blogging schedule as well as ensuring that my blog posts are shared across multiple social media platforms on an ongoing basis. It is one of the best content management systems I’ve seen and I love that it integrates directly into my WordPress sites. Once you’ve tried this, you’ll never go back…
5. Google Drive/Dropbox
This really comes down to personal preference. I use both Google Drive and Dropbox, but in different ways. I use Google Drive to share documents with my VA and other freelancers I work with and I use Dropbox to store all my projects and images on, plus it acts as a backup for my WordPress websites. Both options provide free storage space, but it’s well worth it to upgrade to larger storage space. I love the ease with which both are accessible from any computer and being able to manage workflow without being reliant on a single computer to do so, is where the benefit lies in using these two storage options.
If you’d like to see over 101 Tools, Apps and Programs that I use or have used in the past in my freelancing business, check out the OFS Guide on the same topic!
Ok, so now that’s the ‘boring’ but essential list out of the way. Let’s look at some cool stuff!
Fun Tools for Freelancing
This tool is specifically for Trello users. It will make your dashboard look ‘pretty’ as well as providing you with a quick overview of how productive you’ve been. You can trial it to see how it works for you. Very cool!
While not necessarily directly related to freelancing, it could save you from potential embarrassment or from losing a client! Clear helps you find social media posts that you don’t want to stay available in the world wide web!
If you love comics, then you’ll love this idea. By signing up to this site, you’ll get bite-sized comics delivered to your inbox daily, to help lighten the mood and bring some fun into your life.
Struggling to get out of bed when your alarm goes off? This Android app will help by displaying beautiful photos from Instagram as your alarm goes off, so you can start your day off with something beautiful to look at!
Taken a selfie and looking for a way to add a lil’ somethin’, somethin’? This is the app for you. Add a glitch effect to any photo and then share it like crazy all over the web… or not. Be careful with this one.
There you have it, five essentials and five non-essential tools for your freelancing business.
If you’d like more details on the Top 10 tools I use in my freelancing business on a daily basis, grab the OFS Guide – 101+ Tools, Apps & Programs to Run a Successful Freelancing Business.
Do you have a tool that you can’t live without? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a link to it in the comments below and tell us why you can’t live without it..