Top 20 Must Have Tools For Freelancers

Being the freelancer means having the freedom to be your own boss, subordinate, cleaner and accountant. So for the price of having the freedom to decide when to wake up or when to take your vacation you must master many skills that you haven’t thought of before.

Top 20 Must Have Tools For Freelancers

Thankfully, there are many websites and software that can help you in the never-ending process of becoming better and more efficient.

As an experienced freelancer, I sincerely believe that these amazing tools will make you the most desired and productive professional in your field.

Write Like a Wall Street Journal Pro

Many of you have already realized that having the gift of writing well can pay off. But even if you aren’t making a living doing translations or writing content, working for yourself will most likely require a lot of writing anyway: presenting yourself and your services, crafting business proposals, compiling briefs – all this is something you will have to do daily.

So here are the tools that will help you master and perfect your writing skills:

1. DarkRoom for PC or Calmly Writer (online)

DarkRoom

One of the biggest challenges you face when writing is staying away from distractions and focusing solely on your text. These software creations virtually turn your computer into a typing machine and let nothing steal your mind from the fun of writing long sentences and endless amounts of letters.

A little personal hint: Even though these apps are quite more functional than their other counterparts, I still advise that you use Word or Pages to format the text to perfection.

2. Strict WorkFlow

Strict WorkFlow

Having a fresh brain is crucial for good quality writing. This add-on doesn’t only block all the distracting Internet websites that steal your focus, it also sets you on the right working cycle track: work for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break (so-called Pomodoro productivity technique).

Working like this you a) break your task into tangible parts to constantly feel the progress achieved and b) develop a regular working schedule that becomes your habit.

3. Readability

Readability

Reading long articles like this one isn’t the only wordish thing you will have to consume on a daily basis. We all know that to stay wanted on the market and aggressively pursue new clients you will need to be up-to-date with modern trends and skills.

This software will make any big text (be it an encyclopedia or a client tender invitation) more pleasant to your eyes and attractive to your brain.

4. Controlled multi-tab browsing or TooManyTabs (Chrome)

TooManyTabs

Proper research is the basis of a good text, however, having too many tabs is a bad habit we all tend to give in to. These add-ons restrict the number of tabs you can open at one time (as in case with Controlled multi-tab browsing add-on) or allow you to review them all in one place and put the least relevant ones into the reading list for later.

Manage Your Projects Like Steve Jobs

The quality of your work and your reputation gave you the courage to try working on your own, but the more business you get (which I hope will happen to you sooner than you except), the more complicated it becomes to manage it. How to set pricing policy? How to manage subcontractors? How to position your services?

It will become a lot easier to deal with all these concerns thanks to these tools:

5. US Small Business Administration Learning Center

US Small Business Administration Learning Center

There is a long list of courses and study materials for freelancers that teach you how to run your business effectively. Why I personally like it is that it’s short enough to manage while working like crazy, yet only practical things and quick solutions can be found here.

Browsing these online materials you will learn how to pitch clients and have them pay you in desired amounts, how to fight competitors, find good contractors and many more useful self-employed management things.

6. Rescue Time

Rescue Time

The app allows you to analyze and improve your productivity. This is important if you want to know what “steals” your time from work and how many hours you spend on each project for smart invoicing.

Only a week after installing it, I was shocked at what websites took over 10% of my working day and had to give up the projects that cost me less than $5 per one invested hour. It can also serve as a good productivity control tool to monitor your contractors.

7. Telegram

Telegram

Telegram is a great solution for quick and effective communication between your team members. It allows you to chat, share files or raw program parts and synchronizes with all devices you use: phone, tablet and computer.

It is a great alternative to Skype, which can act out on the mobile devices and Viber or Whatsapp, that don’t work in all the countries.

8. Chrome to Phone (Chrome) or Site to Phone (Mozilla)

Site to Phone

Having the flexibility to work wherever and whenever you feel like is an unbeatable plus of freelancing. With these apps you can easily send all your working tabs to your mobile device and keep on reading it on the way to the meeting or in bed.

9. Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk

This is a truly smart to-do tool, which will never let you miss a thing. It synchronizes with your mail and all mobile devices and even comes up with a task-specific schedule for you.

When it comes to to-do lists, two things I suggest to keep in mind: 1) make sure the app synchronizes with all your devices and 2) insist that all the team members use the same software.

Keep Your Finances Under Close Control

When a couple of years ago I decided to quit a well-paying job, one of my friends told me “Congratulations! You are a freelancer now – you don’t have a paycheck to live to each month… that is if you have any income at all”. Relying on yourself only for monthly income can be a good and a bad thing at the same time. The bad thing is that your money is not only yours anymore – there are a bunch of bills and third-party services to pay, such as website subscriptions, web hosting and etc. Plus, even after executing the project with flying colors, you won’t get paid until you bill the client properly.

So unless you are willing to pay for the outsourcing, financial accounting should become your best friend from now on.

10. Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting

This software for small entrepreneurs is great in terms of invoicing your clients, keeping track of project expenses (and your personal expenditures as well!) and predicting profits. It is easy to use and has all the necessary functions to make you a fully functional business, yet not to overwhelm your mind with unnecessary accounting stuff.

11. Shake

Shake

This tool will make your introduction into contract drafting much easier and stress-free. The program works with both pre-existing contracts, as well as allows you draft a completely new text together with your team or clients.

12. LegalZoom

LegalZoom

I am assuming if you are reading this article, you already have some experience in freelancing and decided to keep going down this adventurous road. So at this point you will have to organize your affairs in official manner, and LegalZoom can clarify a lot of issues regarding that.

Become a Web Specialist for a Change

You might not be a web developer, but if you don’t have a website or a blog, you might as well don’t exist on the professional market at all. A simple WordPress website is quite easy and cheap to manage, provided you know how to do it right and avoid mistakes that take a lot of time and money to fix.

That is why I suggest you master the following tools:

13. Squarespace

Squarespace

You will never believe the kind of websites you can do here having zero programming background! It allows you to choose from thousands of predefined templates, set a special domain name, give you tips and suggestions on search engine optimization and much more.

14. AutoPilot

AutoPilot

Having a well-known Google Analytics tool integrated into your website allows you to track the users behavior on your platforms. Once you know that, Autopilot offers you a wide range of marketing tools to widen the audience, guide them all the way to the desired outcome (purchase or subscribe button) and get larger publicity.

If you are wondering how to unite your SEO, social media and blogging efforts into one big sale pitch, then Autopilot is the place for you to be.

15. Web Designer Depot

Web Designer Depot

This is an interesting blog that is full of useful materials on how to make your digital presence more functional and appealing. You can benefit from the most recent cases, inspiring themes and live chat with experienced (and not so) professionals in this area.

16. Google Voice

Google Voice

If you expect to be contacted by the phone, this tool lets you be connected to your customers anywhere. Easily set up a toll-free or local phone number, record custom greeting or automated message and receive calls directly to your existing mobile!

17. Google Alerts

Google Alerts

This tool is a powerful business helper when it comes to monitoring what other people (customers and competitors) are saying about you. Smart freelancers also use this tool to monitor their clients before submitting the proposal or to identify people who you want to be talking about you.

18. Mailer Lite

Mailer Lite

Once you have your website up and running, it’s high time to start hitting your potential clients with email marketing. Mailer Lite is a great alternative to well-known AWeber: it knows a lot about email marketing and can send out any kind of newsletter or special offer almost automatically.

Design Like the Best Ogilvy Minds Work for You

… Because appearances are everything, right?

19. Proppy

Proppy

Never underestimate the power of professional and attractive proposals. Even if it’s just for a $100 project. Even if it is going into the mail of a long-time client. Using this software having polished new business bids is pleasant and doesn’t take much time at all.

20. Rafal Tomal Design Blog

Rafal Tomal Design Blog

This blog of a practicing designer and web developer is an endless source of inspiration and practical solutions on how to convey a specific message with your design and convert your audience to desired action.

All these tools represent just a little bid of things that you can use in order to be more effective and demanded by clients. Not all of them are free, some require very little investment in terms of return you get and you know already that every sustainable business model must bring profits, right? And what are your secret tools that make your daily freelancing life easier and better?

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2 Comments

  1. Nice toolkit!
    I would also recommend some tool which works great for influencers. It’s multi functional, works for pr, marketing, social selling, community building, analyzes and also it’s awesome way for finding job offers!
    It’s called BRAND24 and it is real time internet monitoring and analyzes solution which gives instant access to all public mentions on the Internet. Iw allows you to track and engage online conversations relevant to your business, finding leads, gaining feedback, staying up to date with your niche and managing online reputation. It’s reliable and affordable solution for freelancers, worth trying!

  2. Great write up !! As people all over the world go mobile, it is crucial for every business to understand the behavior of mobile visitors to the website. Thanks to Google Analytics for simplifying the process of identifying the mobile device traffic.

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