As a freelancer you are running your own business and also play every other role in that business. It’s very clear that this lifestyle has its own challenges, because not all of us are born with accounting, time management, marketing or self organizational skills, but the good news is that technology is here to help.
Here is a selected list of essential online tools that you can use not only to set afloat, but to succeed and thrive in your freelance business – whatever your profession may be.
#1 FINDING A GIG
Upwork is a great place to find more clients, and to run and grow your own freelance business. Upwork’s sophisticated algorithms highlight projects you’re a great fit for. Upwork is not free, but the service gets cheaper as you earn more.
Create a free employer or freelancer account in minutes. Employers post jobs — Freelancers create profiles and submit quotes to open jobs. Employers review the quotes, communicate with the freelancers, and choose who they want to hire. Creating an account is free. However, you can purchase a membership to get more perks.
#2 SELF ORGANIZATION / PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Harvest is a web-based time tracking tool that offers invoicing and timesheet features for small businesses and freelancers. Key features include time and expense management, team management, project management, scheduling and invoicing. Harvest is free for one person with 2 projects.
Tomato Timer was inspired by the Pomodoro (a time management) Technique and created for a more productive way to work and study.
It comprises of the following basic steps:
Decide on the task at hand --> Set the Pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes --> Work on the task until the timer expires --> Record with an X --> Take a Short Break (5 minutes) --> Every four "pomodoros" take a Long Break (10 minutes)
It is completely free.
Freedom blocks distracting websites and apps. Start sessions on-the-fly or schedule your Freedom time in advance. Plan out sessions that recur daily or weekly. With Freedom, you'll make productivity a habit.
#3 PROMOTION / MARKETING
Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform that helps you share email and ad campaigns with clients, customers, and other interested parties. Thei approach to marketing focuses on healthy list management practices, beautifully designed campaigns, and powerful data analysis. With mailchimp you can create beautifully designed emails, landing pages, postcards, signup forms, Google remarketing and Facebook ads and more...
Mailchimp offers three pricing plans: Forever Free, Monthly and Pay As You Go.
A Facebook Page is your professional face on the internet. They're a way of building a community around your business. Pretty much every business on Facebook has a Page.
Your Page also displays any updates you post about your business, and any links, photos or videos you share that your fans might find useful. Optionally, you can allow your fans to post updates to your Page.
When someone clicks Like on your Facebook Page, they become your fan. From then on, updates you post to your Page can appear in their news feed.
Advantages of Pages for Freelancers
• Pages are public, so anyone can find them, and anyone can like them. This makes them ideal if you're looking to spread your marketing net as wide as possible.
• You can pay to promote your Page using Facebook Ads, and you can target those ads to a specific demographic. You can also pay to target your updates from your Page to your network.
• You're a business, and people on Facebook expect businesses to have a Page.
• You can choose a vanity URL for your page (facebook.com/youchoose). That's good for your SEO.
• Pages provide in-depth metrics on audience engagement. You can work out what your audience wants, and do more of it
Wix’s ads seem to be all over the internet nowadays. They provide a drag and drop website building platform with all the tools and features you need to build an online presence. What’s great in wix that they keep complex techy processes behind the curtain keeping your website building experience simple, fun and code-free. And it’s free, unless you want to use one of their premium services.
#4 STORAGE AND FILE MANAGEMENT
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. It allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files. In addition to a website, Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Google Drive encompasses Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, an office suite that permits collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Files created and edited through the office suite are saved in Google Drive.
This variation on the cloud storage service not only offers 10 GB of free storage (with the ability to get more space free or via purchase), but it also adds plenty of other nice features to the mix, including:
• Encryption (subscription service required for this feature);
• Mobile apps for Android and iOS;
• Linux, Mac, and Windows desktop clients;
• Easy file/folder sharing;
• Built-in audio/video players;
• No file size limitation;
• Sync any folder from the desktop;
• Panel integration for most desktops; and
• Automatic file manager integration.
pCloud for desktop is available for Windows, Linux and Mac and also for Android and iOS if you want to use it on your phone. Basic pCloud accounts (Free Forever) come with 10 GB of free space. If you ever run out of space, you can upgrade your account with a monthly or yearly subscription to a pCloud Premium (500 GB) or pCloud Premium Plus (2 TB) plan.
#5 REMOTE WORKING
As a freelancer, one of the most frustrating things you deal with is the process of finding a decent work space when you’re on the run or in a foreign city. Often times, freelancers show up to a cafe that seems promising for the work day, yet the wifi is virtually unusable, or there is nowhere to plug in. The WHA app helps you to find the nearest spot with stable WiFi connection where you can work hard. The app can be downloaded for free.
It is very similar to the Work Hard Anywhere app. When you don’t feel like working from home or your Airbnb room, Workfrom shows you the best café places, pubs or co-working spaces with strong WiFi connections.
Modern global teams have awesome people spread across multiple timezones. Often it gets tricky to remember what time it is where your teammates are. It is free.
Set your focus for the day. Momentum is a browser extension that helps you keep focused on your work until it is done. Every time you click another tab, it pops up with a personal dashboard featuring a to-do list, inspirational quote, the weather and the time.
Imagine a white board, filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task for you and your team. Now imagine that each of those sticky notes has photos, attachments from other data sources like BitBucket or Salesforce, documents, and a place to comment and collaborate with your teammates. Now imagine that you can take that whiteboard anywhere you go on your smartphone, and can access it from any computer through the web. That's Trello!
This is the end of our list. It was created to give you some ideas of helpful online tools and apps that are out there. This list was inspired by longer lists in this subject, that you are encouraged to check out:
Thank you for reading through this post! Please stay tuned for more to come.