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Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by Daniella
Whether you’re a brand new freelancer or you’ve already started working a couple of freelance projects and are still looking for the right tools to help you do your work, this guide will help you.
Freelancing can be a challenging business to run with several client projects, marketing yourself, admin work on top of your day-to-day, and making sure you price yourself accurately as you continue to grow.
But freelancing is supposed to be this new type of work that has given you time freedom and location freedom as a remote side hustle or full-time career. It does until you get so overloaded with projects you’ve taken on without organizing your time and schedule.
For me, I need tools that will help me stay organized, cater to the way I work, and minimize distractions.
These 25 tools are among the best that I recommend to new freelancers. Most of these are free to use or have free trials available to try them out.
25 Best Tools for Freelancers in Their Day-to-Day Operations
These tools can help you stay on top of it all while staying sane, and without the extra fatigue of having to use more tools online than you may already. Many of these integrate with the tools you already use such as Google suite and Slack.
From invoicing software to time trackers and productivity apps, these simple solutions will help you take the stress out of being self employed.
1. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is great because it’s a digital calendar that you can sync between all your devices. You can even add zoom links to the location to ensure you don’t miss any upcoming meetings.
If you find yourself scheduling meetings consistently, Calendly is a great app. It allows users to schedule a meeting with you based on your availability.
3. Google Drive
Google Drive is essential for those of us who are content creators. We can share drafts of projects with colleagues and editors. It’s a great place to store all our digital content as well.
If you’re using Google Drive, you’ll also want to be using Spinbackup. Spinbackup is a backup server for Google Drive. It just adds one extra layer of protection for your files.
Hunter.io is a great tool if you find yourself hunting down email addresses consistently. It allows you to search websites for email addresses to get in contact with the person you need.
If your freelancing involves managing a team, Slack makes it super easy to communicate with your team, hand out assignments, and check up quickly on projects. You can also integrate Slack with Google Drive to make sharing assignments even easier.
LegalZoom has pre-prepared contracts for freelancers to sign. You can set up LLCs through LegalZoom and ensure your boilerplate contracts are set and ready to go. This is especially helpful if you need a scope of work contract.
Bonsai is an invoicing software. Keeping track of your invoices allows you to estimate your quarterly taxes and get paid on time. You won’t have to spend time tracking down payments and following up with clients, because the invoicing software does it for you.
Another thing freelancers need is a good contract software. HelloSign makes it easy to keep everything in one place and allows both parties to sign digitally.
Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design software. Hosted on the web, Canva offers a variety of templates to help get your creative juices flowing, but everything is completely customizable. Canva has a free and paid version.
Ran by Adobe, Behance is a portfolio-creating website to host your writing or creative designs without needing a full-scale website. It’s a great place to start if you’re just starting out freelancing and don’t have the funds to build a full-scale website.
PayPal is a software that allows freelancers to be paid without needing to provide their bank account information. Paypal has a 1.5 percent fee if you choose to transfer the money immediately, but if you can wait 1-3 business days there is no charge on transfers into your bank account.
Mint is a popular personal finance software that tracks your spending and your net worth. Tracking your money will help set you up well for taxes that you have to pay quarterly.
Freshbooks is an accounting software that helps keep you organized for tax time. And it integrates with over 100 applications, including Slack and Google Drive. It also allows you to do accounting if you pay subcontractors as part of your business model.
Asana is a popular project management software. It allows you to break projects into smaller steps and add timelines to them. It’s great for people who are hyper-organized and need a step-by-step checklist.
Trello reminds me a bit of my post-it note organizational style in college. It’s organized into categories and you put to-do lists in each category. I personally like this app more than Asana, but my mom would disagree and say she’s an avid Asana user.
As a freelancer, you’ll wind up with so many different accounts that it can be hard to keep track of. I solve this problem by using LastPass password manager. I can have unique passwords for each account, but I don’t have to worry about forgetting them. And I can access them from any laptop, in case mine isn’t accessible.
SmarterQueue is a social media manager. But I prefer it over other social media managers because it allows you to queue up an insane amount of posts and then schedule them out for you. It tracks analytics and suggests the time when your posts perform better.
Tailwind is the go-to social media manager for Pinterest and Instagram specifically. It takes the hardest part of social media management and automates it so that you can focus more time on your business.
If you find yourself getting distracted, RescueTime might be the right solution for you. It tracks the time you spend working on your computer to keep you focused. It learns your routines and gives you personalized working goals as well.
Another great tool for time management is StayFocusd. This app limits the time that you can spend on time-wasting sites, like Twitter and Facebook.
If you do any client-facing work, Zoom is a great tool to have. It’s a video conferencing software that can host multiple participants at once. You’ll be able to engage with clients and hold meetings.
If you do any writing whatsoever, Grammarly is essential. Not only does it correct spelling, but it helps scan your work for clarity. And the paid version has a lot of different options to help edit for tone and engagement. In the writing of this article, I’ve corrected 50 mistakes with Grammarly. It’s my number one most-recommended tool.
24. Yoast SEO
Again, this is specific to writers, but if you do any SEO writing, Yoast is going to be your best friend. The software is set up to edit your work for SEO. You can plug in the keywords and have Yoast SEO let you know what you need to change to rank higher in Google without keyword stuffing.
Another writing-specific tool, but essential for SEO writing, KWFinder helps you find ranking keywords for your articles. Those ranked words can help you pitch better articles and engage your editors.
As you are getting your freelancing business up and running, it’s a good feeling to know all of your bases are covered, in terms of your project management, billing, and invoicing. Another great set of tools to utilize are free online courses to learn how to run a business along with other skills you might need, and keeping a little hype file with words of encouragement, affirmations, and hustle quotes to keep you motivated with your new freelance business.
Take some of the uncertainty out of freelancing by using one (or several) of these tools. You’ll feel more in control, and that’s a very valuable asset when you’re working on your own.
What do you think about any of these tools? Have you used any of these?
- 30+ Blogging Tools to Create and Maintain a Profitable Blog
- How I Began Freelance Writing at 15 (+ How You Can Get Started)
- 5 Best Freelance Writing Jobs to Explore Today
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Moriah Chace writes about low-income money and queer culture. Her work has been featured by The Motley Fool and other large media outlets. She has words in Women’s Personal Finance, The Deal Taker, and Live Betr. As a part-time barista and full-time coffee addict, she spends her spare time over-caffeinated fixing up her 1978 Winnebago Itasca and plans to travel around the USA with her dog and two cats after she breathes life into the old soul of an RV.