Use These 30 Tools to Become a Better Freelancer
These 30 tools for freelancers will help you become more a more productive and in-demand freelancer.
Freelancing allows you the freedom to pursue your chosen field and work with clients from all over the world. You are not bound to one location or company. On the flip side, you compete with other freelancers from all over the globe for jobs. So how can you make freelancing less stressful for you and become more productive? There is a simple solution. Utilize these 30 tools for freelancers that our team has compiled to land more jobs and deliver better results. They have helped our global remote team with skill development, time management, and productivity enhancement.
Click the links below, and you will see the benefits to your remote careers as well!
- Skill Enhancement
- Time & Productivity Management
- Communication Tools
- Administrative Support
- Managing Projects
- Managing Finances
- Sources of Inspiration
- Legal Resources
- Backup Storage
- Free Resources
It is crucial to morph your skillset with the changes in your industry in order to stay at the top of your game. To get better at your work, you need to eventually move away from common skills towards specialized ones that are in high demand. Invest in your career by using these skill development resources.
Coursera partners with world-renowned institutions to offer online courses on any topic that you need. You can learn at your own pace by enrolling in their courses, clarify your questions by talking to other learners, get certified, and even earn degrees to enhance your freelancing profile. Critically review your résumé and portfolio, research new trends in your industry, and find out the gaps. Then find free courses on Coursera to improve your weak areas.
Our remote team really likes edX as well. It has partnered with 190+ universities and companies to offer thousands of courses for business professionals. You can improve your current skills or learn something completely different to make your profile more attractive to potential employers.
45 million coding enthusiasts have transformed their careers by learning how to code or enhancing their skills through Codecademy. You can join for free to learn web development, programming, data science, design, and game development. Their teaching module is ‘learning by doing’, so you write and test real, working code and get immediate feedback. Their coaches, advisors, and graduates are also available to help you through any difficult sections. Best of all, they have honed their system over the past 7 years for best results.
Upskill yourself by using this LinkedIn resource. It offers courses taught by experts with real-world experience that range from business and technology to design. With an affordable membership allowing you to access more than 15,000 courses on any of your devices, LinkedIn Learning is a very good tool for skill development. Start with their free trial month and their most popular courses to get a better feel of how you can upskill yourself.
Time & Productivity Management
You need a lot of self-discipline and motivation to freelance, since you will not work in an office environment with predefined schedules and procedures. These time and productivity management tools for freelancers will help you stay on track and judge your performance, and even help transparently show your clients how much time you spent on their project for billing purposes.
This is a very easy-to-use time tracking tool for managing your personal or professional schedules. You can divide up your day by projects, clients, and tasks, and Toggl will prompt you when you are idle. Not only that, it will let you know which project or client is bringing in the most revenue and which habit or task is eating up most of your time. Since you can use it on any device and it syncs real time, you can start a task on your phone and finish it up on your laptop, without losing any tracked time.
RescueTime runs in the background of your laptop to track time spent on different projects or tasks. You get a report for the day that shows you exactly how you spent your time. By eliminating any unnecessary tasks and prioritizing the important ones, you can become more productive and focused.
This free time tracking and management software is designed specifically to help freelancers manage clients. You can track the billable hours for each project separately, transparently show them to your clients, and even generate invoices through Paymo. The free plan allows you to generate three invoices and you can purchase the add-on to create and send more.
Using Kanban boards to simulate workflows, Paymo allows you to keep track of deadlines and prioritize tasks. Our remote team really likes the feature that allows you to attach the relevant files for each project because it keeps them better organized.
As a one-person operation, you need some help to meet deadlines, remain productive, complete pending tasks, and manage your time effectively. Thrive promises to serve as your wingman, so you can take on even more tasks and improve your earnings. You get timesheets with Thrive and invoicing is as simple as clicking a button that autofills project details for you.
Use these free communication tools for freelancers to collaborate easily with clients and other team members as well as build your professional network.
Chat with people all over the world, share files instantly, make audio and video calls, and set up conference calls through the free Skype app. This will help you communicate real-time with clients, other team members, and vendors. You can even get the paid Skype subscription plan to call mobile phones and landline numbers all over the world.
MailChimp’s free plan allows you to engage with up to 2000 contacts. You can build you professional network and, more importantly, update potential clients about new services that you offer and your availability for work. Their user-friendly interface, pre-built templates, automation tools, and reporting makes them the best email marketing tool for you. Start off with their free plan till you get your bearings.
The real-time sync feature and editing capabilities provided by Google’s web-based office suite apps are nothing to scoff at. You can collaborate with team members and clients using these apps. Use Forms to collect project information, manage data in Sheets, create reports on Docs, and use Slides for sales pitches. These apps are free with your Gmail account, which makes them ideal for freelancers.
As a freelancer, you have to work with clients from all over the globe, each in a different time zone. Don’t spend your time keeping track of all these differences. Simply look up the time here!
Use these simple project management tools to keep track of the deliverables, timelines, and feedback for each task. Since they show you the full picture at a glance, you will become considerably more productive. These serve as great tools for freelancers and even in-house teams.
You will love Trello whether you are working alone or with a team of digital nomads or remote workers. It is a Kanban-style project management app that helps you visually organize tasks, deadlines, and files. You can collaborate with and give updates to a team as well. Organized by cards, boards, and lists, it is a perfect tool for brainstorming a new idea or managing an ongoing project.
Manage your personal and professional tasks with Evernote and become more detail-oriented. You can keep track of projects and tasks on any of your devices and both online and offline. Evernote allows you to keep notes, pictures, videos, and voice notes of your ideas.
Freelancing gives you more chances of greater earning, but you need to keep track of all revenue, handle your business expenses and file your own taxes. There is no need to feel overwhelmed. We’ve found these 4 tools for freelancers to make management of your finances a piece of cake!
Keep your business finances in order by using Mint. Its budgeting tool allows you to set expense limits and sends you alerts when you are about to exceed them. You get push notifications when a bill is coming due and graphs show you how you’re managing your cash flow. It even gives you suggestions based on your budget, allows for instant scheduling of payments, and helps manage your credit score.
This verified paperless organizer will keep track of your receipts and generate expense reports. Simply scan your receipts, and Shoeboxed will digitize, verify, and archive them in one secure location. You can send expense reports to clients and get IRS-recognized receipts for tax filing, so you don’t have to manually input any data.
Record your expenses, make invoices, and balance your books using this free financial management tool. You can customize and track your invoices, and even accept credit card payments. By facilitating your clients, payment collections become much faster.
You can create and email professional invoices through PayPal for clients anywhere in the world. They can pay using their credit cards even if they do not have PayPal accounts. You can even accept payments over the phone with their Virtual Terminal tool. Best of all, you’ll be keeping track of all invoices and payments in one place.
Sources of Inspiration
Do you get mental blocks and need inspiration for getting the creative juices flowing again? We love these two sources:
Get free advice on daily practices to help you stay productive and brilliant in your personal life and at work. Author Todd Henry talks to authors, inspirational leaders, and artists to get their insights on how to cultivate creativity and stay positive.
Whatever your field of expertise, 99U aims to creatively inspire you to succeed at your goals. Create your own signature niche by following the experiences of these trendsetters, so you no longer need to compete for freelance jobs but stand out for the extra value you offer. You can learn everything from perfecting your sales pitch to developing innovative ideas.
The Freelance Union has vetted this tool to help you stay protected in the global marketplace, where you may have to deal with unscrupulous clients.
This free resource helps you create binding legal agreements to protect your interests in your freelance gigs. You can customize the contract by adding or removing clauses and notes. You also get alerts when the contract is reviewed and signed. The best feature is generating invoices based on the terms of your contract that you can simply approve and send. Not only can both parties e-sign the contract, you can set up a self-destruct time, so only contracts signed within the stipulated deadline are valid.
Your biggest fear must be losing your work data due to viruses or accidentally erasing it from your systems. Eliminate this vulnerability altogether by backing up your work on a secure cloud storage platform or using an appropriate backup tool. We’ve rounded up three of the best options for you:
You get up to 15 GB of free drive storage with each new Gmail account, where you can store all kinds of files—photos, videos, drawings, etc. These can be synced real time across all your devices. With Google Drive, you don’t have to email entire files to clients any longer, simply share the files with them to view, download, and edit directly on the Drive. If you need more storage space, you can simply purchase an upgrade.
Do you want a cheap, secure, long-term storage option for your important data? Amazon Glacier is compliant with strict data regularity standards and uses three forms of encryption, therefore your data will remain private and secure. You can even set retrieval options based on how actively you wish to access your data. Store all your project work and data here, paying only for what you need, with no upfront costs.
This amazing WordPress plugin allows you to back-up your website and your clients’ websites, so you can quickly restore them if a bug or glitch brings things crashing down. It also makes site migration incredibly easy; you only have to import the new site and voila, you are ready to go!
You will find tons of free resources, but those that deliver significant value are harder to find. We’ve listed 5 of our favorite ones below:
Are you outside and just ran out of mobile data? Use Free WiFi Finder to locate the closest place with a WiFi connection that you won’t have to pay for, so you’re never out of touch with your clients. What is the cost? At most the cost of a small drink or a bite to eat.
Make quick graphics using Canva’s vast library of freemium templates, elements and photographs. You can collaborate with teams, share designs, upload logos, choose brand colors, and decide on default font styles. Our remote team love Canva for designing brochures, social media posts, flyers, marketing documents, and much more.
Freepik is an amazing source of free vectors, illustrations, photos, PSDs, and icons that you can use in your work. Simply credit the author of the graphic or pay a few dollars to upgrade to a premium account and you can download hundreds of graphics for personal or commercial use. Their database is updated daily, so Freepik is an amazing resource for graphics to jazz up your work.
Creative Commons issues free creative commons licenses with some usage conditions. You will find an incredible collection of audio, photos, videos, scientific works, and educational resources that you can use in your projects and designs. Most of these can be used for free by simply attributing the authors. You can share your own work with the community too.
Find icons, textures, templates, and photos that are free to use personally or commercially, without attribution.
And Co has compiled a few directories of free videos, photos, templates, and much more that can make your work much easier.
These 30 tools for freelancers can free up a lot of your time and enhance your freelancing profile considerably. Comment below to let us know about any other tools that you have used and found helpful in your freelance work!