Whether you’re brand new to freelancing or you’ve been at it for years, the indy lifestyle can be a wild ride. Luckily, there are plenty of freelance tools available that’ll help you get started and stay organized every day. From designing your own website to managing your finances, these 10 tools will help you tackle every step of the freelancing process.
Design Your Own Website
If you’re just starting out, check out Weebly, one of the easiest tools available to create a professional-looking website. Its drag-and-drop visual design interface is intuitive and fun to use. And the free version is perfect if you’re not yet ready to invest in the services of a professional website designer. Plus, you can easily integrate interactive tools — like contact forms to communicate with your audience and e-commerce elements to sell your products or services — directly from your site.
Plan Your Day
Got an unwieldy to-do list? Looking for a way to compile written and digital lists in one place? TeuxDeux is the answer. It’s a visually appealing, simple-yet-functional to-do app — perfect for those who are a little obsessed with making lists (like me). Checking things off is even more satisfying on this platform, which the creators describe as being “as easy to use as a piece of paper.” Perfect.
Keep Your Email Under Control
Email is one of those things we often tend to overlook. Well, until you’ve got tens of thousands of emails clogging up your inbox and your Gmail account is suddenly running out of space (guilty).
Recently, I learned that Gmail has an application that helps you stay on top of your emails — and even reach that elusive “inbox zero.” It’s called Inbox by Gmail. The app organizes your inbox for you, grouping together common and customizable categories like promos, purchases and trips. It’ll even show you email highlights to save you from opening an email and digging for the important information. You can also add reminders to your inbox so they appear alongside incoming emails.
If you’re like me and always feel like you’re a lifetime away from inbox zero, this one can tool can help you get rid of that overwhelming feeling and gain control.
Maintain Your Social Media
As a freelancer, having a strong social presence can be vital to your success. But when your various different social accounts start to pile up, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, you can keep track of them all in one place with Hootsuite. Use the platform to set up side-by-side social streams and schedule posts across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more channels. In the eyes of social media specialists, this is an industry-leading social media tool — so it’s indispensable if you’re in charge of your clients’ social media posts. The free plan lets you add up to three social profiles, and provides basic reporting and message scheduling. You can also scale up with Pro, Business and Enterprise plans.
The one social channel for which you can’t leverage Hootsuite to schedule posts is Instagram — but that’s where Grum comes in. You can schedule and track upcoming Instagram posts through their no-frills interface on a web platform or on mobile. This tools allows you to post to multiple Instagram accounts at once, add a caption and comment simultaneously and track the number of hashtags you have left to use.
Level-Up Your Communications
The key to long-term success for any freelancer is continuing to pull in new clients. Make your job a little easier with Proposify. This app lets you send professional proposals to potential clients to help you close the deal, sign a contract and get working on your new projects faster. You can even collaborate with a team on proposal content. The app notifies you every time your client interacts with the proposal, allowing you to avoid wasting time sending unnecessary follow-up emails.
Manage Your Finances
Shoeboxed is a great solution for receipt scanning and expense tracking. When you run your own business, keeping track of your expenses can be a major annoyance. This app allows you to have a digital paper trail by organizing your receipts and making them searchable. The tool even offers something called a “magic envelope.” You can fill pre-paid envelopes with your receipts, and then send them off to the team at Shoeboxed, who will transform these physical records into properly organized digital records.
Mint is a more comprehensive finance manager app from the makers of TurboTax that allows you to create budgets, track and pay bills and even check your credit score. The tool provides a fully integrated and interactive dashboard that can be personalized for all of your finances. If you have several credit cards, multiple bank accounts and numerous income streams and bills to pay, this app will make your financial life so much easier.
Sighted offers 100-percent-free online invoicing software. You can also send professional quotes; track your time and expenses; manage your clients, products and services and accept online payments. Sighted helps to eliminate all of those tedious annoyances that come with running a business, freeing you up to spend more time doing what you do best.
Unwind and De-Stress
Among the many productivity-focused apps for freelancers on the market, my favorite is actually a meditation app. The Headspace app lets you add a little tranquility to your busy day. You can take as little as one or two minutes to unwind with the provided digestible meditation sessions. Explore different meditations to address your specific concerns at the moment, like “feeling overwhelmed” or “feeling frustrated,” or select “presentations” or “difficult conversations” to mentally prepare for a challenge. The tool offers an enormous library of meditations that range in topic and length.
The 10 freelance tools above will help you ensure you’re ready to tackle your tasks every single day. Remember: As a freelancer, your time is extremely valuable. With the right apps and resources, you can move your attention away from business operations and focus on the projects that really matter to you.