Being a freelancer is a hustle.
You need to worry about getting the clients, delivering the projects within a timeline, getting paid, and then getting more clients.
With so many moving parts in the freelance work, you need to be at the top of your game and get all the support you can.
One area that can really make you super-efficient as a freelancer is knowing about the right tools. There are many useful tools out there that freelancers must use to streamline their process, improve the quality of their deliverables, and allow them to manage projects better.
In this article, I want to share 7 FREE tools that you can start using right now to be better and more productive freelancers.
No matter what you do as a freelancer, writing stuff is going to be a part of your work. And in case you’re a freelance writer, your livelihood would also depend on it.
Even if you’re not a writer by profession, writing emails or project updates are likely to be a part of your work.
Grammarly has a wonderful chrome extension (absolutely FREE), that keeps running in the background and shows you where you may have erred. It is a great tool that freelancers must use.
It checks for misspelled words, punctuations, and other grammar-related areas. As soon as you hover over it, it shows you the suggestion. You can then choose to accept the chase or ignore it.
Boomerang is a free Chrome extension tool that freelancers must use to send emails at a later time or date.
This saves time as you can schedule an email and forget about it. It’s especially helpful when you’re working with a client who is in a different time zone.
Additionally, it also helps me in keeping your inbox clean (without losing important emails). Using it, you can archive a message for now and then resurface it later, after a few days or weeks.
One of the best features in Boomerang is to pause your inbox for a few hours. This allows you to work without any email distraction. Once the time is over, all the emails are delivered to your inbox.
3. Google Apps
Google Apps has some wonderful tools that are free and extremely useful.
If your work involves data, you can use Google Sheets. You can collaborate with people in real-time and even chat with people who are accessing the document.
It’s also a great tool to maintain a track of deadlines and different client projects.
In case you need to use a word processor for writing articles or even create proposals for clients, you can do that with Google Docs.
Along with all the Google Apps tools, you also get free space on Google Drive. This can be extremely useful as you can create client-specific folders and give them access. This can then allow you to keep all the client related files in one place.
Being a freelancer, it would be devastating to lose your critical data. Dropbox is a great cloud storage option that you can use along with Google Drive.
It comes with a free 2 GB space that should be good enough in most cases (unless you work with high-resolution images and videos).
Dropbox USP lies in getting synced instantly to multiple devices. Also, you can easily create and share folders/files with your clients using it.
5. Rescue Time
If you find yourself spending too much time on social media or emails, you can use the free version of Rescue Time.
It allows you to track your usage and lets you find where you’re spending your non-productive time. You can also set timers when you have spent more a specified amount of time on a website (for example – if you spend more than 2 hours on Facebook, it will let you know).
6. Join Me
When time is of an essence, it makes a lot of business sense to do a video call with the client and discuss the project/updates, instead of doing it on email.
Join.me gives you a free account where you can do video calls and share your screen. It gives you nice user-friendly URL that you can share with your client. It also gives your client an assurance that they can easily reach you when needed.
7. Wave Apps for Invoicing
Wave Apps for invoicing is a completely free tool freelancers must use to create and send professional looking invoices.
While they charge some fee when you, accept payments from your clients, the invoice creation, accounting, and receipt scanning service are absolutely free.
Even when you’re starting out, using a professional-looking invoice makes you look good, as compared with run-of-the-mill templates in word or Excel.
Using free tools can really support your work and make you more productive when starting out. Once you have an established client base and a ringing register, you can switch to more sophisticated paid tools.
Sometimes, instead of explaining stuff via email or over a call, it is better to simply record a screen capture and share it with your team or your client.
Workflowy is a free tool that allows you to plan your work and get everything organized at one single place. It is nothing a but a long single page where you can create bullets and sub-bullets.
What works for Workflowy is the ease with which it allows you to quickly have all your tasks in one place. Once you have everything in Workflowy, you can arrange and rearrange bullets and sub-bullets.
Each bullet can be a single project in itself and then you can create multiple sub-bullets for it. In the free version, you can list up to 100 tasks in Workflowy.
You can download and use Workflowy on your laptop/desktop as well as use its iPhone app. Anything you add in it gets synchronized on all the devices.
Evernote is a great app that helps you capture ideas and have all the research at one place.
It has a web-based version as well as an app – with flawless synchronization. You can create lists, add images and videos, screen clips from the web, as well as PDF files and place it in Evernote.
If you’re working with a team, you can also share your notes with your team or your client.
The above are few tools that a freelancer should consider to be more proficient in their day-to-day work. Most of these tools mentioned here also have some paid version to it, and you can consider upgrading if your work demands it.