Despite the razzle dazzle of flexible schedules and autonomy from badgering bosses, freelancing is hard work. Thankfully, as more and more workers leave traditional employment in favor of self-employment, more and more technology is being created for freelancers’ benefit. Here are 10 outstanding tools that make the freelancing life more bearable for everyone.
1. Project Organization: Trello
No matter your freelancing field, it doesn’t take long to paper everything in your office with sticky-note reminders regarding looming deadlines, unusual client expectations, and brilliant new ideas. Instead of struggling to maintain your sticky-note forest, try Trello, which arranges all your necessary reminders onto various digital boards. You move the project from board to board as you progress, so you always know which project is at which stage.
2. Task Scheduling: Wunderlist
You might scribble your to-do lists on scrap paper, or you might painstakingly copy them into a daily planner, but you can never write your tasks as well as you need to. Enter: Wunderlist, a task management tool that allows you create all sorts of lists, sort through them efficiently (by client, by deadline, by type of project, etc.), add notes and subtasks, and so much more.
3. Time Management: Toggl
Freelancers can charge however they want, but billing by the hour is by far the most common way to rake in pay. Unfortunately, hourly billing also requires that you always keep an eye on the clock ― unless you use Toggl. With a click, Toggl begins tracking the time you spend on a single project; with another click, it will track time for a different project. You don’t have to waste time on monitoring when you download this tool.
4. Email Simplification: TextExpander
You send at least dozens if not hundreds of emails every day ― it’s the primary way freelancers stay in touch with the outside world. With TextExpander, you can dramatically reduce the effort you expend writing and responding to emails. By programming a few abbreviations, you can send off complex, meaningful messages in seconds.
5. Reference Compilation: Scrivener
All creative types borrow from one another to generate newer, bigger, and better products for their clients, but writers especially draw upon previous works to create. Thanks to Scrivener, freelance writers have a much easier job of drafting content, particularly when it comes to referencing source material and compiling resource lists for publication.
6. Online Invoicing: Aynax
Disorganized financial information is becoming an epidemic amongst freelancers, but Aynax has the cure. This magic invoice creator is equipped to provide all sorts of billing-related services, from online payment systems to invoice management. It even provides free online estimate templates to help keep you and your clients abreast of possible payments. Keeping your finances organized is essential to becoming a successful freelancer, so Aynax is an invaluable tool.
7. Money Transfers: TransferWise
When it first appeared on the Web, PayPal seemed like a godsend. Unfortunately, the payment transfer titan has become much too expensive for most freelancers to be grateful for its exceptional service. Instead of paying exorbitant fees, you should turn to TransferWise. You can place links to this online payment tool in your invoices, and clients can pay the requested amount in their currency, preventing you from making costly conversion mistakes.
8. Tax Preparation: Turbo Tax
Unless you are a freelance tax preparer, chances are that you will make a mistake if you attempt to complete your taxes without help. There are a number of free preparation guides online, but using a paid version of Turbo Tax is a more reliable way to complete your annual forms. Freelancing taxes are often more complex than your average 1040, so having a comprehensive tax preparation tool will make the process quick and easy. Plus, not only is Turbo Tax inexpensive, it is deductible.
9. Legal Signatures: Hello Sign
It is always smart to have a contract, but it is not always convenient to sign them. Not all digital signatures are legally binding, which is why you must use Hello Sign to keep you, your business, and your clients safe. This tool ensures legal signatures that are recognized in the United States as well as the United Kingdom, so your business across the pond will be secure, too.
10. Distraction Elimination: Freedom
With all these tools cluttering your desktop ― not to mention the enchanting universe of the Internet at your fingertips ― it can be hard to complete even one step on your carefully organized task list. However, with Freedom, you can save yourself from digital distractions by locking away the Web while you work. If you ever struggle to get down to business, this tool is a major blessing.