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Top 8 Essential Tools for Freelancers

In today's post, our guest blogger, Brad Smith gives freelancers a list of tools essential in their day-to-day career

Written by Brad Smith • Last Updated: • General •

Setup of a possible freelancing office

Freelancing is a dream come true for anyone who fancies freedom. One of the major advantages of freelance work is the ability to work from wherever you are, whenever you want to. Most freelancers do not have to cancel travel plans just to work; they can work from any part of the world.

No one ever tells freelancers exactly how challenging running a business can get, even if it is a dream job. Luckily, there is a range of tools available for you to keep your operations smooth and efficient. The downside to this is that the tools are so many that choosing the right ones for your business can get overwhelming.

Here are some insights to help you pick the tools that work for you.

1. Communication Tools

A successful business is built on effective communications between all business partners both internal and external. As such, communications must be secure, prompt and clear.

Here are some tools that help with effective communication.

  • Google’s G-Suite is one of the tools that give you several professional tools in one. You get a professional email, cloud storage (Drive), a Calendar, video and audio conference tool and professional documents. G-Suite gives 30GB to Unlimited storage space based on the plan you choose.
  • Nextiva helps in managing voice calls. You can route and forward voice calls as well as set business text messages and voicemail greetings.
  • Slack is a communication tool that allows you to manage communications in small teams. This is the perfect tool for teams to communicate on work progress in real-time via video, voice, presentations and screen sharing on multiple channels.

2. Cloud Storage Tools

Working remotely means that you should be able to work from any device. As such, you need not travel with your home PC. You can work from a laptop or any other device available to you as long as you ensure that the internet connection for the device is secure.

 To ensure work continuity, you should be able to access business files easily. This is where cloud storage comes in to save the day.

Here are a few tools you can consider.

  • Dropbox offers free and paid plans. The free plan gives you up to 2GB free storage. If you need more, you can go for the paid plans that start at $9.99 for 2TB of cloud storage. You can access Dropbox from any device and it easily integrates with other business tools and third-party apps
  • Microsoft’s OneDrive offers up to 5GB free cloud storage. This is the easiest cloud storage tool for those who use Office 365 as it makes it easy to store and share files.
  • Google Drive comes with 15GB of free storage, which is shared among files such as Docs, email, Photos and such. When you get G-Suite, you get an additional 15GB to make 30GB free cloud storage. You can opt for a paid plan that will offer more storage space.

3. Productivity Tools

Freelancers need to stay focused and productive at all times in order to keep the business thriving.  It is easy to do this even when on the move using public WIFI. If you are having a hard time managing various aspects of personal life and business demands, here are some tools that may be of help.

  • Buffer allows you to manage and automate social media posting. Simply set up the updates you want to be posted and Buffer will post them according to the set schedule
  • Feedly allows you to access and save your favourite online information sources. This tool works with all devices and browsers
  • Toggl is a tool that helps you to keep track of your time. It helps you to prioritize tasks accordingly, and it is available as a browser extension

4. Time Management Tools

You need to know how to manage your time to be productive. Here are some of the time-tracking tools you can use to help you stay productive.

  • TimeDoctor allows you to track your tasks against time. It helps monitor the use of web and apps and gives reports on how you have spent your time. You can share these reports with team members or clients
  • Hubstaff is the perfect tool for teams. It monitors the use of apps and web as well as maintain timesheets, monitor attendance and produce simple invoices and payrolls
  • Harvest allows time tracking, project management and sends invoices based on hours worked. This tool can be used alongside other tools and apps such as G-Suite and Slack.

5. Project Management Tools

The success of your freelance business is dependent on how well you manage your projects. When on the move, you need not worry since you can still access your projects securely through a VPN connection.

If you are struggling with project management, you need the help of any of the following tools.

  • Asana is a tool that allows you to set up tasks associated with each project as well as manage the progress of the project. The tool sends reminders and notifications as is needed. Asana integrates well with other third-party tools and apps
  • Basecamp works well for individuals and teams alike. From one dashboard, you can manage the projects at hand and the tasks associated with them. Additionally, it handles and tracks communications for each project

6. Money Management Tools

A business is only as successful as its prowess in managing cash flow. As such, here are a few tools that will help in the management of business finances.

  • Bench is a bookkeeping app that helps you to keep track of how cash goes in and out of the business. You can connect it to business accounts and it will give you reports of transactions as well as prepares financial statements for the business.
  • Gusto is a tool that helps track time and to manage payroll when dealing with a team. It also helps you to find befitting benefits for team members based on the business budget

7. Security Tools

Security for business assets and information is one of the most important aspects of any successful venture. As a freelancer, you are prone to attacks especially since you may access business information via multiple devices.  Here are a few tools that may help.

  • Antivirus software keeps your information safe against outside attacks. Most antivirus programs come with free and paid options that have a range of capabilities to protect against malware and unauthorized access of information
  • VPN ensures that all data transmitted through it is encrypted. You can ensure that a connection is secure with a VPN to avoid cyber-attacks especially when using public WiFi

8. Content Development Tools

As a freelancer, you will need to constantly write marketing content to reach out to customers. Here are some tools that may come in handy.

  • Grammarly ensures that all the text you create is free of spelling and grammatical errors. It can be used as a stand-alone program or a browser extension.
  • Hemmingway helps you to fine-tune any writing to make it bold and simpler to read. It easily integrates with other apps and tools and can be used as a browser extension or on its own as an individual program.

Conclusion

Freelancers have a range of tools at their disposal to make life easier. While some of these tools are freely available while some may cost you. As such, do your research and get the best tools that your budget can allow.

What tools do you think are the best for freelancers? Is this the best list? Post your comments below and let's discuss.

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Brad Smith is a technology expert at TurnOnVPN, a non-profit promoting a safe and free internet for all. He writes about his dream for a free internet and unravels the horror behind big techs.

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