July 5, 2011 Jason

36 Tools For Freelancers

36 23 Tools in 8 6 Categories For Freelancers: New and Experienced

No matter how big my business grows, I’m still happy to think of myself as a freelancer (hmm, maybe freelancepreneur ).  I love the freelance community (online and offline), I love the opportunities to work with amazing small and medium sized businesses, and I love that I get full credit (good and the bad) for the work I do.  100% of the profit is pretty nice, too!

Now that we’re past the halfway mark in the year, I figured it was a good time to share some of the tools I’ve found that helped me be a better freelancer.  I’ve used many of these tools – but not all of them – so I’m sharing them here to get your feedback and hopefully share something useful with you. Help, help, help – it’s what I try to do all the time (even if sometimes the other party doesn’t actually want my help…but that’s a different post!)

36 23 Fantastic Freelancing Tools

(mildly updated in May, 2016)

  • Invoicing
  • To Do Lists
  • Project Management
  • Collaboration
  • Freelance Job Boards
  • Social Media Tools
  • Distraction Prevention
  • Virtual Assistant

Invoicing

  1. Freshbooks – I’ve been using freshbooks for just over a year now, and they’ve been fantastic.  Autoreminders for folks that have “forgotten” to pay, PnL reports, and easily exported to share with my accountant.  Highly Recommend this product [non-affiliate link: www.freshbooks.com]
  2. Invoicemachine – super simple invoicing option – I used this until I discovered Freshbooks.  The branding options are good, even at the free level.
  3. Express Pricing – downloadable tool for your PC or Mac
  4. Zoho Invoice – I really like the Zoho suite of tools for business – ( I did a quick review a little while ago)  and the invoice option looks nice (5 free invoices/month) and only $15/month for the standard package – it might give Freshbooks a run for the money!
  5. Cash Board – downloadable timer widgets make invoicing accurate and easy – you don’t have to guesstimate how much time you spent on a project (you’d be surprised how many times you guess low!)
  6. Simply Bill – Reminders and thank-yous, iphone friendly, and customizable templates = nice combo

To Do Lists

  1. WeekPlan – I’ve updated the list to include this tool – it’s pretty fantastic. Easy to use and syncs with all of my mobile devices. This weekly planner has become a must-have resource for my business. [non-affiliate link: weekplan.net]
  2. ToodleDo – A horrible name, a fantastic product.  Hugely useful tool to keep track of your projects – built in timer, email syntax, easy to use/share.
  3. RememberTheMilk – hugely popular tool, especially among the GTD folks. Works great, looks good, and is easy to use.
  4. ToDoist – simple and secure seem to be the main features here – as well as integrated options for many of your favourite browsers
  5. TaDaList – very simple, very free.  The folks at 37signals make stuff that works for freelancers and anyone else. update: the team has retired Ta-da to focus on Basecamp

Project Management

  1. Proposal Kit – If you’re looking for a downloadable tool to create proposals for your next project – this might be a good tool for you.  A solid proposal is the key to a great project, and this tools looks like it will make it much easier for you to create them.
  2. FreelanceSuite – At first glance – this looks like a pretty decent PM tool.  Free 30 day trial, and then a one-time license fee of $70.  Run it on your own domain, client management, invoicing, support tickets, payment gateway – very interesting tool.  I’d love to know if you have any experience with this.
  3. Task Merlin – Drag and drop interface, GTD compatible, and a shared database seem like good options.  Their website doesn’t instil much confidence in this product – please let me know what your experience has been

Collaboration

  1. Wridea – If you’re constantly losing your ideas, this might be a good tool for you.  The focus seems to be on simplicity – capture the idea in its infancy, so you can file and sort later.   Less about collaboration, and more about idea generation.
  2. Zoho – Yup, I know we’ve already mentioned them, but these folks seem to have a product for most categories – productivity, accounting, collaboration – and more.  I’m not quite ready to make the switch to them 100% yet – but that’s mostly due to my fear of the unknown (or it might be laziness, hard to tell)
  3. GoTo Meeting – It’s not just for webinars and podcast sponsorship! Super easy to setup, and a great tool if you’re virtually meeting multiple teams
  4. Skype – It’s good.  It works. It’s free.  I love Skype, perhaps because it does at least the bare minimum very well.  I use it daily to communicate with clients in the US, Canada, Thailand – wherever they’ve got internet.  There’s lots of room for improvement with Skype, but for ease of use and ubiquity, it’s pretty hard to beat.
  5. Basecamp –  Such a fantastic tool for collaboration.  Sharing, chatting, tracking – super simple way to work with others.
  6. AgreeDo.com – another super simple collaboration tool.  Schedule meetings, set tasks/expectations – Another product that focuses on the basics, and does them well!

Distraction Prevention

  1. WriteMonkey – stripped down, zenware writing app.  Blank page = endless opportunities.  Fire it up and start writing.
  2. Q10 – some nice features – Target count, timer alarm, custom autosave – and you certainly can’t beat the price.  Very nice looking tool – but don’t get hung up on finding the right writing tool – as a good friend of mine once told me – writers write!
  3. Macfreedom – Not just for Macs!  You can now lock yourself off of the internet.  Yes – it might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes the web can be a bit of a distraction.  Program up to 9 hours of “freedom” so you can get the stuff done that you need to get done.  If you only want to turn off Facebook and Twitter, you might want to have a look at anti-social.

 

It’s May 4th, 2016 (May the Fourth be with you…) and I’ve updated a couple of links and removed a few sections. This post clearly needs a better update (especially since it’s no longer 36 tools across 8 categories) – I’ll get to it soon. ‘ish.

 

The folks over at Blogging.com have put together a great list of writing resources to help freelance writers work more and earn more.

 

So, this post went a tad longer that I had originally intended, but I hope you find some of the links useful.  If you’ve got a site that you rely on heavily as a freelancer, please link to it in the comments.

Jason

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