With the rise of freelancing and the “gig economy” it’s becoming more lucrative for professionals to set out on their own and build a business around their skills and expertise. If you’re an experienced freelancer or just setting out, you should know that there are many tools and apps out there to make your freelancing life easier and more lucrative.
Many companies are now building solutions specifically for freelancers–some are great and others are just okay. We’ve taken the time to research and compile a list of our favourite tools for freelancers.
These 10 tools are essentials for anyone looking to build a serious, sustainable, and lucrative freelance career in 2017. We believe the freelance goal is to work less and make more, so you can spend extra time doing the things you love. Hopefully these tools will help you on your way.
To redeem discount perks* as a LocalSolo freelance member, login to your perks area.
1. WeWork (Work Space)*
Working from the couch and the coffee shop has its perks–but so does having a dedicated workspace. Many freelancers find that they’re more focused and productive if they get outside of the house and into an office-like atmosphere.
Luckily, coworking and shared office spaces are popping up all over the country. And WeWork is unmatched in offering terrific amenities at an affordable price and in a huge number of accessible locations all over the country. Not only are they perfect for solo freelancers, but they also provide the perfect setup for anyone growing a business who may have changing needs.
*We also announced a recent partnership with WeWork to offer LocalSolo members a 10-25% discount on desk and office space.
2. Double Your Freelancing Rate (Online Course)*
If you’re a freelancer who wants to earn more money and work less hours, this course will help you not only make more money, but also deliver better projects to your clients.
“Double Your Freelancing Rate” is a paid course that covers how you can raise your prices, justify your worth, and better explain who you are and what you do to prospective clients. The value of this course really can’t be overstated–it can help you earn thousands of dollars in additional income over the next few years.
3. AndCo (Admin and Business Management)*
You’ve always wanted a personal assistant to help you stay on top of all of those little administrative tasks. Now you can have one.
AndCo is part app, part human help. Their service provides tools like time tracking and invoicing, plus a personalized human who assists you in taking care of tasks like sending invoices and preparing necessary tax documents. It’s like having a personal assistant, but at a much lower cost.
4. Harvest (Accounting and Business Management)*
Being a freelancer is being a business owner–that means tracking time, expenses, and income.
Harvest is the simplest and most complete tool for doing all of those things without the headache of stodgy accounting programs. It’s actually simple to see how your time turns into income and even project your future earnings based on what you’ve tracked.
This is a must-have for anyone who’s serious about turning their freelance work into a career.
5. Bonsai (Contracts and Payments)*
As a freelancer, Bonsai makes contracts and payments simple. Rather than worrying about complicated legalese and jumping through payment gateways, you can streamline everything and focus on the work you do.
Having this kind of a formal process for signing and billing clients makes your business more professional and saves you time. Bonsai also reports that freelancers using their services get paid more quickly and have 3x fewer late payments.
6. Unroll.me (Email Management)
Email adds up. And when you’re looking for important messages or waiting for communications from a client, you don’t want to have to sift through a cluttered inbox to find what you need.
Cue: Unroll.me. This free tool lets you identify the subscription emails and other messages that are clogging up your inbox and either get rid of them or condense them all down to just one, simple email message per day.
So, instead of receiving 36 different newsletters, you’ll just get a single digest of what’s important and more headspace for the communication that matters to your business.
7. ShakeLaw (Contracts)
If Bonsai doesn’t provide quite what you need, ShakeLaw can handle just about any kind of contractual agreement. This tool is a must-use for those who have complicated legal needs or want to structure advanced contracts with specific provisions or important clauses.
You can choose from their library of templates and then customize the contract to get the exact terms you need for your business–without having to hire a lawyer.
8. Brand24 (Brand Monitoring)
It’s important for freelancers to always have their finger on the pulse.
Most freelancers understand the importance of making sure their client is putting their best foot forward when it comes to social media and overall digital presence. With so many networks and channels out there, it can be overwhelming to make sure all brand mentions are caught.
Brand24 provides instant access to brand mentions from all over the web from social media mentions to influencers. The platform gives you the analytics and insight you need to make the right decisions that will help boost your client’s brand.
9. Cushion (Work and Project Scheduling)*
Save yourself some headache and use Cushion to visualize and manage your work schedule.
Every freelancer will tell you the same stories of projects that run over, accidentally overbooking, or not remembering to schedule time off. It’s par for the course when you work for yourself. But Cushion helps you find the the right balance of budget, work, and vacation.
This awesome tool shows your schedule as you book client projects and automatically tells you when you should look for more work and when you might be overbooked. You can see in real time how your year will look and plan for the future–and your next getaway.
10. Toby (Browser Tab Management)
The multitasking abilities of modern browsers are incredible. But they can also be distracting. If you’re like most knowledge workers, you probably often find yourself drowning in open browser tabs–research, documents, and articles all open and clogging up
This can be a serious source of distraction and can hobble your productivity.
Toby takes care of it by giving you advanced features for sorting, managing, and saving browser tabs. That way you can clear some clutter without losing important links or having to search later for something you closed.