Freelancing – known by some as the “future of employment”– is quickly making waves as a viable career option for many talented professionals. According a 2014 survey conducted by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, 34 percent of the U.S. workforce – 53 million Americans – currently worked as “freelancers”.
Exchanging long commutes and rigid office hours for the freedom of freelancers, many members of the gig economy report improved work life balance and overall quality of life vs. that experienced in traditional work settings.
Thanks to technology’s implementation within the modern workplace, we can expect continued wide spread adaptation of the freelancer arrangement, turning the home-based contractor into the professional of the future.
If you’re dabbling in the world of freelancing, chances are you’ve encountered a need for some time-saving and productivity-making tools to assist with your work goals.
Hence, we compiled a list of ten must-have apps and programs for today’s busy freelancer – check them out:
Project proposal creation is key for freelancer success. If you’re like me and little adept in the graphic design department, creating eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing proposals for prospective clients can be quite the challenge. No worries – Bidsketch is here (and it’s created just for the non-artsy peeps like you and me). Bidsketch helps you build reusable, branded templates and even assists with the electronic submission and approval process.
Trying to manage a remote team and tired of those pesky Excel timesheets? Check out DeskTime and start keeping up with (actual) work hours and project investments. Even if you are solopreneur, seeking to track your own productivity or time billable to clients, consider implementing a time tracker app like DeskTime into your operation.
With the rise of mobile device use (and our dependence on them), there’s nothing quite like sitting down with a client only to not have the much-needed document on your tablet, or presentation on your laptop. Don’t get caught with your digital “pants” down ever again. By using a cloud based file sharing application, like Dropbox, you can sync all files on all of your devices with a simple drag-n-drop system. Awesome way to stay organized with streamlined service!
I’m a late bloomer when it comes to digitally based notes, having only recently ended a lifelong love affair with yellow legal pads in exchange for electronic options. But let me tell you – electronic notepads, like Evernote, are a freakin’ godsend. I use Evernote to brainstorm, make to-do lists, and journal reminders down while on the go. Never let a good idea pass you by (again) – download Evernote!
If you’re like me (and many other #workfromwherever nomads), you may not always have a printer handy – no sweat. Need to sign and scan those important documents while working from the road? Enter: HelloSign – your online John Hancock that can be applied to contracts, proposals, and just damn near anything. Save trees, conserve electricity, and make money – it’s a win-win-win!
They say you shouldn’t use the same passwords for everything, but c’mon, who doesn’t? And if you’re like other busy freelancers, you’re logging in and out of password protected platforms ten to hundreds of times a day. Using one password just makes sense (but not the area of cybersecurity) – so here’s LastPass, an awesome app that will auto-generate passwords for you. You only need to remember the master password.
Slack is an awesome team messaging service – I just love it for collabs. If you’re like me, projects can get lost in the inbox. Slack provides a quick and easy way for you to collaborate with team members and communicate with clients all the while circumventing the ol’ e-mail black hole. Just message your peeps through Slack, upload documents, attach pics, and review all communication within the same screen.
Think of Trello as Pinterest for the workplace. Any brainstorm babes up in here? Trello has your name written all over it! It is a free, online collaboration
tool that’s organized by boards, lists and cards. You can attach files, images etc. to each card and add as many people as you want on board for collaboration and changes appear in real time. Perfect for design projects and campaign proposals!
There’s a TON of invoicing and online payment options out there – Invoice2Go, Easy Books
, Zoho Invoice
– but I like Wave. It’s just so easy to track your sales, submit online invoices, accepted online payments, and create financial statements with just a few clicks of a button. Who needs an accountant, when you’ve got swank apps like Wave
Who loves, loves, loves to-do lists? Confession: I live off mine. If it wasn’t for my fabulous synced and doable digital list apps, I’d be lost. You’d probably find me on a middle of the weekday morning, wandering around a Wal-mart parking lot, latte in hand, muttering, “I have a client meeting somewhere…”. Wunderlust saves the day – it syncs across all platforms (hallelujah!) and allows you to assign tasks to other people (did somebody say “delegate”?). A literal freelancer’s lifesaver.
Did we miss any of YOUR favorite freelancer apps?
Share your go-to tools and resources in the comments below!