Top 10 Digital Resources All Freelancers Need
Author: Kelechi Udoagwu
As a convenience-driven freelancer, I enjoy seeking and reaping the benefits of new, digital tools and resources that make my job easier and more efficient. Most of these resources listed below are free to use, and come highly recommended from my personal use and experience over the years.
Whether you are just starting out as a freelancer, or you’ve been working independently for a while, I have no doubt that this list will add value to your business.
Here are my top 10 resources (plus a bonus) to help you work better!
- 1. Payments: Payments being the reward for your hard work and odd working hours is probably the most important item on any freelancer’s mind. Payoneer’s cross border payment platform offers freelancers and small businesses a convenient medium to get paid globally. This comes in handy when dealing with international clients, whether from a developing or developed nation, yourself. Within the African context, the Flutterwave app has created accessibility for intra-continental payments and collection.
- 2. Accounting: Wave apps is a free accounting software for freelancers and small businesses. It is easy to set up, and available on Web, IOS and Android operating systems. Wave app provides all the tools a freelancer needs to manage business accounting—from sending professional invoices to receipt scanning on the mobile app and maintaining your books. Depending on your location (available in few countries), you can also directly connect your bank account, pulling in all transactions to easily capture and separate business from personal expenses.
- 3. Time-tracking: As a freelancer, time is arguably your most valuable asset. Time-Tracking apps are a must-have for managing your time and billing your clients accurately. Toggl is a simple-to-use app that makes time-tracking quick and painless. With Toggl, you are able to set your work hours and track activities in real-time. It also helps create insightful reports that can be sent to your clients.
- 4. Collaboration: Having a Google account gives you access to a wide range of resources for efficiency and collaboration. Google Drive is great for storing your documents and collaborating with others in real-time. You can also backup your information, convert to PDF or other common formats, and share needed documents with clients. With a Google account, you gain access to Google Docs for content management and real-time collaboration, Google Calendar for scheduling appointments, and Google Hangouts and Meet for team calls and video sharing.
- 5. Task-management: You can boost your productivity with a task management app like Wunderlist. Wunderlist helps you create easy-to-manage to-do lists that you can share with co-workers to streamline your projects. With Wunderlist, you can keep a track of all your projects, share comments and updates with partners, and easily cross them off when completed, sending notifications to everyone involved in the project with one click.
- 6. Contracts and Proposals: A contract is important for setting the terms of an agreement between you and your client. Bonsai provides ready-to-use templates (proposals and contracts) to allow you to send, review and e-sign documents with your clients without much fuss. You can easily create a personalized contract or a proposal using one of the Bonsai templates and get your work done in half the time it would take to craft an agreement from scratch.
- 7. Resource websites: As a freelancer, constant learning is not optional. To keep your knowledge base up-to-date, you can follow freelance-resource sites like weekofsaturdays.com. Here you have free access to educational materials, podcasts, articles and personal stories from other freelancers. It also gives you an opportunity to connect with a community of active freelancers and get questions you have answered.
- 8. Communication: Slack is one of the most popular communications tools for remote people. You can create channels to communicate with different clients and the team working on certain projects. With Slack, it is easy to search for and find relevant conversations using keywords, and you can also pin the most important information for easier access. The best benefit of using Slack is its easy integrations with other tools for freelancers shared on this list; tools like Google Apps, Canva and Wunderlist.
- 9. Business management: And.co is a business management app for running your entire freelance business. it gives you access to a wide range of features for invoicing, time-tracking, payment, and even educational materials to help you develop as a freelancer. They also run one of the best freelance blogs on the web.
- 10. Design: Canva has become the go-to app for designing beautiful graphics, documents and more without having a design background. It was created specifically for non-designers, so regardless of your design background, you too can easily create attractive, shareable images and banners for your social media posts, email newsletters and websites.
- Security: As a freelancer, you are technically a small-business owner, and must take responsibility for all intellectual property exchanged between you and your clients. To protect my smart devices: laptop, smartphone, iPad, I rely on Kaspersky, a free antivirus software for Windows, Android and iOS devices. It gives you added security from malware, phishing, spam, and other cyber-threats.
At Ask.Degree, we are committed to helping freelancers navigate the world of freelancing easier. Have experience using any of these tools or better recommendations to share? Let us know in the comments below.