Must-have Tools for Creative Freelancers

 In Freelancer Tips

As of 2018, the UK is home to an estimated 2 million freelance workers. For the numerous perks such as freedom to do what you love, flexibility to work on your own schedule, and authority to choose the clients you want to work with, it’s no wonder so many people are choosing to join the gig economy. Freelancers in art, literature and media industries in particular, have seen 103% growth over the past 10 years. If you are among these creative entrepreneurs, it’s important to have the best tools at your disposal. Here we’re sharing a few of our top picks.

Design tools

Creating quality work begins with the proper design tools.

Snappa – Free and easy to use tool Snappa, enables you to create high quality graphics for social media, ads and blogs without the need for Photoshop expertise. The tool also offers you access to over 500,000 quality stock photos for you to use free of charge.

InVision – Built with web designers in mind, InVision is perfect for freelancers in need of a design management and prototyping tool. Free to sign up, the app allows you to upload your designs and modify them through the use of animations, gestures, and transitions, for optimally interactive prototypes. Additionally, you can easily organize and communicate prototypes to clients thanks to InVision’s integration with other tools and features such as Trello, Slack and Freehand, which allows individuals to collaborate on a design while in different locations.

Adobe Creative Cloud –  A industry standard for creative freelancers, this subscription service provides you access to Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, Premiere Pro/After Effects and InDesign. While this subscription does come with a cost, you can customize your plan to only include the tools you actually use, potentially saving you some money.

Communication & social tools

As a freelancer you need to keep your lines of communication with clients and prospects open, regardless of location and available devices.  

Instant messenger applications – Slack, Google Hangouts and other similar instant messaging apps, have become the lifeblood of teams in need of quick communication. Unlike email, these tools allow for quick and convenient messaging and conferencing from your phone, tablet or computer. Also, because you can customize your notification settings, you’ll never have to worry about missing an urgent message.

Hunter.io – When you’re ready to pitch a prospect, you want to be sure you’re contacting the right person. The Hunter chrome extension can help you find specific names, titles and email contact information by crawling a company’s website. Plus, with their “confidence score”, you can get an idea of the likelihood the provided email is still in use.  

Buffer – A social media presence is crucial for showing off your work to existing and prospective clients. However staying on top of a consistent posting schedule can be time consuming and distracting. Social media management tools such as Buffer allows you to create posts ahead of time and set them in a queue to be automatically published on your designated schedule.

Productivity tools

Freelancing comes with the perks of working on your own schedule, however without proper structure, it can be easy to lose focus on your work or procrastinate. Productivity enhancing tools can help you be your best supervisor.

Toggl – Whether it be client work or a personal project, you want to be able to accurately track time spent on projects and administrative tasks. Toggl helps you keep an eye on your productivity levels by tracking your hours on individual projects and clients so you can better manage your time in order to accurately determine your fees.

Hemingway – For those with a heavy writing load, the Hemingway app is a great solution for free grammar checking. Additionally, to ensure your content is best suited for you audience, the app offers insight in the level at which your content reads. For example, is you’re using words and sentence structures that may be too advanced for a younger audience, Hemmingway will let you know.

Cloud storage – While freelancers are often working on multiple projects at once, it helps to have everything in one easily accessible space, so all your hard work remains safe and secure. Free cloud storage solutions like Google Drive are perfect for freelancers who need to be able to collaborate remotely with clients. The numerous available tools make it easier to store, access, share and collaborate on files and projects from anywhere, via any device with an internet connection.

Finance tools

Managing your finances as a freelancer can be a job in itself. Utilising accounting software and other financial management tools can ease the burden while making sure your hard earned money is exactly where is should be.

FreeAgent – Keeping track of your invoices, expenses and managing your cash flow via a spreadsheet can become really time-consuming when you are focusing on servicing your clients. By using cloud-based accounting software such as FreeAgent you can have all your business bank transaction automatically fed into the accounting software to save you time with your bookkeeping. You can access FreeAgent on the go via the mobile app or via a laptop/desktop computer giving you the flexibility you need as a freelancer.

PayPal –  To avoid long wait times and bank transfer fees, PayPay is the most convenient tool for getting paid. Available in over 200 countries, supports 25 currencies, and generally considered highly secure, PayPal is also a suitable payment method for online merchants.

Depending on your focus and individual situation, freelancing can hold a variety of different meanings. Whether you’re testing it out as a hobby or focusing on your freelance projects full time, we hope these tools help guide you to success.

Author Bio: Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital and a tech-obsessed female from NYC. She lives by building and redesigning websites, and reading anything and everything on the NYT Best Sellers list.

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