Tools for Freelancers

Interested in taking a behind the scenes look into products and software I use everyday to help my freelance business stay on track? As a freelancer, you tend to perform tedious, repetitive tasks. Fortunately for us, we can automate those tasks to help us become more productive and generate more revenue.

Over the years, I've tried lots of different software, apps and plugins, with mixed results. Some products were great, but they didn't fit into my workflow. Others had me thinking, "Why did I waste so much time doing this on my own before!" Introducing the right products at the right time during a project can save you loads of time and frustration. 

Take a look! 

 

Project Management & Productivity

1. FreshBooks
Allows you to track time, create invoices and even manage important expenses for projects.

2. SugarSync 
Unlike Dropbox, SugarSync allows you to back up your existing folder structure in a couple clicks. Perfect for sharing and backing up important client documents and assets. They also have a wider range of pricing options than Dropbox.

3. Hootsuite
A social media manager that makes tracking your influence and audience a breeze.

4. Boomerang
Boomerang allows you to schedule e-mails for the future. This is a great tool for when I want to get work done on weekends or catch up on e-mails, but don't necessarily want my clients to know.

5. Stripe
Most of my freelance clients are not located in Canada. This means I used to get dinged huge on transfer and conversion fees (USD to CAD). Stripe has been the easiest workaround for this. In terms of conversion fee rates, they are comparable to PayPal, but you are saving money in the long-run since you don't get deducted twice and you can keep your USD as such in your bank account.

6. TransferWise
I like to use TransferWise for international money exchanges. Definitely a cheaper option than PayPal. 

7. SaneBox
SaneBox helps keep your e-mails under control. It automatically organizes urgent or important e-mails to the top of your inbox, and saves the rest for later when you have time. 

8. FollowUp 
A simple inbox tool that lets you schedule automatic followups, tasks, reminders, and more. Awesome for keeping track of when you need to follow up with a lead. 

9. You Can Book Me
Booking software that integrates with your Google Calendar. Get a personalized scheduling page so your customers can book you online.

10. ShareDesk
For freelancers who love to travel, this is a great website that allows you to search and rent an office space/desk. 

11. Shoeboxed
Make tax season easy. Shoeboxed allows you to scan & organize receipts and business cards, create expense reports, track mileage and more.

12. Just Tell Julie
Have a client that won't pay? Get Julie to call them for you. 

13. Inbox Pause
Need a break from your inbox?

15. Get Response
A powerful email marketing automation tool.


Educational Material

1. Lynda
With new courses added every week, Lynda is an amazing resource for freelancers to help with personal growth and learn new skills/software. Starting at only $25/month, you can't go wrong. 

2. Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp
Remove the blocks that are causing you to earn less than you should and finally make the income you deserve. 

3. You're My Favorite Client
Successful design projects require equal participation from both the client and the design team. Yet, for most people who buy design, the process remains a mystery.

4. Authority
Most people don't realize you can actually make a fortune from your technical writing. Authority will help teach you how. 

5. Creative's Guide to Freelancing
Launch your freelance career, grow your income and work from anywhere.

6. Designer's Guide to Freelancing
A guide to becoming a freelance designer, gaining financial independence and finding more creative freedom.

8. Breaking the Time Barrier by FreshBooks
It’s the eternal struggle of the freelance worker: how do you price your work in a way that’s fair to both you and the client? Nothing less than your career success and personal happiness hinges on this question. Spend an hour with this book, and you’ll come away with a whole new way of looking at your value and your relationship with your clients.

9. Creative Class
The toughest part of freelancing isn’t the actual work. It’s the stuff that enables you to do your work, like business, marketing & sales. In just 12, self-paced online lessons, you’ll learn the business of freelancing. Start to finish. Most importantly, you’ll know how to immediately apply what you’ve learned.

10. Earn 1K
Ramit is a no-fluff, tell-it-like-it-is guy. I also highly recommend his book. 

11. Productize
Learn how to level up your freelance business by productizing your offerings. 

12. How to Establish a Design Business
The ladies over at Hoodzpah Design produce some awesome design work. They also have the business side of it nailed, too. 

Design & Hosting

1. Creative Market
Creative Market is a marketplace of design resources, fonts, graphics, themes, icons and more, all sold by independent designers. The resources on here are invaluable for helping me with my client work. 

2. BlueHost
I use BlueHost for almost all of my other domain names. Great customer service, extremely cheap and great uptime.  

3. Shopify
By far the industry leader in helping small business owners and startups sell their products online. 

4. Squarespace
I use Squarespace for this blog. Very easy to use, edit and maintain. It's perfect for the freelancer who's too busy to design and code their own portfolio. 


Stock Photography

1. Gratisography
Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects.

2. Unsplash Me
Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution stock photos. Download 10 new free stock photos every 10 days.

3. Death to the Stock Photo
A fresh pack of photos to your inbox each month, with awesome stories to match.

5. Creative Market Stock Photos

6. Creative Commons
Find images that are free to use for your design projects. 

7. The Stocks
The best royalty-free images in one place. 

8. Zoommy App
Find stock photos right from your desktop. 


Blogs

1. One Woman Shop
This is one of my favourite sites. It provides you with kick-ass inspiration, helps you develop the business you want and deserve, and ensures that you never have another case of the Mondays.

2. Freelance Lift
This website is just bursting at the seams with awesome content. Short books, courses, blog content, podcasts and videos.

3. The Nu School
Geared more towards students, but still just as helpful for any freelance designer that's searching for more info about the industry. 

4. The Suitcase Entrepreneur
Natalie Sisson's website is a great resource for anyone looking to build a profitable business from anywhere. 

5. Graphic Design Blender
Whether you’re freelancing, starting a design firm, giving it a shot as a solopreneur, or just want to learn more about the business of design, this website is extremely valuable. 

6. Let's Workshop
Great articles on how to smooth the feast and famine cycles as a freelancer. 

7. Double Your Freelance Rate
Information on learning the business side of freelancing. 

8. Ryan Castillo
Ryan has an awesome newsletter about learning how to make more money by understanding how your clients think.


Templates

1. Self-Employed Budgeting Template
This template from Careful Cents helps you create a business plan for your freelance shop.  

2. Tax Checklist for Self-Employed Freelancers
Every self-employed freelancer deserves to get the tax deductions they deserve. This checklist will help you organize your income and expenses come tax season. 

3. Invoice & Contract Templates
I highly recommend automating tasks like sending invoice and contract templates, but if you want to do it yourself, Creative Market has a great selection. 

4. Calculating Your Billing Rate Worksheet
A printable worksheet that helps track expenses in order for you to discover your hourly rate. 

5. The Magic Email
Want more clients to respond to your e-mails? Use this proven template. 

6. Stand to Make
Stand to Make is an interactive visual tool for calculating your earnings potential.