The technological developments of the past twenty years have made life as a freelancer easier, with different tools and tricks to help with productivity. On the other hand, technology has created endless distractions for freelancers and office workers alike. The best way to resist the sirens call of the internet is to ensure you have the best possible tools to keep you on track. Here are some of the best tools for freelancers.
Streak is a customer relationship management app that integrates with Gmail. It is an easy way to create a sales pipeline or collaborative workflow. Freelancers will find it particularly useful for tracking pitches, follow-ups, return times, deadlines, and successful versus unsuccessful applications. This data allows freelancers to analyze their business and determine what does and does not work, so that they may start to build some standard operating procedures and manage their time better.
Streak is user-friendly and doesn’t require any specialized technical training. As it is both flexible and cloud-accessible, it works well for tracking projects with remote teams.
Qbserve is a time-tracking application specifically designed for Mac computers. This app allows you to easily track working time and streamlines your invoicing process. Unlike other apps, Qbserve doesn’t require you to stop and start a clock and analyzes all of your computer activity to help you be productive as possible.
For example, Qbserve will track how much time you spend on productive activities (like tracking projects on Trello) versus how much time you spend on unproductive activities (like checking out the updates on Facebook). It will then tell you how much time you wasted during the day. As people spend an average of two hours per day on social media, this feature can be eye-opening and motivating.
Trying to collaborate and send important documents back and forth over email can be time-consuming and frustrating. You run the risk of missing an important email, losing or deleting the information you need, and being unable to send something based on size. With Dropbox, none of that is a concern.
Dropbox is a secure way to share files instantly using the cloud. You can separate your personal files from your shared files, and add password protection for an extra layer of security. If it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for your freelance business.
Evernote is like a hybrid between Pinterest and Dropbox. It’s great for storing data in the cloud but focuses more on tracking thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. It’s great for recording ideas and reminders on the go, adding must-read industry books to your list, or keeping track of things you want to reference or try when you have a spare minute. It’s an ideal application for developing an idea into a plan, and a plan into a successful freelance venture.
In Evernote, your files are called notebooks and can be further separated into business and personal ideas. You can also use the handy Web Clipper tool to bookmark websites you wish to visit again in the future. This feature is great for keeping links of your published work or websites you want to pitch.
Slack is the new age instant messenger application that makes remote teamwork a breeze. Keep various channels for your different projects, send messages to your entire team at once, or have private messages with certain collaborators. It is perfect for file sharing and even integrates with Trello for an all-bases-covered approach to project management.
Customize your notifications, so you aren’t getting bombarded with messages while on vacation. As this app is cloud-based, access your messages on the go with mobile or while at your desk through the web app. Slack takes all the best aspects of early instant messaging applications and fine tunes them to make a powerful freelancing tool.
There are lots of fantastic tools that freelancers can use to make their business a success. However, the five mentioned here are the cream of the crop and should be at the top of your must-have list when you start a freelance business.