Written by Carla Mouton, Copywriter
Freelancing can be challenging for various reasons. What makes it particularly difficult is the lack of a support and specialist network, such as a finance, HR and IT department. This means that freelancers usually don’t have all the tools and people available to them as someone working in an office does. Apart from the frustration, it can affect productivity and even eventually lead to loss of clients if it isn’t managed correctly.
Fortunately, the digital world offers various helpful applications for freelancers that feel out of their depth. The best bit is that most of these apps are free or come at a low cost.
Here’s a list of must-have-apps for freelancers:
1. Dropbox/Google Drive
Have you ever lost your best freelancing friend aka your computer or hard drive? It’s essential to backup everything on the internet because you never know when your computer might decide to crash or catch a virus. Dropbox, as well as Google Drive, have free and premium services with easy-to-use organising functions so that you can quickly grab that urgent file you need on the go. It’s now available for PCs, MACs, iOS devices as well as Android.
Time is a freelancer’s most valuable asset – it’s your currency as an independent consultant. Freedom is an app (that’s incorrectly named in my opinion) that locks you out of all your time-stealing applications on your cellphone as well as on your laptop. By blocking all the potentially distracting websites and applications, you have no choice but to be productive. Only a pro at procrastination can get out of this one!
The legal side of business isn’t something that freelancers like to think about, but it is a reality that one has to face. If you don’t make sure everything is in place form a legal standpoint when taking on new business, you are putting yourself at risk.
But who can afford a fancy lawyer with even fancier fees? Fortunately, you only have to answer a few questions on the Shake app and it will draw up a proper contract for you. Fancy, smancy legal jargon included.
Available on iOS and Android.
A freelancer’s brand is a freelancer’s everything. Monitoring what people say, think, tweet or post about you is difficult because freelancers are time-poor. So meet Brand24, the app that does it for you. Its measurement tools give you an in-depth look into your customer satisfaction, where you can see your influencer score, see who is mentioning you, check out your marketing analytics, get real-time alerts, a mentions feed, as well as data exporting all in one place.
5. To-do lists
There are so many to-do list apps available; the trick is to find the one that works for you. Wunderlist can sync across all your devices. Todoist syncs with your calendar and reminds you of your tasks; it even lists groceries, errands and all the minute tasks of your life, making sure that everything is taking care of. “I’ve tried so many productivity and to-do-list apps, but I’ve found Todoist most effective. It has a clean, simple interface (much like an email inbox) and it gets the job done in an effortless, non-confusing manner. Others are often too complicated to efficiently organise multi-faceted projects, to-do lists and deadlines. The mobile version is also delightfully user-friendly, which is a must for a freelancer constantly on the run!” says Iske Conradie, Founder of YAAAS and a fellow freelancer.
Evernote is, of course, the most popular on our little list with every sort of scribble you can make in the app. It’s an in-hub app and quite perfect for writers. Lastly, there’s TeuxDeux, which works the same as most to-do list apps. There are a lot more, so it’s up to you to find the perfect one for you and your freelancing style.
This app is perfect for freelancers because most of us have to keep clients’ social media passwords safe… and other passwords… and our passwords, and more passwords for those passwords. If you don’t have a photogenic brain, then 1Password is for you. It’s a safe and secure app, so you can tell your client they don’t have to worry about hacking.
Buffer is the perfect free service if you want to schedule social media posts for your own brand as a freelancer, or for your client, or for both! You can schedule it at any time, weeks ahead and you don’t have to worry about memory failing. Another benefit is that, for a minimal fee, you can add more than one brand and multiple social media platforms on the app.
This is the application you will use most as a freelancer, especially if you provide copywriting, editing and proofreading services. Although not perfect, Grammarly really helps to highlight those mistakes you’ve missed, especially when you’re on version 9. It’s leaps and bounds above Word’s spell check, but bear in mind, never a replacement for a good proofreader. The free version is already fantastic, but the paid premium version is outstanding.
I hope these apps will assist you to make your freelancing frustrations a little less! If you have found any apps very useful that I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to comment and share.