I am back with another “tips for bloggers post”. I cannot believe it is already October! Time is flying by so quickly these days. For those of you that don’t know, I recently started a freelance web development business, and while it is a lot of work, I do enjoy the freedom I have to choose what I want to work on and set my own price for web design projects. I’m still trying to figure out my workflow as a freelancer, I have a few freelancing tools that I enjoy using to help my productivity and manage my business and clients. I wanted to compile a list of my best free freelancing tools in today’s blog post. These tools are just what I prefer to use to maintain my freelance business at the moment and because they are all free which is perfect for any freelancer that is on a budget and need tools that do the job. This list may change as the years go by when I become more established and get a better feel for my workflow. Nonetheless, I hope those of you who are planning to go into freelancing or planning to start your own business find this list helpful. I also did another blog post where I talk about some of my favorite tools for blogging, you can check it out here. Also, feel free to comment below if you have any freelancing tools that are essential for your business. 🙂
I have been using Google Drive for years and it’s my #1 tool for sharing files and keeping all my documents organized for clients. I use Google Drive for both blogging and managing my freelance business. It’s easy to use and free. I love the simplicity of the layout and because I already use Google as my main email service, it’s nice to have all your tools on one platform. I can easily transfer and upload files to my email directly from Google Drive which makes everything more seamless and efficient.
Another file sharing service I use is Dropbox, and mainly because some of my clients are more comfortable using Dropbox. It’s very easy to use and makes sharing larger files easy. You can upgrade to a paid plan to get more of their features and have more storage space, but the free version works fine for me currently. I believe the paid plan is $20/month and gives you an additional 2TB of storage space, but you can also try the paid plan for free for 30 days. I might consider getting the paid plan when my business grows, but for now, the free plan works perfectly fine.
HelloSign is a service within Dropbox which I use to send clients contracts to sign. They make the process a whole lot easier rather than just emailing a pdf as it can get lost in all the other emails that receive. I am currently using their free plan which lets you add 3 forms each month at no cost. Since I’m still new, this plan works just fine, but I know once I get more clients, I’ll have to upgrade. However, I love how quick and easy they make the process. All you need to do is upload the contract you want to be signed and they give you options to customize how you want your form signed and where you want to place the input boxes. After that, you just need to add your client’s email and press send and that’s it. I like using this because it keeps all your forms organized in one place so you don’t have to dig around your email to find the forms if you ever need to refer back to it.
As a freelance developer, tracking my time is essential as I usually charge by the hour depending on the type of projects I’m doing, and having a software that does that for me is great. I mainly use Clockify which is a free time tracking software. The interface is very easy to navigate and it gives you the option to view your reports based on the week or month. You can also add teams if you’re working with a team or if you want to share with your client how much hours you have been working for their project.
I mentioned Notions in my earlier post on tools I use as a blogger, so I won’t go into too much detail about this app. Notion is basically a project management tool and I mainly use it to set deadlines for myself and to share with my team the timeline for their project. I love using Notion because they provide so many templates for you to use ranging from personal development to project roadmaps. I use Notion for both blogging and as a freelance tool for my business. As a freelance tool, I use it to create timelines for my client’s projects and todo lists for what needs to be accomplished. It’s also a great tool because both parties can update it simultaneously and it makes my workflow a lot simpler. Notion also has an app for your phone if you are more of a phone user, but I have never tried it out.
I’m sure many of you know what PayPal is, so I don’t need to go into too much detail on it. PayPal is my main transaction platform. The interface is simple and very easy to use. If you have a business account, they give you the option to create invoices which I think is very helpful, especially for a new business owner like me. The only downside is that they do charge a percentage every time you make a transaction.
Contracts for Creatives
This is a new one and I’m so happy that I discovered this. When I started freelancing, I didn’t know how contracts worked and how to even create one. Contracts for Creatives make it easy and explain how contracts work and how you can create your own. They even provide templates ranging from web designs to freelance writers and proposals. If you are starting out and need a helping hand with creating a contract, I recommend going to this site. All you need to do is fill in the blanks on the template and you’re done. They give a rundown on what each section is and why you need it. Definitely a good learning experience on my end.
That’s all the free tools I use for freelancing. I hope it was an insightful post, and please feel free to add any other tools that you guys use to maintain your workflow. I will talk to you all again in the next post. have a wonderful day!