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10 essential tools for freelancers

If you’ve ever fantasised about how much happier and content you’d be if you were your own boss, you’re in good company. This dream is fairly universal—even among people who really like their ‘day’ jobs. And one way to explore the possibility of being self employed is through freelance work.

Freelancing offers a fairly easy way for people to start a new career or create a second income steam. One of the main advantages is that there’s little in the way of start-up costs. The manner in which modern companies conduct business is another, as many companies are more open to outsourcing and passing out projects to non-employees. That means that the freelance market is open to a wide range of talents, including accounting, database management, writing, consulting and training.

As a freelancer, you have many tasks to manage. Fortunately there is a wealth of apps that help you to be more productive. There are also apps to assist you with marketing, billing, organisation and project management. Here are 10 of our favourites for both established and new freelancers…

1. Dropbox

As a freelancer you must be well organised and have good time management skills (scrambling about to find your client’s file on your computer whilst he’s on the other line is a big no-no). Thankfully, Dropbox makes it easy to organise files across all of your devices. It also makes them easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. So, if you snap a photo on your mobile, you can upload and open it on your laptop.

Dropbox also allows you to share folders with your clients. This therefore makes delivering completed client work and collaborating with others much faster and easier.

2.  Xtensio

When you’re a small business and working alone, it can be difficult to find the time to produce professional client proposals that bigger agencies would generally pull off in a New York minute. Enter Xtensio, an all-in-one tool that helps you organise, manage and deliver effective business communication more efficiently.

With its wide range of template designs, Xtensio means you don’t have to worry about creating collaterals from scratch. Simply browse from their designs—covering everything from client proposals to monthly reports—select the one you like and you’re on your way.

3. Toggl

Many freelance projects are billed on an hourly basis. Toggl is a time-tracking app that allows to your track the time you spent on a particular project easily and conveniently. The tools allows you to easily switch between multiple projects and generates PDF or CSV reports that vastly simplify billing and invoicing.

4. Slack

Ah, Slack. Rarely a minute goes by at TransferGo where we’re not sending or receiving instant messages from our co-workers. This hugely popular tool is a great communication time saver. It’s easy, instant and it allows you to search past chats and organise groups and conversations into channels, projects, topics, teams and so on. It’s much easier and more efficient than using email and great for getting fast responses to urgent questions. Although, if it’s a lengthy message and non-urgent, we still recommend tapping into your email account.

5. Shoebox

Most freelancers need to track their expenses in order to generate accurate billing, for expense reimbursement and tax purposes. Shoebox is a nifty tool that scans receipts and business cards to create expense reports, accounting entries and contact lists. Since the support staff for most freelancers is non-existent, Shoebox saves you valuable time that can be better used generating income.

The free version is fine for testing out the app, but to get the most out of the program you’ll need the full paid version.

6. Buffer

If you use social media for work (or even play), let us introduce you to Buffer. This organisation tool allows you to schedule social media posts across different platforms. So if you’re often hopping between Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you can save yourself some tabs by using Buffer. The tool also allows you to analyse the effectiveness of your posts and make them more engaging. Happy days.

7. Evernote

Freelancers typically work on a number of projects simultaneously. It’s not unusual to come up with an idea for a project or to come across information that you feel you can use at a later date while in the midst of another. Instead of relying on your memory, the Evernote app enables you to easily capture good ideas, images, or audio on your smartphone or computers. The app allows you to sync your ideas across all of your devices and recall and edit them at a later date.

8. Asana

Another TransferGo favourite, Asana is a tool that allows you to manage tasks and projects; as well as collaborate on other projects with coworkers, clients and contractors. It’s free for up to 15 minutes and provides calendar, board and list views of everything that needs to be done. You can also create subtasks within tasks, providing total transparency at work and making sure everyone knows where they’re at. And of course, you can access it from your desktop, smartphone or tablet.

9. Google Apps

In the not too distant past having a free email address had a less than professional feel. Thanks in large part to Google’s Gmail, that is no longer the case. Google’s suite of apps that include Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Sheets and a host of others are well worth checking out. Using any of the Google apps means that your data, contacts and lists are synced across and available from all of your devices.

10. TransferGo

If you need to pay bills or send and receive money from other countries, TransferGo can help. We provide fast, secure and affordable transfers that are easy to get your head around; with competitive rates and the option of batch payments. Oh, and you can access transfers from anywhere thanks to a nifty app. Yup, it really is that simple.

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And speaking of TransferGo, why not send some transfers? If you want to send money from home (or anywhere), we’re here to help. Sign up today for easy online money transfers.

2020-06-30

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