Reports show that almost 70% of freelance workers handle about 4 projects at one time.
This means freelancing work involves communicating with multiple people on different deliverables, creating outlines for each of these projects, creating schedules to be on-time, invoicing for each work done, and much more.
This is a huge chunk of administrative work that every freelancer goes through. It may read easily on paper, but it can take a toll on you if you are not organizing your work. Whether it is communicating with the clients or working on a project, you need the best freelance tools to accelerate your work.
Tools for freelancers are designed to help you focus on your project, marketing, and growing as a freelance business.
Most often, freelancers try to do everything manually because of a misconception that fiddling with more tools is similar to wasting valuable hours.
The truth, however, is just the opposite.
As a freelancer, whether you are a content creator, graphic designer, or English tutor, your time is precious.
So, managing your time effectively is exactly why you need these freelance tools to improve productivity.
This Article Contains
(You can skim through the whole article or skip to your favorite section)
- Increase Your Productivity with the Right Freelancer Tools
- Top Freelancer Tools to Manage Your Business Better
The Right Freelancer Tools Help You Become More Productive
Tools will not do your work for you. That still comes on you.
What freelancer tools do is reduce your workload by automating some parts of your work. You invest a lot of time in managing your workload. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have freelancer tools that will make a difference in how you work.
The whole idea is to help you work smart and fast.
Since you are a freelancer, it is more like running a one-man show. From marketing to billing to administration – you do it all along with your freelance projects.
It is obvious you will want to save more of your time for your actual projects and be more productive in those hours.
Productivity and time management go hand-in-hand. So a little help in the form of freelancer tools is exactly what you need to make your life easier.
Business Management Tools for Freelancers
Let’s just admit it – it is not a cakewalk making money being a freelancer. The entire work can get exhausting if you are not managing it effectively.
Here’s a complete suite of freelancer tools that will help keep your business run smoothly.
Best Proposal Building Apps
Applying to available job postings or connecting with prospective clients on community forums may do half the job.
Looking to make it big as a freelancer? Think a step ahead of your peers.
For your first few projects, it is okay to simply apply and see how it pans out.
But when you have gained a little experience and have some solid works to showcase, designing proposals for your clients is a great idea.
Pricing: 14-Day free trial. Paid plans start at $19/user/month.
Proposify offers a large library of templates that are beautiful and customizable. You can choose typography and a snippet for your proposals, save them and re-use them in the future to save time.
Proposify is a great tool to build interactive proposals with images and videos. It also gives you feedback on how much time your clients spent in viewing your proposal and whether they have rejected or accepted it.
Pricing: 14-day free trial. Paid plans start at $29/month
Looking to create professional templates for your clients? Bidsketch, a web-based app, is a proposal designing tool that has templates that are detailed and easy to use. You can customize each template. Create professional proposal templates with custom client landing pages in minutes.
Bidsketch also has inbuilt analytics (web-based) for you to know when your client opens your proposal or when you need to do a follow-up.
Best Apps for Contracting and Legal Paperworks
As a freelancer, you focus a lot on getting good work, communicating all requirements with your clients, and discussing payment options with clarity before you start working on a project.
But a rookie mistake many freelancers make is working without a contract or a set terms and agreements.
A contract helps place you as a professional and ensures that you get paid fairly and on time.
Instead of tirelessly looking for legal words to incorporate in your contract, use these legal and contract apps to get the job done faster.
Pricing: 14-Day free trial. Paid plans start at $15/mo.
Looking to send out professional invoices and quotes? InvoiceBerry is your ideal choice to track expenses and create financial reports.
This cloud-based app is extremely reliable and easy to use. You can send invoices by email directly from the app to speed up your payment process and keep a tab on who cleared the invoices (and who hasn’t).
InvoiceBerry lets you connect payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, WePay, or Square so that your clients can make online payments instantly while you have a proper record of all payments and updated invoices.
Pricing: Free plan available for 1 client. Paid plans start at $18/mo.
AND CO, acquired by Fiverr is a completely free tool for freelancers looking to create professional contracts.
AND CO is intuitive and easy to use. From smart alerts and automated invoice generation to standard agreement services and e-signature inclusion – AND CO has it all. In fact, AND CO is a complete package that takes care of the end-to-end needs of a freelancer.
Best Apps for Finance
Irrespective of how much you want to avoid it, you have to handle your finances as a freelancer. This is the final and most important part of your freelance business.
Also, at one point you will also need to handle taxes. To make your job easier, here are the best finance tools for you.
Pricing: There are no signing up pricing plans. You pay transaction fees to PayPal only when you get paid for a project.
The most convenient way to get your payments is PayPal. It is available in over 200 countries and supports more than 25 currencies, making it easier to work with clients across the globe.
PayPal is flexible and transfers your payment directly to your local bank by automatically deducting the conversion fees if your client is paying you in another currency.
While PayPal does have steep transaction fees, the good part is, you can show this in your taxes as a cost for doing business. So if you have a team of freelancers registered under a brand name, PayPal is your ideal choice.
Pricing: Quickbooks has a 30-day free trial. The paid plans start from $12.50/month for a single user.
Quickbooks is popular accounting software that syncs your bank accounts so that you can get your payment directly in the bank. This also helps in tracking your income and handling taxes.
In addition, you can also use Quickbooks to manage and pay contractors. You can integrate Quickbooks with PayPal to create credit notes for a new PayPal transaction or add an expense account.
Best Apps for Scheduling
Being a freelancer, you obviously don’t have a fixed schedule every day. Some days are all about calls with clients while other days you have multiple projects to finish.
In this chaos, the only respite is the scheduling tools that take charge of reminding you of an upcoming meeting or a project deadline.
Having a calendar or meeting scheduling app is absolutely necessary to put your freelancing routine on track, and we have the best tools for you.
Google Calendar is the gold standard when it comes to scheduling, especially if you are a Google user [which most of us are].
The fact that Google Calendar can be synced with your project management tools, communication apps, Gmail, and Google Tasks makes Google Calendar the perfect app to schedule your work.
Add to this, Google has already released several new features geared towards businesses that have increased the popularity of this app.
From sharing a calendar with your teams to getting alerts minutes before your appointment or meeting, Google Calendar is the virtual assistant you’ll love.
Pricing: Has a completely free plan for solo users. Paid plans for more than 1 user starts at $8/user/month
Calendly makes it easier to schedule a meeting or appointment in a time slot convenient for both parties. You need not exchange threads of emails to decide which time is convenient for you or your client.
Calendly lets you set up working hours or time slots when you are available for a call so that your client can simply set up a call when you are available [and vice-versa]. Calendly also automatically handles timezone differences making it easier to set up your meetings.
Best Apps for Client Communications
Whether you have just connected to a new client or have already started working on a project, you will have endless conversations with your client before the project closes [and often after that too].
Since you are a freelancer, you will be working with people across the globe. The easiest way to stay connected and sync up is by using communication tools that will speed up your work.
Pricing: Slack is free to use especially if you are joining your client’s channel. Paid plans are for businesses, and starts at $6.67/user/mo when billed annually.
You’ll seldom come across a company that does not use Slack or a similar tool for communications and collaborating on long-term projects.
Slack cuts down the load on emails for every small query, because there is nothing more irritating than a long email thread with one or two sentences. If you are looking to work on long-term projects, it’s time you download Slack and start using it before your client invites you to their channel (which they will do).
Another reason why Slack is such a popular choice for communications is the host of integrations that Slack offers with Google Drive, Google Calendar, Trello, Asana, and more. Slack supports calls only on the Chrome browser.
Pricing: Free (with Google Workspace)
Google Meet is the ideal choice for most clients because almost everyone uses the Google Suite for their work, and Meet comes automatically as a part of this suite. Google Meet is amazing for video calls.
If you are looking for instant messaging, then the choice is Google Hangouts (which also has the calling feature).
Google Meet is where you schedule and invite clients or get invites from clients to join a call and communicate on project details. These meeting invites, once accepted, are automatically added to your Google Calendar ensuring you don’t miss out on your productive meetings.
Pricing: Skype is Free to use. If you want to call (dial-in) someone through Skype, then you will need to buy Skype credits, starting at $2.99/mo.
For the longest time, Skype by Microsoft has been the perfect tool to communicate and collaborate with businesses across the globe. From instant messaging to quick video calls, Skype is an easy tool to set up and start using.
It is entirely free except when you want to call on someone’s mobile phone or landline or send out an SMS. For this, you will need a paid subscription. Otherwise, Skype continues to be one of the oldest and popular choices when it comes to online calling and communicating.
Skype is the perfect tool if you are syncing with your client one-on-one. While group calls are possible on Skype, it does not have the “channel” system like Slack’s other collaboration tools.
Best Apps for Time Management
Time is the most valuable asset for every business owner. You don’t want to waste billable hours in micro-managing your work.
Time tracking tools are essential when you are freelancing because, first, you may have to bill on a per-hour basis, and two, you are juggling between multiple projects.
So, managing your time for each task or project can help you be on time with your deliverables.
Here are the best tools for freelancers to start tracking and managing their work time.
Pricing: 14-day free trial. Paid plans start at $10/user/month
Looking to track time and invoicing for billable hours? Time Doctor is your ideal choice. Along with tracking time, Time Doctor lets you monitor chats, capture screenshots, handle payrolls and payments, and more.
It offers third-party integration with several apps like Slack, Github, Trello, etc. to make work more flexible for you. You can track time to clients, share detailed reports and timesheets, use alerts to stay focussed, and track breaks as well.
Time Doctor helps you determine your billing hours for every task and project with ease. You can even automate your invoices and let your clients see the full breakdown of your billable work without having to manually create them.
Pricing: Free for solo users. Paid plans for small and medium businesses start at $5.25/user/month.
Another must-have time tracking app is TimeCamp. With TimeCamp you can create as many tasks and subtasks as needed inside a project using tags. Invite your clients to keep an eye on time and resources spent for their project, define billing rates for specific users and groups for proper invoicing, and track holidays, leaves, and breaks so that you know exactly your working hours.
TimeCamp is also ideal for small and medium businesses looking to track employee working hours in remote mode.
Pricing: Has forever free plan. Premium plans start at $10/user/month
If you want to only track time and export timesheets, then Toggl Track is the simplest app that you can use. With a neat interface, you can start tracking time with a click. Switch seamlessly between projects and tasks, and create reports on working hours.
Toggl Track is available on desktop as well as a Chrome extension. It is used by solo users as well as a team of freelancers.
Best Apps for Project Management
Juggling between multiple projects is nothing new for a freelance writer. But that also means you need proper project management skills to stay on track with your tasks.
Project management tools for freelancers that are easy to use and have no complications at all are your best bets.
Pricing: Forever free plan. To customize boards, you need to upgrade to Trello Gold starting at $10/user/month
One of the easiest and most popular project management apps is Trello. The Kanban style of Trello boards makes it easy to create cards, assign tasks, add due dates, and move cards from left to right indicating work in progress.
Trello comes with a host of powerups to make it easier to automate your entire workflow.
It integrates with all major work apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Automate.io, Slack, Dropbox, and more. Not just this, you can leverage Trello with other work tools that your clients use.
For instance, if your client uses Asana for work management, you can simply integrate Trello with Asana to get cards created inside Trello automatically when a task is assigned to you.
Pricing: Free (With Google Workspace)
Google Tasks is the most no-nonsense task management app that you’ll find. No complications, no add-ons, no jargon.
It is a simple to-do list maker that lets you add tasks directly from Gmail or Google Calendar or from anywhere inside the G-suite. Add time, subtasks, and get going immediately.
Since Google Tasks is a part of Google Workspace, everything is automatically synced across all the Google Apps.
Best Apps for Productivity
As a freelancer, you always have complete control over which project you want to work on, how many hours you want to work, and when you want to take a break.
The only problem of working at your own comfort is that you are also responsible for your own productivity. That becomes a little challenging while working alone. It is easy to lose focus because you have to put your head into every small detail of everything related to your work.
That’s why you need productivity tools to keep you on track and reduce your load.
Pricing: Free. Some apps are for premium users only, starting at $49/mo.
Automate.io is an integration platform that lets you integrate your work tools seamlessly in minutes.
There are over 200 apps that you can integrate and create an automated workflow to sync your work across all apps. Not just two, Automate.io lets you integrate multiple apps, run multiple bots i.e. automation sequences, and check data for accuracy.
Choose the apps that you want to integrate, select the trigger in the trigger app, set up the action in another app to complete the automation sequence, and run the workflow. These are called bots, and inside Automate.io you can create an n-number of bots between multiple apps.
Pricing: Free plan available. Paid plans start at $4.99/mo.
There are countless times when you read an article or watch a video that you like and would want to save it to refer back to it when you need it later on. Instead of bookmarking everything on your browser, use Pocket to save these resources for future references across all devices.
Best Apps for Design
There are times when you quickly need to create visual aids for your freelance business. Be it your website, social media, or even digital business cards, you will need a tool that’d help in creating attractive visuals.
Pricing: Forever free plan available. Paid plans start at $12.95/mo for one user. You can build a team to collaborate on a design by paying for each user or upgrading to the enterprise plan.
Canva is a blessing for any non-designer. From static images to GIFs, videos to presentations, PDFs to flyers – there is nothing you cannot design in Canva.
It comes with a host of templates that can be customized, a huge library of icons and elements to create your design from scratch.
Canva is synonymous with beautiful designs that will only compliment your content. To avail of certain premium templates and icons, you need to be a Pro member on Canva. However, in the free version also, you get access to a huge resource – good enough to cater to your basic design requirements. In fact, you can also pay per element as and when you use a premium element in your design instead of going on a monthly subscription.
Pricing: Vimeo Basic is completely free. All paid plans have a 30-day free trial. Paid plans start at $7/mo for a single user
Vimeo is your interactive solution to building videos without knowing anything about video editing! Create videos for social media or content promotion or for any other client’s needs, all the while collaborating with your client on the same. Create ad-free videos that can be embedded anywhere easily.
From customized color and components to end-screens, Vimeo is your one-stop solution to video presentations.
Best Apps for Writing, Editing, and Proof-reading
Everything boils down to this: Writing, Editing, and Proofreading. Being a freelancer, you’ll be creating a lot of content be it for marketing, sales, emails, social media, interacting with clients. The key here is there should be no compromise in this. All the communication has to be grammatically correct and also should deliver a clear message.
At times you will be so overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand that you will need tools that offer you distraction-free writing options.
Add to this, you will need auto-save features and an app to edit and proof-read your content. Here are the best freelancer tools to do this:
Write Wall is a simple Chrome extension that comes for free.
The black screen with white text offers a distraction-free writing mode. Also, you can place it over another tab on Chrome and scroll the one below to refer and write simultaneously instead of juggling between two tabs or browsers. This is only for Chrome users and is available on all OS that supports Google Chrome.
Looking for an option where your writing is automatically saved? Google Docs is your perfect choice. There is no distraction in Google Docs. You can turn on offline sync so that you can continue working even if you are not connected to the internet.
Google Docs has formatting features, word count options, and various exporting options like PDF, Word, Text, etc. You can directly share your draft with your client and get real-time suggestions or feedback right inside the doc. In fact, you can collaborate in real-time while editing through the in-doc chat option.
Lastly, all your docs are safely saved inside your drive forever unless you delete them. To get the best of Google Docs, use it with Google Docs add-ons and extensions.
Pricing: Free for basic checks. For advanced checks like plagiarism, you will need paid plans starting at $29.95/mo.
Grammarly is definitely the best tool that you can use to fix all grammatical errors, language construction, and plagiarism issues. It’s hard to think of writing content and not checking it through Grammarly.
Whether you are writing an email or a long-form content or a social media post, Grammarly is your best friend in fixing all small and big errors so that you publish or send only what’s absolutely correct.
It corrects subject-verb placements, modifies sentences, offers alternatives to various expressions, and corrects wrongly spelled words. You can choose your writing style before you put your content for checking – British English, Canadian English, American English, and Australian English.
Using productive freelance tools is your first step to scaling your freelance business. Your goal is to save time and work more so that you grow as a freelancer. For that, this list of freelancer tools is your perfect go-to-option to get started.
Now it’s your turn – what tools for freelancers do you consider essential for your business?
Pritha Bose is a content marketing person working with global brands to drive organic growth and brand visibility. She is the Senior Content Marketer at Automate.io. She writes on business & sales automation, consumer marketing, advertisement, social media marketing, etc.