Thanks to the internet, you now don’t have to be constrained to a single career or work for one company forever. Traditional full-time jobs are now being replaced by hourly, project-based, and single-task work done by freelancers, independent contractors, and remote workers.
According to a 2019 study by MBO Partners, nearly 41.1 million Americans are freelancers, 38% being millennials, 29% being Gen X, and 33% being baby boomers. While there are various reasons why people choose to freelance, top on the list is “flexibility” and “to earn extra money.”
Digital Tools for Freelancers
Freelancing comes with its perks, but it also has its sad days. After some time, you might find yourself stuck in a hole once again. Your earnings might decline, your productivity may go low, and your client base may decrease.
At this point, you may think that what you need to do is work extra hard, but then you end up feeling less productive and more exhausted. Ideally, what you need at this point is to start working smart. It would be best to find ways to get more tasks done in less time and free yourself up to start building up your business. The good news is that there are plenty of online tools to help you achieve this.
Here are some of the best digital tools to help you boost your productivity, manage your time and finances, and find freelance work, among other things. Let’s take a look!
1: Trello (Project management)
Working with other people on a project often requires endless, often confusing spreadsheets. But, Trello is here to solve all your collaboration problems by providing a visual way for teams to get together. This free online collaboration tool is for people who value a great organized brainstorming session.
With the ability to sync across all your devices, this tool allows you to instinctively use lists, cards, and boards to organize and prioritize your project, leaving you with more time to focus on the actual work. There is no limit to the number of people you can add, and you can even attach images, files, and more to each card. All the changes you make appear in real-time.
2: A VPN (Stay Safe)
One of the luxuries that come with freelancing is the fact that you can work from anywhere, anytime. To make it even more convenient, most public facilities like airports, coffee shops, and hotels have free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, these open public Wi-Fi networks are highly vulnerable to cyber threats.
Not to worry, though, because you can use a VPN to encrypt your traffic and make yourself less vulnerable to hacking when using public networks. A VPN serves as a cover between you and the malicious criminals hiding on the same network. It routes all your traffic on the public network through an encrypted tunnel, allowing you to stay secure and anonymous.
3: LastPass (To Help Remember Passwords)
As a freelancer, you’ll be opening different accounts that need passwords to log in. They say you shouldn’t use a similar password for all your accounts, you should never write it down, and that you should always make it complicated. But, how much time will you be wasting trying to remember all these passwords?
LastPass remembers all your passwords! All you need to do is remember one primary password, and it’ll be able to give you the rest. This is an excellent stress-reliever as it frees up your mind to remember other important things.
4: FastMail (Secure Emailing)
As an Email service provider, FastMail comes with two main advantages. As the name suggests, this service is super fast, especially when it comes to syncing your email, calendars, notes, and contacts and searching your archive.
Another thing, FastMail is highly secured, with optional two-factor authentication to ensure no one will ever access your emails but you.
5: Slack (Instant Messaging)
Slack is a popular instant messaging app for work communications and a great time saver. All the communications in this app are fully searchable and organized into channels by; team, topic, project, or whatever you prefer. This makes it much easier than searching through irrelevant, endless messages in your regular email box.
6: Join Me (Video Conferencing)
As a freelancer, it is not always practical to physically meet your collaborators or clients, either because they are busy or miles away. Video conferencing can help you establish the same relationship as face-to-face meetings rather than simple emails and phone calls.
Join Me is an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that gets the job done. You’ll also love the fact that you can create a custom URL and even customize your meeting background.
7: Grammarly (Correct your grammar and spelling)
Lousy grammar and spelling mistakes can be damaging to freelancers, especially when looking for prospective clients. Having spelling mistakes in your portfolio or cover letter is definitely going to raise eyebrows. While you can utilize the standard Spell Check function available in your text editing, that alone won’t catch all the mistakes.
That’s why it’s advisable to double-check your text using Grammarly. This is a more advanced tool that scans your writing for both common and complex grammatical mistakes, everything from article use to subject-verb agreement and modifier placement.
8: Dropbox (File storage, management, and sharing)
Dropbox is the go-to tool when it comes to storing and sharing large files. With simple drag-n-drop technology, you can sync your files on different devices stored “in the cloud.” This way, you’ll never have to be bothered with downtime when you are supposed to be working on a task or get stuck wondering where and how you’ll get a particular file.
Freelancing comes with a lot of freedom, but it also requires discipline if you ever want to achieve your dreams. The above tools will help you plan your time well, stay safe online, be productive, and eventually grow your business.