There are no two ways about it. Being a freelancer can be incredibly daunting.
And whether you’re a marketer, designer, writer or anything in-between, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re starting out.
Fierce competition. Conflicting advice. Trying to navigate those ever-so-important client relationships.
We’ve all been there. If there’s one thing that can serve as a saving grace for freelancers getting their start in today’s cutthroat digital landscape, it’s the wealth of software out there to reign in the chaos.
Seriously. Thanks to the variety of freelancer tools and services out there, it’s actually easier than ever to stake your claim as a freelancer.
But that’s if and only if your software stack is on point.
To help you understand the essentials of being a freelancer today, here’s a list of ten crucial tools and services to put together a stack that totally kills it. From outreach and marketing to make sure you’re attracting the best clients possible, these tools can do the trick.
Oh, and as an added bonus, many of these tools are totally free or have free options.
So, let’s dive right in!
List of Best Freelancer Tools, Extensions and Services
From cold emails to organize your list of contacts, email outreach is essential to any freelance business. That said, a full-blown thirty party email marketing platform is oftentimes too bloated for solopreneurs who need specific features versus the kitchen sink.
That’s where GMass comes in.
This surprisingly powerful Chrome extension offers the critical bells and whistles of email marketing while still allowing you work within Gmail. Features such as scheduling, personalization tags, and click tracking give freelancers everything they need to run stellar outreach campaigns without having to reinvent the wheel.
Social media is seen as a must-do for modern businesses; however, it can also be a potential time-sink. Scoring clients and gaining clout through social is possible, granted your presence is streamlined. Tools like Buffer are invaluable for cutting down on time spent on social by automating and scheduling your content, allowing you to spend more time networking.
Likewise, tracking and analytics can help you understand how to fine-tune your posting strategy over time.
Another nifty plugin, the MozBar Chrome extension highlights websites based on their domain authority. A metric based on a site’s link juice and ranking power, understanding high authority versus low authority sites is a big deal for freelancers.
For example, you can understand which sites you should follow and cite based on their link-building power. On the flip side, you can look at a low-ranking site and understand people who might actually be need of your services.
Freelancers need to stay on top of industry news without wasting time. Feedly can help you find more relevant content, acting as a bookmarking and RSS feed which will constantly keep you in the loop. A great way to avoid digging for sources or content to share, Feedly does the legwork of hooking you up with your daily dose of information.
Freelancers are expected to “look the part” alongside their big business counterparts. Rather than splash cash on a designer, look into tools like Canva to help you whip up everything social images and banners to your very own company logo. The optimized and professional templates provided by Canva are ready to go “out of the box.”
Oh, and you don’t need to have much in terms of design chops to make your work look like a million books. Intuitive and easy-to-use outsources your creatives can become a relic of the past.
6. Hubspot CRM
CRMs are oftentimes thought of as being reserved for enterprises, but Hubspot’s free platform bucks that trend. Allowing you to see your touchpoints with customers including where visitors came from and what content they love, you can learn a ton about your prospects before reaching out to them thanks to Hubspot.
Freelancers are constantly on the lookout for inspiration and fresh ideas. The Evernote app is the gold standard for networking, making it a cinch to create swipe files or clip article ideas. If nothing else, Evernote is a fantastic place to aggregate meeting notes and research so you don’t have to jump from document to document.
Given how busy freelancers are, the occasional spelling error is understandable, right?
But what happens when that error comes within a crucial outreach email, pitch or social post?
Extensions such as Grammarly can act as a sense of checks and balances for anything that you write. Unobtrusive and built-in to your browser, the app seamlessly catches spelling errors and makes suggestions that can save you tons of proofreading time in the process.
Slack is one of the most popular channels for communicating with freelance clients. Acting as a sort of successor to the likes of Google Talk and Skype in many circles, Slack channels go hand in hand within being a freelancer today.
Working within Slack can likewise keep you from constantly being glued to social media or external apps that eat up your day. Oh, and don’t forget the productivity apps for Slack such as Google Drive, Asana and Trello to streamline your schedule. If you’re working within a team, Slack is an absolute must-have.
Finally, the amount of time that the average small business owner wastes on invoicing is absolutely insane and it’s no different for freelancers.
And hey, time is money, right?
Freshbooks is a game-changer for busy freelancers, especially if you’re juggling a ton of clients.
Streamlining your invoicing with Freshbooks is a must-do, especially if you’re juggling a ton of different clients. A platform to create and track invoices in seconds, you can stop digging through email chains and folders and instead get paid on your own time.
And with that, we wrap this list of freelancer tools up!
As you can see, the right software stack can make all if the difference between budding and veteran freelancers alike. Rather than try to do all of the legwork yourself when it comes to marketing and managing your business, these tools can really take a load off. No matter where you are in your career, consider how a smarter stack can help you build your freelance empire ASAP.