One of the many benefits of starting a freelance or blogging business is it has the lowest costs; you can run it for free or almost free. Here are my favorite 8 FREE Tools I use to run my freelance business.
I couldn’t run my business without these tools and I use most of them on a daily basis.
Before we begin, I want to say that if you have not yet started your own blog or freelance business, and want to, please read my article on how to start a wordpress blog and make your first $1000. Let’s get going!!
Here are the 8 Tools I Use to Run My Freelance Business for FREE
#1 On my List is For Time Tracking: Toggl
As a freelancer, tracking your time is essential. I try not to charge by the hour (I think project-based fees make more sense), but I do have some clients whom I charge by the hour. I’ve used a lot of time tracking tools, but I think Toggl is the best.
Toggl is a completely free tool. You can organize it by Clients and Projects, and annotate each time entry with more details on what you’re working on.
My favorite feature is the ability to quickly pull reports by Client or Project so I can send my clients a report of how many hours I worked for them each month, and a breakdown of what I worked on.
#2 On My List of 8 FREE freelance/blog tools is Trello for time management:
I am a productivity junky!
I am also not naturally organized. So I went through TONS of apps looking for the “perfect” project management tool.
After going through some really complicated and fancy ones, I’ve decided to stick with Trello. I love it because it is simple and visual.
Basically, Trello consists of Boards, Lists, and Cards, in that order. I assign a board for each client, and then create lists within the boards. I usually break down boards by
- To Do
- In Progress
- For Review
Each time a task is moved in the workflow, I just move it on the board. Then I share the board with my clients. This makes it easy for them to see what I’m working on and what stage it’s at in the process.
You can also get really fancy and use “Power-Ups” such as the Calendar Power-Up. This allows me to assign due dates for each card and then see it all in one calendar view.
#3 On My Favorite Tools List is For Graphic Design: Canva
If you’re not using Canva–you need to.
It is the most easy-to-use, yet powerful, design editor you can get. If you’re not a designer, Canva is for you.
No matter your skill level, you’ll be able to easily create graphics because Canva comes with pre-made templates and a media library filled with thousands of stock photos, icons, and backgrounds.
I have now upgraded to the paid version of Canva for Work–and I don’t know how I ever got by without it. It has completely replaced Photoshop for me.
I do believe it’s worth it to pay for Canva for Work, rather than just use the free version but that will depend on you, and what your needs are.
Canva for Work allows you to save your brand colors and “magic resize” different templates for different social media channels. As a social media manager and blogger, these things are MUST-HAVES for me. I highly recommend it.
Do you need a website?
#4 (And I think my favorite) is For Image Capture: Jing
Jing by Techsmith is amazing. I use it every day. I can’t really believe it is free, but it is.
I use it to capture content on my screen and I add them into my photo files, post images to my blog and website and so on. Techsmith offers different types of paid screen capture as well. I do have subscriptions for their paid items as well. But, I use the FREE screen capture daily.
#5 On My List of Favorite Tools is For Invoicing, Proposals, and Contracts: AND CO
I find it really simple to just send invoices through AND CO. AND CO has a whole suite of tools for freelancers to use, but I don’t take advantage of the others.
When you send invoices through AND CO, you get notified when the client has viewed the invoice and you can send payment reminders if they are late in paying.
AND CO also has a FREE contract creator so you can send over contracts for clients to sign—no lawyer needed!
#6 On My Tools List is For Time Zone Tracking: FIO
If you’re working with clients in different time zones AND you travel a lot, FIO is essential! It’s a Google Chrome extension that lets you see various time zones at one time when you open a new tab. Super helpful!
#7 On My Tools List is For Word Processing and File Sharing: Google Drive
I use Google Docs to write and submit my articles to clients. I use Google Drive to share files, such as accompanying photos, with editors. I use Google Forms to create client questionnaires and intake forms.
The entire Google suite is extremely helpful, and I use it daily for my work!
#8 On My Tools List is For Grammar Checking and Writing Improvement: Grammarly
As a freelance writer, I use Grammarly primarily to do a quick check of my work before I submit it to my editors.
While Grammarly should NOT replace proofreading your own work, I’ve found that it will often catch things that neither I nor Google Docs caught, such as repeated words.
It’s a useful tool, not only for grammar mistakes but also for ensuring you’re using varied vocabulary and that your sentences flow. I highly recommend it!
If you pay for the premium Grammarly, you get extra features, such as plagiarism checker. But I’ve found that the free version works just fine for me.
Quickbooks Intuit also has a really good guide on how to file taxes for the self employed that you can check out here.
That’s it! Those are my hands down, favorite tools. I hope they will help you too.
If I didn’t mention your favorite tool, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know about it.
You never know…I just may like it so much that I add it to my list :))