Becoming a freelancer can feel overwhelming. But once the foundation is set, freelancing can become routine.
Balancing multiple gigs, managing time and responsibilities, marketing yourself and finishing projects are all things freelancers must prioritize to be successful. Freelancers must be their own accountant, project manager and marketer.
Luckily there are tools that can help freelancers every step of the way, many of which are available to little to no cost. Here is the ultimate tech stack for a modern freelancer, in a top ten list none the less.
Freelancing Platforms and Communities
The most obvious on this list, but still needs to be covered. Freelance platforms are what connects freelancers with the businesses who are looking for help. Freelancer.com is a perfect example of a great freelance platform to build a reputation and profile on. To maximize potential, freelancers can look to build their presence on multiple freelance communities.
For freelancers looking to market themselves outside of online communities, portfolio building and hosting websites are great opportunities to show case their talents.
There are dedicated portfolio communities for freelancers in specific industries such as website design, SEO and graphic design. Here is a great article looking at five of the best portfolio hosting sites.
Productivity and Management Tools
Those tools that help us crush our goals.
For every organized person, there is an unorganized counterpart. Freelancers must rely on their own project management skills, as disorganization leads to missed deadlines and angry clients.
Leveraging a project management tool provides a hub for freelancers to stay on top of everything their working on, set deadlines and requirements and allow them to balance multiple products. Freelancers are in luck, as there are a plethora of free project management tools to choose from in 2018.
Web Conferencing and Team Collaboration
Most people have used a web conferencing and team collaboration tool in their personal lives (think Skype and any messenger app). In a freelance setting, both tools are essential as well.
Web conferecing tools are mostly all the same. Skype is a perfectly acceptable tool that allows freelancers to talk face-to-face with their clients. Skype for business is even one of the most implemented web conferencing tools for enterprises.
Skype can also be used as a team collaboration solution. Like MSN Messenger was for those who went to high school in the late 2000s, Skype can also be used as an instant messenger.
Many web conferencing and team collaboration tools are available for free, or companies hiring freelancers will set up one of their seats on their platforms of choice for their hires. Either way, both types of tools allow for another channel of communication, provides more clarity into their expectations and allows freelancers to ask questions as their arise.
Another tool for the disorganized, idea management tools give freelancers a virtual idea dump for ideas, thoughts and those moments that inspire people in the middle of the night.
Most idea management tools are available for free and can be used for both professional and personal reasons. The most famous of these tools is Evernote, which freelancers can sync across their mobile and desktop devices.
Tools for Getting Paid
Best that's why we all do it right?
DocuSign, PandaDoc, eSignLive. There are countless e-signature tools that all perform similar but necessary actions. Provide a legal and secure platform to sign documents.
Have free accounts on one or more electronic signature tool allows freelancers to store all of their important documents. Protect yourself, freelancers!
Time tracking tools give freelancers a way to manage how many hours they've put into a project in a transparent manner.
Many time tracking tools will be assigned to freelancers from the client they're performing their service for, but having a personal time tracking tool can help freelancers manage their time sheets as well.
Billing, Invoicing and Digital Wallets
Freelancers working through platforms such as Freelancer.com may be paid through the community platform itself. Others who are working on a contract for an extended period of time may be placed on the company's accounting platform.
For those who are soliciting freelance opportunities themselves, a billing and invoice tool is a must. These tools allow for a safe, legal and templatable process for freelancers to collect their earnings.
An example of a freelancer using a secure personal payment processor would be platforms such as Venmo or Paypal.
Freelancers are a special breed of worker. A free spirited personality with enough drive and creativity to be their own boss and manager. These tools, along with many other tools, can help make their lives and work easier. Read reviews of all tools mentioned in this article, along with thousands of other software solutions, on G2 Crowd.