Best Apps for Freelancers: Essential apps every freelancer needs
Choice paralysis has never been more real today. A plethora of articles claims they have the ten best apps for freelancers you should try, but later you find another article sharing twenty different more. So where does one start?
I say the essentials. The apps that you absolutely need. You don’t need five apps to do five things if there’s one app that can do all five. Rather than spend precious time (and money) from keeping up with every freelance app in existence, it’s wiser to keep your eyes on the ones that are the actual best.
On this article, we’re sharing a list of the best apps for freelancers. These are apps that every freelancer needs, regardless if you’re a writer, designer, or consultant.
Trello is my productivity tool of choice. It has an established structure that’s malleable enough to serve different functions.
Trello gives users the ability to create different boards that use the Kanban-style of organization, which is simply organizing items into distinguishing columns. For example, I have a to-do list board where I visually move tasks from the “Doing” to the “Done” column.
Here’s what my task list looks like.
I also use Trello as my go-to project management tool. I use it to organize projects and campaigns for clients.
You can start using Trello for free using this link, with premium options if you need their premium, more advanced features. In my case, the free plan is good enough.
I’ve moved my client payments from PayPal to Payoneer. It’s simply a better global payment solution for freelancers as a whole—read my article comparing the two.
Payoneer links to my bank account and provides users a physical MasterCard. This means, when clients pay me through Payoneer, I can almost instantaneously access the money through my Payoneer MasterCard.
In addition, Payoneer saves freelancers like myself more time and money than PayPal, as seen in this chart below.
If you still haven’t used Payoneer, I urge that you start. If you sign up using this link, you get a $25 signing bonus after the first $100 transferred to your Payoneer.
G Suite is the collective product that houses Google Docs, Google Drive, and more. It’s also a free service, and if you already have your email address with Gmail, you already have access to it.
Google Docs is probably the app I use the most in G Suite. It’s where I write articles, create documents, and draft up proposals. The Explore tab to the right makes GDocs especially helpful for research because I don’t have to get on another tab to quickly fact-check a bit of information.
Other apps I use include Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Drive.
If you need a free office and cloud storage solution, G Suite is definitely worth a look.
Gmelius is a Chrome extension that jacks Gmail with steroids. It’s an absolute essential if you use Gmail as your email client, thanks to the host of features it provides, including mail tracking, scheduled emails, and templates.
The templates feature is particularly helpful. I find myself using it quite a lot when sending pitches to editors and proposals to prospect clients. Mail tracking is also something I’ve grown to love; knowing someone has clicked on and read your email is intensely reassuring.
Here are more features that build Gmelius.
Gmelius has a free plan, but should you want to unlock more features, pricing is pretty affordable at $7/monthly. Try it here.
To cut down on time spent crafting correspondence emails, I’ve instead made a Slack group which houses channels where I can privately and securely chat with them. What’s more, I’m able to integrate apps I already use, like Trello and Google Drive. Finally, it allows me to break the “business”-like walls that are usually built between client and freelancer—it makes the work more collaborative.
Slack, in my book the best team communications tool in existence, deserves a spot in your essentials toolkit. Give it a try here.
I love Calendly. It bypasses the pesky back-and-forth of “are you available on this date” emails that stretch the scheduling of meetings and calls ad nauseam.
Here’s how Calendly helps: You sync your calendar with Calendly so it knows the dates and time slots when you’re not available. You then send someone your link, which will bring them to a UI showing your available dates.
By doing this, Calendly automatically shows your available dates and time and the recipient can simply choose a date when they are also available. Convenient, right?
Try Calendly here. It’s free, with the option to upgrade for more advanced features.
I’ve written a lot about Hello, Bonsai. It’s my favorite freelancing suite, partly because it does everything I don’t like doing—contracts, invoicing, and basic accounting.
A whole overview of this software is already up on my website if you want the complete lowdown, but the tl;dr of it is that it helps you automate a lot of the administrative and financing tasks that freelancing require.
In my case, for instance, I use Hello, Bonsai to draft up some of my contracts and send invoice to my clients. Hello, Bonsai makes it easy to do both tasks, too. The UI is intuitive, too, so you’d actually want to use it.
If you still don’t have any processes set in terms of contracts and invoicing, Hello, Bonsai deserves a look. Click here to sign up for free.
If you’re a freelancer, chances are, you’ve had to market your work on top of what you do for clients. And as ever, social media is a daunting but ultimately rewarding marketing channel—emphasis on “daunting”.
Enter Buffer, a social media scheduler. It’s my social media marketing tool of choice, thanks mainly to its intuitive design, power scheduling features, and affordable monthly price. There’s a free plan, too, which restricts you to 3 social profiles, but because I manage plenty of other social media accounts, I happily pay for the Pro plan (at $15/month), which allows me to manage up to 8 social accounts.
Try Buffer Pro free for 7 days here.
Whoever said email is dead is living in the rock. Currently, it’s the only channel available that allows you to directly communicate with a prospective client.
I use Mailchimp a lot for email marketing for clients as well for myself. For my email list, work/life, I use MailChimp, because, 1.) it’s free, and 2.) it’s easy to use but has pretty advanced features for those who are just starting out. A self-serving, potentially valuable aside: my email list sends out exclusive advice and insights to creative professionals and freelancers every week.
Here’s a sample newsletter:
Having a website instantly boosts your credibility as a freelancer. It’s not an absolute requirement, but something that makes your prospective clients go “wow” when deciding whether or not to work with you.
Building a website is pretty difficult to do on your own, but it’s absolutely doable. My website, armanddc.com, I build completely on my own, and I’ve used Inmotion Hosting to host it.
Inmotion is my preferred web host. They have hands-down, quick and amazing customer service. In my opinion, that’s the most important thing to look for a host. They’ve helped me out whenever I’ve run into some issues, quickly and timely every time.
If you want to build a website, I’d say do it with Inmotion! Click here to get up to 37% off your hosting.