When it comes to working freelance, Solo time-tracking and project management software is the perfect example of how online tools can lend freelancers a helping hand. So we decided to compile a list of a few other productivity apps we think can also help you get ahead as a freelancer.
We’ve hand-picked eight that we love, many of which we use here in the office. We think they’ll be particularly helpful to freelancers who are just starting out - however, the online tools and productivity apps which we selected will be of use to you no matter how long you’ve been in the freelance game.
If you’re going to go freelance, you’re going to want your own website and online portfolio. AllYou is a stylish way for you to gain a professional-looking presence on the web with ease. It eliminates the need for expensive programmers and gets rid of complicated interfaces, making it a quick and easy way to present your work online.
Much like Solo, AllYou is geared towards creative freelancers. It allows you to set up simple galleries or more sophisticated websites using templates (which they provide) or your own personal designs. You can connect your own domain, sites are automatically optimised for mobile, and best of all, it’s drag and drop, making this online portfolio extremely easy to manage.
When using our time-tracking software to its maximum potential, you’ll be using it to improve your workflow and maximise your earnings, as well time your working hours. And if you are, chances are our time-tracking software has highlighted just how much of a time-suck dealing with email is.
A great way to wage war against the clutter in your inbox is with Unroll.Me. It instantly unsubscribes you from mailing lists you don’t want to be on, and organises those you do into one, big, group email. It may not be a productivity app in the truest sense, but productivity certainly improves when you spend less time dealing with spam.
When you use time-tracking software, another thing that tends to show up as draining your time is social media. It can really eat into your day, because we all tend to sneak a peak at Facebook and Twitter - and when you work freelance, you should also be using social media for the legitimate reason of self-promotion.
Used correctly, social media is a good way for freelancers to find new clients and pick up work (check out our crash-course in social media which shows you how). And a great way to reduce the amount of time (but not your impact) on social sites are productivity apps. The one we use is Socialba. It lets you share your content across all your social media platforms simultaneously, saving you mucho time and hassle.
While we’re on the subject of using social media as a freelancer, it’s probably a good time to bring up Icebergs - it’s something we use to help us manage our social media content. It’s an awesome cloud-based tool if you’re a creative freelancer, and one of our favourite productivity apps here in the office. In fact, we use it every day.
It’s kind of a cross between Evernote and Pinterest, and lets you add, organise, share, highlight and arrange images you find on the web. We use it to help us curate items for our social media accounts and Best of The Month emails. It’s free to use and as far as productivity apps go, it’s well worth a look. So check it out.
Keeping on top of your accounts is one of the less pleasant parts of being a freelancer. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most important. It’s a chore our software helps you out with (time-tracking helps make bookkeeping a hell of a lot easier), and when combined with accountancy software like Xero, the task becomes even less stressful.
The similarities between Xero and our time-tracking software are a bit freaky. The names sound similar (both ending in ‘O’), the logos look like brother and sister, and they’re both indispensable productivity apps for freelancers. They’ve also done a half-descent job of making the rather dull subject of accounting a bit more pleasant with a user-friendly UI.
Here’s something to help keep your finger on the pulse of what conversations are trending. Using Trendsmap, you can stay abreast of hot-topics as they break around the world, and keep an eye on which hash tags are causing a buzz on Twitter.
It’s used by both TV news networks and celebrities alike, and gives you the ability to monitor, analyse, and visualise what’s happening throughout the Twittersphere in real time; something that’s great if you’re looking to cause a stir on social with a well-timed blog post or pithy tweet.
The last in our round-up of online tools and productivity apps is a Chrome extension that’s handy for anyone trying to strengthen their SEO (which should be any freelancer promoting themselves on the net through a blog or website). It’s simple and easy to use, it's called Multi Highlight, and it’ll pick out keywords on any web page you care to analyse.
All you do is type in the words you want to check, and using Multi Highlight, you can clearly see your targeted keyword and keyword density. You can then tighten-up your blog articles directly in the back end of your CMS before posting. And whether you’re new to freelancing or an old hand, blog-writing is a powerful way to promote yourself, making this super-handy.
As you can see, online tools come in all shapes and sizes. From simple browser extensions that are one-trick ponies, to productivity apps (like our time-tracking software) that do a dozen jobs so you don’t have too.
Costs vary. Some are free, some you have to pay for - but the one thing they all have in common is, like Solo, they all promise to make your working day a whole lot easier. We’re pretty sure the online tools and productivity apps we’ve mentioned here will revolutionise your freelance work. So go check ‘em out, and leave a comment to let us know what other productivity apps and online tools you use.
Also, we'd like to say a big thank you to Solo user Juliana Villegas for the wonderful illustration she did for this blog.
This blog post is brought to you by the creators of Solo; your freelance wingman. If you'd like to contribute to the blog, contact us on hello[at]wearethrive.com.