5 Freelance Tools To Succeed On Your Own


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We have all the tools you need to make freelancing the best career move you've ever made! Photo: Blogs.nature.com

Working in your underwear? We have the tools you need to make your freelancing career a success! Photo: Blogs.nature.com

If you’re looking to take your career into your hands, then the freedom and independence of freelancing can be very exciting. But there is a massive difference between being a part of a company and being every component of a company — from receptionist to creative director to CEO. Having the right tools and industry know-how can make the transition from hobbyist vintage seller to independent business owner a little easier. One of the largest resources available for freelancers and independent business owners is the Freelancers Union, a non-profit organization benefitting over 200,000 members with necessities like healthcare, workers rights, and legal representation. We’ve compiled some of the best resources available for budding and existing freelance businesses to make the road to one-man-shop smoother and successful!

Creative, Inc.

This book is one of the best guides to succeeding as a freelancer.  Photo: Blog.krisatomic.com/

This book is a great guide to succeeding as a freelancer. Photo: Blog.krisatomic.com

Whether you’re contemplating a freelance career or you’re already there, this book is an inter-disciplinary guide to succeeding. The book is written with an informal and friendly voice, and navigates through the world of setting rates, dealing with agents and finding your business sense — all while making you feel like you just had a good chat with a friend. Find this helpful guide on Chroniclebooks.com

My Price App

Photo: Antoniomacias.mx

Photo: Antoniomacias.mx

Once you’ve decided to become a freelancer, you need to know exactly how to charge your clients. The MyPrice app for iPhones is a tool that calculates your hourly rates by computing the scale of your project and client, experience and education level, services offered, time and location. It also lets you store projects as a reference for what to charge for similar work, and offers tips to keep you up to date with trends in freelancing. Free.

FreeAgent App

Reduce your stress with this jack-of-all-trades app! Photo: Startribune.com

Reduce your stress with this jack-of-all-trades app! Photo: Startribune.com

Once you’re freelancing, managing your finances and time effectively, all the while creating invoices and paperwork can be ultra stressful. The FreeAgent web software seeks to eliminate the confusion by providing a cloud accounting service that backs up all data for your business. It aides in managing financial, bank and tax statements and has customer support incase you need any further assistance. It’s also mobile friendly and can be used on iPhones and Androids. Free 30-day trial. $24/month.

Freelance Radio Podcast

Photo: Pressurechief.deviantart.com

Photo: Pressurechief.deviantart.com

Sometimes you need to hear advice from real people in the industry to believe it. Anyone working independently can relate to the vast collection of broadcast topics, led by a panel of savvy freelancers. We recommend the posts on negotiating a freelance contract, a typical day freelancing, and getting through the slow, rough patches. Free.

Community: Freelance.meetup.com

Photo: Knewton.com

Photo: Knewton.com

Sometimes heading out on your own alone can be, well… lonely. Freelance.meetup.com sought to end that issue by creating an online community where freelances could network and meet. Currently in 26 countries and 188 cities, the community is broken down by interest, field and city and members can find anything from office share opportunities to meet and greets for new clientele.

Square Register Gadget

Payments anytime, anywhere. Photo: Popscreen.com

Payments anytime, anywhere. Photo: Popscreen.com

Receiving payment for your services is now as easy as one swipe with this gadget. The Square Register turns your iPad, iPhone or Android into an on-the-go register that accepts credit cards. Cardholder verification and a signing pad are all offered on the app. First, download the app and then sign up to receive the card reader through the mail. For shop owners who mainly deal with Paypal payments, Here is a similar card reader and app. No more waiting for money means no more stress. Free.

  • TrumpThis

    Best free platform for freelancers is Bitrix24. Over 35 free tools for essentially everything – collaboration, CRM, document management, quotes, invoices, marketing, etc.

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  • George Cook

    Informative post! I would add http://www.proofhub.com as well . Simple, intuitive and powerful tool with some extra functionality added.

  • Denis Duvauchelle

    A collaboration/task manager app would also be useful, to keep of all the little things as well as keep in mind medium-long term goals! I’ve written a bit about how mine (Twoodo) could help with this: http://product.twoodo.com/849/how-to-solve-the-the-biggest-problems-with-team-collaboration/?track=blogcomment

  • Everyday, I usually read book, listen to music, and walk. And now I will add
    5 Freelance Tools To Succeed On Your Own

  • Louay Khraish

    Thanks for the resources. As a freelancer, I find this article very valuable, especially the link to the Freelancers Union and the info on the hourly-rate App.

  • Sarah Fisher

    This is great information! I hadn’t heard of Creative Inc- seems to have a lot of info I need to know.

  • Katie Murphy

    Great article, love all of the different types of tools out there. I’d love to read the book too, has anyone here read it? I don’t think I’m quite ready, but enjoy applying the freelance mentality to my work!

  • Greta S.

    This is a very informative article to get started! I believe Intuit Go Payment rate is at 3.75%. Glad to learn of another payment processing such as Square Register at a lesser rate! Thanks for sharing as this info is extremely helpful for sellers.

  • I’m excited to check out that rate calculator app!

  • Gayley

    I LOVE that MY PRICE app! I haven’t seen it before and because I am a freelancer who does a very wide variety of things, this is a fantastic tool! Thanks for gathering these fantastic resources!

  • I am glad you selected to share your exertions with folks like ME. i have been yearning for this data and as yet I solely found it confusing. Thank you.

  • Thanks !! for the tip

  • Dan

    Cheers Ariel thanks for the shout. :)

  • This was really helpful, thank you. I’ve been freelancing for a few years since I received my Masters degree and find it rewarding and exhilirating, yet also a bit tenuous. They’re tricky waters to navigate but this list is good for both freelance newbies or someone who’s been pounding the pavement for a few years. I picked up the Creative Inc. guide.

  • Very helpful insight! My roommates and I have been collectively discussing and planning successful ways to freelance while pursuing careers in the performing arts. Perfect timing…we’re going to try to incorporate all 5 tools in our plans :)

    Thanks for this.

  • This one is a great (free) browser-based tool http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/ it is really great too!

  • reesaspieces73

    This article is so helpful! as a start up freelancer, having a community like Freelance.meetup.com to be able get knowledge and support isamazing. Square Register Gadget is what I need right now!!

  • The information and the detail were just perfect. I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts down so well.

  • Marlena

    This couldn’t be more on point. I never know where to start and constantly get disorganized. My friend and I want to fully go in on a business together, but we’re not sure what could help us. I want to check out those apps and maybe attend a Meetup or two. Ariel, those podcasts seem nifty–what was the best piece of information you learned?

  • This article made a lot of really great points. Freelancing is really difficult in the world today especially with a struggling market. Hats off to those who give it a shot, with this information I definitely think that you could get off to a great start. Technology is pretty awesome these days! You can really do anything on the go.

  • Darn, MyPrice doesn’t have an Android App. Anyone know of other similar products out there?

  • This is so well-timed! I just moved to NYC and am thinking of trying my hand at freelancing a bit while I look for my next big project. My biggest uncertainties so far have been figuring out my rate (downloading that app now!) and finding and negotiating contracts. In general, I find that podcasts are a great way to learn on the go so I’m also going to get that one right now. I recommend as well for entrepreneurs the entreproducer podcast (http://entreproducer.com/) and Lifestyle Business Podcast (http://www.lifestylebusinesspodcast.com/). Thanks again for this great list of resources!

  • :) thanks for this information, very helpful