9 Useful Freelancer Tools to Scale a (Profitable) Business
Manage Your Time (Like a Boss)
What type of freelancer or you?
- The “side-hustle” freelancer
- The freelancer (still) trying to grow their business
- The full-time-all-in-killing-it freelancer
- None of the above (Don’t mind me. I’m just a curious cat).
Whichever freelancer you are (or aren’t), you need to equip yourself with the tools of your trade. Like a chef armed with the best knives, the freelancer needs tools for writing and proposals and crafting proposal to run their business.
And when you send professional-looking documents to your clients, people view you as a professional.
Just like this cat.
If you don’t want to be shown up by Mr. Whiskers here, then check out these freelancer tools that will help you build your freelance business.
Manage Your Time (Like a Boss)
When you’re a freelancer, you’ll need to learn how to be a master juggler. Between doing client work, marketing yourself, and gaining more knowledge, you’ll need a calendar tool to help you out.
Sometimes the basics are all you need (and it’s my personal choice). As a freelancer, you have deadlines to meet and missing one? Well, that’s a huge professional no-no that can compromise your relationship with the client.
Fortunately, Google Calendar has all the necessary functions you need:
- Color code your events/deadlines by client and urgency
- Email and text reminders so you never miss a deadline
- Multiple calendars you can toggle (work, personal, etc.)
- And cute icons (very important)
An awesome prospect is interested in working with you and wants to get on the phone to discuss project details
Time to find a date and time that works for both of you.
How does this Thursday at 2 sound?
Ooh, not so good. Were available tomorrow at lunch?
I’m sorry but that doesn’t work for me. How about . . .
Don’t you just love email ping pong? Instead of going through all that nonsense, sign up for Calendly. It lets you sync up your calendars to show your availability. Just send that prospect your Calendly link and have them choose from one of your available time slots.
Send link. Book meeting. Done.
Awesome Word Processors (That Aren’t Microsoft Word)
Sometimes freelancer writers need a different platform to write on. If you’re a long-form content writer, a content marketer, or any text-heavy profession, it’s worth venturing outside Microsoft Word to suit your needs.
Microsoft Word has been good to me throughout the years. But ever since some documents didn’t save properly to OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud system), I was on the hunt for a different word processor.
It didn’t take much. I just crossed the street to Google and fell in love with Google Docs.
Yes, Microsoft Office dominated the business arena for years but Google Suite is taking a stance. And I’m 100% for it. It’s easy to use, easy to access to the cloud, and easy to share for live collaboration.
Most people have a Gmail anyway. Why not give Google Docs a shot too?
This FREE word processor is for the long-form content writers (think white pages, 2,000+ word articles, books, etc.).
Airstory features a minimalist interface that is wonderful for writing. Your text looks beautifully striking surrounded by al that white space.
But what’s unique about Airstory is its web clipper. Chances are you’re writing research-based content and you’re Googling things like crazy. The web clipper lets you clip snippets from websites. Those snippets will be available cards on Airstory that you can simply drag and drop.
And even better: citations are readily available!
Some people work best with mind maps. Others swear by pen on post-its. But some (like myself) enjoy the classic bullet-list format.
Like Airstory, Workflowy features tons of white space to make your bullet lists pop.
Speaking of bullets, every sentence you write, any thought captured is recorded as a bullet point. And what’s great is that you can drag and drop and bullet list. It makes re-arranging your points in a logical sequence a breeze.
And honestly, that’s it. It may not seem like much but Workflowy is everything you need in bullet-list format without the bells and whistles.
Oh, and it’s free. 🙂
Where All the Leads At?
Being a freelancer is part working for clients and part finding clients. Most freelancers enjoy the work they do but marketing demands a w hole new set of lessons, that may not be everybody’s forte.
Especially if that requires cold emailing.
Fortunately, cold emailing can be an amazing strategy in finding leads and converting them into clients. These next two tools will help you achieve this.
Lately, LinkedIn has been my main platform for finding leads. More companies are building a presence on LinkedIn so it’s a great place to find leads. Anytime I stumble across a cool company, I hop on LinkedIn and search within their company for:
- Content Marketer/Writer
- Content Director
- Marketing Manager
Yeah, you can message them on LinkedIn but first you have to connect with them and let’s face it: who knows how long that might take.
That’s why I use this next tool.
By now, you have a company and a name. And that’s all you need to use this tool.
Head over to Hunter.io and it’s a straightforward process. Enter the domain and the employee’s name and Hunter will find their email address for you.
Finding their email was half the battle. Now work your magic and close that prospect.
Seal The Deal With Your Personality-Packed Proposal
Yeah, you can send your proposal in a word doc but that’s *yawn* so boring.
Your proposal is part of the wine-and-dine process to get your client to want to work with you. And a compelling proposal that screams personality and professionalism will help bring you across the finish line.
Proposify helps you deliver that by streamlining the entire proposal process with:
- Premade proposal templates
- PDF exports
- E-signatures for quick execution
- Metrics and notifications that show when your client reads your proposal, clicks a link, comments, and accepts your proposal
- A system for organizing your in-house proposal resources
If you want to bring your freelance from gig to professional business, a professional proposal will help you dress for the occasion.
KO The Deal With Your Killer Contract
Your client looooooveeeessss your proposal. They want to get started asap so they can get their shiny value-packed deliverable and you want to get started ASAP so they can pay you the big bucks (hopefully). It’s time to officially convert that lead into a client.
Just e-sign on the dotted line, please.
Bonsai makes creating contracts and sending invoices a summer breeze for freelancers.
Just use their plug-and-play contract templates, send it over, and get it e-signed. Done. Along with that, they offer:
- Vetted templates
- Live notifications
Also, many freelancers are paid via PayPal or Stripe. Lucky for you, Bonsai has an integration feature that hooks up with those platforms.
It’s no wonder why more and more freelancers are loving Bonsai.
Freelancer Tools: It’s All About Simplifying (Your Hair-Pulling Hectic) Life
A tools purpose is to be used. It’s utility is meant to make your processes easier, faster, and more effective.
And while some of these suggestions require a subscription fee, I say they’re worth it.
Because they save you time. And they save you headaches.
That means you create precious minutes and conserve valuable mental bandwidth that can be used elsewhere. It can be used to create more opportunities to grow your freelance business.
Or it could be used to spent with your loved ones.
That’s the beauty of freelancing, isn’t it? Control and freedom. You control how much you want to scale your business and you also control the freedoms unique to your freelancer lifestyle.
And I hope these freelancer tools help you achieve that and more.
Dan is a freelance writer specializing in small business and personal finance. He works with FinTech and B2B companies and has written extensively about small business, from startup guides to payment processor reviews. Hire him to write for YOU at danmarticio.com.