It seems like new, innovative tools that promise to help you become a better, more efficient freelancer pop up every day. But when you’re starting, it’s hard to know what tools you actually need and what you could do without.
Putting apps to the test and figuring out what works best for you is a significant time investment. Trying tool after tool and app after app can be exhausting —and confusing if you’re trying many at once.
What else is there?
You have your trusted core tools that help you do your best work, like your go-to video conferencing software. But what if there were a few extras that could make your life even easier?
You know, the tools that take your workflow from great to amazing; the ones that you share with your freelance friends saying, “Have you tried this yet?
This particular collection of tools could also be dubbed, “Tools We’re Not Sure How People Function Without”. They’re not essential in the sense that you can’t do your job at all without them, but they make things — even the littlest things — that much easier. And if technology wants to make our lives more manageable, we should let it, right?
Check out these stellar, can’t-miss tools that you need to add to your freelancer toolkit.
We’re all looking for ways to be better organized. Some love color-coding, others rave about their elaborate folder system. But Evernote may be the tool that casts aside all of our organizational preference differences.
Evernote is a centralized place where you can keep both your work and personal life tidy (We’ll spare you the Marie Kondo puns. That’s a promise). It’s the perfect system to keep track of important documents, notes, ideas, and more.
Notebooks act like folders to which you can add notes and links, upload documents, build checklists, or insert images. You can also select from Evernote’s note template library if you want to take your organization up a notch or don’t have time to mess around with formatting.
Thanks to the search and tag features, you can find exactly what you need right when you need it. Also, the web clipper tool lets you save articles, web pages, and PDFs to notes in just a few clicks so everything is where it needs to be.
The Evernote mobile app is certainly up to snuff as well, making it painless to take everything you need on the go. The auto-sync across all devices capability isn’t too shabby either.
Evernote is the smart note system you never knew you needed.
Who should use Evernote?
Freelancers who want to up their organizational game 10-fold.
- Evernote Basic — Free
- Evernote Premium — $7.99/month
- Evernote Business — $14.99/user/month
For a detailed look at Evernote’s pricing and features, check out their website.
Sometimes it’s just easier to show people how to do something rather than spell it out in a long email. Whether you need to show a client how to access a folder with project assets or if you want to simplify your team on-boarding, Loom is a must-have tool.
Loom is a screen capturing tool that lets you narrate as you record yourself walking through a task. It’s as if you are right there with the person guiding them each step of the way.
You just click the Loom icon and select between screen + your camera, just your screen, or just your camera. Record your video, hit pause when you need to, and when you’ve finished click the green checkmark icon.
From there, you can trim your video (and cut down on those pesky “um’s or “likes throughout the recording if need be) and when it’s ready, share your recording with anyone by copying the URL.
For such a simple tool, it’s an effective way to communicate with clients and teammates alike and say what an email couldn’t.
Who should use Loom?
Freelancers who want to reduce the back-and-forth of email when it comes to explaining how to do anything.
If you’re currently storing your passwords in a locked note on your phone, stop that! This is an app you can’t pass up.
1Password is your one-stop, secure password and private document storage solution that not only keeps your passwords safe, but it also organizes them, too. With 1Password, you just need to remember one password (hence the clever company name) to access your other passwords.
The great thing about 1Password is that as you create new passwords, it’ll automatically save your login, so you don’t have to enter it manually. Plus, the automatic form filler feature makes logging in a breeze.
Think you may have been hacked? With 1Password, you can check if your login credentials have been compromised or if you need to change your password. It will even tell you what sites don’t have two-factor authentication, so you can be sure every account is safe and sound.
It’s a simple tool, but you can’t be too careful these days when it comes to your safety online.
Who should use 1Password?
Anyone and everyone!
- Personal — $2.99/month
- Teams — $3.99/month
- Business — $7.99/month
For a detailed look at 1Password’s pricing and features, check out their website.
Whether you write for a living or if the only writing you do is replying to emails, Grammarly is an essential tool.
Check your work as you type in an email or document with the browser extension or type directly into the Grammarly text editor. You can also copy and paste text documents into the text editor if you don’t want to write directly in Grammarly. Grammarly works in whatever platform you’re using — Google Docs, Slack, and even Twitter.
Grammarly does more than check your spelling and punctuation. It will also check for correct grammar including passive voice use, fragments, and more. You’ll never misuse their, there, or they’re again as long as you have Grammarly.
For those who upgrade to Grammarly Premium, you can enjoy additional features like a plagiarism checker, advanced grammar and punctuation checks, vocabulary suggestions, and much more.
No one feels good about making typos, but they are part of being the imperfect humans we are. Grammarly is saving the world from terrible writing, one incomplete sentence at a time.
Who should use Grammarly?
Freelancers who want to keep their writing in tip-top shape.
- Basic — Free
- Premium Monthly — $29.95/month
- Premium Quarterly — $19.98/month
- Premium Annual — $11.66/month
For a detailed look at Grammarly’s pricing and features, check out their website.
Boomerang for Gmail
We automate so many other things in business — social media posts, email campaigns, blog posts — so why not schedule our emails? For Gmail users, Boomerang for Gmail makes that possible. Simply add it to your Gmail account and start scheduling.
Once your email is ready, but you don’t want to send it right away, select the time and date you’d like Boomerang to send it for you. If you aren’t too concerned with the exact time your email sends, you can choose to have your email sent at other times like in an hour, in a week, or in a month from now.
In addition to scheduling emails, Boomerang has a few other tricks up its sleeve. Clear out your inbox by scheduling reminders and follow-ups if you don’t hear back from a recipient. You reach Inbox Zero without missing a thing. With Boomerang, you can also pause your inbox (you read that right), so you can get caught up on things without feeling overwhelmed.
Boomerang is a great way to clean out your inbox without about replying too quickly or forgetting to reply at all.
Who should use Boomerang?
Anyone who wants to get a handle on their inbox without worrying about missing an email or replying too quickly.
- Basic — Free
- Personal — $4.99/month
- Pro — $14.99/month
- Premium — $49.99/month
For a detailed look at Boomerang’s pricing and features, check out their website.
Last but certainly not least, we have Bitly. Bitly is a free link shortener that turns ugly, long URLs into short, concise ones.
Bitly does more than shorten links. With Bitly, you can create custom links to match your brand, track how your campaigns perform with real-time analytics, and optimize your deep mobile links to create the best experience for users — to name a few features.
Your URLs work harder with Bitly, and you can make informed decisions on your campaigns, your content, and how you choose to distribute those things based on data insights. Bitly lets you manage multiple links from one dashboard, making it easy to compare each.
Also, Bitly integrates with the other tools you already use like Buffer, Adobe, Hubspot, and more, so you can understand how your links are working without skipping a beat.
Who should use Bitly?
Freelancers who want to gain more insight into how their URLs are performing as well as manage multiple URLs at once.
- Inquire for Enterprise Pricing
As we’ve said, these tools exist to make your life easier as you navigate business as a freelancer. They might not make or break your ability to do your job, but why go without them?
We’d love to hear what your favorite “extra tool is and why.
Want more tips and tools for running a smoother small business? Sign up to receive the Unemployable newsletter and never miss a thing.