With 2020 bringing the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic and a global shutdown, the time has never been better to become more comfortable working remotely. As a freelancer, staying on top of tasks, regardless of market conditions, has always been a challenge, especially for those starting out.
The tools listed below are just some of the most useful available for freelancers managing their projects, connecting with clients, and succeeding as a remote workforce.
Being an independent professional means keeping track of multiple projects at one time. With a variety of items to keep track of, Trello allows you to have your own virtual corkboard. Boards can easily be moved from to-do’s to completed tasks, making your board an excellent way to visualize your things to get done.
Trello is a proven tool for individuals, as well as bigger companies like Google and Adobe. Users are able to integrate with tools like Slack and Salesforce as well, making it one of the best project management tools out there.
Alternatives: Asana, Airtable
With work environments shifting from offices to homes, staying present and focused has become increasingly harder. Staying on task and not checking out the latest subreddit is more difficult without the right self-control. Studies have shown that the average person’s attention span has reduced with the advent of social media among other things.
Forest is an app that helps you stay focused on the important things in life. The app acts as a timer, building a virtual tree depending on the amount of time spent away from your phone. Forest partners with Trees for the Future and plants real-life trees, based on the amount of time a user spends away from their phone. Using an incentive of doing actual good makes being present that much more fulfilling.
Alternatives: Focus Keeper, Toggl
To continue with the green theme, Hello Bonsai is another great application for freelancers, allowing them to streamline contracting and invoicing processes. Everything from creating proposals to doing taxes is provided in Bonsai’s platform so that freelancers can just worry about their actual work.
Hello Bonsai is a pretty simple tool with not much of a learning curve. It is used by over 200,000 freelancers and agencies worldwide and supports over 180 different types of currencies..
Alternatives: InvoiceNinja, HoneyBook
Working remote means phone calls and video chats. Calendly helps you easily schedule meetings and integrates with tools like Google Calendar and Zoom. Time zones are accounted for as well, limiting confusion. Calendly also offers metrics and reporting to better understand what drives invitees to engage and track scheduling activity to campaigns.
Calendly is the easiest solution for solo freelancers as well as bigger organizations. They automate scheduling for 5 million users monthly and are used by trusted companies like LinkedIn and Zendesk.
Alternatives: YouCanBook.me, Doodle
Basecamp is the second project management tool mentioned on this list, after Trello. While similar, Basecamp focuses more on communication and less on tasks or dependencies, making it more enticing for small teams. Whereas Trello is great for individuals, Basecamp excels by providing features like status updates for team members and the ability to share files. Companies like NBC Universal use Basecamp to organize multiple teams at once.
Basecamp is a product of 37signals, a company started by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, co-writers of Rework and Remote, two books that embrace the reality of a remote future for work.
Alternatives: Monday.com, Atlassian JIRA
Being a freelancer means learning new skills in a short amount of time. Blinkist gives you a way to digest a large amount of knowledge in a short amount of time. With over 14 million users, Blinkist prides itself as being a more modern version of Sparknotes, using 15 minute audio clips to summarize key points from non-fiction books.
The best minds are the ones that remain sharp. Blinkest remains cognisant of a freelancer’s time, while giving him or her a chance to learn efficiently.
Alternatives: Audible, Quiddity
Rise is, at its core, a remote freelance designers and copywriters marketplace. The platform facilitates connections, collaborations and transactions between independent professionals and clients. Rise’s community of remote experts has been vetted prior to onboarding. A robust work ethic rating system ensures that freelancers build a fair and transparent reputation once active on the platform.
With the current pandemic bringing uncertainty to many company futures, the number of talented freelancers looking for opportunities will only grow. Paired with many of the other tools above, freelancers will be able to excel for years to come.
The most successful freelancers will be those who understand the current world environment and adapt quickly. The novel Coronavirus has turned thousands of companies on their heads, making adjustments difficult for such large groups of employees. Because freelancers are more independent, it’s easier to make adjustments. Use these tools to level up.
I am a UX Designer from Brooklyn, NY who specializes in helping small businesses create better web experiences and providing mentorship to those looking to get into UX. My tools of choice are Webflow, Figma, Adobe XD, and a good old pencil & paper.