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Freelancing requires motivation, confidence and experience. Go-getting freelancers are invaluable to businesses, offering expertise and an extra pair of highly skilled hands when needed most.
Despite their superhero appearance, freelancers are human, which means some days are better than others. One day you’re firing out a cold email every five minutes and the next you’re staring blankly into the abyss of your laptop screen debating whether to go back to bed or not.
It’s natural, it happens and it’s actually incredibly common.
The difference is, when you’re a freelancer, time really is money and a bad day can put your whole routine out of whack. Forever wearing many hats, freelancers handle every aspect of business from proposals to invoicing and bookkeeping. This can lead to anxiety, poor health and burnout.
That’s why it’s even more important to invest in systems and tools that will really make your life easier and may just give you the support you need to keep going. Below, we’ve rounded up our 10 essential tools, services and channels that can support freelancers in their quest to be productive and efficient money-making machines.
Google Workspace is often referred to as a freelancer’s best friend. Formerly G Suite, Google Workspace is an all-in-one platform that includes popular freelance apps like Gmail and Google Docs. This has the added benefit of collating useful apps like Google Calendar, Gmail, Meet and Keep all into one space and save you from flitting from programme to programme to stay on top of your tasks.
Freelancing means hustling for new roles, projects and clients. Although there are many ways to drum up business, all freelancers will need to dabble in cold outreach for one task or another. Whether this is for prospecting, guest requests, backlink request or simple curiosity, Hunter is a handy little Chrome extension that helps you find the right contact email address for most websites – saving hours trawling for information elsewhere.
Slack rose in popularity in the 2010’s and now, it’s almost as commonplace as email. Primarily a communication app, Slack boasts “channels” that help organise communication so you can use it for speaking with clients, internally and with suppliers via browser or desktop/mobile app.
Loom is a great Chrome extension that you can use to screen-record and narrate over the top simultaneously. This is often used for filming tutorial videos, whether it’s a how-to-upload-to-CMS or how-to-add-me-as-an-admin-on-Facebook, Loom will save a lot of time.
A great tip is to use Loom for recording evergreen content that can issued for multiple clients during the onboarding process. The greatest thing about Loom is that it negates the need for both parties to be available at the same time; perfect for working with clients a bit further afield or in other time zones.
It’s unbelievable how much time is spent organising calls and meetings. Calendly takes out the painstaking back and forth which, when added up, accrues to a substantial amount of time (and effort)!
Simply sync your work and personal calendars into one shareable calendar and send the link out to clients, collaborators and prospects. They can then choose a time you’re free that works for them too – easy peasy!
When you’re a freelancer, it’s not always a priority to have a true CRM system – you’re a one-person-band and don’t need that intense level of organisation until you’ve scaled. However, you do need some organisation to keep you sane. Enter Streak, a free Chrome extension for Gmail that helps you manage projects and leads directly from your Gmail inbox.
It’s helpful to have a visual project management tool and Trello is great for marketers, creatives and account managers. Its intuitive design makes it ideal for organising campaigns, roadmaps and content calendars. It’s also great for increasing transparency and keeping your clients up to date on your progress.
There are a load of invoicing and bookkeeping software offerings on the market, but unlike others, Wave doesn’t require a monthly subscription for freelancers just getting started. You only pay when you get paid, unlike competitors such as QuickBooks, Xero and Sage.
We know this sounds like a cop-out, but social media really is a Freelancer’s best friend – especially for creatives. Showcase your work, build your network, connect with clients both past and potential and drum up new businesses by having a solid social media presence.
If you’re a freelancer without a LinkedIn account, you’re missing a whole host of opportunity to build a community and audience for your work. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Tik Tok? In our industry, we don’t need to tell you it’s time to invest in your own marketing!
Many Freelancers don’t know that working with a recruiter can really boost their prospecting pipeline. At next level Recruitment, we have a dedicated freelance function and work with the biggest (and the best) marketing, creative, PR and client services clients in the region and sometimes beyond. We know which clients have needs for freelance support, we know people who know people, we can get you into businesses that aren’t even actively searching for support – it’s what we do.
As well as looking after freelancers in terms of making sure they get paid on time, properly and facilitating communication, recruiters can be your best secret weapon in ensuring a consistent flow of work.
So, is there anything we missed? Let us know!
Follow us on LinkedIn and tell us your favourite tools for productivity, efficiency and sanity.