The Freelance industry has, in the last decade, seen tremendous growth. People now love the idea of working remotely from their homes and vacations. The internet has been a huge player in this.
According to the freelancers union, 36% (57 million) of the American workforce were freelancers by 2016.
Collectively, the workforce contributed around 1.4 trillion dollars annually to the US economy. The number is expected to hit 43% by the end of 2020.
According to recent projections, it is estimated that a majority of the American workforce will be freelancers by the year 2027.
This will be due to the vast availability of the internet, the need to cut company operation cost, and the unfortunate emergence of the deadly COVID 19 virus.
Other research shows that working from home improves performance by 13%.
Equally, a whopping 91% of freelancers believe that the freelance profession has a bright future.
With such remarkable numbers, it is quite evident that freelance could be the next big gem in the world economy. Companies are now considering freelance services to add up to the already existing workforce in an attempt to diversify ideas without incurring much cost.
On the other hand, more and more people are now willing to work from home. In fact, other stats from the UK show that 2 million people work from home and over 4 million people are ready to freelance if they are allowed by their companies.
64% of people believe freelancing has provided them with better working opportunities and therefore are comfortable with their status quo.
Freelance, in most cases, involves selling your skills. Such skill sets include copywriting, article writing, blogging, web, and app developing, virtual assisting, and photographing. You need to develop a skill before actually thinking of freelancing. Well, there are a few basic freelancer tools before your freelance. They include; a Personal computer, reliable internet service, a favorable environment as well as a work station.
At the same time, you will need quite a number of essential apps or rather programs on your PC. They will help you deliver quality services to clients on time. This article will provide you with a must-have freelancer toolset for a successful freelance career. Scroll right down!
Essential Tools, Apps & Programs for Freelancers and Remote Workers
Our list is divided into various categories with regard to their purpose. Check them out!
I. Security programs for freelancers
Maintaining a top security protocol for your network should always be a top priority. It is essential that your online content, as well as your computer content, is safe from hackers and malware attacks. So, how do you ensure your computer, as well as your network, is secure? Here is a few software that will help you enhance your system.
It is a must-have software on your computer, especially if you are looking to keep your computer data safe from malicious attacks. Anti-virus software is primarily designed to prevent, detect, and clean or remove malicious software from your work device.
Modern AV software will provide you security from prevalent malware software such as Keyloggers, worms, backdoors, Trojan horses, browser hijackers, adware, and spyware. Some of the most commonly used and effective Anti-virus include Kaspersky anti-virus, Norton, Bitdefender, ESET NOD32 anti-virus, to mention a few.
A VPN is an online service that helps remote workers create a personal network over a public network or rather the internet. Freelance would not have existed without the internet. At the same time, this integral tool also poses a considerable risk to the continuity and the future of freelancers.
You ever heard of hackers?
Well, malicious individuals are looking to crack your network for financial or ego satisfaction. They pose a significant risk to your computer, content as well as your personal privacy. It is, therefore, vital that you consider installing a VPN service.
A VPN works to encrypt your online activity into ciphertext and thus rendering it unreadable by hackers. The safe network also protects your work station against malicious software that could be sent through the internet by hackers.
The internet, therefore, provides freelancers with a whole lot of VPN services. Here are a few trusted VPN service applications available for you.
They include: NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, Surfshark, among others. Here is a review that can help you decide on the best-suited option.
It is a professional VPN option offering users with high end online security for their data. Courtesy of its many host servers, the VPN offers remarkably high internets speeds and hence many conveniences.
Equally, it also comes to you with loads of excellent security features, including kill switches, DNS leak protection, and a no-log policy, all in the efforts to enhance the users’ online security. It is also a perfect site unblocking solution for users wishing to access streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu.
Check NordVPN review
It has a robust encryption ability that ensures high online and device security for users. Billing at around $8.25 per month, this VPN offers an incredibly fast internet connection.
ExpressVPN has simultaneous supportability of up to 5 devices. Besides, it has an all-round clock responsive customer care desk, as well as high-end security features, including: kill switches, DNS leak protection, among others.
Most notably, it also has a no-log policy and Bitcoin payment options that ensure that all your online activities remain as private as possible.
Check ExpressVPN review
It is a Romanian based VPN offering military level network security. With over 6000 host servers in over 90 countries, this VPN alternative provides for an incredibly fast internet connection.
Through its vast number of server locations, CyberGhost provides quite a number of IPs and therefore making it easy for users to bypass geo-blocked sites and contents. In addition to its robust security, the alternative furnishes users with ads blocked, trackers, and malicious sites.
Check CyberGhost review
The now British Virgin Island-based VPN provides users with top security protocols; OpenVPN and IKEv2 that come with AES-256 encryption. It also has unlimited devices connectivity and a DNS leak protection that help enhance your online security. In addition, the program is compatible with a whole range of operating systems. The internet speeds are relatively fast.
This VPN alternative has an easy to use user interface making it a convenient option for beginners’ users. It comes to you with military-grade encryption making it difficult for hackers and internet snoopers to penetrate your network.
With over 40000 IPs and 1400 VPN host servers, IPVanish VPN furnishes clients with a relatively high-speed Internet connection.
Moreover, the VPN provider has an all-round customer service desk. It is compatible with a whole range of operating systems, including Android, Mac, Windows, iOS, and Linux.
Check IPVanish review
c) Browser extension
Browser extensions are tools designed to integrate with your browser for it has a different purpose. Extensions can serve as ad blockers or as browser add-ons to help access various websites or content.
Equally, browser extensions could also help you access website quite faster than having to write.
For advanced security reasons, VPNs also provide for browser extensions that help bypass geo-restricted websites and contents. This makes it easy to access research tools and receive online payments safely.
VPN extensions also help freelancers browse the internet anonymously and therefore providing for top privacy.
II. Productivity programs for freelancers
As a freelancer, it is entirely essential that you are able to do the best within the shortest time possible. It is all about having a time plan. Understand what you have to do and at what time. Remember, time management is of essences, and time is valuable. Monitoring your resources, such as internet usage is also an important aspect as far as productivity is concerned. With that open, there are a few particular tools that you can use to increase your productivity as a freelance. They include the following;
a) Time tracker
Time tracker apps are programs that help keep a record of your time in relation to your activities as a remote worker.
Coming to you at the cost of 4 bucks per month, the notion app is a productivity program that allows for personal and team productivity. Fundamentally, it helps you create a workspace for easy planning and accomplishment of the various tasks. The software provides a to-do list, table management, note-taking toolkit, calendar, and other features.
The program is available for iOS, Android, Mac & Windows users.
It is certainly a favorite time tracking application for many remote workers. At only 10 dollars a month, Toggl helps capture the time spent on every client and, therefore, help you reduce time wastage. The application is also available if you are working as a team. It is possible to enter your day's tasks and evaluate the value of your daily works. This application is available iOS, Mac, Android, and Web users.
It is a universal application for fulltime freelancers. The app is designed to help freelancers plan for on their future activities. It has an easy to use interface with mind-blowing features that allow you to effectively monitor your future activities, including work deadlines, task tallies, and manage projects.
It comes with a free version as well as a premium version that goes for around 30 bucks annually. It is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and web users.
It is an application built specifically for newbie freelancers who keep on procrastinating on their clients' work. Procrastination is the enemy of every freelancer; you are most likely to deliver your work late and therefore inconveniencing your client. Freedom helps you with precisely that; it enables you to keep the focus on your task.
It is designed to shut down sites and applications that pose a risk to your attention. The sites are manually blocked by yourself and thus providing you the motivation and focus on accomplishing the day's tasks. Freedom is premium software that comes with an annual subscription of around 30 USD.
Trello is a darling application for most professional remote workers. It works perfectly for those who prefer the traditional ways of planning their workload.
The program is easy to use features as well as additional plug-ins for more a solve and plan complex workloads. A lot of features are free and you can start using it now!
The package subscription with some additional features is around 10 USD/month per user. In addition to that, Trello is available for iOS, Mac, Android, and Web users.
b) Internet Usage Monitor
Freelance is heavily embedded in the use of the internet. By logic, it is the main factor of production. It is, therefore, crucial that you are able to use less internet to accomplish more workloads for your clients.
Remember, the internet is an expense, and you cannot afford to keep wasting it; otherwise, you will not be in a position to break even. On the other hand, it is crucial that you balance internet usage without compromising internet speeds and the work output for your client. Below are a few applications that will help you attain that balance.
It is a free internet monitoring tool available for freelancers. The application will notify you of any abnormality in the data usage on your device. It is designed to help write restrictions, create firewall profiles, and limit applications using the internet at any one particular time. The graph set will provide you with a clear picture of internet usage. This way, it becomes pretty easier to evaluate your data usage plan.
Unlike Windows users, Mac users have limited options when it comes to the choice of internet usage monitoring applications. Luckily, this application provides them with a lasting solution to their issue. It helps freelancers using Mac OS to monitor internet activity, including downloads, uploads, and total data usage on customized time frames.
It is another internet monitoring application available for Windows and Android freelancers. It has a perfect notification system that provides you with information with regard to internet usage. The app makes it possible for you to set the monthly bandwidth threshold. It also provides you with a real-time graph update on data usage. Consequently, it becomes much easy for you to plan your future data usage.
It is probably one of the best internet monitoring tools in the market today. Bitmeter II provides you with real-time internet metrics and thus making it easy for you to read and analyze internet activities – on a vibrant colored graph representation. With the program, it becomes easier to avoid internet speed throttling or additional data fees by your Internet Service Provider.
III. Writing and Editing programs for freelancers
Like we said earlier, freelance involves a lot of writing. In any case, some freelance jobs are entirely about writing, from article writing, blogging to copywriting. So, as a freelancer, what could be your perfect freelance toolset for your writing and editing gigs? Have a glance at them
It is a masterpiece creation from the famous Google Company. It is undoubtedly one of the best and most used writing and editing tool in the market today. In fact, the application is absolutely free; all that is needed of you is to own a Google account to enjoy the spectacular and amazing features of this online-based program.
Freelancers use it to write and edit professional workloads. It is amazingly convenient in the sense that it has an auto-saving feature- content is saved on the cloud as you write it. Through the application, it is also possible to keep your text in various popular txt formats, including; Docx, RTF, pdf, and other formats.
After editing, you can easily send or pitch your document through Google mail to your client.
It is the perfect application that your work output if free of grammatical errors. After writing your piece, it is essential that you upload to your Grammarly web or app to make sure it is free from mistakes such as; typos, comma usage, and punctuations. Besides, the software will help enhance your vocabulary in your text as well as assist you in tracking your writing skills.
Good writers in the freelance industry have perfected the art of arranging their ideas before actually writing the real piece. Well, the Coggle app allows you to do that so perfectly. The application is developed to assist freelancers in writing their draft thoughts and ideas regarding their clients' instruction. It provides for a perfect environment/ platform through which you can fine-tune your ideas into a great piece.
For freelance writers, it is essential that your headline is catchy; otherwise, your article will lack an audience-especially if you are looking to pitch an article on magazines, newspapers, or social media platforms. Well, the headline analyzer app could serve as a perfect solution to your headline problems. It helps you rate your headline. The idea is to keep brainstorming the headline till you get a score above 70.
It is a perfect app for freelancers looking to get their content selling on the web. The Hemingway app will help restructure the tense in your piece. It will literally help you get a sense of every raw draft piece you write. It is a beautiful app that will make your work stand out.
IV. Marketing program for freelancers
As a freelancer, social media presence should not be an option. It should top priority if you are looking for a cheap and effective way to market yourself. Through social media, it is much easy to interact with clients, audiences, prospective customers, fellow freelance, and, most importantly, understand the current topic of interest.
The big question is, how do you maximize your presence or rather market yourself on social media? Here are a few apps /Social Media Planner applications that will help you keep tabs on your social media accounts.
These are applications designed to optimize your social media presence and visibility on other marketing channels easily. They include:
It is a social media writing and scheduling application for known social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Buffer saves freelancers the tussle of having to operate different platforms at any one particular time. It is a one-stop-shop for all social media platforms. You can download buffer and share posts and messages from any website. In addition to this, you are also able to analyze and measure your social media campaigns.
It is one of the most used social media planner applications, with over 18 million active users. For remote workers, it helps maximize social media as a marketing tool. One can quickly unite your social media campaigns on this platform. It is possible to schedule, publish, and track your performance as far as social media content is concerned. Most importantly, the application has an easy to use interface.
It is a perfect solution to help reduce information overload. Usually, freelancers will spend lots of time surfing the internet for topics of interest. Often, social media is home to rumors and false information. Well, the Feedly app helps find and organize trusted information sources. You do not have to keep validating data from the web. The app ensures that your priority feeds, events, and topics of interest are met.
V. Communication programs for freelancers
As a freelancer, maintaining proper communication with your clients should be one of the topmost priorities. It is the easiest way to attract and keep clients coming back for your services. It is thus crucial that you consider applying the best and common communication channels. Through the internet, communication is now more accessible and convenient than ever before. Here are a few communication programs that will make your freelance career a success.
This Google Inc. product is a perfect alternative for a business email. Electronic mails have gradually replaced the use of postcards and letters. With Google mail, it becomes easier to officially communicate with your clients in a fast, secure, and convenient way. Remember, Gmail is absolutely free; all you need is to open a Google account. Besides, you can also customize your email with your business name for a small monthly fee.
It is a popular communication platform, especially if you feel there is a need for face-to-face communication with your client or team. The application provides freelancers with a whole range of communication options, including text messages, audio calls, and video calls. It a great app if you are running a team of freelancers as it is possible to hold meetings courtesy of its screen sharing feature.
If you are looking for a smooth-running video conferencing application, then zoom should be at the top of your list. With the app, you can easily hold a conference with your team of freelancers. It is also possible to have one on one conversation with your client on the platform. For personal meetings, the application is entirely free. It is an excellent choice if you are looking to have long conversations.
The messaging tool is primarily designed to help you keep in touch with your fellow freelancer or your team. With slack, it is possible to have your team in one place from where you can exchange ideas and make comments on emerging issues. The application is fully functional on Android and iOS devices.
VI. Cloud storage programs for freelancers
The use of cloud storage services has been on the rise. The option has proved cheaper, convenient, and safe than using hardware storage devices. In any case, cloud storage facilitates secure collaboration and sharing of documents and media files. As are a freelancer, it is essential that your workload is conveniently accessible and, at the same time, safe from malware attacks. Cloud storage programs equip you with a safe haven for your data.
It is a cloud storage solution for remote workers seeking to keep or share their workloads, i.e., documents, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, and media files from one centralized location. Google Drive files can easily be synchronized from any device, making them accessible from anywhere at any time.
It is another cool cloud tool that will help you share huge workloads fast. Courtesy of its easy to use dashboard, Dropbox allows you to organize your content in categories, making it easy to retrieve. It is also possible to share documents with your clients through the application. Equally, you could also share the content via an expiring public link.
VII. Finance programs for freelancers
The freelance business is business like any other business-money management is equally important. It is essential that you are in a position to track your revenues and expenses. Make sure that you keep a record of every transaction. Well, the app developers have made accounting much more straightforward.
It is an accountancy grade software available to freelancers at a 10 USD monthly subscription. It provides users in these case freelancers with accountancy services, including; ability to send invoices, reconcile bank statements, create and summarize account reports. On the other hand, Xero is a favorite program for clients because it is easy to use when making payments. The program is available for both Android and iOS devices.
It is an excellent financial management software available not only for businesses but also for remote workers. You can use it to manage your accounts, send invoices, and calculate sales and transactions. It is also possible to see your yearly accounts report. The app is entirely free except that you will have to pay a small amount to use the invoicing services. It is an effective way to keep your monetary records as well as get your clients paying efficiently.
VIII. Life balancing programs for freelancers
Being a freelancer can sometimes be draining- you will most likely spend hours behind a screen or on your phone. The career is really mental draining; reading, brainstorming, and content creation. More often than not, you will need a break from this dormancy to help strike balance for a healthy physical and mental lifestyle.
In any case, a break from the screens will help freshen up your mind for new ideas. Here are a few apps designed for that purpose.
It is a purposeful app designed to help reduce stress and anxiety during work with meditation practices. Meditation habits have proved to be an excellent health tip. It will assist you in keeping focus when working and improve and retain productivity. The application is utterly free for iOS users.
Different freelancers will work better in different environments. Some freelancers love listening to music as they attend to their works. Well, the Noizio application is designed with sound equalizer technology that helps you recreate different environments as you work. From the options provided for, you can easily recreate an environment that favors or lift your morale for work. Background sounds will also help improve your productivity and keep your physical and mental health stable.
The above-listed freelance tools will make freelancing easy for you and increase your chance for a successful freelance career. The will, in a positive way, help save time, increase productivity, manage your finances as well as lead a better lifestyle. If you are considering freelancing as a side gig or a full-time job, ensure that the above programs are in your bucket list.