I have learned that life as a freelancer means wearing many hats. I am my own payroll administrator, my own human resources staff, my own personal assistant, and my own accountant. All of these rules are in addition to my actual freelancing duties.
Thankfully, I have found some very well designed apps that help me to stay on top of everything. If I did not have these handy little utilities, I do not know what I would do. Every consultant has different needs, but I believe these 10 apps will come in handy for just about anybody.
Top 10 Apps to Help You Run Your Freelance Business
What I do requires that I consume a lot of content. I have to have a good handle on what is going on in the world around me. Every day, I must read several articles, watch videos, and look at other content. When I come across something I want to look at, I don’t always have time right then, so I have to put it off until later. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to remember what I intended to view and where it is located. This is why I downloaded Pocket. If I want to do something later, I just put it into Pocket. Then when I am ready I can access the content I want to view. It does not matter which device I am using. As long as I have internet access, I can get to the content that I have stored.
Evernote is often viewed as a note taking app that is mostly used by college students. I have no doubt that this app is very useful to college kids, however I can also say that this app has been a lifesaver for me as a freelancer. Evernote allows me to take notes, create projects, organize my writing projects, and collaborate with others. Initially, I only intended to use Evernote as a place to quickly jot down writing ideas so I could access them later. However, once I began exploring the features of this app, I realized what a great utility it is.
My work gives me the opportunity to make connections with people all over the world. I love it. It is truly one of the best aspects of the work that I do. Unfortunately, the more people I meet, the more difficult it is for me to keep track of how I and when I first made contact. Now, when I meet somebody new, I enter their information into Humin. Then, Humin remembers all of the details of our meeting for me. Even better, Humin synchs up with my voice mail and tracks the numbers that I call. It uses that information to determine which of my contacts are most important to me.
I travel most of the year. This means that I am either planning an itinerary or following one. Sometimes, I am doing both at the same time. In order to get the best deals, I use different websites to book air and hotel rooms. TripIt saves me the headache of going into my email or logging into various websites to get my travel information. I just go into the app, and all that information is available to me. If I’m concerned about weather related delays or shifting departure times, I can access that information as well.
I was in business only for a little while when I realized that I needed a reliable way to track my expenses. There were just too many times when I would be cleaning out a purse or drawer, only to find an old receipt that should have been billed to a client. Then, when I began doing more of my purchasing and billing online, things became even more disorganized. With Expensify, I track my paper receipts by snapping pictures of them, and I track my online and card purchases by synching Expensify with my accounts.
I admit it. I am a bit obsessed over time management. RescueTime meets my need to know exactly how I spent my day, and it even tells me how I could have been more productive. This tracks where I am spending my time, and how much time I am spending when I get there. The reports let me know when I tend to get off track, and what I’m doing when I’m not being productive.
There are plenty of to do list apps with many more bells and whistles than Teux Deux, but it is the simple interface that makes this my choice for managing my daily tasks. Each day is color coded, and the tasks for that day are simply and clearly displayed. I work through the tasks of the day and take each one off the list as I finish.
Lately, I have become interested in increasing my writing speed. Focus Booster is a productivity app that works on the Pomodoro principle. Essentially, this principle states that you can optimize your productivity by working in 25 minute bursts. I thought this would be a great tool for focusing on my writing and boosting my speed. I was right. However, once I saw how beneficial Focus Booster is, I began using it to increase my productivity in many other ways.
With Shake, I can create customized, legally binding agreement, and have them signed and filed away in just a few minutes. Then, I can send the contracts to anybody else who is a party to the agreement, directly from the app. I use Shake for my contracts with clients and vendors alike.
I’ve tried other video conferencing apps, but I keep coming back to Skype. I find it extremely easy to use. In addition to this, its popularity means that most of my contacts also have Skype and know how to use it. This means we can set up meetings and begin communicating with little to no technical issues.
I would love to hear if you have any other recommendations!
About the Contributor
Leona Henryson is a web designer, blogger and sometimes traveler. She writes all things about graphic/web design and content marketing at essaysupply. More recently, Leona has become a professional consultant to small online businesses in web design and maintenance of their and social media marketing efforts. You can connect with her on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.