Home Blog Productivity The Tools That Will Advance Your Freelance Career in 2021

The Tools That Will Advance Your Freelance Career in 2021

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By Spike Team, January 16, 2020
freelancer tools

For freelancers everywhere, the organization, admin, and management of projects and finances can be a real pain. In the best case scenario, it can distract you from your real work, in the worst case it can lead to missed deadlines or conference calls, late payments and fines, or simply poor work that loses you clients. 

 

Put simply, while you might be making big plans for revenue, client, project, and networking success, if you can’t efficiently manage all aspects of your work then it will all be for nothing. You need to set yourself up for success during the daily grind, and your planning and organization are a huge part of that. 

 

Those moments in between your big wins are some of the most crucial, and taking a step back to analyze which tools you need as a freelancer can make a big difference. Your goal is to optimize your time so you can get down to some real, billable work and grow your freelance business—but don’t stress, there’s plenty of great tools to help you do that. 

 

 

Top Tools for Freelancers

In the 2018 Freelancing in America Report, 66% of full-time freelancers revealed that they felt anxious about all that they have to manage. That’s not all that surprising. From quickly sending out proposals to managing your time so you can actually get all that work done, the freelance life is full of challenges.

 

You wear a lot of hats as a freelancer so it’s important to have processes and tools in your toolbox that will set you up for success.

 

Of course, there are plenty of advantages to freelancing like working remotely, creating a flexible schedule (so you can sleep in until 9am on the days that you really need those extra zzz’s), and being your own boss. It’s a big reason why 56.7 million Americans freelanced in 2018.

 

To help you navigate these challenges and succeed, we tested a bunch of tools over a few weeks, compiling a list of our favorites that you can add to your freelancer’s toolbox. So if you’re looking to work smarter, then give these tools a try and optimize your day-to-day. 

 

freelance tools

Email ,Chat Communication & More – Spike 

freelance tools

 

As a freelancer, your information is most likely spread across different email addresses and calendars. Keeping everything in order takes away precious time from your workday to get that real work done. When it comes to organizing your inbox and calendar, there’s one tool that reigns supreme.

 

Spike is the first conversational email tool that gives you access to a unified inbox and calendar. If you have multiple email aliases, then you can sync them all into Spike to keep track of every email and calendar invite. Spike is packed with other superpowers like Priority Inbox, Advanced Search, and File Management.

 

On top of these features, Spike is designed to look like conversations so you’re not digging through threads of information to find one update from a client. You can simply scroll or use the advanced search functionality to find exactly what you need to go about your day.

 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Personal – Free
  • Solo – $12/mo
  • Team – $8/mo
  • Business – $7/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Web

 

Get It

 

 

Time Tracking — Harvest 

freelance tools

 

Harvest is a time tracking tool with a simple design and powerful functionality. You can create multiple projects so you can track to the minute how much time you’re spending on client work or even personal projects. Harvest has excellent reporting capability and even allows you to create and send invoices.

Using a time tracking tool will give you incredible insight into how you spend every hour of your workdays. Think you spend too much time in meetings? Tracking time in Harvest can confirm that you do spend too many hours in hours and that it’s time to start working on those deliverables you talk about providing. 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Personal – Free
  • Pro – $12/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android

 

 

Get It

 

 

Project Management – Trello 

freelance tools

 

Trello is a visual project management tool that uses boards, lists, and cards to organize and prioritize projects and tasks. The tool’s drag-and-drop functionality make it easy to keep track of the status of your projects.

 

At a quick glance, you can see what you’re ready to work on and what’s in progress. And if you work with a team, Trello has some great features for team collaboration so everyone can stay organized together. 

 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Personal – Free
  • Standard – $5/mo
  • Premium – $10/mo
  • Enterprise – $17.50/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Web

 

 

Get It

 

Finances — QuickBooks Self-Employed 

freelance tools

 

Unless you’re a freelancing accountant, then anything to do with taxes induces a migraine. QuickBooks Self-Employed is an essential tool for freelancers or independent contractors. The app connects to your bank account and credit card so you can easily track expenses and separate personal and business spending seamlessly when tax season rolls around.

 

One of the best features of the app is the ability to take photos of receipts from expenses so you can finally remove that stack of receipts cluttering your desk. QuickBooks Self-Employed also helps you estimate your quarterly and annual taxes. But of course, you should work with a certified accountant to cross-check your numbers before filing. 

 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Simple Start – 12.50/mo
  • Plus – $40/mo
  • Advanced – $90/mo
  • Desktop Pro Plus – $199.99/mo

 

Operating Systems 

  • Windows

 

 

Easy Graphic Design — Canva 

freelance tools

 

If you don’t have the budget or patience for Photoshop, then Canva will become your new best friend. Canva is an online graphic design tool that uses drag-and-drop functionality to create beautiful graphics, documents, and more. It was made with non-designers in mind so you can easily make gorgeous graphics for social media, email, and even your website without a design degree. 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Free – Free
  • Pro – $11.99/mo
  • Enterprise– $135/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Web

 

 

 Password Management — 1Password 

freelance tools

 

How many times per month do you forget your password and have to go through that tedious process to reset it? 1Password is a password management tool that securely stores and remembers your passwords across sites and platforms.

So if you’re a freelancer that has various email addresses for your many clients, then you can say goodbye to that pen and paper and use 1Password so you never forget your login details again. 

 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • 1Password – $2.99/mo
  • 1Password Families – $4.99/mo
  • Teams Starter Pack– $19.95/mo
  • Business – $7.99/mo
  • Enterprise – On request

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Web

 

 

Get It

 

Expert Writing and Editing – Hemingway App 

freelance tools

 

Even if you’re a freelance writer, you can’t always be on your A-game when it comes to cranking out copy, blog posts, or even a simple tweet.

Thanks to the Hemingway App, you have a writing and editing assistant at your fingertips. Hemingway helps you write well by identifying common writing issues like complex sentences and unnecessary adverbs. Ernest Hemingway himself was an advocate of short, simple sentences so you can understand the inspiration behind the app.

The tool makes sure everything you type is clear, effective, and mistake-free so you always maintain a professional persona while doing business.  

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Free

 

Operating Systems 

  • Web

 

Saving Important Articles — Pocket 

freelance tools

 

If you like to take breaks and hop on your phone to catch up on the news or industry buzz, you probably find yourself skimming articles without enough time to read the full thing. Of course you want to read it later, but as a freelancer, life can get pretty hectic. So instead of forgetting about the amazing research article you wanted to read, you can save it to Pocket.

 

Pocket is a mobile and desktop app that allows you to save articles, links, and even videos so you can view them later when you have a little downtime. 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Free – Free
  • Premium– $3.95/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Web

 

 

Get It

Contracts — Proposify 

freelance tools

 

As a freelancer, you probably spend a good amount of time doing your own sales and writing proposals for new clients. If you aren’t using a tool already, then you know how time-consuming the proposal writing process is. Proposify streamlines the proposal, contract, and quote creation process.

 

You can easily create templates so you can send your proposal out and land that big project in a matter of hours. 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Free – Free
  • Team Plan– $49/mo
  • Business Plan – $590/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • Web

Social Media – Sprout Social 

freelance tools

 

One of the best ways to work efficiently is by batching your work. This means you work on one task and complete it in a matter of minutes or a couple of hours. As a freelancer, you run the show and you’re probably creating and posting your own social media posts.

 

Instead of doing this work on the fly, dedicate a few hours at the start of your week to write, create, and schedule your social media posts. Your following and engagement will grow week-over-week without your constant attention! To schedule your social posts and track analytics, Sprout Social is one of the best social media management tools on the market.

 

The tool gives you a preview of what the post will look like before it goes live and it has some of the best analytics reporting. The tool also has great functionality for social listening so you can keep a pulse on your industry. 

 

 

Packages & Pricing

  • Standard – $89/mo
  • Professional– $149/mo
  • Advanced – $249/mo

 

 

Operating Systems 

  • iOS
  • Android

 

 

Get It

 

 

The future of freelancing is bright, and with these tools, you have everything you need to succeed. However, if you’re looking for more freelance guidance, tips & tricks, and insights into freelancing and remote working, then check out more articles on the Spike blog today. Additionally, tweet your favorite freelance tool to @SpikeNowHQ and let us know how you rock your freelance life. 

 

Updated 8/28/21

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Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.