It’s never been easier to freelance, regardless of what your professional interests and skills are. The internet makes it possible to work remotely and easily acquire either long-term or short-term projects with a variety of companies. But if you’re working for yourself, it can sometimes be challenging to stay on top of all the work you have to get done. Especially if you’re working remotely for an extended period of time, you might find that it’s difficult to sort out a secure and reliable schedule. Here are five tools that you absolutely should be using:
Evernote is really the be-all, end-all of staying on track with your freelance work. Make notes for yourself that include text, audio, pictures, and/or video—whatever’s most useful for you. Set reminders for deadlines. Save clippings from websites that relate to projects you’re working on. Or do plenty of other things. Best of all: this app seamlessly syncs between your computer and other devices, meaning that as long as you can access the internet, you can access your projects from anywhere and everywhere!
Trello is great for planning and executing projects. You can use it to create lists and then create cards within the lists—so it’s perfect for organizing all of those to-do lists. You could also use it to create checklists, archiving cards as you’ve finished tasks or moving them on to the next stage (eg. from a list marked “To Do” to a list marked “To Review”). You can even add other people to lists, so you can work on collaborative projects with coworkers or anyone else. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s incredibly user-friendly and the possibilities are endless.
3. FIO (Figure it Out)
These days, internet access can be had from many far-flung places of the world. But if you’re working with people around the world or are yourself traveling around the world, it can be difficult to coordinate time zones to make sure everyone’s on the same call or is meeting the correct deadlines, etc. Fortunately, there’s a Google Chrome plugin that you can use for that. No more needing fifteen different clocks open on your dashboard; just let FIO figure things out for you.
If you don’t already have a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, installed on your computer and other devices, stop right now and get one. Especially if you’re using public Wi-Fi networks to work remotely, you should have a VPN to provide you with a more secure, encrypted connection, but any time you’re freelancing, you’re likely sharing personal details with employers via the internet. Information about your banking details and such isn’t something you want just floating around, accessible to hackers or other evil-doers. Your computer is likely an important part of your freelancing job, so you definitely don’t want to leave it open to spyware or viruses!
Sharing your work via social networks can be important, depending on the kind of freelancing you’re doing. But posting to a half dozen accounts every time you update your site, blog, or portfolio can be time-consuming and take away from the time that you would rather spend creating more new content. Buffer will show you all your social media platforms in one place, as well as allowing you to schedule future posts across platforms. It’s definitely the next age of social networking and will free up time for you to do the more interesting parts of your work.
Although freelancing can give you a lot of flexibility to allow you to spend more time with your family or doing the things you love, it can also be challenging to motivate yourself and to keep track of projects and deadlines when you are your own boss. Make things easier on yourself by grabbing a few easy-to-use apps to streamline your work process and help you enjoy your freelancing job even more.