Monday, October 15, 2007 at 1:25pm by Site Administrator
Everyone has their go-to bag of tricks that they can’t imagine functioning without. This list represents exactly that, but on a much larger scale. Clearly, there’s no way you’re going to have 100 different tools you can’t live without, but you can use this collection to find solutions that you’re sure to get hooked on.
Many of the tools on this list address a few specific needs. The tools in this section are far too ambitious for that.
- Panthius: This ebusiness suite is a a headache eraser for freelancers. Use it to manage customers, sales orders, purchases, information and lots more.
- Netvibes: Bring everything together in one place with Netvibes. You can get your email, feeds, gig boards, messaging and lots more on this start page.
- Help Me Work: Take the headache out of the up-and-down life of a freelancer with Help Me Work’s service. They look after your taxes, billing, benefits, and a lot more.
- FreelancerPanel: What can’t you do with FreelancerPanel? Keep track of invoicing, communicate with clients, manage your website, and stay on top of your time with this awesome tool.
- Firefox: As a busy freelancer, you don’t have time to mess around with anything less than Firefox. This ultra-handy tool saves you the trouble of worrying excessively about browser security, and more importantly, lays the foundation for what seems like unlimited add-ons designed to make your life easier.
Without work, your livelihood ceases to exist–you can’t get more essential than that. These resources will help you find work to keep going.
- JibberJobber: This tool does job seeking, and it does it well, but it goes even farther, offering a way to manage relationships with customers, prospects, and more. Be sure to take advantage of its available integration with Skype, Gmail, LinkedIn, and other popular services.
- Contracted Work: Find loads of projects in different industries on this site, and use their escrow service to make sure you get paid.
- Guru: Find work in a wide variety of different job categories on Guru, one of the most popular freelance job sites online.
- Professional On The Web: If you’re a professional web designer, put your portfolio up on this site to get connected with people who need your services.
- All Freelance Work: Get independent jobs on this site, then use their system to get rated, manage your projects, and more.
- Get A Freelancer: Find customers all over the world that are looking for your service on this site.
- Web Pro Jobs: Whether you’re a designer, copywriter, or marketer, you can find lots of jobs for web profressionals on this board.
- Freelance Switch Jobs: Freelancers in the fields of writing, designing, and programming can find gigs on this job board.
- Job Pile: Get an aggregated list of freelance posts from popular job boards on Job Pile.
- GoFreelance: Browse freelance jobs in loads of different fields on this site. You’ll have thousands to choose from.
- Sologig: Get connected with freelance, consulting, and contract jobs on Sologig.
- Freelance Job Search: Bid on projects in your area and price range on this site.
- iFreelance: Bid on thousands of projects and get advertisement on this site.
- Writerlance: With Writerlance, you can browse and bid on hundreds of projects.
- Elance: Post yourself as a professional on this job board, and you’ll get connected with jobs for the web, writing, support, and more.
- Craigslist: Craigslist will give you access to a wide variety of gigs in your area.
Organization & Task Management
Does staying on top of everything leave you feeling frazzled and helpless? Take control with these tools.
- Spongecell: Use this intuitive online calendar app to schedule your time and get reminders via text message.
- Priorganizer: For most people, online to-do lists get gunked up with stuff that you intended to do, but just never felt were important enough to actually devote time to. With Priorganizer, the tasks that fall by the wayside don’t get in the way, because you can structure it based on priority.
- TimeXchange: Although primarily designed for businesses that need to keep track of timesheets for employees, TimeXchange can help you identify clients that suck time and which ones need more of your attention.
- Toodledo: Toodledo makes the list for one simple reason: because you can add it as a sidebar in Firefox. For anyone whose work is primarily browser based, this extension is a lifesaver.
- Tweeto: Organize and stay on top of your tasks and projects, even offline, with Tweeto.
- TodoBot: If you chat with clients on AIM frequently, you probably find yourself constantly switching back and forth between your IM and to-do list. Use this tool to send yourself to-do items straight from AIM.
- Stikkit: If you’re not the to-do list type, use Stikkit’s virtual post-it notes to keep track of tasks and ideas.
- SantexQ: Use SantexQ to manage projects, keep track of time, stay on top of tasks, and more.
- Online Alarm Clock: It’s so simple, yet so effective. Give yourself a certain time in which to finish a task, and set your alarm on this site to back it up.
- Remember The Milk: Remember The Milk is great for freelancers that are spread out in lots of different directions. With this simple tool, you can create separate lists for each of your clients and prioritize tasks by color.
- Jott: Need to remember to do something, but you’re nowhere near your online to-do list? Leave yourself a transcribed message that’s sent to your email, and you’ll be able to add it when you get back online.
Communication & Sharing
If you can’t connect with your clients in some form or fashion, your business does not exist. Get with them over the phone, online, and more with these essentials.
- Gmail: Of course–Gmail. This perennial favorite is organized and really good at banishing spam. Plus, you can always use it with email from your own domain.
- eFax: You may loathe the old fashioned fax machine, but there’s a pretty good chance your corporate clients are still living in the past with this dinosaur. Make sure you can accept and send facsimilie communications by using this web-based fax tool.
- WordFast: If you’re working with international clients, a translation tool is essential. Check out this one that’s compatible with any language supported by Word.
- ClearContext: Use ClearContext to wade through the muck and get to the good stuff in your inbox. This system organizes email, identifying important senders and color coding everything.
- Box: Share files online with your clients using this simple tool.
- CoreBlox: Anyone who provides technical support will find CoreBlox essential. With this tool, you can provide case management, downloads, a searchable knowledgebase, and lots more.
- FlyUpload: For easy, simple file sharing, check out FlyUpload. You can send up to 2GB and share links, too.
- Salesforce: Get this platform for CRM success. Use it to increase sales, customer service, relationships, marketing, and other essentials.
- SpamSieve: Spam is a mess. Clean it up with this junk mail zapper.
- Senduit: So what happens when you have a file that’s too big to email? Unless you’re willing to hop in your car with a CD, you’re stuck with a pretty frustrating situation, but a file sending service like Senduit can save you. This tool lets you send files of up to 100MB at a time.
- Skype: If you have long-distance clients, colleagues, or suppliers, your phone bills can rack up huge charges pretty quickly. Skype takes a load off, making these calls significantly cheaper, or even free, plus you don’t have to be tied to a land line.
- Highrise: Manage your contact with "cases" that organize everything you’ve got going on for that particular case in emails, to-dos, files and more.
- Copernic Summarizer: If when reading client emails you find yourself thinking, "blah, blah, blah…Can we get to the point?," Copernic Summarizer is for you. Cut to the chase and use this program to highlight the key points in any message.
If you’re like most freelancers, you’ve probably got what seems like a million ideas and thoughts about your business floating around in your mind. Get those brainstorms out of your head and into something concrete with these mind mapping tools.
- FreeMind: Create mind maps with lots of functionality using this tool. It works great with Word, web links, and Outlook.
- CMap: Go beyond mind mapping and get into concept mapping with CMap. It lets you draw a line between relationships and ideas and label them.
- NovaMind: NovaMind’s mind mapping software uses graphic text, link lines, branches, and bright colors to create an attractive map of your thoughts.
- Skrbl: For low-tech mind maps that you can draw on your own, use Skrbl to-you guessed it-scribble out your thoughts online.
- MindManager: Visually capture and organize your ideas with MindManager.
- Bubbl.us: Put your ideas into bubbles in order to create an attractive and clean brainstorm.
- Thinkature: Banish the multitudes of sticky notes full of thoughts from your desk, and put your brainstorming online with this useful mind mapping tool.
- iMindMap: Put your ideas out on branches that replicate the non-linear way your brain thinks.
Money & Legal
Financial and legal issues are perhaps every freelancer’s least favorite things to work on. These tools will help you get paid, save on accounting fees, and best of all, keep you from burying yourself in paperwork.
- Mint: This new tool is really easy to use and set up, and it’s a great way to put all of your accounts together. You can use it to see where exactly your money goes and plan what to do with it in the future.
- Quickbooks: Unless you’re some sort of accounting geek, you probably get a little nervous about all of the financial documentation that’s involved in business transactions. Employ Quickbooks, and you’ll have one handy place to corral everything in.
- Less Accounting: Get paid, and do it easier with Less Accounting. This app offers a simple way to send, track and manage invoices, plus conduct simple CRM tasks.
- Nolo: Need some quick legal advice for your business but don’t really want to spare the time or the money to get in touch with a lawyer? Find answers to your common legal questions on Nolo.
- Creative Commons: For creative freelancers, copyright protection is a must. Set how much or how few restrictions you want on your work.
- Blinksale: Send invoices online with this handy tool. You can also use it to create recurring templates and keep track of your invoices and purchases.
- XE: Freelancers with overseas clients know that a good currency converter is a must-have. This tool does just that with accurate calculations and up-to-the-minute rates.
- Business Credit Card: Whether you’re waiting on clients to stop dragging their feet on payments or could use a little extra capital, a good business credit card is essential when you’re in a pinch.
- Escrow: Save yourself from non-paying clients by requiring that they place funds in escrow.
- Freelance Switch Rates Calculator: Trying to figure out how much to charge for a job? Give this calculator a whirl.
- MoneyManager: Track transactions that you make away from your computer with this reporting tool.
- PayPal: PayPal goes beyond eBay by allowing you to accept electronic payments from anyone, even using credit cards.
- CCH Calculators: If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty numbers of taking on a new venture, or figure out the profitability of working with a certain client, take these calculators for a spin.
- Freshbooks: Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of freelancing is invoicing and getting your clients to pay. Freshbooks promises to make billing "painless," and offers a way to track both invoices and time easily.
Hitting the road to meet with clients may leave you feeling a little harried and out of your element. Get back to good with these tools.
- TripIt: Email TripIt your travel plans, and they’ll build a master itinerary with your plans that’s printable and shareable from anywhere.
- Bear Trap Guide: If you’re visiting clients on the road, the last thing you need is to rack up a speeding ticket on the way. Avoid speed traps with this guide.
- FlightStats: Use FlightStats to get up to date information on your flight, so you’ll always be able to let your clients know if you’ll be running a little late.
- AirPower Wiki: So you’ve gotten hooked up with some airport WiFi. Great, but what happens when you drain your laptop’s battery? Locate an outlet in loads of major airports with this wiki.
- PublicRoutes: When you’re visiting clients in a big city, public transportation is often the best way to get around. This tool maps out routes for public transportation, so you can get there quick without taking a cab.
- Travel Rewards Credit Card: Travel gets expensive, so a good travel rewards program is essential if you want to save a little money on getting from point A to point B.
- Points.com: If you’re going to earn travel rewards, keep track of them in a handy tool like this one.
- AboutAirportParking: Find the best airport parking lots on this site, plus delay and security times for the airport at the same time.
- TripWiser: Micromanage your travel time using this tool.
- Google Transit: Plan public transit trips in 20 popular regions with this cool Google tool.
- Farecast: Save yourself some travel cash by using Farecast to find the right time to buy your airfare.
- Trippish: On a road trip, weather can make a big difference. Use this app that studies the weather forecast to let you know when it’s a good time to leave.
Even if you think you’re a genius, chances are you could stand to learn something from others. Get ideas for streamlining business, attracting clients, and more with these blogs and news outlets. We’ve also include a couple tools that make reading these resources a little more handy.
- Freelance Switch: Freelance Switch keeps readers up to date on the latest resources and developments for people who work freelance.
- FreelanceVenue: Get advice, tips, and a heads up on available jobs on this blog.
- RSS2PDF: Your online time is valuable, so turn your RSS feeds into PDFs and read them later when you’re offline.
- All Freelance: Get helpful tips on taxes, finances, working at home, and more on this blog.
- Web Worker Daily: This blog is aimed at freelancers whose work is web-based, like bloggers and developers.
- Chief Home Officer: If you’re in a home office, read Chief Home Officer for tips on how to stay sane and improve the way you work.
- Entrepreneur.com: Visit Entrepreneur to get hooked up with some awesome resources and some of the best small business articles online.
- Freelance Parent: Learn how to handle freelancing and parenting at the same time on this blog.
- Ninja Freelance: Stay on the "cutting edge" of freelance news and articles with this blog.
- Coroflot’s Creative Seeds: Learn how to find creative work and get advice on freelancing on Creative Seeds.
- Working Solo: Working Solo is a great information source for freelancers, and it’s chock full of resources.
- WorkHappy: Stay on top of the latest apps and other resources for freelancers on this site.
- Contract Worker: Contract Worker has some great ideas for making work better, highlighting interviews and useful tools online.
Whether you’re sharing your writing or giving a presentation, these document tools are essential.
- Qlipboard: Create online slide presentations in which you can record your own voice with this free tool.
- CutePDF: Print nearly any Windows application to PDF with this app that can be installed as a printer.
- CZ Document Converter: If you’ve got a bunch of documents in Word that need to get converted to PDF before you send them off, use this batch document converter to automate the process and make it easier.
- RapidoWrite: Freelance writers can cut down on repetitive text with this tool.
- NoteSake: Put an end to scribbled meeting notes with this app. Put them online, and make them searchable, printable, and organized.
- SlideRocket: For presentation software in a slick, beautiful package, consider using SlideRocket. In addition to its presentation capabilities, it has built-in web meeting tools.
- Skim: Take notes directly on a PDF file as you read it with Skim.
- Google Documents: Word and Excel are pretty much one-user programs. You enter information, send it, and there’s not a lot of back and forth. With Google Documents, your documents take on a whole new collaborative life, which clients are sure to love.
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