There are close to 50 million freelance workers in the United States.
I, being one of them, can tell you that some of the perks of being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-skirt worker includes being able to literally roll out of bed and into my desk chair, creating my own work schedule (which yes, entails fitting in an occasion beach day should I deem necessary for my well-being – which is, I confess, pretty often), the luxury of selecting my projects depending on what I – not my boss – feels I am able to handle at a single time – and of course, not having to listen to boring watercooler gossip on a daily basis.
I know what it’s like to lay in bed at night, shivering with fear at the thought of not being able to land another gig and possible having to subside on P&Js for another couple of weeks.
For that reason, fellow freelancers, I have put together a list of suggestions in the form of tech tools, apps and other must-haves to help you pave your way to success and alleviate some of that panic that most of freelancers these days have grown accustomed to.
Most freelancers I know rely heavily on cloud-based apps which permit workers to store and access files easily, and on the go. Here are four you may want to give a go:
Windows users will love this free, portable, tabbed notebook that allows for creating and storing multi-level notes, implement a rich text editor and apply encryption to your files.
Here’s a digital notebook that’s been integrated into Microsoft Office for users to gather and store everything in one place. One Note is touted for its powerful search capability allowing for fast and easy access of files. You can read more about this storage program here. You can get yourself started with OneNote by reading this article, courtesy of howtogeek.com on, on the best ways to use the app.
Lots of freelancers are already hip to this cloud trick. Dropbox. According the introduction of their Dropbox Tour 1, “Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere.” Take the tour, and see for yourself!
This app is you personal information juggler. Windows and Linux users will find it useful for storing, editing and searching textual data like notes, emails, links, contact information and more in a unqique tree format. While the regular version of TreePad Lite is free, there are options for buying versions that offer users more advanced features like rich text formatting tools, spell checking, and the function of playing with multiple databases at once.
OTHER POPULAR TOOLS
Besides cloud apps, there is a huge throng of other tools becoming more and more popular among today’s freelance worker. Here are five of them:
Basecamp: A superb app with the prime objective of making it easier for you to juggle your projects, schedule your time, keep track of deadlines and so one.
Mailchimp: If email marketing is your thing, but driving you bananas, check our Mailchimp. The tool assists you in not only the design of email ads, newsletters and more, but it takes care of the footwork necessary for sharing your work on social networks. Plus, Mailchimp helps you keep track of whether or not your designs are working.
f whether or not your designs are working.
Freshbook: For the especially crappy budgeter, this tool is a must-have. If you cringe at the thought of tracking your time, logging your expenses and invoicing your clients, FreshBooks will rejuvenate you. Let this app be your accountant, you’ll be relieved you did. Their site even offers a free tour,which you can take here.
Mint: Similar to the tool above, Mint makes it easy for you to conglomerate all of your financial woes into one place, and then let them go for someone else to deal with. The app helps you set a budget, list and keep track of your to-do lists and long-term goals, and generally make the most out your money.
Prezi: For the presentation-phobic, Prezi is a gold mine. The app takes your genius visualizations and ideas and then helps you create a kick-butt presentation. Users can import PowerPoint slides, images, videos, YouTube content and more. But that’s not all: users have the ability to tweak their creations by downloading a complementing Viewer App. And when the work is done, present your masterpiece either online or offline, and collaborate with others (even across the globe).
Although it may not seem like it, the world, my freelance friends, is our oyster.
And for those of you who haven’t mustered the gumption to ditch your cubicle and take a stab at the freelancer’s way of life, here’s an infograph, courtesy of mashable.com that may tip the scales for you:
Janice Bevilacqua is a freelance writer with a knack for writing on electronic and technology-related topics. She currently writes primarily for CPS, a retailer of service plans for technology products.