FREELANCE KNOWLEDGE

The Software You Need to Run Your Freelance Business: A Curated List12 min read

May 30, 2019
Avatar

author:

The Software You Need to Run Your Freelance Business: A Curated List12 min read

Big numbers can make a headline look pretty impressive. But are you really going to read through a full article titled “85 Great Software Tools For Freelancers”?

Choice is great, but as freelancers, our time is limited.

Instead of listing all the possible choices of software available to freelancers, we’ve chosen our favorites for all of the categories that matter.

Here is everything you need to run your freelance business—without the fluff.

Jump to:

Hear more about the software you need as a freelancer this free episode of the Six Figure Freelancer Audio Course.

Communication Tools

A Meeting Scheduling Tool

Juggling multiple clients and prospects can mean you have tons of time wasted on back and forth emails, suggesting times for meetings that don’t work for the other party.

There’s a better way.

We suggest: Calendly

Best for: Freelancers that frequently have to schedule meetings with contacts, prospects and clients.

What makes it the best: With Calendly, you choose the times you’re available for meetings and then send a link to your calendar to your invitees. They’ll choose from the time slots you have available. You can even schedule meetings with multiple attendees.

Calendly takes care of time zone differences automatically. It also integrates with other apps, like Google Calendar, Workforce, and other CRMs so that your meetings automatically update everywhere you need them to.

Price: Free for 1 event type, or $8-12USD for extra features

A Real-Time Communication Tool

Freelancers may be armies of one, but we don’t work in a vacuum. We can have any number of clients on active projects that we need to stay in contact with, and other freelancers that we may be farming work out to. Email is one way to stay connected, but a collaboration tool connects all of your contacts in much more useful ways.

We suggest: Slack

Tools for freelancers

Best for: Freelancers that manage multiple clients, or networks of subcontractors, vendors, and other project-related contacts.

What makes it the best: Slack is a team communication tool that allows you to create conversations, or “channels” that any number of people can contribute to. You can create channels for specific projects, clients, vendors, or any other topic that’s useful to you. People can be added as necessary. And you can upload files and documents.

Slack makes certain that the people that need to communicate and collaborate can, simply and easily.

As well as that, there are a bunch of freelancer or industry-specific communities on Slack that you can join to help you feel connected to others while you’re working on your own.

Price: The free version is great for freelancers and small teams

A Video Conferencing Tool

Emails and phone calls are effective ways of communicating, but they can’t replace a face-to-face conversation. Particularly for creative freelancers that need the visual component to demonstrate their vision, adding video conferencing capabilities helps your meeting be more productive.

We suggest: Zoom

Zoom meetings - tools for freelancers - AND CO from Fiverr

Best for: Freelancers looking for a robust yet affordable video conferencing platform.

What makes it the best: Zoom meetings are easy to set up, easy for attendees to join, and simply work. Connectivity is included from any device, desktop or mobile. Your attendees don’t need a Zoom account to attend your meetings and you can host up to 100 people.

Price: They have a free option which is enough for most freelancers. If you need to host longer group meetings, the Pro plan is $14.99/month.

An Email Management Tool

You send a bunch of emails out to prospects, dust your hands together, put your feet up and wait for responses. But what happens when they don’t come? Do you start to wonder if you really sent off that outreach email, and sift through your sent emails to look for items you should follow up on?

No need. Schedule emails in advance, so you’ll never forget to follow up.

We suggest: Boomerang

Best for: Freelancers that find they often need to schedule emails to be sent at specific times. Also, forgetful freelancers.

What makes it the best: Boomerang is a Gmail plugin that lets you schedule emails to be sent at a specific time in the future. Don’t want to look too eager when a client sends confirmation of an assignment? But also don’t want to forget to follow up? Quickly write your follow up, click “Send Later” and then choose the time you want the message sent. The best thing is, you can set it up so it won’t send if the email is responded to first.

Boomerang also lets you resend messages you’ve received so that they arrive back in your inbox at a time that’s more convenient. You select the email, choose the time you want it to reappear, and then Boomerang archives the message. When your delivery time arrives the email is unarchived, set as unread, and bumped to the top of your email list as if it just arrived.

Price: Free for 10 messages per month, $4.99 per month for the Personal Plan

Project Management Tools

A Task Management Tool

It’s likely that you need to work on a lot of different projects, for lots of different clients at once. Trying to keep tabs on everything you need to do can be a real headache.

Project and task management software aims to keep all of your pressing tasks in one, easily accessible place, so that, at any given time, you can see exactly what you should be working on.

We suggest: AND CO

Task manager - AND CO from Fiverr

Best for: Freelancers that need a solution for tracking tasks across multiple projects and don’t need the bloat that other project management solutions, geared toward larger groups, tend to add.

What makes it the best: We may be a little biased, but AND CO’s My Desk task management software is simple yet powerful.

Not only can you create your own tasks, but My Desk creates automatic tasks for you by pulling data through its tight integration with AND CO’s proposals, contracts, and invoicing features. You can add tasks to projects and track time directly from your task list so you can keep track of how long tasks take you and invoice for them when the time comes.

Price: Free, or $18/month for an annual subscription to Pro

A Customer Relationship Management Tool

Doing good work is only half the battle as a freelancer. You first need to sell jobs before you can fulfill them. Having a solid sales process will help keep you from the feast or famine cycle that many freelancers find themselves in.

CRM software helps you manage all of the relationships you accumulate through networking, marketing, and referrals. It helps you keep tabs on the state of each relationship so that you can keep communication open and effective, converting more leads to sales.

We suggest: Pipedrive

Pipedrive tools for freelancers - AND CO from Fiverr

Best for: Freelancers who have a large amount of leads and relationships on the go at one time.

What makes it the best: Pipedrive automates repetitive sales tasks that tend to bog freelancers down. It helps you break down long term sales goals into more manageable tasks. Its interface is highly visual and intuitive, which helps make it clear what needs your focus and what is less important.

It also automatically logs your calls and syncs your emails so that you have every bit of relevant prospect information in one central, searchable place. Pipedrive helps freelancers be effective salespeople.

Price: US$12.50 per month, billed annually

An Invoicing Tool

You’re running a business, so keeping track of your finances is critical. Cash flow is king, and you need a tool to help ensure you stay in the black. The right software can help make sure your invoices are getting out on time and that they’re getting paid.

We suggest: AND CO

Best for: Freelancers looking for a full-featured package that allows you to integrate your invoice creation with other parts of your workflow.

What makes it the best: AND CO is built specifically for freelancers. It makes it easy to craft generate professional invoices with integrated payment options; track your time and expenses so that you can bill easily and accurately; and get reliable snapshots of your business finances at any time. And, as mentioned earlier, AND CO’s financial features enjoy full integration with its project/task management functionality, which makes AND CO a powerful ally for freelancers.

Price: Free, or $18/month for an annual subscription to Pro

Hear more about automating tasks with software in this episode of the Six Figure Freelancer Audio Course.

A Delinquent Receivables Collection Tool

No matter how diligent you are about your contracts and invoices, you’re always going to have some clients that don’t pay on time, and a smaller subset that makes collecting payment very difficult. When accounts become delinquent, it helps to have a third party service send collections letters on your behalf.

We suggest: Williams & Harricks

Best for: Freelancers who face delinquent accounts and are finding it difficult to get traction with them on their own.

What makes it the best: Williams & Harricks sends demand letters to your clients, written on your behalf rather than by you. They offer a number of premade templates, from friendly to stern, which can be easily customized to fit your needs. Then your clients get a real, physical, official-looking letter from a third party which demands payment, instead of another email from you (which they’ve already demonstrated they’re adept at ignoring).

Price: $12 per letter

A Proposals and Contracts Tool

When you’re a freelancer, the only person looking out for your interests is you. It’s imperative that you have strong contracts with your clients in case of disputes.

Send your terms and conditions along with your proposals so there is full transparency from the outset. They should include all of the requisite information so that your clients know what to expect, and what’s expected of them. Plus, e-signing capabilities mean you can get things moving quicker.

We suggest: AND CO

Best for: Freelancers who want to close more deals and who understand the importance of having strong contracts in place.

What makes it the best: AND CO created the first ever standard freelance contract in conjunction with Freelancers Union. You can attach it directly to your proposals, or send it off separately.

Proposals are equally easy to create and both feature e-Signing built in. You can even collect deposits at signing or automatically create and send your invoice for the deposit after signing.

Price: Free, or $18/month for an annual subscription to Pro, which allows you to fully customize your contracts

File Management Tools

A Cloud Storage Tool

Being an effective freelancer requires you to be nimble and mobile. You need access to your project files and client documents wherever you happen to be. Using a cloud storage solution assures that even if you don’t have your laptop or tablet, you’ll be able to access necessary files any time.

We suggest: Google Drive

Google Drive - Tools for Freelancers - AND CO from Fiverr

Best for: Every freelancer. Cloud storage simply isn’t optional anymore.

What makes it the best: Google Drive has a simple interface that makes it extremely easy to organize and find your files. It also features a powerful search function and the ability to parse and preview a wide range of file types.

You can store nearly anything on your Google Drive, and since Drive integrates with all of the other Google products, like Docs, Sheets, and more, it’s an extremely versatile, and inexpensive cloud storage solution.

Price: Your first 15GB of storage is free, then $1.99/month for 100 GB

A Security Backup Tool

Your files are your life. It would be devastating to your career if something were to happen to them. “But”, you’re probably thinking, “why would I need to back up a service like G Suite which is already redundantly backed up?”

Because cybercriminals don’t care about your career and are perfectly willing to blow it up in exchange for access to your account. In the event that your account is hijacked, having a backup elsewhere would save your skin and keep you in business.

We suggest: Spinbackups

Best for: Freelancers that use G Suite or Office 365 products and want to safeguard their critical data.

What makes it the best: Data loss protection is their core service and you can opt for data leak protection as well. You enjoy unlimited storage and your data is encrypted in both directions during backups or downloads.

Price: Free for up to 4GB, or $4 per month for 50GB.

Productivity Tools

A Time Tracking Tool

It’s hard to bill accurately if you don’t know how much time you’ve spent on your billable work. That’s why time tracking is so critical.

Thankfully there are tools that take the drudgery out of tracking your time so that you actually do it, and can reap the benefits to your productivity.

We suggest: AND CO

Best for: Freelancers who want to make better decisions about how they spend their time.

What makes it the best: AND CO’s time tracker is extremely intuitive and allows you to track time directly from your tasks and projects. Track your time via the web app, your mobile app, or your desktop app, and you can start on one platform and finish on another, seamlessly.

Share timesheets with clients and have your invoices automatically generated using the time you’ve logged.

Price: Free, or $18/month for an annual subscription to Pro

All the tools you need for your freelance business

These tools will set you up for success when it comes to running the backend of your freelance business.

Anything we missed that’s been essential for your freelance business? Let us know in the comments below.

Avatar

Sophie is a growth marketing strategist and freelance writer. She writes about freelancing, remote work and professional purpose for several online publications, including AND CO from Fiverr. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.
The Six Figure Freelancer Audio Course by AND CO from Fiverr

Save Time & Grow Your Business

Join over 250,000 businesses using AND CO’s freelancing software for invoicing, contracts, proposals and more.