There are a lot of free and cheap tools available online that freelance writers can use to make both their lives and work easier. Some make a simple task easier while others streamline processes so you can spend more time writing and finding new business and less time on busy work.
Following are a few of the free tools that consistently get great reviews from small business owners. I use (or have used) most of these tools and each offers its own benefits that may or may not be right for you. Since most are free to try, you can test them out and see if they meet your needs without investing a penny!
Freshbooks is a great tool for invoicing. You can track time, send invoices (by email allowing clients to pay via PayPal) or mail, add your logo to invoices to brand them for your business, automate some billing, and more. There is a free account that works for people with 3 or fewer clients and paid accounts for bigger businesses. There is also a free 30 -day trial. I’ve tested Freshbooks and know many small business owners and freelancers that use it and give it rave reviews.
Do you ever need to email huge files to your clients but either your email or your client’s email can’t process large message or attachments? If so, then YouSendIt.com is a great option. YouSendIt.com offers a free account that allows you to send files up to 100MB as well as paid accounts. I have used the free option more than once to send large files to publishers and it works perfectly! The recipient receives an email message that includes a unique link that he or she clicks on to visit a special web page where the file can be downloaded with a click of the mouse!
3. Google Docs
Google Docs is perfect for projects that require collaboration. You can give multiple people access through Google Docs to word processing documents, spreadsheets, forms, drawings, or presentations. As long as you (and your colleagues — if you’re collaborating on a document) have access to the Internet and free Google accounts, you can access Google Docs as well as set sharing permissions!
If you’re not using Skype for business related calls and chats, then you really need to try it. Skype is incredibly easy to use and it’s an excellent way to make free calls with people around the world. If you and the person you’re speaking with both have webcams, you can even conduct video conversations. Not only is Skype a great way to speak with clients, but it’s also a great way to conduct interviews for pieces you’re writing!
There are many email marketing tools that enable you to send promotional emails about your freelance business or newsletters to help build relationships with your clients and boost your business. However, MailChimp is one of the few options that has both a solid reputation and a free account option!
What are your favorite free or cheap online tools that make your freelancing life or business easier? Leave a comment and share your can’t-live-without tools.