10 Tools Under $10 That Helped Me Become A Successful Freelancer
Why waste money on expensive resources when you can get amazing value for cheap?
Why waste money on expensive resources when you can get amazing value for cheap?
Since I quit my civil engineering job to become a full-time writer, if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s this: being a freelancer is not an easy job.
You decide your work hours and set your own deadlines. It’s easy to either overwork yourself or relax so much, that you find it hard to go back to working again.
Aside from the scheduling and productivity issues, it’s very important to build a strong personal brand that sets you apart from the crowd. To do that, you need to understand what your clients and audience want, so you can deliver the same without miscommunication.
In this post, I’ve listed ten tools that helped me manage my time, optimize my performance, and build a strong personal brand.
These tools may not have directly helped me earn money, but they have brought more opportunities my way and helped me reach where I am today.
1. The Future Party
What is it: Daily newsletter on business, entertainment, and culture.
As a writerpreneur, it’s difficult to keep track of all the updates happening in and around the creator economy. The sense of FOMO is real. What if some crazy cool new platform or opportunity launched and you never found out about it?
That’s where The Future Party comes in. It’s a free daily newsletter that curates stories spanning pop culture, entrepreneurship, entertainment, and tech, and breaks down what it all means for the future.
For example, in their latest issue, I came to know that LinkedIn is partnering with creators to start a Creator Accelerator Program where each creator will receive a $15,000 grant to kickstart the era of LinkedInfluencers. Currently, this program is only for creators in the US and I’m not eligible. But at least I know something like this exists so I can prepare for when it opens up to the rest of the world. This gives me an unfair advantage, one I wouldn’t have without The Future Party.
This is just one example. Every morning, I get countless such opportunities in my inbox. The newsletter is so packed with value, I find it hard to believe how something that amazing can be for free!
What is it: Online photo editor and design maker for PC and mobile
Cost: Free ($7.5 per month on an annual subscription for Pro+ version. Free trials available for both Fotor Pro and Fotor Pro+.)
Fotor is a cool designing tool that lets you make beautiful graphics for your Instagram, Twitter, or Medium profiles. The easy-to-use interface and free tutorials make sure that you don’t have to be a professional designer to create beautiful images. There are hundreds of templates and text-image combinations to choose from. You only need to slightly modify them to start creating beautiful designs.
As an added benefit, you can directly sell the designs you made on Fotor, such as series posters, ebooks, and book covers, etc. on different websites like Fiverr and Upwork.
My personal favorite features of Fotor are the logo maker and the LinkedIn banner designer. My YouTube thumbnails look infinitely better since I started using Fotor to design them. I plan to use Fotor to design the cover of my next book as well.
What is it: Password manager that stores all your passwords in one place.
If you’re a freelancer, you must have accounts on several social media platforms, apps, and must be using multiple devices to access them. It becomes a headache to remember all your passwords, and setting a weak password like 12345678 is too much of a risk
That’s where LastPass comes in. You have to set a master password (that’s something you have to remember at any cost, but hey, now you only have to remember one password) that gives you access to all the passwords across all platforms you might have saved.
LastPass also generates random secure passwords so you don’t have to use the name of your crush or your first pet for every password you use. This makes sure your accounts are safe because you don’t need to use the same password more than once.
What it does: Schedule meetings and add them straight to your calendar.
Cost: Free (Premium version $8 per month offering customization and automation facilities.)
I love Calendly because it gives me so much freedom over my calendar and makes it easy to schedule meetings without spending extra brainpower. The best part is it syncs with my Google calendar so I get reminded 30 minutes before a scheduled meeting.
Sending a Calendly link at the end of an email and saying “I’m attaching my calendar here. Please pick a slot that’s convenient for you and let’s get on a call to discuss more” is way more professional than stating a random date and time slot. This is a low-effort solution if you want to make a good impression on a prospective client.
What is it: Stats and analytics for your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Cost: $6 per month
As a freelancer, LinkedIn is one of the platforms where I’m super active and post every day. It has helped me land new clients, get high-paying gigs, and establish long-term mutually beneficial relationships with businesses.
Shield helps me track my content metrics so I can understand what works and double down on it. It has a cool audience demographics option that shows what percentage of my audience comes from which background — valuable data I can use to curate my future posts.
Effectively, Shield has everything I wish LinkedIn Premium did. It’s the one app that has helped me 10x my LinkedIn reach in just 2 months.
What it does: Uses artificial intelligence to optimize your day by building one perfect schedule that includes all of your tasks and meetings.
Cost: 62 cents a day (30-day free trial available).
Motion is an amazing app where all you have to do is enter your tasks and schedule meetings. Using AI, it will create your schedule and prioritizes tasks to ensure everything gets done on time. It prioritizes your tasks based on your deadlines, meetings, and work hours.
And the best part? If you miss the deadline or something else comes up, all you have to do is enter the anomaly and Motion will reschedule your calendar for you.
It’s super intuitive and easy to use. Motion combines your to-do list, meetings, and calendar into one view, making sure you don’t waste time making to-do lists and struggle to fit everything within 24 hours.
What is it: Online editor to make your writing easier to read
I always run my text through Hemmingway to make sure my sentences aren’t too complex or long. It also helps me understand if I’ve used too many adverbs that weaken my writing.
Hemmingway isn’t a grammar checker per se, but it helps make my writing stronger and more compelling. I’d definitely recommend every writer to use it before publishing their posts.
What is it: Workspace to take notes either on your own or coordinate with your team.
Cost: Free ($4 a month for the Personal Pro plan and $8 a month for the Team Plan)
Notion is my go-to place for taking notes, keeping track of ideas, making to-do lists, and planning and outlining articles before working on them. It also has amazingly easy features to share workflows and progress with your team and ideate together.
If you have different email IDs or are part of several teams, you can sync them all in one place, each worksheet accessible with a single click.
What it does: Schedule posts for your social media.
Cost: Free for 10 posts at a time for 5 social media accounts ($10 per month for Argentum version)
The free version of Publer is a cool tool that allows you to add 5 social media accounts and schedule posts for up to 10 days in advance. Even when I’m on holiday or caught up with other work, Publer is the reason my social media followers don’t miss my presence.
What is it: Browser extension and mobile app that integrates directly into YouTube to help you run your channel with ease.
Cost: Free ($7.20 for the Pro version)
As a YouTuber, this is the one tool that has helped me the most. I often forget to add an end screen or heart a comment, etc. TubeBuddy keeps track of what I’ve done for my video and what remains to be done.
It also has a cool SEO score tracker. If the score is low, you can play with your video title and thumbnail until the score improves.
Author’s note: Some of the links mentioned in this article are sponsored. But I love these tools so much, I would never have shared them with you if I didn’t think they can add amazing value to your life and journey as a freelancer.