Originally published on November 7, 2013 @ 7:56 am
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Being a freelance writer means fun, flexibility, and controlling your own destiny, right? It also means doubling up as an accountant, marketer, and virtual assistant to yourself.
And if you're not careful, you can get lost in dozens of menial tasks that have to be done and yet keep your business from growing the way it could.
Which is why I've put together this list of free tools for freelance writers like you: who are trying to do it all without losing their sanity or their free time.
10 Free Tools for Freelance Writers
1. Toggle: Where did Time Go?
Even if you're not charging your clients by the hour (and you really shouldn't be), you'll still want to keep track of how you're spending your time.
Toggle makes this easy to by tracking your time with a simple click. It's available as a browser extension (Chrome and Firefox) and as an app (desktop or smartphone).
To use Toggle, set up your projects, add your tasks, and go. Toggle will track how much time you spend on each task within your project. Toggle will then track how much time you spend on each task.
Use the information any way you like: invoicing clients, measuring your own productivity, or evaluating your efficiency.
2. Trello: Get More Done
Trello is an amazing task management tool. In fact, it's my favorite. I log into Trello multiple times a day and use it for just about everything:
- Planning blog posts
- Planning and working out client content
- Writing clients' books
- Planning social media content
- Planning content for YouTube
- Putting together marketing plans for clients
- Tracking affiliate programs
- Storing important information such as resources and links
And so much more.
There is nothing you can't track, plan, or streamline with Trello. And the best part is, you can share your boards with your team to help keep everyone on the same page. Create a new board for each client so you can share updates easily with other people in different branches. Use it for a product launch, social marketing campaign, or just to keep track of your daily to do list.
Check out my Author's Trello Board Templates if you'd like a head start on building some of these checklists for your next book.
3. Google Drive: Stay Organized
I could not live without my Google Drive. I use it for just about everything (I seem to say that a lot, huh?):
- Organizing client projects
- Organizing my own projects
- Collaborating with people and teams on projects
- Storing files and templates
It really can't get much better for a free tool that also includes documents, spreadsheets, forms, and unlimited folder hierarchies.
4. Line: Call anyone anywhere in the world for free
One of my first clients was a small business owner in South Africa.
After her, I had another client in Australia. Later on, I had a client in New Zealand, Ireland, and even the Philippines. When it comes to working freelance, you can choose to work with clients as close to you or as far from you as you like.
But you still need a way to be able to talk to them.
This is one way the Line App is so amazing. It allows you to call anyone, anywhere in the world, for free. Even if they aren't on Line themselves. Plus, Line also offers in-app chat and messaging and it's available to anyone in the world. So collaborating on those projects with a global team has never been easier.
5. Zoom: Next-level video conferencing
Zoom offers you high-quality video conferencing.
What I like about Zoom is that it's available on just about any device worldwide. And the free account is perfect for one-on-one meetings with your clients for as long as you need. I use it all the time for consultations, proposals, tutorials, and demonstrations.
Need to meet with three or more people? No problem! Zoom will still allow you to meet for 40 minutes. And if 40 minutes isn't long enough, upgrading isn't very expensive (or difficult).
6. Hello Woofy: Data-driven social media management
It won't take long before you come to realize that you'll need to expand your online presence to more than one social profile. And once you do, finding a tool to streamline how you track and manage those profiles will be critical to your time and efficiency.
Hello Woofy's free account offers you the ability to post to three social profiles (Facebook Page or Group, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn) and, one of the best things, you can have up to 1,000 posts scheduled in any rolling year.
And that's not all. Hello Woofy also comes with Content Discovery: an aggregator that pulls in trending articles on any niche or industry you choose. It has a content library you can set up to store your posts and articles as well as your graphics so you can schedule them out as needed, analytics, and so much more.
**And here's a neat little tidbit – right now you can get a lifetime subscription to Hello Woofy Pro for a one-time payment of just $49. $49!! No other fees or payments ever. Definitely check that out before the deal ends.
7. Coggle: Organize your thoughts with a mind-map
This allows you to translate your thoughts into a visual flow chart. You can even invite your clients to come and update with their own thoughts, which allows you to coordinate all your amazing ideas even before you start outlining their project.
8. Canva: Web-based graphic design tool
Whether you're trying to design a logo or want to put together a nice looking eBook or social media graphics using their primary editor, Canva is a powerful and amazing tool to help you look your best.
And it's fast. As a matter of fact, I switched from PhotoShop to Canva for all my Pinterest and ad graphics because I needed to be able to hammer out my images quickly without draining my computer's resources.
9. Visme: Web-based graphic interface and infographic tool
Visme is my go-to resource for creating interactive graphics, reports, and infographics – although technically they are so much more than just a graphic editor.
Visme is a web-based graphic content creator — which means that while you could use it to create your social graphics, really you want to be using it to create unique content. Although the free account is a bit limited, it's more than enough to help you pump out those all important visual data reports and you can even review the analytics on each one.
And you know me and analytics…
10. ProWritingAid: for the smarter writer
Although there are all sorts of spell-checkers and grammar-checkers out there, I have yet to find one that can beat ProWriting Aid.
First, ProWritingAid integrates with just about everything. I can use it on social media, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Scrivener, Open Office, WordPress… everywhere. And it never seems to slow down my computer the way some of the other checkers out there do.
Of course, as with every writing software out there, the free version is limited in comparison to the paid version. But I love the being able to have just that little extra help (especially if I'm tired) to make sure my writing is top-notch.
And there you have it: 10 free tools for freelance writers to rock their business.
Is there a tool you're on the hunt for that isn't on this list? Tell me in the comments and I'll see if I have a recommendation to help you out!
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