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15 Must-Have Apps and Tools Every Freelancer Should Use To Maximize Work

15 Must-Have Apps and Tools Every Freelancer Should Use To Maximize Work

Seeking a full-time job or a single career may not be a great choice these days especially with the rising prices of commodities. Working from home and having multiple part-time jobs can help you land to a more profitable venture. However, you cannot figure out everything by yourself. With the right tools, everything you need is a few clicks away from living your life as a successful freelancer.

As Rich Moncure, President of On Hold Marketing, puts it,

“Freelancers bring an invaluable outside perspective to a project. In one instance, we needed body copy for a web page. We knew what to write, but wanted to make sure it was understandable by our target market of non-technical buyers. The freelancer took our original content and replaced the industry jargon with language that made the benefits of doing business with us clear to any reader.

We’re always looking for a freelancer who’s on top of things, beats deadlines, and communicates well the status of a project. If you have these skills, then we’ll surely have a great relationship. However, if you are unprofessional and not able to complete projects on time, it probably won’t work out. ”

Turning new clients to loyal clients is your goal. This means more work, more projects, more income.

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From increasing productivity to storing your files in a cloud, these apps and tools will surely help you grow your clientele.

Productivity Tools

1. ZenDay

This psychology-based app allows you to have a virtual planner where you can prioritize and plan tasks ahead of time, at the same time maintaining your work-life balance. The fluid 3D timeline display provides you easy navigation and clear view of your schedules and tasks. These are also automatically readjusted depending on every user’s needs and top priorities. With just a screen tap, you are ready to insert a new task, add a heading, and you’re done. Boost your productivity by keeping with ZenDay’s cycle of “Plan, Do, Debrief” and sync your commitments on all your devices.

2. Tmetric.com

To track your work real-time, have a shot at this work time tracker suitable to most freelancers because of its zero-cost benefit. Every minute of your paid time counts, so take advantage of its built-in activity timer. The simple interface gives a user-friendly impression. It also boasts of its multi-tasking ability to switch between differing tasks, creates detailed work time reports, integrates with multiple project management systems like Asana, Trello, RedMine and many others. You can also monitor your team members online. TMetric lets you export the most detailed time entries on each activity reflected in your TMetric dashboard or timeline.

3. Stayfocusd

This tool is a web extension applicable for Google Chrome browser users. As it name implies, its aim is to stay focused on the task at hand and prevent you from other unnecessary distractions that lead to procrastination. It works by restricting the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites. It doesn’t necessarily limit the internet usage; instead, it is customizable as to what type of sites you want to restrict. When the timer finishes, all indicated sites will be blocked until the following day. This internet guardian is a bit strict. No cheating.

Communication Tools
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    Image Credit | Highrise

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    4. Campfire

    Designed to promote team collaboration, Campfire works like a group instant messaging app. With the easy-to-learn user interface, this web-based app is a powerful tool to organize your projects with several individuals. Share group notes, files, messages to other members online. Managers also have the privilege to assign tasks and update members of what’s going on and what needs to be done. Secure your messages by setting up password-protected chat rooms within a few seconds. Widen your network as you invite clients and partners to chat and team up.

    5. Highrise

    What better way can you manage all your contacts in one indispensable tool? Highrise is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool which helps you track customers and potential clients. Dubbed as the most comprehensive CRM package that’s free of charge, this app can monitor your customer relations and dealings. It constantly reminds you to stay in touch with them and when to follow up. Inclusive is a built-in contact and task manager and a reminder service. Entries can be added to each client’s page whenever an interaction takes place.

    6. Glip

    Huddling with your colleagues is so much easier with Glip. This software tool is good for task management and puts all forms of communication in one place. Share files and calendars, chat online, and set up video conferences. You do not have to consume and waste all your time checking your inbox. Glip provides built-in versions of everything you need. All communication is searchable and easy to find. Never have the hassle of switching from one window to another ever again.

    Project Management Tools

    7. Redbooth

    Get started free with Redbooth as you keep your projects organized. Hit deadlines even before they come running after you. Redbooth assures to help you with your day-to-day activities and in managing your team’s projects more efficiently. Forgetfulness is not an excuse when it comes to Redbooth. Its persistence in sending notifications is unstoppable unless you mark your task as completed. There are Gantt charts, Kanban boards, file storage, checklists, workflow reports, and automatic archiving features that will assist the user in managing a remote team. Plus, you may use its HD video conference call for a quick meeting.

    8. Asana

    Despite the stress of working from home, keep your work tools easy on the eyes by opting for a simpler and cleaner layout like the Asana tool. The “Highlight” option allows you to apply color codes based on the projects created and their sub-tasks. Loop in your clients and partners when you upload attachments or apply any changes to tasks. Project templates are also readily available for easier completion of work. This project management tool is free for use for a maximum of 15 people.

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    9. Trello

    Whether you are a freelancer or have multiple business personalities, Trello is an ideal project management web-based tool for you. It boasts of its simple and easy-to-use dashboard that helps users to move easily between projects. Adding separate boards or cards for each project and member can help the team better understand what needs to be done, what is going on at the moment, and what was done already. It also encourages your team to have in-card discussions. The email notification feature decreases the time of having to open the tool every now and then.

    Accounting/Invoicing Tools
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      10. Xero TaxTouch

      When it comes to ease of use, Xero is your best accounting companion. Track your expenses with a mere swipe of your finger while you’re on the go. It has both options for business and personal expenses. Xero works by providing full accounting and payroll solution for small businesses. On the other hand, Xero TaxTouch is specifically created for freelancers to help them monitor their expenses against their income. With this mobile app, your tax filings become simplified. Send the required tax form data to Xero accounting professionals with just a click.

      11. BoxBilling

      A free billing and client management software, BoxBilling permits its users to create a pseudo online e-commerce website. It includes automated billing, accepts one-time and recurring payments, invoicing, and supports multiple currencies. This tool is personal as you can customize its features according to your liking. Tailor taxation rules for every invoice depending on your needs. You can also issue invoices, notify your client, and receive money from them. BoxBilling provides a wide range of time-saving automation functions for fast and reliable use.

      12. Invoicera

      Invoicera is an online finance tool that will assist you in simplifying accounting and invoicing processes. It is a combination of bookkeeping, client and inventory management, subscription billing, expense tracking, and reporting. It enables members the usage of multiple languages as well as currencies. And if you want to impress your clients with a professional-looking invoice, Invoicera is the one. Receive payments from more than 20 payment gateways. Also, every client has their own portal where they can login their account and check details.

      Data Cloud Tools

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        Image Credit | OneDrive

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        13. OneDrive

        If you are an avid Microsoft user, OneDrive is the perfect cloud storage for your business. Although it is designed for Microsoft’s operating system, iOS and Android users also have available versions. Its “Fetch” functionality is quite interesting as it lets you retrieve a non-uploaded file from a Windows computer (as long as it’s connected to the internet). There’s no worrying if you forgot to upload that important file and you need it ASAP. Ideal for on-the-go individuals, OneDrive works well with other Microsoft Office tools accessible anytime, anywhere, and on all devices. Lastly, it sends real-time notifications when someone edits a file in the drive.

        14. Evernote

        This cloud data tool, Evernote, stores every essential note in the system, including receipts, and other files connected to your projects. It is a versatile platform which can serve as your “file cabinet” for all the information you want to keep. Access your documents wherever you are without having to worry if your computer shuts down accidentally. Furthermore, it can act as a task manager with its option to add checklists and tags to its notebook system for a more efficient organization.

        15. IDrive

        One of the most convenient cloud storages there is, IDrive has the capability to backup all of your files and sync them on all your devices. It doesn’t only get business-related documents, but also memorable pictures from your social media accounts. Real-time updates are done across all devices’ file locations. Drag and drop with ease the files you want to restore. Uploading of files can be paused and resumed whenever you want to. It’s also safe to use as it supports a private encryption code.

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        Last Updated on March 15, 2019

        How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

        How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

        When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

        Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

        In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

        What Makes a Leader Fail?

        A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

        If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

        And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

        What Is Effective Leadership?

        Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

        Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

        Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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        “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

        How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

        To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

        1. Courage

        The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

        “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

        Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

        For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

        In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

        It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

        Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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        2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

        If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

        The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

        To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

        3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

        Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

        Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

        4. Likability

        Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

        When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

        Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

        So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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        5. Vulnerability

        Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

        When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

        6. Authenticity

        Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

        Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

        7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

        Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

        Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

        Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

        Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

        As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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        “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

        8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

        Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

        This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

        9. A Passion for Continual Learning

        Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

        These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

        Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

        The Bottom Line

        No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

        Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

        More Resources About Effective Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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