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30 Essential Tools and Web Apps for Freelancers

30 Essential Tools and Web Apps for Freelancers


    When it comes to freelancing, having the right tools for the job can make all the difference.

    And we’re not talking exclusively on-job tools here either; freelancers have the difficult task of managing all of their activities, work expenditures, and productivity, as they have only themselves to account for.

    While you certainly don’t want to get bogged down in excess tools (succumbing to signing up to every free tool ever), there are certainly a few free resources out there that will greatly aid in your endeavors as a successful freelancer. So, here are 30 tools and web apps for freelancers.

    Freelancer Time Management Tools

    1. Teux Deux

    The Teux Deux “to-do” list app first starting picking up some traction when it was mentioned to be used by the likes of Seth Godin for making daily to-do lists. The premise behind Teux Deux was to make a very minimal but visually compelling (“designy”) app that is highly usable and intuitive.

    If making lists is a key part of your organizational structure as a free lancer, than you should definitely check out Teux Deux, it is one of the best options out there for creating and managing task lists (and it’s free!) You can also take Teux Deux on the go with their iPhone app.

    2. RescueTime

    You may be familiar with RescueTime it due to it’s association with a few big names, such as Matt Mullenwag of Automattic and WordPress. What you may not be familiar with is how useful RescueTime really is.

    RescueTime allows you to keep track of how you spend your time on your computer, and lets you analyze how this time was spent later. If you find that last week you spent over 10 hours on Reddit, you can know that it is time to start managing your time more wisely ;).

    3. Focus Booster

    For freelancers, getting things done in a timely manner is of utmost importance, and entirely on the self as freelancing typically comes with a very variable schedule. While  the Pomodoro Technique provide great results for some people, it’s hard to implement on a regular basis without the right tools, and who wants to walk around with a timer all day?

    That’s where Focus Booster comes in, it is an online timer made just for freelancers (or anyone!) using the Pomodoro Technique to get things done. If you aren’t familiar, this method relies on having 25 minute periods of work followed by 5 minute periods of rest, which helps you segment tasks and get them done one at a time.

    4. Toggl

    Toggl is a time tracking app which aims to help you track time with a single click, and to switch easily between different tasks and create reports so that you can get things done and turn that precious time into productive time.It is also available as a Chrome extension, and can be easily installed in your browser for use as soon as you fire up the web.

    It’s been featured on an favorably reviewed by sites like Lifehacker, where it is described as:

    “Toggl starts tracking the time spent in a live second by second timer right in the web browser. Hit stop when you’re done. Toggl will put together reports – PDF or CSV – for invoicing your clients. More portable than a kitchen timer, Toggl looks like a helpful little tool for hourly freelancers who need to keep track of exactly how much time they spent on what task in another Firefox tab.”

    5. TextExpander

    As a freelancer, you are likely sending a lot of emails. Worse yet, many of these emails are likely to contain similar (if not duplicate) information. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a free app that could cut down the time of sending these emails?

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    That’s where TextExpander comes in, allowing you to pre-program short abbreviations that an automatically insert all types of information and even images, CSS, and other longer forms of information, all from a few easy keystrokes. You can also pre-program to fix typos you often make, use different signatures for different clients, and auto-insert forms and other info on a per project basis.

    Freelance Writing Tools

    6. OpenOffice

    All freelancers (but especially writers) need a full suite of office tools for their personal computer. While Google Docs offers a web based alternative, many folks like storing documents on their hard drive or external memory device. Instead of paying the cost of Microsoft Office, why not try the excellent and free OpenOffice alternative?

    While OpenOffice comes with full suite of tools that are comparable to Microsoft Office, the OpenOffice writer is the biggest benefit here: it’s a fully featured writing platform that allows easy exporting to PDF, making it perfect for e-Books, guides, pamphlets, and other necessary documents to be easily shared on the PDF format. It comes fully featured with a similar selection of fonts and other tools (charts, formatting, etc.) that Microsoft Office has, all while being

    7. WriteRoom (Mac)

    When it comes to getting big writing projects done, focus is key. Nothing will give you more focus than a full-screen writing tool, and WriteRoom is the original offering that is available for Mac.

    Featuring a totally black background and no menu options (as well as blocking out all toolbars, even the start menu), WriteRoom will keep your writing between you and the page, taking away all outside things to click so that you can focus you’re writing efforts.

    8. DarkRoom (PC)

    If you were reading the above and thinking “Oh great, another awesome free tool only available for Mac…”, worry not! There is another program designed to perfectly replicate WriteRoom, only for Windows. It is called DarkRoom and it is similarly free.

    Want to really get rid of disctractions? Use either one of these programs and then do the unthinkable: turn off your Internet! That’s right, disabling the web with a full-screen writer will leave you with not many options but to get some writing done!

    9. Zen Writer

    While the above two options are great for most people, for some, the dark background and the “Matrix style” feel of the programs will be off putting and will not help them maintain focus when writing.

    The solution? ZenWriter, a full-screen writing app that takes aesthetics into account. With a serene light and dark background and adjustable fonts, this is the best looking full-screen writer available. The catch? It costs $9 to use all of its features full-time, although you can download the program for free and try it for yourself.

    10. Logline App

    Logline is an interesting app to feature because it is marketed as being the perfect solution for writing screenplays, but I’ve found it to be a great tool for writing a far more common type of web writing: long, comprehensive e-Books. Simply put, a huge part of freelance writing and anyone using content marketing to grow their business.

    With Logline, organizing your ideas and sections/chapters is as simple as a few clicks, you can write notes and organize sections painlessly, no need for immense .doc or .pdf files until the book is fully complete.

    Freelance Organizational Tools

    11. Dropbox

    Most of us freelancers have heard of Dropbox before, and let me tell you any “hype” tied to the product is totally accurate: Dropbox is awesome, allowing you to sync all files on all of your devices with a simple drag-n-drop system.

    Never again will you have to sit with downtime when you could be working on a project, or get stuck not having an essential file that you need: sync all of your files with Dropbox and you’re business files will be “in the cloud”, accessible from any of the devices that you own and have on you.

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    12. Shoeboxed

    Shoeboxed allows you to turn piles of receipts and business cards into expense reports, accounting entries and contact lists, save time and cut admin costs by scanning and extract the data from your paper clutter. Shoebox is also accepted by the IRS, so you can use it for your business without worry.

    The only downside? The free plan won’t be enough for most people, so if you want to take advantage of the full suite of Shoebox features multiple times a month, you are going to have to upgrade to a premium plan.

    13. Now Do This

    Now Do This is about the most simple a task management tool can be: it only allows you to make a simple text list which you then click “done” after you’ve… well, done the task.

    The upside? No fancy features ensure that this is a true “Getting Things Done” tool, there is nothing to play around with and adjust, you just put up your things to do, and get to it.

    14. Oh Don’t Forget…

    If you are like me, emails can get passed over, voicemails unlistened to… but text messages? Opened every time. The Oh Don’t Forget team thinks like this as well, as they’ve made the best tool to get reminders via text.

    With a ODF account you can text yourself reminders at any time of the day, and since they will be coming through your phone, you know you will be more likely to check and thus remember them.

    15. Remember The Milk

    Remember The Milk has definitely created some buzz recently, and with it’s Gmail addon, you can now access it through your email, which you are probably spending too much time in… ;)

    RTM is simply one of the best task managers out there, with tools that can remind you from almost any device, set up specific location reminders, plan your time in advanced, and work together with others to get things done. An overall must have tool in my opinion.

    16. BetterBuzzer

    Did you think that text message reminders might be annoying? Well than stay far away from BetterBuzzer, the company that promises to “Not stop calling you until you pick up. We’re annoying like that, and you’ll love it!” :)

    BetterBuzzer does as promised, if you set an important reminder via their calendar tool, you will get called at that time and your phone will not stop ringing until you pick up, useful for absolutely critical things that you cannot miss or forget.

    Freelance Project Management Tools

    17. MindMeister

    Mind-mapping is all of the rage these days, although it is no different from the old school pen-and-paper method, with tools like MindMeister, you can create mind-maps on your electronic devices, which serve as much better storage than sheets of looseleaf.

    Of all my trials with mind-mapping tools, MindMesiter is definitely the best, and it’s free plan will be enough for most people, although if you create a ton of mind-maps, the premium plans are very reasonable.

    18. FreedCamp

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    FreedCamp promises to be the best viable (and free!) alternative to BaseCamp, which so far has not has any major competitors (especially ones that are free).

    I’ve used FreedCamp myself and this tool gets better by the day, including all sorts of options which seem like steal to have on a free tool. Better yet, it comes with awesome features like project templates so that you can get up and running as soon as you start using the service, making it an absolute must try: if you’ve been thinking about using a platform like this, I’d advise checking out FreedCamp first.

    19. Google Apps

    A lot of these apps you are most likely familiar with if you use a Google Account. From messaging & task apps such as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar to collaboration apps such as Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Reader and many more, Google Apps is an absolute must for any freelancer in my humble opinion.

    If you want to include the recent Google+ into the mix, then you also have incentive to have a Google account in order to network on this new social networking platform. While you have to watch that it doesn’t turn into a time-sink, Google+ offers a way to connect with technologically savy users (it’s main adopters, at least for now) and as a way to further promote yourself on a platform run by the world’s biggest search engine.

    20. Evernote

    When creativity and good ideas strike, will you leave it up to memory to keep track of them? The scary truth is your brain is not as dependable as you’d like to think, but cut the poor guy some slack: in today’s world, we are forced to recall tons of information and are constantly being stimulated by new information.

    The benefits of technology help to ease it’s woes, however, with tools like Evernote. Evernote allows you to capture any good ideas, images, or audio clips from your PC or phone, and then lets you sync them all for easy retrieval and edits no matter where you are. Don’t let a good idea slip away due to being too busy: let Evernote keep track of your spontaneous moments of creativity/inspiration and store them so you can come back and work on them later.

    21. Helium

    Helium is a super simple task management system to aid you in clearing out your inbox, assigning and delegating tasks easily, and to take action in order to get things done. Easily connected to your corporate email and Evernote account, Helium also does not need to be connected to the web to work: you can download it for your PC or Mac and it is ready to go.

    Even better: you can use Helium to assign tasks whether or not other users use Helium or not, it is not dependent on others to have an account with the platform in order to use it’s benefits. Lastly, Helium features a clean interface and a drag-n-drop dashboard for easy management.

    Entrepreneurial & Legal Tools

    22. Mint

    Mint has been a really popular tool for people looking to manage their money, and it’s no wonder: the interface is beautiful, the tools are excellent, and the service is free. I really cannot recommend another free money management tool over Mint, it has all of the essentials a freelancer could need to start managing their spending and saving more wisely.

    Not only that, but the Mint blog is always full of excellent information in the form of detailed posts, infographics, and case studies. You will not find a better designed and made product for money management for free.

    23. StreamerApp

    The Streamer App is a really great tool that allows you to create custom dashboards for your business’s vital aspects. These include integrations with popular Web Analytics, CRM support, infrastructure, project management and sales tools… all in one place.

    The amount of services that integrate with Streamer are impressive thus far and improving by the day, and include the likes of Basecamp, Twitter, MailChimp, Gmail, Google Analytics, Pingdom, Shopify, UserVoice and many more.

    24. ContactMe

    ContactMe touts itself as being the essential, all-in-one tool to allow you to consolidate all of your contacts—and the business information that relates to each one—into one convenient, online system.

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    Utilizing ContactMe to keep this type of information in order will allow you to stay updated and continually on top of your correspondences, tasks, details, deadlines and appointments. Definitely a major time savor that allows you to conduct your business more professionally.

    25. DeskTime

    DeskTime is an awesome tool that is perfect for business owners, designers, developers, accountants and many others types of freelancers and entrepreneurs. What does it allow you to do?

    It allows you to keep track of people that you are employing, including the ability to automatically create timesheets (no more Excel!) lowering your payroll processing costs, and allowing you to see who is working, for how long, and at what hours. A must have for freelancers and business owners employing others.

    26. DocStoc

    Docstoc is the best online source for high quality (and a wide variety) of professional and legal documents that you can use to start, grow, and manage your budding new business, entrepreneurial endeavor, or freelance activities.

    Docstoc provides the platform to upload and share documents with the world, and serves as a vast repository of free and for purchase legal, business, financial, technical, and educational documents that can be easily searched, previewed and downloaded.

    Freelancer Social Media Tools

    27. Tweriod

    When it comes to social media (especially on Twitter), timing can be everything. Not only on the time you spend on it (get back to work!) but also on the timing of your updates, which can have big consequences on their reach and effectiveness.

    Fortunately, there is a one-two knockout combo for Twitter that will make sure your updates go out at the perfect time, every time. The first part of this process is analyzing your followers over on Tweriod, which will give you a comprehensive (and good looking!) chart displaying the most popular hours on Twitter for your followers (when they are online the most).

    With this information, you can then use…

    28. BufferApp

    …the BufferApp, the second part in our awesome Twitter combo. After you’ve gotten your free report of when your Twitter followers are online, use Buffer to set up time periods in which your tweets will post every day, making sure they align with when your Twitter followers are online the most.

    You can schedule tweets from the very beginnings of the day, and can set them to go out at very specific times, hitting the hot spots throughout the day, making sure your tweets are getting read by as large an audience as possible. This will maximize each tweet’s impact and you can rest assured that your important tweets won’t get buried. Buffer also now works with Facebook as well.

    29. Ping.fm

    Ping.fm is one of the best ways to cut through the 20 different logins that you might have for social media profiles: update once and done, and Ping will even shorten the links automatically for sites like Twitter.

    I like Ping because I’m able to updates social media accounts, microblogs (such as Posterous and Tumblr) and that the Ping team is adding new accounts all of the time, assuring me that it will be a service that stays updated with the latest useful profiles for all types of sites.

    30. SocialOomph

    Social Oomph has some really great social networking tools in it’s arsenal, but it really shines when it comes to Twitter tools. The reason that so many of these web apps for freelancer tools focus on Twitter is because I’ve found it to be one of the best networking tools, with LinkedIn being a close second (and Google+ being a distant 3rd).

    One awesome feature that I love to use (properly!) is the auto-DM tool. While this tool can be extremely obnoxious when used incorrectly, it can be a great asset done the right way. What’s the right way? Entice people to follow you by promising them a freebie (Follow me for a free video/e-book/whatever!), you will gain more potential followers and you also get to spread some content that you’ve made, making it a win-win.

    (Photo credit: Glasses on Keyboard via sxc.hu)

    More by this author

    30 Essential Tools and Web Apps for Freelancers

    Trending in Technology

    1 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast 2 15 Organization Apps to Boost Your Personal Productivity 3 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2019 4 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Keep You on Track in 2019 5 How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques

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    Last Updated on September 11, 2019

    8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

    8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

    Computers and cell phones have become an integrated tool in our professional and personal lives that the original methods of using pen and paper may not be so common anymore.

    Although our old-school methods of note taking may not have entirely left us, technology is advancing with no intention of slowing down; iPads are moving into service industries, video calls are taking the place of in-person interviews, and store receipts are making its way into our email inbox – all of which requires the skill of typing.

    Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be boring and never had to be. Thankfully, there are effective games and apps that can help you learn to type fast with swift precision and accuracy.

    Why Typing Fast Matters?

    Learning how to type fast is a game changer. In fact, you can save 21 days per year by typing fast!

    Although shaving several minutes from curating a long email or texting paragraphs in a text message may not seem to be of great significance, the minutes soon do eventually add up and the long list of tasks then evolve into frustration. By the end of the day, time is being wasted, and the work pile is stacked high over your head.

    Why not alleviate some of those frustrations through practice and dedicating your spare time to build muscle memory?

    Learning a simple skillset like speed typing can drastically improve other essential areas in life including time-management and prioritization. Not only does it help you efficiently complete tasks at work and in your personal life, but it also boosts your productivity.

    8 Most Effective Typing Games and Apps

    Everyone learns at different speeds and uses various methods. While some work better under pressure and tight deadlines, others thrive when given ample amounts of time to learn and soak in the knowledge that is being provided. Despite the number of resources that are available in the hollow corners of the internet, it’s all about finding one source that helps you learn at your fullest potential.

    Whether you’re a keyboard ninja or not, here are some effective typing games and apps that allow you to test your speed, accuracy, and maybe shoot some spaceships along the way.

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    For Beginners

    1. Speed Typing Online

      What’s more fun than to type to the story of Alice in Wonderland or the lyrics to “Hey Jude”? Speed Typing Online is an online typing game that allows you to dive into the creative and familiar world of famous books, fables, songs, and even hone your skills in data entry.

      The bright blue frame holds the text, which then turns green after punching in the accurate keystrokes. After the end of the personal timer, a statistics page appears to show you your typed words per minute, accuracy, correct and incorrect entries, and error rate.

      2. Typing Trainer

        Typing Trainer

        is another online platform suited for beginner typists looking for step-by-step lessons. Learning the keys on a keyboard can confusing especially for those who aren’t as familiar or getting adjusted to typing on a computer keyboard.

        Typing Trainer has a collection of step-by-step tutorials that covers everything from sentence drills, introduction to new keys as the lessons progress, and skills test. The Typing Trainer specifically highlights unique features in each lesson including a warm-up section where the user begin to build muscle memory and learn to type without looking at the keyboard.

        The website is also programed to identify difficulties the user is facing when typing specific words or sentences.

        3. TapTyping – Typing Trainer

          There is the feeling of physically typing on a keyboard and then there’s the feeling of typing on a touch screen mobile device.

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          Since the use of cell phones has become closely integrated into our everyday lives, learning to type on a mobile is much of a skillset as it is to type on a computer. The mobile typing app, TapTyping – Typing Trainer, allows users to practice while on-the-go making it perfect for commuters who want to practice typing during their down time.

          The app allows you to challenge other typists around the world with TapTyping’s global leaderboard and test your skills by taking advanced lessons. There’s always room for improvement and with the app, you’ll be able to find your mistakes by watching a heat map of your finger strokes.

          For professional writers and programmers

          4. The Most Dangerous Writing App

            Suitable for writers facing a creative block or on a tight-deadline, the Most Dangerous Writing App is a website that forces your fingers to type as quickly as your ideas.

            If you stop longer than 5 seconds, everything you had written will slowly disappear from the screen.

            Sessions are timed from 3 minutes to 20 minutes, or can go from 75 to 1667 words. This online app is perfect to brain dump ideas, write a chapter of a manuscript you’ve been stuck on, or help with procrastination.

            If you’re up to the challenge, try the hardcore mode – an alternative option where a single letter appears on the screen at a time. This level prevents you from seeing the entire word, sentences, or even correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes until the timer is complete.

            If you’re wondering, copying and pasting is not an option until each the end of each session.

            5. The Typing Cat

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              Looking to upgrade your typing skills? Also working as a personal tutor, the Typing Cat has a list of regular typing courses with the option to try other lessons with more complexity such as HTML. Learning to type code is a another valulable skillset worth adding.

              Even with disregarded interest in the coding world, using the code course enhances your typing skills and allows your fingers to familiarize itself with uncommon word combinations and placement of punctuations on a keyboard.

              The coding course can be difficult even for typing whizzes, but it’s all a part of muscle memory. According Psychology Today,[1] only a handful of people actually learn how to type by looking at an actual keyboard, while a majority of the population locate specific keys intuitively through muscle memory.

              Available courses include EcmaScript 6, HTML 5, and CSS 3.

              Fun typing games

              6. ZType — Space Invaders Meet Webster

                Remember playing the iconic 70’s game that allowed you to shoot tiny purple and green aliens from one end of the screen to the other with a two-bullet laser? It’s hard to believe that Space Invaders just turned 40 , but you can still get the same adrenaline rush with ZType, a typing game with the same shooting concept.

                Ztype works in waves – stages that must be cleared but instead of aliens, you must type out the words before the missiles destroy your ship at the bottom of the screen. Every so often, longer and mor complex words would appear and if the words are not typed in the allotted time, a series of letters will disperse like missles.

                The game is quick on the fingers and will still have your heart pumping until the very end.

                7. Epistory – Typing Chronicles

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                  Although this game does cost money to purchase, it is worth the investment if you’re looking for a refreshing and alternative mode to learning how to type fast.

                  Epistory – Typing Chronicles is a role-playing action and adventure game of a young girl riding a fox in a magical and fictional realm; together they combat enemies in the shapes and forms of words.

                  Once you’re starterted, you almost forget you’re playing a typing game. The paper craft art aesthetics of the game has you captivated by the vibrant colors and character’s storyline, while having you build your typing skills.

                  8. Daily Quote Typing

                    Need some inspiration? Say no more.

                    Daily Quote Typing is one of many gammes available on Wordgames.com – a website that offers a variety of typing games ranging from different levels based on your experience.

                    With Daily Quote Typing, users are able to type out inspirational quotes by famous leaders, inventors, and innovators such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein.

                    Bottom Line

                    At the end of the day, discipline and patience is what teaches to type faster. It comes down to making that commitment to improving not only your typing abilities, but in a lifelong skill that benefits other areas in life.

                    By practicing daily and using effective games and apps, it’s only a matter of time before keystrokes will become second nature and your brain will adapt to learning other skills faster.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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