For freelancers, productivity is an asset. The more efficient you are, the more money you can earn. It’s the fastest way to better rates and bigger projects.
But when you’re working mostly by yourself, it can be hard to hold yourself accountable to high productivity standards. Time management, focus, discipline—all these things can be hard to come by. That’s why these resources are so valuable. It’s time to work smarter.
The list is divided into different sections for easy browsing. Scroll down or use the links below.
Did you know that research from Japan shows that this type of noise is better for your productivity than distracting office chatter?
Coffitivity is an app that creates the kind of white noise you’d encounter at a coffee shop. You can also access it via the web. The free version lets you choose between three different types of noise–Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge, University Undertones–and paying an extra $9 will get you additional selections.
If you spend a lot of time at your computer, eye strain is always a concern. Fortunately, f.lux is a free tool that can relieve some of the screen glare by turning the lights down to a dulcet yellow tone. It is designed to reflect the room you’re working in.
It uses your location information to automatically adjust the screen settings, based on sunrise and sunset. There are also options for dark room and movie mode for when you’re watching videos.
Sometimes, you sit down at your desk with the best of intentions but an hour later, you’re still on Facebook or Twitter with zero work getting done. StayFocusd is a browser extension that can help by blocking your access to distracting sites. It may seem a bit extreme at first, but if you really want to stay focused, it’s a no-willpower-needed solution.
If a complete cut-off from your favorite time-wasting site seems scary, you can allow yourself limited access by setting a specific amount of time you can spend on that site per day.
A simple time-tracking tool, Toggl is a free browser extension with a button you can click when you begin a project. At the end of the week, you’ll get an email with summaries that let you see how much time you spent on each project.
RescueTime is a good time-tracking tool if you frequently forget to track time manually. The extension automatically records how much time you’re spending on each website or app, and the free version comes with a weekly email report.
A time-tracking tool similar to RescueTime, DeskTime is perhaps a better option if you’re on a team and want to manage time more effectively across the board.
The functions include vacation and URL tracking, reports and screenshots. Prices start at $7 per month and increases based on user count. There’s a 14-day free trial to get yourself acquainted.
No matter what device you’re using, there’s always room for some note-taking. SimpleNote is one of the cleanest note-taking apps with a minimalist UI. It syncs across all your devices so no note ever gets lost.
It’s completely free to use, and there’s also a collaborate function that lets you tag someone else on a note.
Habitica is the ultimate gaming app that turns your productivity habits into a fun game. You start by creating an avatar that you must keep healthy. If you’ve ever played Tamagotchi, it’s a similar concept, except the avatar is supposed to represent you.
Once you set your goals, accomplishing them will unlock rewards like additional clothing or accessories for your avatar, or a well-earned 15-minute break. To make it even more, invite a friend to battle a monster together.
If you’re a QuickBooks user, TSheets is the ultimate time-tracking tool for you, because it’s integrated into the app. It’s never been easier to track and bill for time, especially if you’re working with subcontractors.
With LastPass, you no longer have to waste precious minutes trying to remember your password and going through the process of resetting it. The password manager stores all your passwords so you never have to fill it out again. You don’t realize how much time is wasted keeping track of passwords until you’ve tried LastPass.
It’s free for all devices and browsers, and the premium version gets you more things like two-factor authentication and password sharing. All types of accounts come with a master password generator to give you the best protection against hackers.
11. Focus Keeper
If you’re a productivity geek, you’ve probably heard of the pomodoro technique. Focus Keeper is an app that uses that technique to boost focus for a short spurt before you take a small break. Its main feature is the pomodoro timer that lets you know how long you have left before break time–four small breaks before and then a long one.
It only works for Apple products, but for Android users, ClearFocus is a similar app that works just as well.
Tired of typing out the same responses over and over again? TextExpander reduces the time you spend on these by storing the information and automatically expanding it as you type. So you can use shortcuts to fill out dates, entire paragraphs and even lines of code.
Momentum is a wonderful browser extension that turns your browser’s “new tab” page into a personal dashboard. You can customize it with favorite links and widgets. There’s also a little to-do list in the corner if you want to use it.
Make sure to add a great background to give you that extra motivation. It seems like a small thing, but when you see it multiple times a day, it can work as a great mood booster. The quote widget also gives an extra dose of inspiration if you like wise words.
MacDown is an editing tool for Markdown writers. It’s a great way to format text from Google Docs or Quip before moving it to a content management system like WordPress. It’s open source and features include syntax highlighting, auto-completion and customizable rendering.
If you need distraction-free writing software, Calmly Writer does exactly that. All you’ll see on your screen is a white page—or a grey page, if you’re in dark mode—and nothing else. You can customize it by choosing from one of three fonts, controlling text size and width, and setting up punctuation the way you like it.
Most importantly, Calmly allows you to sync your documents to the cloud so you don’t lose any progress. Though it’s a downloadable software, you can also test it out online to see what a distraction-free space looks like.
ZenPen is extremely simple solution for writers that just need a minimalist space to write on. It’s a single online page whose sole function is to let writers write. Though it’s not a downloadable tool, you can save your work as a text or HTML file.
Use the target word count tool to keep yourself on track–once you reach the target, your scroll bar will turn green, letting you know you’ve completed your goal.
Whether you’re a writer or not, grammar always gets in the way of things. Grammarly is a browser extension and desktop application that checks your grammar for free, so you don’t send out emails with embarrassing errors and so on.
If you sign up with an account, Grammarly will store your data, offer personal analytics and allow you to sync the account wherever you access it. You’ll also be able to create a dictionary, which will tell the tool to stop counting certain words as misspellings.
Draft is a writing tool that tackles common problems when it comes to collaboration, such as new comments that override previous comments, the difficulty of finding previous versions of a draft, etc. Any edits made on Draft create their own copies so it preserves every change made by a team member.
But one of the most appealing things about the tool for freelancers is probably the “ask a professional” feature, which lets you ask for feedback or suggestions on your draft from a pool of its reviewers. If you’re not on a team, you may not have easy access to additional feedback and this gives you exactly that.
19. Hemingway App
Named after the one and only Ernest Hemingway, the Hemingway App is a tool that helps you to write better. It highlights complex sentences, difficult words, passive verbs and adverbs so you can change them into simpler writing. It also offers a readability score that lets you see how you’re doing.
The web version is free to use, but there’s also a desktop version if you’d like to keep it handy at all times. (For the record, this short section got a score of 7, which falls under “good.” The lower the score, the simpler your writing.)
Project Management Tools
Insightly is a CRM software that helps you nurture and manage leads, discover connections and deliver projects. If you constantly correspond with customers and clients but have trouble keeping track, this is the tool for you.
You can use it on your own or with a team. It also integrates with different apps like Dropbox, Evernote, MailChimp and QuickBooks.
Freelancers are independent, but often work with their clients’ teams, which can make communication can be a major headache. BaseCamp is a project management tool that streamlines communication and projects so it’s easy to see who’s working on what, what needs to be done for which project, etc. You can also store all your files there, so everyone can have easy access to documents.
Since BaseCamp allows you to chat with other team members and has a native to-do list function, it can save you some money you’d normally spend on other tools to do those things.
There’s so much information on the web that you want to save for later, but bookmarks just don’t cut it. Evernote is an excellent organization tool that clips pages into notebooks. So if you come across a page or article you’d like to save, you can use the browser extension to save it to Evernote and highlight passages you want to remember.
Sort of like a better version of a to-do list, Trello is an app that helps you organize and brainstorm projects, either for yourself or for your team. Its intuitive drag and drop design makes it easy to create and move things around. It may seem deceptively simple at first but comes with more features than you might think.
A powerful project management tool, Asana looks great and is good for keeping you (or an entire team) on task. It functions by assigning tasks to people, projects or teams that you can refer to as a checklist. You can also organize them by calendar or board view.
It’s free for up to 15 team members, and is particularly suitable for people who like to look at to-do lists and enjoy checking things off as you go.
Cloud storage is commonplace these days, but Dropbox is still the top dog. Simplicity is its best feature. All you need to do to upload a file to the cloud is to place it in a Dropbox folder, so you never have to log in anywhere because everything is so well-synced up.
If you’re on the free plan, you get 2GB of storage to store your most important files. But you can also earn more space by referring friends, or simply completing the “getting started” guide.
True to its name, Pocket is a tool that saves what you want to read for later in your “pocket.” This includes articles you really want to read but don’t have time for right away, or videos you want to watch later.
The best part is that once you save something, it’s available on any one of your devices offline. It works best on your desktop through the browser extension, but you can also save from mobile by sending the link as an email to email@example.com. It’s completely free to use, though there’s a premium plan as well.
Feedly is a useful tool for the voracious reader. It’s basically your personal feed for all content, so you don’t have to browse individual websites for stuff you want to read. You can add whatever blog or publication to the feed and it will automatically pull from those sites. The UI is clean and simple, so you can read without distraction.
Use the browse feature to find more sources to your liking. You can also share your feed with others, which is especially handy if you want a team reading list.
TickTick is a no-frills to-do list app. If all you want is an effective to-do app and you don’t need any fancy features, it’s a great place to start. It’s free to use and the design is simple and intuitive. You can also tag team members and share your list.
The “next 7 days” view is fantastic for planning for the week ahead. But to get more functions like calendar view and smart lists, you’ll need to upgrade.
Todoist is another great app to manage your to-do list. It’s full-featured and has useful integrations with Google Calendar and Zapier. The distraction-free design helps you focus, and you can color code tasks according to priority or projects. The Todoist Karma feature gives you a visualization of your productivity, which is a cool feature to help you stay motivated.
If you’re a fan of mind maps, you can create them online with MindMeister. It’s a useful tool for practically anyone who likes to brainstorm a project. The presentation feature turns your mind map into a presentation, or you can just share your mind map with others.
It’s free up to 3 maps. For other plans, you can compare the prices and features here.
31. Google Calendar
Google Calendar does everything you want a calendar to do, so much so that it’s really hard to find a suitable alternative. It makes it easy to see other team members’ schedules or your family’s calendars for coordination.
It’s got many features that may have even escaped your notice. For example, you can add an event to your calendar by typing what you want to add into the Google search bar. You can also set up your calendar so it only shows weekdays. To see more tips, here’s a longer list.
32. Google Drive
Most things need to be stored in a cloud these days, and Google Drive is a good way to get all your files in one place. If you use Google Docs, Sheets, Photos or any other applications in the suite, they’ll be saved automatically on Drive.
Download the app to backup your files easily from your desktop or mobile device. Everyone gets 15 GB for free, but if you want more storage space, you can subscribe to a monthly plan.
Asynchronous design collaboration can sometimes be annoying, but InVision makes it simple. You can upload all your designs to the platform for others to leave notes, directly onto the design. This is highly useful for communication with your clients.
If you don’t work on a team, you can use InVision for free and receive unlimited feedback on your designs from clients. The mood board is also useful for visual brainstorming.
Zapier is the ultimate integration tool. Whatever apps you use and want to sync up with each other, Zapier takes care of it with its impressive 750+ integrations. Here’s a full list of the apps you can sync.
There’s a free version for your most used apps, then the pricing goes up based on how much you want to automate your apps. Try it for free for 14 days here.
Airtable is a spreadsheet database app that creates spreadsheets that are much more flexible and fun to use. The different display options allow you to use them for things other than your standard spreadsheet as well, such as brainstorm boards, task lists and galleries.
You can also upload files to the database, up to 2GB under the free plan and more if you upgrade. Their templates gallery is a great place to start or get new ideas for organization.
Need to schedule meetings? Calendly will do it for you so you don’t have to do a back-and-forth email exchange to coordinate the time. Just enter the times and dates you’re available, send the link to your clients or partners and let the tool do the work.
It’s free with unlimited meetings unless you want team functions, metrics or customization. It also syncs to your Google Calendar, iCloud, Office 365 or Outlook.
Squarespace is one of the simplest, most beautiful ways to set up a website. All of its templates are easy on the eyes and great for attracting your clients and customers. This solution works especially well for people who don’t want to spend any time managing a website, since Squarespace does everything for you.
It’s a one-stop solution, for $12-18 a month.
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting services on the web. It’s known for great 24/7 customer support and easy WordPress installation. The monthly hosting fee includes a free domain, which is fantastic.
Best of all, its affiliate program offers a good way to earn extra money through your site. This means whenever you refer someone to its service, you get a referral fee. For this reason, you only need to do a little search before you find a blogger with an affiliate link–use this to get yourself a sign-up discount.
A community for questions in every arena imaginable, Quora is a great forum to promote your business as well as your expertise to people who are actively seeking your services or help. You can choose which subjects you’re experienced in, and post well-thought-out answers that will get you upvotes from other members.
You’ll want to make sure you don’t come across as a self-promoter though. Since others can follow you and see your recent activity, if all they see is a link to your own website, it’s unlikely they’ll trust you for very long. Quora only works if your answers are actually helpful to people.
Drip is a marketing automation tool that converts your email contacts into potential customers. You can send email drip campaigns with automated triggers based on customer behavior. It also provides a “lead score” for each customer, showing you which customers are the most engaged.
It’s free for up to 100 subscribers, and every plan comes with unlimited emails.
Generating leads is important for any customer-oriented business. Leadpages lets you build landing pages through their easy-to-use drag and drop tool, so you don’t need to hire a designer to build a page for you. There’s also an A/B testing tool and an SMS opt-in feature.
Check out their templates to see how you can build captivating landing pages, or try the 14-day free trial.
SurveyMonkey is a free tool for creating surveys. You can design simple, straightforward surveys for everything from market research to a customer questionnaire. The data is then visualized through multiple filters you can set up. See the full of plans here.
WordPress is a website builder that has two main products: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The difference between the two is that the latter is 100% customizable and self-hosted. For beginners, WordPress.com is a great option as it comes already hosted on the WordPress server, with templates you can use to build your website in no time.
Mailchimp is great for freelancers starting out and learning the ropes of email. You can send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. It’s a straightforward process to design your emails, as well as all other pages linked to the email list, like signup, confirmation and opt-out pages.
As your email list grows, you can upgrade to plans that give you more subscribers and features. To see the pricing, click here.
45. Campaign Monitor
A design-focused email marketing software, Campaign Monitor helps you create beautiful email campaigns. Designing your emails is a very intuitive process, as is creating a customer journey for marketing automation. A behavioral data feature is set for release soon as well.
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool built for bloggers. It’s an easy way to build multiple drip campaigns that can be used to nurture leads and build courses.
A social media management tool, Buffer lets you easily share and schedule posts on multiple social media platforms. The simple, clean UI makes it easy to see your account analytics. The browser extension is great for fast scheduling whenever you come across content you want to share on the web.
A free plan includes one profile per platform. Here’s a list of upgraded plans and their full features.
Hootsuite is a tool for prolific social media users. It allows you to manage all your accounts in one place, including scheduling, direct messaging, engagement and more. There’s also an analytics feature to keep track of how your accounts are doing. The insights feature taps into social conversations to give you information on how users view your brand.
The free plan lets you manage three social media profiles. For a complete list of plans, click here.
Moz is an SEO tool and community for all things related to the search marketing. Its suite includes tools for keyword research, link building, rank tracking and more. For retailers and other businesses with offices, it offers Moz Local, a tool that helps your business rank high on search engines.
There’s a 30-day free trial for the web SEO tool, and Moz Local starts at $9/month.
For creative freelancers, an impressive portfolio is a tool for survival. Dunked is a portfolio site with responsive design that lets you change layouts with one click. It’s great for anyone who needs to showcase visual work.
Try the 10-day free trial to test out all of its features.
Shopify is one of the most well-known eCommerce platforms out there and for good reason. You can set up an online store that looks professional and visually appealing, and payments can be made directly on the site without having to go through a third-party service (though integrations are available).
The platform optimizes your store for everything from sales to customer support. For example, you can sync your store to Amazon, allow customers to buy your products directly on Pinterest or contact your customer service via Facebook Messenger. It’s easy to see why it’s a must-have for all types of eCommerce businesses.
Consistent website growth is not easy, which is where Sumo comes in. It’s a free tool that optimizes your website for growth, from effective email capturing to optimized share buttons. It’s easy to set up and doesn’t require any coding.
The app is integrated with all the major email marketing software and offers tracking via heat maps and content analytics, which gives you insights into exactly how far into the post readers make it to before they drop off.
53. Google Analytics
Any kind of marketing effort is boosted by Google Analytics, which gives you a ton of data on each page and post, from the bounce rate to specific user behavior. It’s highly customizable so you can set up to check for anything you can think of, and it’s free. After setting up your website, it may take awhile getting used to the navigation, but their most recent UI update is a vast improvement.
If you operate an eCommerce business, make sure to use their eCommerce tracking tool to track conversions. You can also track other transactions like signups and subscriptions.
Customer Communication Tools
54. Inbox by Gmail
It’s hard to remember how we used Gmail before Inbox came along. Google’s AI works to create a neat inbox that organizes itself. Gone are the days of time-consuming filters. Some of its best features are reminders and snoozes, which lets you forget about a task until later.
Another neat function is canned responses, which are basically email templates that contain responses to frequently asked questions or requests. You can insert it into any email you write, which can save you a lot of time.
Spark promises to make you like email again, and it delivers. It automatically sorts your emails, letting you know which ones are important and sending less important ones to different categories. It’s got a clean design that makes it easy to use, especially its swipe function that lets you archive an email or choose a signature.
Making an inbox seem simple and minimalist is no easy feat, but Spark comes pretty close to it. For a bit of fun, use the emoticon response to send one-line emails like “great, thanks” with one click.
Google Hangouts is a chat/call/messaging tool that is incredibly useful because most people already use other Google products to conduct their business. That is priceless if you’re trying to set up video calls with clients or customers across different time zones.
Sending out a Hangouts invite automatically inserts the session into your Google Calendar, and you can even record the call for interviews, important meetings or presentations.
You can use Zoom for HD 1:1 calls, but also for video conferences and webinars. The free version allows up to 100 participants in a meeting, so it accommodates the needs of most freelancers and side hustlers.
It integrates easily with Google or Outlook for scheduling, and launching it is as easy as clicking on a single link.
We all use our email as a to-do list. Nudgemail can help you clean up your inbox by building reminders into the inbox. You can send an email to Nudgemail with the date and time you want to be reminded of a certain task.
You can set shortcuts based on a time or interval, and receive a recurring reminder for those tasks you constantly forget.
DocuSign is a tool for signing contracts and documents online using electronic signatures. The app is free and straightforward to use. For those who want more features, DocuSign Payments allows freelancers to receive eSignatures and payments at the same time.
Creative business cards are useful, eye-catching and memorable. Wisestamp takes this idea to create a tool for designing email signatures that pop out like little business cards, complete with a photo, contact information and even a social media gallery if you so choose.
Wisestamp’s signatures help boost business by increasing clicks and replies. You can also create a landing page for your embedded links.
It’s hard to get people to answer your surveys sometimes, but Typeform’s beautiful UI makes the process enjoyable. There’s a lot more you can do with Typeform though, from registration forms to trivia quizzes.
The basic version is free and good for the occasional survey, and includes Zapier integrations. To make the most of the service, get creative and customize your forms and templates to reflect your branding.
A new tool developed by Wistia, Soapbox is a browser extension that conveniently records your screen. So whether you want to create a customer support video or a team presentation, it makes it really easy to do so.
All the videos are stored in your Soapbox account and instantly shareable, so there’s no uploading or sending involved, which saves you time and bandwidth. Best of all, it’s free to use.
Freelancers and consultants naturally have a lot of paperwork, since each client requires a new contract. HelloSign makes it super easy to sign documents online. Its eSignatures are legally binding and it even offers an online fax service so you never have to go to your local FedEx again.
The free account includes three documents a month, which will suit many freelancers. It also has a Google integration which lets you sign everything on Gmail or Google Drive.
64. Dropbox Paper
Brought to you by the makers of Dropbox, Dropbox Paper is a beautifully-designed collaborative tool. It’s mostly useful for writing, but also great for showcasing product concepts, design and other work.
Its true appeal lies in the wonderful design that really seems to have collaboration in mind. The fact that it’s synced up to Dropbox also helps to make it a great tool for its users.
Handy for any business owner, QuickBooks is a powerful accounting software that takes care of all your business-related expenses and records. The intuitive design and mobile app make it easy for anyone to use. Because it’s so widely used, it integrates well with many other apps you might already use.
For independent contractors, there’s a separate product called QuickBooks Self-Employed, which helps you separate personal and business finances, as well as track your quarterly tax payments.
Bill.com allows customers and clients to pay you via ACH, credit cards or PayPal. The software syncs with accounting software like QuickBooks and sends automatic invoices and reminders to customers. Additional features include cash forecasting, to help you manage your cash flow.
If you’re all about automation in the accounts receivable process, InvoiceSherpa is an excellent tool that pulls from your accounting software to make sure you’re getting your due. It will send automatic invoices and payment reminders, then collect the money directly from your customers into your account. After that, it updates your original accounting software with the record.
Fundbox is an invaluable way to get the funding you need for your business right away. It works by connecting your bank accounts, reviewing your financial information and giving you a decision in a matter of hours. Once approved, you can use your credits as quickly as the next business day.
Expensify generates expense reports by pulling data directly from your credit card, or scanned receipts. The tool also automates reimbursement. You can download the app to use the scanning feature (up to 10 per month if you’re on the free plan).
The free plan also includes unlimited receipt storage, while updated plans come with integrations like QuickBooks and Zenefits.
TurboTax makes filing taxes easy by taking you through a set of questions to make sure you’re not missing out on deductions or exemptions. It also allows you to file and pay your taxes online, as well as receive tax refunds directly to your bank account.
Use the TurboTax Self-Employed to file your freelance income and keep track of expenses.
Scannable by Evernote lets you scan any document with your phone in a few seconds. All you need to do is hover over the document and it does everything for you, including cropping. After that you can send it right away via email, text or other apps you like to use.
If you live in a major city and frequent cafes, you’ve probably seen Square in action. It’s a credit card processing software that allows retailers and small businesses to accept payments anywhere, including through iPads.
Needless to say, PayPal is the most well-known platform for global online payments. As of 2016, 99% of online users in the U.S. said they were familiar with the product. It’s effective because it’s a service many people use, meaning it’s a fast to get paid by your clients.
Transferring money across the borders can get complicated, but Transferwise saves on banking fees by going through a local bank account to access the funds. This means you can essentially use the real-time exchange rate to send or receive payments and avoid getting charged by your bank.
If you frequently have to deal with international payments, they also have a Borderless account, which lets you get paid like a local and use multiple currencies.
Incorporate.com is a service that helps you incorporate your business into an LLC or corporation. It simplifies the process into a few quick steps and provides registered agents to help monitor your company status and make changes like moving states.
If you’re thinking about forming a legal entity but want to learn more, its Learning Center is a good resource for all things related to starting and maintaining a business.
Whether you want to start a business or retain copyright over your work, Legalzoom offers services and resources to cover all your legal concerns. From creating legal documents to offering attorney consultation, it’s a one-stop destination for any legal question regarding your business.
Formerly known as Elance, Upwork is a freelance marketplace for designers, developers, marketers and more. It lets you connect with freelancers to help you complete short-term projects. It works great for small projects that you need outsource.
Toptal is another platform for hiring freelancers. It claims that their pool of talent is the top 3% in their respective areas, which are engineering, design and finance. The reason for this is that they screen every applicant to ensure quality. They also match the freelancer to the project, so if you’re an employer, there’s minimal work involved.
Based in Montreal, Crew is a marketplace for designers and developers. It has a more hands-on approach and promises a 24-hour turnaround in finding the right freelancer for a project. Like Upwork and Toptal, Crew can be a great way to find help on a project or get hired.
Business cards, brochures, t-shirts, magnets, postcards, stickers, posters—Vistaprint has it all. It’s the place to go for advertising and marketers materials for your business. Everything can be customized with your logo and colors. And if you don’t yet have a logo, you can use their logo making tool to create one today.
99designs is a marketplace for designers. You can hire a designer or submit work. When you need design work done, you provide a design brief, and they will launch a contest with submissions you can review. If you like a particular designer, you can also nurture the relationship by working directly with them on projects.
82. Who Pays Writers
As the title states, Who Pays Writers is an open source site that keeps track of pay rates for different publishers. Anyone can submit a rate, as well as other detailed information like article length, publishing rights and payment turnaround time.
The site is a project from the Compensation Foundation, which works to make sure workers are getting properly compensated in the gig economy.
99U is a publication about work and creativity. If you want tips from other creative professionals, the site has a great archive of interviews as well as articles on productivity, career and more.
84. Freelancers Union
The Freelancers Union is an excellent resource for all things freelance-related. You can become a member for free to receive updates on events, blog posts and news. There’s even an app that helps you find a lawyer if you need one.
Attend one of their monthly meetups in various cities across the U.S. to meet fellow freelancers. There are no requirements to join.
Writing off expenses is key to reducing your tax liability each year. This great resource will help you identify expenses that can save you money each April. Just enter your profession and the 99Deductions will bring up a list of common deductions.
86. Shopify’s Free Tools
Shopify’s library of free tools is an invaluable resource for any freelance. There are tools to generate logos, slogans, refund terms and so much more.
87. The Freelancer’s Bible
This is one of the most popular and useful books ever written for the self-employed crowd. At 497 pages, you could say The Freelancer’s Bible is thorough. Author Sara Horowitz (also the founder of the Freelancer’s Union) explains everything from pricing to health insurance and so much more.
88. The Sunday Dispatches
Paul Jarvis is a longtime freelancer with a lot of smart insight about how to grow your self-employed career. The Sunday Dispatches is his weekly newsletter—and it consistently delivers.
Paul also created a course called Creative Class, which has become a popular resource for freelancers working in many different fields.
89. Product Hunt
Everyone loves finding new tools, apps and gadgets—and Product Hunt has them all. Check in anytime to see what new tools are popular, or check out their collection for freelancers, writers, designers, developers and more.
The freelance subreddit is a community where more than 44,000 people gather to talk about all things freelancing. It’s a great place to ask experienced freelancers for advice and chip in when you can help someone else.
Sketch is a tool for graphic and UI designers that’s built exclusively for Mac. Some of its features include native text rendering, live mirror preview across multiple devices, and reusable objects, which automatically copies and pastes the same elements that pop up across several pages so you don’t have to do it manually.
It’s also great for writers who need to add visual elements to their work.
Pixelmator is an image editing tool for Mac and iOS that’s easy enough for beginners and powerful enough for pros. With the move tool and vector tool, you can make changes to your photos without having to learn Photoshop. You can also add Pixelmator to your Photos app and merge the features.
For professionals, the beautiful design will make it a great tool to add to your library, along with the use of PSD and RAW file formats. There’s even a painting tool for digital painters. At $29.99, it falls on the less expensive scale of similar software, and there’s a free 30-day trial.
Tired of having to explain your point to someone over email? Skitch is a free tool by Evernote that allows you to make sketches or annotations on an image file so you can communicate better. You can sync it to your Evernote library to skip the need for uploading files.
In addition to blurring, rotating and cropping the images, there’s a set of icons including the heart, question mark and green check that makes it easy for you to leave a visual comment.
Whether you need an image for social media or a book cover for your self-published novel, Canva is the design tool to get you started. You don’t even need to know anything about design to use it, as it’s very intuitive. You can choose from their variety of needs and templates to come up with something that’s guaranteed to look good.
Canva is free, with premium options available for more designs and functions. If you’re looking to improve your design skills, they also have a design school with a blog that’s full of tips and interesting design-related topics that’s worth a read.
95. Noun Project
As the internet is leaning more and more towards the visual, icons are becoming hotter than ever. The Noun Project is an open source library of icons you can use for whatever suits your purpose.
You can use the Adobe integration to get the icons directly in your Adobe software. If you’re a designer, it’s also a good place to showcase your work.
Unsplash is a free online photo archive with high-quality images uploaded by users. The content is curated by Crew, the company behind the platform. Signing up for their newsletter is a good way to discover quality photos that could come in handy.
97. Death to Stock
Let’s face it. Stock photos can be pretty awful and it’s always frustrating when you can’t find the perfect beautiful image, wasting hours as a result. Death to Stock solves that problem with its careful collection of photos you can access as a free member. Every month, DTS will send you a new collection from a photographer–all commissioned by DTS–straight to your inbox.
98. Font Squirrel
As its name suggests, Font Squirrel gives you access to free fonts you can download and use for whatever project or program you want. There’s a ton of options but the site has them divided into different styles. You can also look up the most popular fonts to give you an idea of which fonts people love.
Piktochart is a free tool for creating infographics. It comes with ready-made templates and a library of icons. The design allows anyone to make a visually appealing chart, even if you’ve never made an infographic before.
Most of the features are free and the premium version gives you more bandwidth, templates and watermark removal. A team version is coming soon this year and you can sign up for early access.
A social media image tool built by Buffer, Pablo makes creating images quick and painless. You can upload your own image or pull from its extensive stock library to add text and logos. The image size is already optimized for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram so you don’t have to crop them.
Get the browser extension to turn any photo or text into a social media image. The tool is completely free and naturally works well with Buffer.
Created as a valuable resource for digital nomads, NomadList lets you discover the best cities to work from around the world. The site contains information on each city, from WiFi connectivity rating to average cost of living.
It’s also a great community for asking specific questions–you can either browse the forum discussions or join the Slack community to connect with other digital nomads in the area.
Don’t like commuting to the same coworking space everyday? Croissant is an app that allows you access to various coworking spaces in a city–currently available in NY, DC, SF, LA and Boston – without the hefty membership fee. Basically, it works by renting a certain number of hours in each space.
There are three levels of membership depending on how many hours you require per month, and you can reserve your spot on the go. Once you book your space, you can also bring guests for a fee or for a limited number of hours based on membership level. The 7-day free trial is a good place to get started if you’d like to test it out before you sign up.
ShareDesk is a booking platform that lists coworking spaces in 440 cities around the world. Through the website, you can book any one of these spaces by the hour, day or month. There’s no separate membership for the access.
It’s a bit like booking.com for coworking spaces, and you can also see reviews that other users have left for the space. The best part? There’s no booking fee.
What’s really useful with Workfrom is that it lets you search for any kind of space you could possibly work from, which includes cafes and libraries as well as coworking spaces. This is particularly great if you find yourself in a new city and would like to get some work done.
You can add to the database by leaving your own tips. Or if you find yourself working from a space that has yet to be listed, you can register the place and become the “original scout.” There are no separate benefits to being a scout, but it’s fun and easy to do since all you need to do is click “clock in” to allow the platform to determine where you are.
If you only need the occasional hour to do some work, conduct a meeting or take a team session, Breather is the place where you can search for available spaces that rent by the hour or by day.
Currently available in 9 cities across the U.S. and Canada, these spaces range from meeting rooms to dedicated desks, and are specifically designed with diverse needs in mind; there are nooks to increase focus, studies that are optimal for two people, and so on. You can search for a space based on your needs, which will determine which type of space shows up in the results.
106. WiFi Map
The best thing about being a freelancer is that you can work from anywhere. And sometimes, the hardest thing about being a freelancer is that you can work from anywhere. WiFi Map is a mobile app to help you find good WiFi. It’s crowdsourced, so you can find spots to work and share them with others.