Six Free Tools for Freelancing, Online Working, and Self-Employment
Andy Fleming writing on online income…
You can become independent and self-sufficient by creating new online incomes, rather than depending on a single employer to provide you with a job and a salary. Freelance or other work-from-home jobs allow you set the pace of your working life and to adjust the work-life balance in your favor.
More choice, more control, more leisure time…
Becoming your own boss challenges you to make take control all aspects of how you work and earn. The good news is that there are lots of free tools to help you get organized, track and manage your new income, and support you when you don’t have a colleague to consult with.
You can set up a PayPal account for your professional email address to start receiving payments. Most of PayPal’s services are completely free, and linking it to your bank account will allow clients to send money to you via e-mail. This is a great, cost-free way to allow people to pay you with their credit cards. If you have a website, PayPal makes it easy to create and add payment buttons that customers can click to immediately send you funds. PayPal is perfect for freelancers and anyone selling products from their home. They’ll even give you a fee-free line of credit for using the site. We’ve seen $3,000 credit lines handed out to people who barely use the service.
Wave is a similar service that allows you to process credit card payments for your small business. Unlike PayPal, Wave is focused on financial and account management. They offer free tools to help you create and track invoices, scan receipts, and manage your taxes. By linking your bank account and scanning receipts, Wave allows you to track your income and expenses using easy-to-understand graphs and charts. This can be a great tool for anyone trying to get a handle on their finances and save money. Most of Wave is free, although they do charge 2.9% + $.30 for credit card processing. They also offer a $15 tool to manage employee payroll if you run a small business.
Trello is a free tool that allows you to create Kanban boards to organize your workflow and share them with others. Kanban boards are workflow organization charts that take many forms. Often, whiteboards are used as Kanban boards, sticky notes are labeled with tasks and moved between sections labeled “to-do, doing, or done”. This can help a team quickly identify what stage each task is in and how much still needs to be completed. If you’re working on a project with other freelancers, or just trying to keep your to-do list organized, Trello can help.
This free browser extension acts like an enhanced version of spellcheck. If you do a lot of writing and second guess yourself on some of the finer points of the English language (and, let’s face it, we all do) Grammarly can help keep you from making mistakes. Grammarly will pick up on errors that spellcheck misses and tracks everything you write in your browser, from e-mails to social media posts. It also clearly shows where you made mistakes so you can learn from them.
5 & 6. Buffer and Hootsuite
Buffer and Hootsuite help you manage social media accounts across multiple platforms. You can schedule posts to go out at certain times, and/or share the same post across multiple platforms simultaneously. Both sites have free versions with some limitations. Buffer only allows you to schedule 10 posts per account, while Hootsuite will only link three social media profiles at once. You can pay to remove the restrictions, or get around them by using Hootsuite when you need to schedule more than 10 posts, and Buffer when you need to post to more than three profiles at the same time.
Image : ©iStock.com/Geber86
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