Being able to follow their own schedules and work in the comfort of their own homes, freelancers definitely have it good. The advantages are plenty, which is why a good chunk of young adults prefer to work as freelancers rather than sell their souls to the corporate world. In this article we share 9 Tools Every Freelance Designer Needs.
Still, the freelance lifestyle isn’t always paved with rose petals and whipped cream. It can be grueling, especially when you have a growing client base and tax obligations to deal with. Being your own boss doesn’t exactly mean freeing yourself of all the grunt work in managing your finances.
That is why it’s important to have the right tools that will make working from home less taxing. Let’s take a look at a few important tools that a budding freelancer like yourself should acquire.
Accounting, as a specialized field in itself, requires a great deal of skill to master. Most freelancers don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of balancing accounts so you might want to outsource finance functions to the right service providers who can help you with managing invoices, dealing with tax compliance, and keeping your bottom line in good shape.
But if you’re up for managing your finances yourself, you can use certain accounting apps like Freshbooks, Quickbooks, Xero, and Zipbooks. These tools may take some time to master, but they can be very powerful if you take the time to learn about their features.
A perennial problem among freelancers is procrastination. Whether it’s writing blog articles or designing logos, it’s easy to get distracted or lose momentum or, worse, forget about high-priority projects.
Luckily, there’s a plethora of productivity tools that can help with time management and organizing long-term projects into manageable units. Tools such as Notion, Trello, Meistertask, and Evernote are some of the most powerful tools you can use to stay on track.
Who doesn’t like a bit of indie rock while in the heat of finishing a critical task? After all, music soothes the soul, and if you’re the type of worker who is at their most productive when listening to music, you will need the right tool to fill the room with beats. Bluetooth speakers are great for when you want to add background tunes. They also come in handy if you happen to be on the road most of the time.
Setting up your home office means knowing how to make the environment comfortable for your tastes. That said, it’s always important to pick equipment that won’t cause you to strain as you spend hours on end working on a major project.
You should be able to supply your workstation with an ergonomic keyboard and chair. Also important is choosing a laser or optical LED mouse that feels light and won’t put a strain on your wrist if you grip it. You don’t have to invest much as you only need to pick equipment that works for you, especially if you’re using your workstation for gaming.
If you plan on coworking or wherever you happen to be, make sure to choose a company that uses ergonomic equipment. Coworking companies should aim to provide these in their facilities to ensure that their customers are comfortable as they work.
Computer cleaning kit
Oftentimes, freelancers run into technical problems with their desktop computers. The fact that you act as your own tech support staff is one disadvantage of the freelance lifestyle. You have to deal with troubleshooting and maintenance on your own.
And one thing that can eat up a lot of your time is keeping your PC in optimum condition by cleaning out any debris that has accumulated on the inside.
For this, you will need a PC cleaning kit that has everything you need to clear the cooling fans, hard drive, and motherboard of dust and other particles. Leaving them there can lead to lags and other performance issues that can slow you down, especially if you’re editing a video or designing a whitepaper.
As a freelancer, you know how important it is to have a stable connection. While you can be at your most productive when you’re in front of a PC monitor, there are times when you feel like working on your laptop or tablet as you lie down on your bed or rest on a bean bag chair.
It’s important that you are able to connect online wherever you feel comfortable working in the house. A reliable wireless router is an important consideration. Choose ones that you can easily install on your own. To be on the safe side, check out reviews of wireless routers that can provide stable connectivity.
Freelancers are a special breed because they have the advantage of working remotely all the time. This can also be a disadvantage since clients can’t show up at an office to seek help for a problem. Communication is important if you as a freelancer want to deliver results expected by the clients.
You need to collaborate closely with them to have a clear picture of what they really want. For this, tools such as Skype can help you get the most out of your interactions with clients since it allows you to send or exchange files and share screens.
To take your communication a step further, you can also consider tools such as Zoom, which allows you to record your conversations, control your client’s window remotely, and organize high-quality meetings.
In many cases, you will find yourself too busy to deal with mundane tasks such as setting up appointments and keeping your home in good condition. Fortunately, smart home gadgets are becoming even more popular with the introduction of virtual assistants such as Alexa.
Many homeowners are upgrading to smart technology that automates everything, from switching the lights on or off and controlling the thermostat without you having to stand up and do the adjusting yourself.
Aside from Amazon, there are also brands that offer intelligent home solutions that will make your life a whole lot easier while you’re busy tapping away at your keyboard.
Cloud services and applications
When it comes to handling creative work for your clients, you use a variety of apps. But as you take on one job after another, your hard drive bloats until you lack adequate data space for your next project.
There’s also the issue of having to save your work in a hard drive as a form of backup that you can access while you’re on the go. With the advent of cloud-based services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, you can save files online and access them wherever you are.
Cloud services can help you edit and save changes all in real-time, so make sure all your apps connect to the cloud. That way, you won’t have to go through the trouble of transferring files from one device to another.
Finally, if you’re working as a freelance academic writer or technical writer, it’s important that you come equipped with a range of research tools. When it comes to reading literature, a Kindle Fire could really come in handy, especially if you’re reading multiple references for a paper.
You can also use citation tools such as Mendeley, which lets you manage your references and build a formatted bibliography from scratch.
Being a freelancer may not be as glamorous as some people might think. But technology can make things a lot easier and faster, no matter the types of tasks you’re handling.
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Hariom ia a SEO & SMO specialist working as a freelancer & Content strategist at Newtechniqueinfo. I am passionate about graphic design, blogs, reading and writing.
Also published on Medium.