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software that freelancers can’t live without

In 2020, there is no shortage of software options to choose from for freelancing. You’ll find an abundance of products for task management, time tracking, communication, and more. I’ve gone ahead and put together the six items I use daily to help me manage my own business. Check the list out below.

G Suite

G Suite is my baby. Google Drive houses all of my documents and files and I can access them from anywhere—my laptop, my phone, or even a friend’s computer. I love that my Gmail account filters out promotional and social emails, and my Google Calendar makes organizing client meetings simple.

Having the cloud-based platform to store my work is important because the idea of losing everything because of a hard drive crash is too scary for me to even think about. There are five G Suite products I use almost every day:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides

Each Google product has its own mobile app so I can always check on my business on the go. This all-in-one suite has been a lifesaver throughout my journey as a freelance writer.

Slack

I work as part of one team on a digital magazine and we communicate daily through Slack. Slack gives my team members and I the ability to communicate swiftly and effectively while working on large writing projects. Features include:

  • Private messaging
  • Group message boards
  • The ability to search for topics within message threads
  • The ability to collaborate with outside organizations
  • File sharing

…and a whole lot more. It’s an awesome tool for task management and staying in the loop as a cohesive team.

Zoom

Zoom needs no introduction in 2020. My guess is that you are actually rather sick of Zoom meetings. But I must include it because I—and so many other people, freelancers or not—wouldn’t be able to get work done without it.

Toggl

Procrastinating is an enemy of mine that I wasn’t able to consistently beat until I started using Toggl. Toggl is a time-tracking productivity tool used by over five million users to track and report time and help with project planning. There a few hugely important benefits of time tracking:

  • It increases productivity
  • It allows you to more accurately bill your clients
  • It helps you improve time forecasting for future projects and tasks

And what’s the best part? It’s completely free for individual users. (Teams of five or more people must pay 10 dollars per month.)

Trello

I’m a visual person, and when I have many projects on my plate, I like to use a visual tool to track progress in real-time and understand how much work remains in order to meet my deadlines. Trello is perfect for this.

It is a web-based Kanban-style list-making application that helps you keep track of everything from the little details to the big picture. The software is also shareable, so if you’re working with teammates or another freelancer, the platform can aid in communicating progress and checkpoints throughout the duration of your projects.

Spotify

Surprise! I had to include a fun one. A big part of being a freelancer is leaving behind the things you didn’t enjoy about a nine-to-five in favor of creating the work environment that works best for you. I’m a big music guy, and listening to (lyric-less) music while working puts me in a good mood and helps me maintain my focus. Here is a Spotify playlist with unique lyric-less music that I listen to whenever I’m writing content for my clients. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Are there any other must-have products I missed? The best part about being a freelancer is that you get to choose how you work. This includes which management and productivity apps you use, when you work and who you work with, and whether or not music is blasting while you get it all done.

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