With more and more people branching out into side-hustles, start-ups and moving towards a freelancer working model, it has become incredibly important that new freelancers (and some old) have access to the best tools to ensure that your self-run business runs smoothly. Luckily, there is no shortage of both free and paid software and tools that freelancers can use to keep business going. Being a jack-of-all-trades typically means that freelancers have to be good at multiple things and hold multiple skills, be literate in many software packages and be able to do multiple jobs all at once. So how will you manage? Let’s break it down.
Apps and platforms that are digital creative necessities – which are you using to optimise your business?
There are many apps and software options available to the current market of freelancers. Lucky for us, we now live in a competitive digital age where so many companies are offering their tools and services for free, or part thereof, like Shopify or Toggl Track. When it comes to platform necessities for digital creatives, social media managers, graphic designers and other creative freelancers, it’s important that we cover our bases with regards to finances, organisation, time planning, scheduling and cloud drives to store all of our work safely. Without considering these important aspects of your self-run business, you could find yourself in a pickle. Market Hire, a leading freelance resource site and data collector, performed polls to better understand which platforms and apps freelancers prefer to use broken down into different categories such as time management, creative suites and organisational tools. The graph below illustrates which tools were widely preferred over a range of categories.
So which platforms do we prefer and why?
Everybody has their favourite, but these are our personal go-to’s. Most of these platforms run for free and signing up with your Google Account is an easy sign-up option they all offer.
- Toggl Track
Creative Boom has listed Toggl Track as a leading tool for all freelancers. It’s an absolute must-have. Toggl Track works as a Chrome extension that allows you to instantly start timing yourself once you start working. The site and extension work perfectly. You can sort your tracking up to be client, project and job-specific.This is especially great for freelancers who track hours. It also offers the option to add in billable and non-billable clients, projects or jobs so that you can keep track of your daily, weekly or monthly earnings. Whenever you need to, you can simply just download your Toggle Report and it will reflect how many hours you’ve worked.
Canva is an undisputed favourite for anyone. The site, which can also be downloaded as an app for Mac and Windows, is the perfect place for all types of creatives. Offering a wide variety of digital templates ranging from birthday invitations to multi-page business reports, social media branding kits and accommodating all forms of digital content like video and gifs, Canva leads the way for creative tools.The Influence Agency breaks down further why Canva is such a successful and necessary tool for creatives – read more about it here. Whatever you do, if you have not already, sign up for Canva today!
Buffer describes itself as, “the most intuitive, affordable, and authentic way to reach more people on social media.” This could not be truer for most freelancers. Buffer offers the easiest scheduling tools across all social media platforms for post scheduling. It also offers insight and analytics to further understand which posts perform best per platform and further helps you through its “best time” scheduling option where you can schedule a post based on when the account receives the best engagement. Buffer is an amazing tool for any freelancer or social media manager and is definitely a great alternative to the other scheduling options like Calendar.ly and Hootsuite.
There are so many more platforms and apps at a freelancers disposal. For more insights into other tools that could help you, click here. Overall, you have to use what works for you. Everyone has a preference, you just have to work with what makes sense for you and your business. For digital creative freelancers, your needs will change over time so always be open to trying something new. In a world where tech is everchanging, it will always be beneficial to gain insights into which platforms perform best for yourself.