While freelancing isn’t for everyone, it can be a perfect career for some professionals. From managing your own schedule to picking just the right projects and being your own boss, freelance career offers some perks that are hard to come by in the corporate world.
In the past 15 years, technology advanced to the point where you can do most of the work on your mobile devices, so going to an office is no longer necessary.
But not only that, technology has also brought us tools and platforms that make finding clients and tracking hours really easy.
If you’re an aspiring web developer or designer who is looking for contract work, these tools will save you time and help you in your day-to-day challenges.
Webflow is a drag and drop web design tool which allows you to design and visually while it writes the code for you. It will save you a lot of time since instead of working in the code editor by yourself, you just need to drag HTML elements on the canvas and style them using a wide array of tools.
It also comes with a highly customizable Content Management System (CMS), which is very important if you have a lot of clients to work with. And if you’ve ever had troubles with invoicing, Webflow will save you time there too, as all you need to do is define a fee and it will do the rest for you regarding your payment.
When it comes to content design, there are no tools that can compare to Google Docs when it comes to customization. With it, you’ll be able to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets and save them online, and it’s completely free for all Gmail users.
It makes collaborative writing a breeze, letting you easily track changes, turn comments into tasks, format it any way you like and much more. There’s also a wide array of great plugins that you can use to save your time, like Docs to WordPress, or EasyBib.
Unless you’re completely new to freelancing, you must’ve heard of Upwork. It’s currently the largest platform for connecting freelancers to clients through a system of bidding. If you’re looking for work, chances are you’ll find something suitable on this platform and get paid for it.
While it has its drawbacks too, it’s definitely the best starting point platform for freelancers, especially if you’re looking to build on your portfolio. The beginning is the toughest, as you’ll mostly just be working for a good review. If you’re looking to avoid the cons of bidding system platforms, you can try applying for one of the platforms that have a screening process set up, like Toptal.
To be a successful freelancer, you need to be able to collect payments, track cash flow and manage your finances. PayPal will let you collect payments by credit card, in person, with PayPal credit or via ACH payments. Sure, there are several PayPal alternatives like Payoneer, Skrill, and others, but PayPal is the safest and most reliable out there.
When it comes to project management tools, there isn’t much that Trello doesn’t cover. It’s a very flexible platform for communicating with your employer, managing your own tasks, or doing pretty much any organizational task you might need.
It will give you a visual overview of what is being done at the moment when it’s due, and who is working on it. You can set-up boards for individual projects, and the best thing is that the free option covers almost anything you might need as a freelancer.
This app will let you share your designs with as many people as you want and get feedback from them. It will also allow you to do the exact opposite if you need to give feedback to someone.
The good thing about Redpen is that you can actually give and get visual feedback, making it a perfect web design tool and much better than having just verbal feedback option.
It’s a super-fast, single purpose tool made solely for this purpose, and it’s completely free, so get it if you think it might save you some time in the process of creating a website.
Adobe Color is a web based and free color scheme creation tool. It’s very important for any web design project to have a consistent color scheme because a poor selection of colors can make or break your website.
Adobe Color will calculate the best fitting color scheme once you’ve picked the seed color. You can pick the type of color scheme that you want, like complementary, monochromatic, triad, etc.
Choosing the right colors is extremely important and every web designer should get all the help they can through a tool like Adobe Color.
Xtensio is a cloud-based platform where you can create presentations, pitches, reports, proposals or any online documents you need. As a strategy and communications platform, it facilitates real-time exchange of ideas among team members.
Xtensio’s easy-to-navigate features allow users to strategize and communicate at ease. Edits are automatically saved and synced across all devices and links can be shared so collaborators are always up-to-date.
One outstanding feature of Xtensio is that it ensures brand consistency. Teams can work under a customized dashboard and can set their style guide so their folios are always on brand.
Xtensio is also a great help to organize and manage team documents. Documents we call “folios” can be tagged and categorized according to client, project, department etc. It can even let users control levels of access
Typography plays a major role when it comes to web design. You’ll want the overall look of your website’s theme to be balanced and positively affect the user’s mood, which is why it’s important to select a good font-face.
Google Fonts is completely free and operates under Open Source license, which means you’re free to use any font from their database however you want. You can customize it, print it or use for any commercial projects without paying a dime.
Many developers have taken advantage of this and created a number of awesome extensions you can use.
Dropbox is a file hosting service app that’s fitting for just about anybody to use, but it’s especially important to teams of web designers who are collaborating on the same project.
Web designers never had an easier time swapping files than with Dropbox, which is enough of a reason to be on this list. You’ll get 2 GB of storage once you start off, plus 500 MB of storage for every successful referral, with the maximum size being 16 GB.
There’s also a form of version control, so users can recover older versions of their files from the past month – which is invaluable in itself.
Freelancing is becoming a huge part of online business, and keeping up with current trends can mean the difference between success and failure. With time being a freelancer’s most valuable resource, it’s imperative that you save time everywhere you can if you’re going to rise up in the ranks.
Keep in mind that these tools are in no way a replacement for your skills or qualifications and that you’ll have to use them properly in order to get the maximum results. Tools can help you do things faster, and relieve you of some of the stress, but the rest is on you.