Top Tools New Freelancers Should Know About

March 1, 2020

My name is Max Pete and I am a freelance Squarespace website designer and advertising specialist. I started my freelance business in 2016 and quickly realized that I needed to update my toolkit in order to grow my business. Over the years I have had to test and implement a ton of tools, mostly by a trial and error process. The good news is that now I have six tools that I highly recommend to freelancers who are just starting out, and also to ones who have a lot of experience.

These tools have seriously upped my game and I think they can do the same for yours.

Tool #1: Wave Financial

Wave is a financial software designed for entrepreneurs and is completely FREE. Wave allows you to send invoices, handle basic account, receipt tracking, etc. all for free which is almost unheard of in this industry.

I came across Wave about a year ago while searching for an invoicing platform, and after using it a couple of times, I knew I found a great tool! Setting up proper invoicing and receipt tracking for tax purposes is one of the most important steps that you need to take a freelancer, and Wave allows you to handle it with ease.

Head to their website, and give it a try.

Tool #2: Linkedin

Yes, even as a freelancer, Linkedin is a powerful tool to use. In my opinion, Linkedin is one of the most underrated social media platforms out there today. One of the best parts about Linkedin is the ability to reach out to your mentors in the industry, connect with other like-minded professionals, and find freelance gigs.

The platform also has the best organic algorithm in terms of visibility, so your posts can be seen by thousands without having to spend a dime. I definitely recommend using this platform on a daily basis, it can really be a huge benefit for your business and exposure online.

Tool #3: Catch

How can I properly describe Catch? Probably the biggest game changing tool I have come across since freelancing. Catch allows freelancers, contractors, gig workers, etc. to easily apply for benefits such as health insurance & IRA accounts, create saving accounts for time off, big upcoming expenses, and my favorite part which is their automated tax withholding that automatically takes money out of your paycheck and puts it aside for taxes which is HUGE.

When you are new to freelancing, especially coming from a regular salaried job, it can be easy to forget that you have to put a certain percentage (25% recommended) away from each paycheck for taxes. That means if a client pays you $3,000, then $750 of that has to come out for taxes. Catch automatically does this for you, so that you don’t have to scramble to come up with the money during tax season which is a big stress relief.

Catch should most certainly be in your freelancer toolkit! The platform itself is free for all of their services except a small management fee of 0.5% if you decide to open an investment account with them. You can sign up here.

Bonus note: If you have recently gone freelance or lost your job due to COVID-19, you have 60 days to apply for health insurance or you’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment period. The good news is that you can do this directly through Catch, in a couple of easy steps!

Tool #4: Calendly

One of the biggest time sucks and headaches when you are freelancing is managing all of your admin work such as scheduling phone calls, meetings, etc. Luckily there is a great tool called Calendly that allows you to share your calendar with your clients so that they can directly book a time that works for both parties and frees up the back and forth emails of “when are you available to chat?”

Even saving 5-10 minutes a day adds up a lot over time. This tool allows you to concentrate more on your work instead of having to manually schedule out your days.

Oh, and did I mention that it is free?. Set up an account with them today!

Tool #5: Freelancers Union

Freelancing is scary, especially with the amount of questions out there on what exactly you need to run a successful business and to make sure that you are protected. That is why Freelancers Union exists. Freelancers Union is the largest and fast-growing organization representing the 56.7 million independent workers across the country.

When I first started freelancing a few years ago, I stumbled across Freelancers Union off of a Google search, and it was a gold mine of information that I was in search of. This site has everything that you need to know as a freelancer, from resources and financial tips, to a freelancers relief fund if you run into hard times.

Honestly, I don't know what I would have done if I never came across this organization so early on in my freelance career. If you haven’t yet, definitely add Freelancers Union to your bookmark tabs!

Tool #6: Xtensio

Presentations are vital for everyone but especially when you're on your own and need to convey information with confidence and clarity. Creating a presentation can often be time consuming especially for freelancers who manage multiple clients and have to juggle admin too.

This is where I've found Xtensio useful. It helps you create professional looking business materials such as pitch decks, proposals, marketing plans, landing pages, reports and more. The best part is that these documents can be shared in-real time and can be accessed with any device.

With content visualization and design getting more and more complex, a simple yet interactive tool like Xtensio can make it easier to create engaging and beautiful content. Your brand is key to success as a freelancer, keep it fresh.

These are by no means the only tools out there for freelancers, but they are definitely some that I’ve found the most helpful. Be sure to always be looking for products that allow you to focus more on your work and less on the other stuff. If you find any you like send them my way.