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The Finest Tools & Apps for Freelancers (May 2014 Edition)

Since I’ve been freelancing full-time (a little over a month now), I’ve had to develop a number of different ways for handling all the stuff I never really cared much about while working a full-time gig. I started a few twitter accounts, woke up the Facebook pages and updated my LinkedIn. But it’s an absolute pain to manage all of that (despite it’s supposed importance), so I’ve automated at least a bit of it. Job searching was something I spent too much time doing on my off days. I’m in a very small freelancing market and if a job comes up, you need to respond in detail within the hour. I had to find a better way, with the help of IFTTT,  all of my alerts are now automated.  There’s plenty of other things I now hand off and let automated services take care of, here are just a few along with a couple other helpful apps.

Credit for featured image goes to Rachel.

IFTTT

automate freelance job search

If you’re not already using this service, you need to get on board immediately. Here’s an article that will get you up to speed. It covers everything from automated notifications for job sites to posting one status update to multiple social networks simultaneously, and it’s free.

Webpage to RSS

automated tools for freelancers

Feedity is a webpage to RSS generator. It’s a handy way of tracking any changes to a website, and can do everything from updated comment threads to new job postings.

Mailbox for IOS

automated tools for freelancers

This is hands down the best email app I’ve ever used, and using it has allowed me to get to inbox zero for the first time ever. They also have a beta version coming soon for OSX.

Boomerang

freelancing tools

A Gmail extension that allows you to schedule email to go out at a certain time. It also allows you to “boomerang” an email back to your inbox if you haven’t received a reply to it within a designated period of time. Integral for maintaining inbox zero until the Mailbox for OSX beta drops.

Fiverr

freelancing

I have a few other sites that I neglect a bit more, as well as a company site. Every once in a while I will drop 5 dollars to get a killer SEO report (seriously, it’s well worth the money), or any other diagnostic report on my website. It’s easier than doing it myself, and more thorough. There’s a few other things that will help automate your website maintenance as well.

Hootsuite

freelancers

I can’t personally recommend this, it’s too much information for me and I’m not enough of a social media maven to really see the benefit. Despite my social media shortcomings, plenty of successful people use it to manage their vast swath of social networks simultaneously. It is pretty easy to set up, so it might be worth a shot even if you’re just curious.

Criticue

freelancing

If you don’t have a portfolio site, or a business website (preferably with your name or business name in the URL, check if it’s available here) then you should get started now. If you do have one, you can get some free critique from other people having their site looked at. It works on a free credit system, although there is a paid version. In exchange for reviewing someones site, your site gets reviewed. Every review is glanced over by a moderator, and I haven’t received any trolling responses yet.

As I decided to leave behind the sure thing and step out on my own into the wide world of freelancing, I thought "Why not up the workload a bit and post about every hurdle you encounter?" And here we are.

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3 comments

  1. Glen Scott

    Thanks for the list. I hadn’t heard of Criticue before, and it sounded like a great idea. However, if you look at their guidelines, when you review you should be focusing on the “design not content”, which seems a bit pointless.

  2. Todd Dunphys

    Thank you Chris, great list! But since every freelancer has to bill his clients once in a while, I would also add Nutcache to your list. Nutcache is a free invoicing and time tracking app designed with freelancers’ needs in mind. Go have a look! =)

  3. Evie Cousineau

    Thanks Chris for sharing. I too am disillusioned with some of the so called ‘Lead Generators’ out there – the qualification process of interested Customers is very poor and I have spent a lot of money leaning which are the tools and platforms worthy of my attention. Onwards and upwards though.

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