Top 5 tools for freelancers
Freelancing has become more popular than ever, with talented people from a variety of industries joining the ranks in 2018 with a 31% annual rise, according to Simply Business.
With so many people making the leap, the way we work is changing rapidly to accommodate demand. The creative and service industries are booming, including mobile beauticians, photographers, dog walkers and bakers.
The great thing about all these professions is that they not only allow you to be your own boss, but there is so much free information available on how to set up and market your business. Basic digital marketing and social media marketing strategies can be applied to a wide range of industries.
I am hoping to add to your freelancer toolkit with this blog, which includes my top 5 tools for freelancers.
I signed up to QuickBooks in July, after realising I needed to take better care of recording my business expenses. Since going freelance in 2016, I’ve always been good at keeping track of my income using an Excel spreadsheet, but with the inbuilt tools to track invoices, create a tax return, track income and expenses, create reports and log business mileage, it was a no brainer. I pay £3 per month on a 6-month offer, which will increase to £8 per month in January.
All businesses need to create their own unique branding to ensure that their customers recognise their online and offline material. Creating your branding also allows you to be creative and build the vision of what your company is about. Canva is a great tool to help you do that. Once you create a free account, Canva has plenty of cool designs you can use for a variety of content, such as blogs, social media posts, banners, posters, logos and flyers.
3. Social media scheduling
For business growth, having a social media strategy is important. Facebook has its own scheduling capability, but for other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, to prepare your posts in advance, you’ll need a social media scheduling tool. To begin with, you’re most likely to have three or four social media channels for your business, so Hootsuite would be a great choice. You can add up to three accounts for free then have to pay for four accounts or more.
This, for me, is the most important tool on the list! When you’re a business that provides a service, rather than sells a product, it can be so difficult to find or create images that represent your brand. Without good visual content, you’ll struggle to find enough to make a consistent social and marketing strategy. Pixabay is a website with a library full of stock images you can download and use for your business.
I hadn’t used this tool until last year, but it’s invaluable for freelancers. Buzzsumo is a search tool that allows you to find both news articles and social media influencers based on search terms that relate to your business. You can build a list of influencers that you can collaborate with for marketing purposes and find the most relevant hashtags to use on social media. This tool is more suitable for established freelancers, as the cheapest plan starts at around £75 per month.