Being a freelancer is tough. Building your website, finding projects, writing proposals, communicating with clients, chasing down payments… You name it. You need to DO IT ALL.
As an entrepreneur and freelancer for 14 years, I have come across some amazing tools and resources that have made my life so much easier. These tools can save you valuable for mundane tasks such as tracking your time and submitting your invoices so you can focus on more important work.
Check out the following 147 books, guides, articles, tools, websites, and blogs that I have collected over the years. This is literally internet's largest collection of resources for freelancers.
Best Books on Going Freelance
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you would know I am a big advocate of learning through books. Reading 10 blog posts or watching 10 YouTube videos is simply not the same as reading a 10-chapter book. It may take 50 hours to write 10 blog posts, but it takes months, most likely years, for someone to put their life-long learning into a book.
Here are my recommended books on how to become a successful freelancer, many of which I have read myself. You might be able to borrow some of them from your local library without having to buy them.
1. The Side Hustle Path: 10 Proven Ways to Make Money Outside of Your Day Job
By Nick Loper
The Side Hustle Path is for people who want or need to earn some extra money outside of their day jobs. Maybe you need a few extra dollars to make ends meet. Maybe you want to pay off debt. Maybe you want to save for a rainy day, or for your children’s education. Maybe you just want to treat yourself to a nice vacation or a new car without feeling guilty about it. Maybe you’re looking for a way out of the corporate world, an escape plan. That’s the ultimate financial freedom, right? That’s how I got started down this entrepreneurial path, and it’s been the best choice I ever made. You’re willing to work for it, because your future is worth working for. The challenge is time is limited, and you may not know where to start. There are a million and one ways to “make money online” and everyone wants to sell you their “proven system for Internet riches.” It’s hard to tell what’s a scam and what’s legit.
This book offers 10 real-world examples of how regular people just like you and me are earning side hustle income outside of traditional employment. Many have even turned these part-time ventures into full-time businesses, throwing off the shackles of their corporate overlords for good. And the cool thing is, there are no special technical skills or prerequisites to get started with any of the ideas presented. Most don’t require any big scary upfront investment.
2. Go Solo: How to Quit the Job You Hate and Start a Small Business You Love
By Kelsey Humphreys
Have you been waiting to leave your suffocating day job? Have you been wondering if you should turn your side hustle or hobby into your own business?
Go Solo has your answers.
This book is not about start ups, apps, or making easy money online. This book is perfect for the aspiring freelancer, writer, designer, consultant, coach, photographer, counselor, event planner, interior designer or decorator, software developer, crafter or blogger, even plumbers, builders, realtors and developers, or insurance agents.
This book is for you if you ARE your brand or want to become your own brand, long to live on your own terms and do work that really matters, all with little overhead.
Starting the journey from employee to owner brings up a lot of questions. Go Solo will answer:
How do you know you’ve chosen the right passion?
How can you be sure you’ll be great at what you choose?
How do you start and gain momentum while you are still employed?
How can you position yourself so your ideal clients and customers can easily find you?
When should you launch?
What should you name your business?
How do you market effectively as a solopreneur with no big office or employees?
By the end of this book, you’ll have a mission, vision, plan and marketing strategy. You will enjoy passion-filled days and know that every ounce of effort actually affects your bottom line. You will be impacting lives and serving others with your unique talents. Pick up this book and get started.
3. Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
By Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho
As the hipster classic Craft, Inc. did for crafters, this book will teach all types of creatives illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, animators, and more how to build a successful business doing what they love.
Freelancing pros Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho explain everything from creating a standout portfolio to navigating the legal issues of starting a business. Accessible, spunky, and packed with practical advice, Creative, Inc. is an essential for anyone ready to strike out on their own.
4. The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers and Aspiring 9-to-5 Escape Artists
By S.J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore
(Don't be misled by the title. Although titled The Daily Entrepreneur, the book is immensely helpful for freelancers. Freelancers are indeed entrepreneurs and these two roles share many traits.)
Entrepreneurship can be exciting. It can also be stressful, frustrating and full of challenges. Most entrepreneurs begin with a dream of financial freedom, but often the reality fails to match the expectations.
The good news is, the problems you face are common to most--if not all--entrepreneurs. In fact, if you study the lives of successful people, you’ll find that regardless of industry, they encounter the same challenges you face and found a way to overcome them. Their secret? They focused on building specific daily habits.
It’s not that hard to become a successful entrepreneur. Really, all you have to do is form the same habits used by the super-stars and make them part of your routine. While these people often have the same fears and limitations as you, they're able to take consistent action because they’ve trained themselves to do so.
The Daily Entrepreneur talks about the power of habit development and show how to use it to overcome your specific challenges. What makes this book different is it's organized according to obstacles that we all face on a daily basis.
You will learn:
The Five Challenges that Hold Back Many Entrepreneurs
9 Steps for Developing Entrepreneurial Habits
The #1 Focus for ANY New Business
The Secret to "Getting More Time" for Your Life and Business
What Successful Entrepreneurs Do to Stand Out from the Competition
How to Maximize Your Productive “Sweet Spot”
How to "Get Things Done" in the Morning--Even if You're a Night Owl
7 Habits to Overcome Stress and Burnout
An Action Plan for Networking and Building Solid Business Connections
You can train yourself to build a successful business. The trick is to form habits that spur you into action on a daily basis.
5. The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle
By Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia
The book title may seem a little eccentric but it lives up to its name. Whether you call yourself a freelancer, consultant, independent contractor or solo professional of any kind, The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle shows you how to get the clients, income, and lifestyle you deserve. So you can put more money in the bank, enjoy more time with your family and make a great living doing what you truly love to do, free from the burden of employment.
Filled with proven ideas and real-world examples from dozens of successful freelancers, The Wealthy Freelancer is essential reading for any solo professional who wants to enjoy a lifestyle that's "wealthy" in every sense of the word.
Here's a glimpse of what's waiting for you inside this book:
Why the typical one-size-fits-all marketing advice rarely works, and a fool-proof system for determining the optimal mix of marketing activities for your specific circumstances and goals
How to get more prospects to say "Yes!" to the fees that you propose
Why striving to be the "best" in your field almost never works, and what to do instead
How to charge more - and earn more - by creating new income streams closely related to your core business
How to have more time for the life you want and still have a great income
How to "test the waters" and land freelance work now, even if you're already employed
Why freelancing has moved beyond creative fields and into mainstream careers such as engineering, software development, bookkeeping and more than 160 other professions
Stories of real-life freelancers who destroy the myth that freelancers barely scrape by
And dozens more proven tips and strategies to build a more profitable and fulfilling solo business.
6. Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1m Web Designer
By Liam Veitch
Freelancing is difficult. It’s tough to plan for growth (in client volume and revenue) when current income is too unstable to even consider anything beyond the here and now.
This book dives deep on making freelancing more stable, beating "treading water" cycles, repelling 'bad apple' clients, multiplying online exposure and follows the journey of Liam, with honest, clear advice and guidance from laptop and rented desk to $1 million web agency.
A perennial business builder who 'finally got something to work', Liam Veitch has many strings to his bow along with many failures to learn from. Web designer and now founder at UK based web agency Tone (tone.co.uk) as well as freelancer community FreelanceLift (freelancelift.com) this book comprises everything he wished he knew first time around.
In his own words, he did freelancing 'right this time' and this book comes from a realization that in the three years which passed - this second time round as a freelancer - the business has generated over $1.1 million. This debut, feature length book lays out the key mindset fixes which made this possible.
This 226-page book consists of honest, actionable advice to help you build something incredible from your tiny freelance business. It shows you how to:
Make freelancing more stable
Beat "treading water" cycles
Repel 'bad apple' clients
Multiply online exposure
Build income predictability
Have dream clients find you
Leverage recurring revenue
Work less while earning more
The purpose of this book is not to show you how to build an agency, nor is it to improve the actual service you're providing (that should be taken care of first). This book is here to help give a fresh perspective in a space dominated by mediocrity.
As a one-person business, it’s easy to think that you’re somehow exempt from that word… ‘business’. This book shows you how to run your freelance business like a real, well, business.
7. The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams On Your Terms
By Sara Horowitz and Toni Sciarra Poynter
One-third of the American workforce is freelance―that’s 42 million people who have to wrestle with not just doing the work, but finding the work, then getting paid for the work, plus health care, taxes, setting up an office, marketing, and so on. Now help is here, and consultants, independent contractors, the self-employed, “solopreneurs,” and everyone else living a freelancer’s life will never be alone again but instead can be part of a strong and vibrant community.
Written by the authority on freelance working, Sara Horowitz, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and founder of the national Freelancers Union and, most recently, the Freelancers Insurance Company, The Freelancer’s Bible will help those new to freelancing learn the ropes, and will help those who’ve been freelancing for a while grow and expand. It’s the one-stop, all-encompassing guide to every practical detail and challenge of being a nimble, flexible, and successful freelancer:
The three essentials of getting clients and the three most important ways to keep them happy.
Five fee-setting strategies.
Thirteen tactics for making it through a prolonged dry spell.
Setting up a home office vs. renting space.
The one-hour contract.
A dozen negotiating dos and don’ts.
Building and maintaining your reputation.
Dealing with deadbeats.
Health Insurance 101.
Record-keeping and taxes.
Productivity, including a quiz: “What Is Your Ideal Day?”
Building a community.
Subcontracting and other strategies for taking your freelancing career to the next level.
Retirement plans, plans for saving for education, and how to achieve financial freedom.
This is probably the most comprehensive and practical book on how to build a freelance career. A must read!
8. Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want
By Tess Vigeland
Until recently, Tess Vigeland was a longtime host with public radio's marketplace; it was a rewarding, high-status job, and Tess was very good at it—but she'd begun to feel restless. Without any definite, clear sense of what she wanted to do next (but an absolute certainty that what she'd been doing was no longer truly satisfying), she walked away from her dream job and into a vast unknown. Suddenly she was no longer “Marketplace’s Tess Vigeland,” she was just Tess Vigeland.
For the multitude of Americans who change jobs mid-career by choice or circumstance, the growing legions of freelance workers, and the entrepreneurially-minded who see self-employment as an increasingly more appealing and viable option, Tess Vigeland has created a personal and well-researched account of leaping without a net. With her signature humor, she writes honestly about the fear, uncertainty, and risk involved in leaving the traditional workforce—but also the excitement, resources, and possibilities that are on the other side.
Leap is also about finding a new definition of success. Tess poses the important question – “Who am I without my job?” She shares the accounts of people who struggled with this question before and after they took their own leap of faith, and ended up finding out more about themselves than they’d thought possible. Success doesn’t have to be measured by salary or a traditional career path, as so many of us are conditioned to think, but by your own happiness and fulfillment.
Part memoir and part field guide, this book offers a funny, thoughtful, and provocative look at how to find satisfaction and success when pursuing a career less ordinary.
9. The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs
By Joseph D'Agnese and Denise Kiernan
This is a book for people like us, and we all know who we are. We make our own hours, keep our own profits, chart our own way. We have things like gigs, contracts, clients, and assignments. All of us are working toward our dreams: doing our own work, on our own time, on our own terms. We have no real boss, no corporate nameplate, no cubicle of our very own. Unfortunately, we also have no 401(k)s and no one matching them, no benefits package, and no one collecting our taxes until April 15th.
The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed describes a completely new, comprehensive system for earning, spending, saving, and surviving as an independent worker. From interviews with financial experts to anecdotes from real-life freelancers, plus handy charts and graphs to help you visualize key concepts, you’ll learn about topics including:
• Managing Cash Flow When the Cash Isn’t Flowing Your Way
• Getting Real About What You’re Really Earning
• Tools for Getting Out of Debt and Into Financial Security
• Saving Consistently When You Earn Irregularly
• What To Do When a Client’s Check Doesn’t Come In
• Health Savings Accounts and How To Use Them
• Planning for Retirement, Taxes and Dreams—All On Your Own
10. Freelance Business Bootcamp: How to Launch, Earn, and Grow into a Well-Paid Freelancer
By Carol Tice and Neil Tortorella
Freelance Business Bootcamp helps you learn how to plan, launch, and grow a lucrative freelance career.
Avoid scams, learn how to manage clients to maximize your profits, and more. Comes with a related workbook full of contract templates, action tips and more.
Organized into four chapters, this book shows you the roadmap to starting and running a freelance business the right way. You will learn how to:
11. From Freelancer to Entrepreneur: Escaping Work and Finding Happiness
By Rob Cubbon
Rob was caught in a rut professionally, emotionally and mentally. He drifted from freelance job to freelance job, lived for his pay check and the less said about his spare time the better. Then the internet came along and changed his life – but not in the way that you think.
The book follows Rob's journey from his first disastrous job, through his stagnation on the London freelance design circuit, then from starting a blog and working from home as a freelance graphic designer to eventually to becoming director of his own company and an entrepreneur.
This book doesn’t center around one transformative life-changing moment. Instead, this book contains a whole host of them. There's lots of advice here that can help you turn your life around and start a business online. And, if you'd like, Rob would love to help you do this. You will find out exactly how Rob created a trustworthy brand online enjoying recurring passive income and client work.
12. Outsourced Freelancing Success: Start a Successful Freelancing Business and Make Your First Dollar Online!
By Lise Cartwright
In this hands-on and step-by-step guide, Lise Cartwright explains how you can earn what you're worth and do what you love doing... without having to align yourself with another company and corporate job again!
By using examples from her own personal experiences of running multiple freelancing businesses, Lise shows you how to start your freelancing business and make your first dollar online!
In this how-to guide, You’ll get:
Step-by-Step Instructions to help you quickly achieve and implement your freelancing business
Action Checklists that will provide you with a quick re-cap on each step and show you EXACTLY what you need to do in order to get started within the next 30 days
A Resources List of checklists, training sites, further learning links as well as bonus material to get your freelancing business up and running fast!
This first guide will teach and show you how to pick your freelancing skill set, get started in your business and how to make that ever important first $1 online within the next 30 days.
I also recommend her other book in this series, Outsourced Freelancing Success: 101+ Tools & Apps to Run a Successful Freelancing Business.
13. Business Matters: A Freelancer's Guide to Business Success in Any Economy
By Elizabeth Frick
When Elizabeth Frick launched her freelance writing and editing business in 1990, not having completed formal business training meant she would make more than a few mistakes. But not applying MBA models meant that as her company grew, her business model fit her rather than some business-school template.
As Bette learned her sometimes painful lessons, she shared them in her column, "Business Matters," in Intercom, the magazine of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), from 2003 to 2012. Business Matters republishes those insightful articles, substantially revised and arranged thematically, along with several new chapters.
14. This Year Will Be Different: The Insightful Guide to Becoming a Freelancer
By Monika Kanokova
This Year Will Be Different is a book for and about entrepreneurial women; a practical guide for everyone who wants to start their own business or become a freelancer.
Dotted with interviews with entrepreneurial women from a variety of creative industries, this book offers an comprehensive guide on how to start a freelance business. It’s filled with step-by-step action advice you can take for your own business. Although it's told from a woman's perspective, it applies to men as well.
15. What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants
By Laurie Lewis
What to Charge takes you through the processes of setting rates, assessing fees dictated by clients, and evaluating your pricing experiences. You'll learn how to dig for information before quoting a fee. You'll examine the pros and cons of different pricing methods, such as hourly rates, project fees, and retainers. You'll discover the only two rules of pricing and why following them will guarantee you pricing success. You'll find out how to keep records that will enable you to maximize your profits on future projects. And you'll see how and when to analyze your income retroactively and to raise your rates with little effort.
With self-employment being the hottest job trend, What to Charge is essential reading and a must-have reference for all entrepreneurs. No other book provides the detailed guidance of this volume, which is now in its second edition.
Lessons learned in the trenches form the basis of this book. The author, Laurie Lewis, has more than 25 years as a freelance medical writer and editor. Active in several professional associations, the author has incorporated not only her own experiences but also those of other self-employed professionals to create a model for successful pricing of consulting services.
The techniques presented in What to Charge have stood the test of time, remaining valid through the recession that occurred since the first edition was published in 2000. In fact, because the book presents strategies, it will never go out of date. Whether you're just launching a freelance business or you have many years of consulting under your belt, What to Charge is for you.
Although written in 2011, this book is still highly relevant today
Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants
The Freelancer's Survival Guide
Employees Are Out - Freelancers Are In: How to Work from Home as an Independent Freelancer
Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs
Hack Upwork: How to Make Real Money as a Freelancer
Pimp Your Profile: Land High Paying Jobs on oDesk, Elance and Freelancer! - oDesk and Elance are now one company, Upwork. The advice in this book, however, is still highly relevant.
The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less
You Write, They Pay: How to Build a Thriving Writing Business from NOTHING
102 Ways to Earn Money Writing 1,500 Words or Less: The Ultimate Freelancer's Guide
Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money
Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success
Making Money In Your PJs: Freelancing for Voice Actors and other Solopreneurs
Write without Crushing Your Soul: Sustainable Publishing and Freelancing
The Freelance Writer's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Immediate Income Working from Anywhere
Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life
Freelancing: How to Make Money Freelancing and Build an Entire Career Online
Guides for Freelancers
The Ultimate Guide To Going Freelance by SkillCrush - one of the most comprehensive, and free, guides on freelancing. Email is required.
Freelancer’s Survival Guide by Kristine Kathryn - this is the free online version of Kristine Kathryn's book with the same title. You can also order the printed copy or Kindle ebook here.
The Definitive Guide To Going Freelance - an 11-chapter free guide on how to go freelance.
A Guide to Starting and Running a Freelance Business - a practical PDF report that focuses more on the business side of things by BizFillings
The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Jobs, Getting Paid, and Getting Ahead - a seven-part free guide on how to start your freelance business from The Simple Dollar staff.
The Freelancer's Roadmap - a free informative eBook from CreativeLive.
A Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Freelance Career - a thorough free guide from former freelancer Collis Ta'eed.
A (Proven) Freelancer’s Guide to Growing Your Business - a thoughtful guide by Paul Jarvis, Founder of PJRVS.
The Ultimate Guide to Being a Freelance Designer - a comprehensive guide on how to succeed as a freelance designer.
An Insightful Guide to Becoming a Freelancer - Monika Kanokova, author of the book This Year Will Be Different, shares her thoughts on how to set up a freelance business in the creative industries in this online class at SkillShare. Get 3 months of unlimited access to Skillshare for only $0.99.
Start Your Freelance Career by Brent Galloway - a comprehensive guide on how to start a freelance career. The Essential Bundle costs $29, and the Extended Bundle costs $59. You can get a free chapter by entering your email. I am not getting paid recommending this guide or affiliated with Brent. This guide is truly worth the price.
Becoming A Successful Freelancer - an online video class at CreativeLive. $55 to enroll.
Authority - a comprehensive training course on how to become a self-published author from Nathan Barry, a successful publisher himself. The Basic Edition is $179 including an ebook, audio book, case studies, book cover templates, video tutorials, and expert interviews.
Guides to Getting Clients, Getting Paid, Finances, Taxes, Stress, and More
Time Tracking and Management Tools
Here are the tools that allow you to easily track your billable hours and work with focus.
Toggl - one of the simplest time tracking tools in the market. It's available for almost any platforms and devices, including the web.
aTimerLogger - a mobile time tracking app available for the App Store and Google Play.
Timely - a scheduling and time tracking app that works with your calendar.
Harvest - a time tracking app with invoicing, payments and expense tracking features.
OfficeTime - a time and expense tracking app with invoicing. Available for Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPad.
Timr - a time tracking app that can also track mileage and project budgets.
Harpoon - a time tracking, invoicing, and goal-setting software.
Tide, BeFocused, Tomato Timer, FocusBooste - four Pomodoro Technique timers. They automatically set 25-minute work sessions with 5 and 10 minute breaks. Tide and BeFocused are available for iOS devices. Tomato Timer and FocusBooster are available for any web browsers.
RescueTime - a time management software that tracks your time and helps you focus on your productive work. It automatically monitors activities on your computer and mobile devices in the background without manual tracking. It comes with detailed reports and charts. You can also block distracting websites.
Financial Management Tools
Essential Finance Tools
Mint - one of the best personal finance tools. See all your accounts in one place, manage your bill payments, and easily categorize and tag expenses.
Betterment - this is probably the best and simplest investment tool in the market. Its simplicity makes saving and investing a breeze.
Shoeboxed - - painless receipt scanning and expense tracking software.
Your Rate - a simple freelance rate calculator. Enter your desired annual income, number of billable hours per week, and number of weeks for vacation per year, Your Rate is going to tell you how much you should charge per hour.
Square - Square allows you to accept credit card payments at your local store.
Stripe - Accepts web and mobile payments.
PayPal and PayPal Here - PayPal lets you accepts online payments. PayPal Here is similar to Square and allows you to take payments via mobile.
Wave Accounting - free accounting software with invoicing, payment, payroll features.
Xero - online accounting software with invoicing, inventory, bill and expense management, payroll and more. Integration with 500+ business apps. Plans start at $6.30 per month.
Autopilot Bookkeeping Service by LessAccounting - plans start at $70/month.
Momenteo - freelancing accounting software to manage clients, invoices, expenses, and travels.
FreeAgent - online accounting software for freelancers, small business owners and accountants. Invoicing, expense management, project management, and taxes.
Outright (GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping) - another account software. You can import sales and expense data from your existing accounts. Outright automatically updates data and categorizes transactions daily.
Invoice.to - a free and simple invoice generation tool.
FreshBooks - cloud-based accounting software for small business owners and freelancers. Features include invoicing, expenses, projects, payments, and reporting.
Expensify - an easy expense management tool. Just scan and upload receipts and Expensify will take care of the rest. Plans start at $5 per user per month.
QuickBooks - accounting software from Intuit.
Bench.co - Online bookkeeping for small businesses.
Just Tell Julie - Hate chasing down invoices? Julie will work on your behalf to contact your clients and get you paid.
Tools for Proposals, Contracts, Signature and Legal
Proposify - proposal software to create job proposals with pre-designed templates and manage proposals in the cloud. Plans start at $25/month.
Nusii - proposal software with professional templates, notifications, tracking, and online signing. Plans start at $49/month. Free trial available.
NiftyQuoter - create professional quotes and proposals with built-in customizable templates. Plans start at $19/month.
QuoteRobot - create professional proposals, contracts and invoices with pre-written and pre-designed templates and themes. You can also create a detailed timeline for your project with payment milestones so you can get paid faster. 14-day free trial available. It costs $19/month after.
QuoteRoller - all-in-one CPQ, proposal, and contract management software. Plans start at $19/month.
Bidsketch - create proposals easily with reusable templates and example content. A great feature is Optional Fees which allows you to upsell your clients and make 32% more. Another bonus is its integration with 500 apps including Zapier, Harvest, FreshBooks, Salesforce and Basecamp. Plans start at $29/month.
Bonsai - put your freelancing on autopilot with professional contracts, beautiful invoices and integrated payments. Bonsai claims freelancers get paid an average of 13 days faster, and have 3x fewer late payments. It's two products in one: Contracts and Payments. Contracts are free to send and sign. With Payments, invoices are free to send. They cost $1 if paid online, plus standard transaction fees.
DocuSign - e-signature and digital approval software. Send, sign and approve documents easily. Plans start at $10/month.
Adobe Sign - Adobe's e-signature solution. Formerly EchoSign. Plans start at $9.99 per month. Free trial available.
RightSignature - another e-signature solution. Plans start at $11/month.
Docracy - 100% free legal document templates + e-signature solution.
Legal Zoom - get online legal documents at affordable prices. It also provides services including business formation, wills and trusts, intellectual property, and attorney advice.
SlideShare - a platform to discover and share presentations, infographics, documents and more. You can create visual proposals using SlideShare to win over potential clients.
Remarq - create beautiful documents and PDFs with templates in minutes. Great for proposals, contracts, reports, and more.
Project Management, Collaboration and Communication Tools
It's challenging to manage projects and collaborate with clients when you are working on several projects with several clients at the same time. Ever try to find an email attachment your client sent you a month ago? Or figure out which version of a Word document is the latest?
The following tools can help with your project management, communication and collaboration with your clients. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Instead, I am only recommending tools I have personally used and/or I think are the best in the market.
Podio is my favorite project management tool. You can manage projects, meetings, documents, contacts, and so much more with Podio. You can create and manage projects and tasks easily. You can upload and share documents from Google Drive, Dropbox and other file storage services, which makes file sharing and collaboration much easier. You can also send messages and even do video calls with clients and team members within Podio. It's integrated with GoToMeeting.
One of Podio's biggest strengths is its Apps Marketplace where you can download many useful apps for free. Its flexibility and customization feature make it my top choice for project management, collaboration, and communication.
Podio costs $11/month per employee (with company email addresses).
Money-saving tip: You can just have one employee with your company email and then add everyone else as external users (without company emails). This way you only have to pay for one user per month.
Basecamp is an easy-to-use project management tool from 37signals. Its robust message boards, comment threads, real-time chat/pings, automatic check-ins, to-do lists, document storage and sharing, and scheduling features make it a favorite among freelancers.
Basecamp costs $29/month for internal teams or $79/month if you use it with clients, no matter how many employees or clients you have.
Trello is like a GPS or roadmap for work. It clearly defines what has been done, what is being done, and what will be done. Anyone in your team can create a card for a project, and the whole team can see it and check things off the list as they complete tasks in the card.
4. Slack or Hipchat
Two most popular, and similar, group chat applications for work. These tools allow your team members to communicate and connect with each other and clients. You can create channels such as "water cooler", "marketing", "product", "engineering", etc. so it doesn't get too noisy.
Slack and HipChat are excellent for quick discussion and communication. Many people think they are killing email with their instant messaging feature. However, they don't have standard project management features you might expect such as calendar, task management or other collaboration features.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive is a file storage and document synchronization service from Google. You can create and share documents, spreadsheets, slides, forms and more with co-workers. One of the most useful features is multiple team members can edit the same document at the same time remotely.
Google Drive is free for up to 15 GB of storage. Paid plans start from $1.99/month for 100 GB.
Dropbox is a file hosting and sharing service for sharing photos, videos, and documents, and syncing them on all your devices. You can drop files in Dropbox on your computer and they will stay synced automatically.
Dropbox is free for up to 2GB of storage space. Paid plans start at $8.25/month per user for 1TB (1,000 GB).
7. Skype or Google Hangout
Skype and Google Hangout are two popular, and completely free audio and video call tools. You can also send documents, share screens, and make group calls. Both offer decent call quality.
Speed and reliability, however, might become an issue when you have more than 5 people on a call. You might need to consider a paid solution like GoToMeeting below.
Skype and Google Hangout are great video call tools but they are not very reliable when you have many participants on the call. GoToMeeting is the solution.
GoToMeeting is a web conferencing service packed with high definition audio and video, and reliable connection. Plans start at $29/month with up to 5 participants.
Join.me is a much simpler and cheaper alternative to GoToMeeting. Its screen sharing and web conferencing features allow you to collaborate with your team and client easily.
Its free version offers up to 10 participants and 5 video feeds. Paid plans start from $20/month with up to 50 participants and 10 video feeds.
Did you ever forget to follow up with a potential client (or an existing one)? Did you ever wish there were a reminder feature in your email? Do you want the feature to schedule an email to be sent later?
Enter Boomerang. It brings your email experience into a whole new level. It comes with follow-up reminders, email scheduling, open tracking, snoozing for low priority email, and more. These features should be standard features in our email!
Boomerang is a cheaper but highly competitive alternative to FollowUp.cc (see below). It’s available for Gmail, Outlook and Android.
Its free Basic version comes with only 10 message credits per month. Paid plans start at $4.99/month with unlimited message credits, Send Later, Reminders, Response Tracking, Read Receipts, Click Tracking, Mobile Access, and Notes.
I have been a Boomerang paying customer for years and will continue to be for years to come. One of the best investments one could ever make to improve productivity and generate more sales. Highly recommended!
FollowUp.cc is a more expensive alternative to Boomerang (see above). It comes with reminders, open tracking, manual and auto follow-ups, email scheduling, snoozing for low priority email, and much more.
Its Starter plan is $18/month per user (paid annually) with 50 Follow-up Reminders (probably not enough for most of us), unlimited Open Tracking, Send Later and Snooze. Its Professional plan costs $29/month per user and comes with Unlimited Follow-up Reminders, Automatic Follow-up's, and People Information Tab. Its Salesforce Edition is $40/month per user, and comes with Salesforce integration and dedicated phone support. The best choice is probably the Professional plan with unlimited Follow-up Reminders.
12. World Clock or Figure It Out
If you have a global team, scheduling meetings is challenging. These two applications easily display local times in different time zones so you won't mess up with your next meeting.
World Clock is a Mac application and costs $4.99. Figure It Out is a free Google Chrome extension. There are also many free and affordable alternatives for mobile devices. The Clock app on your iPhone, for example, can be used for this purpose.
Time Management and To-Do List Apps
You can't be a great freelancer until you have used at least one of the following amazing tools to manage your calendar and to-do lists. You might also be interested in my six secrets to manage my time, tasks and health.
1. Fantastical 2
Fantastical 2 is probably the best calendar app on the planet. It's incredibly easy to use, fast, and reliable. It's compatible with iCloud, Google Calendar, Exchange, Yahoo, and any other CalDAV account. A very nice feature is you can quickly add new events with natural language ("Dinner with John tomorrow at 7pm").
Fantastical 2 is available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
The only thing you may not like about Fantastical 2? It's $4.99 price tag. But with all the great features, it is definitely worth paying for it.
2. Sunrise Calendar
Sunrise Calendar wins as one of the best calendar apps with its simple and intuitive interface and multiple calendar integration. It can sync with iCloud, Google, and Exchange at the same time.
Sunrise is free, integrates with weather forecasts, links up with many other services. It is available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
The problem with Sunrise, though, is that it was acquired by Microsoft and a lot of its features are now being integrated into Microsoft's own Outlook app. But the iOS app won't be updated any more.
Wunderlist is easily one of the best to-do list apps with its clean and fluid interface and tons of features in its free version. The free version comes with subtasks, reminders, list sharing and assigns, recurring tasks, notes, attachments, and more. With Pro, you can assign to-do lists to unlimited number of people (vs. 25 in free version), attach files of any size (vs. 5 MB in free), unlimited subtasks (vs. 25 in free), and more backgrounds.
Wunderlist supports a variety of platforms including Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Amazon Appstore, and Chromebook.
The only downside is that there is no location-based reminders yet. Its pro version is also a little pricey. But the free version is more than sufficiently for 99% users. Highly recommended.
Best Freelance Websites to Find Projects
Most job openings are filled through referrals. To land more projects and gigs, first start with your network. Ask family, friends, colleagues, and your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Get the word out that you are looking for projects.
If you have tried all that and still couldn't find someone you want to work on, you can check out the following freelance websites for your next projects.
Freelancer - the world's largest freelance marketplace with over 19 million registered users (freelancers and clients). You can reach potential clients in over 240 countries and territories.
Upwork - a close second after Freelancer. It boats 12 million registered freelancers, 5 million registered clients, 3 million posted jobs annually, and $1 billion worth of work done annually. I have hired over 50 freelancers from Upwork and most of them were fantastic workers.
Guru - although it seems the site hasn't been updated in a while, Guru is still a great place to find freelance work. Among the Big Three (Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru), Guru's fees are the lowest. Employers pay a 2.5% processing fee for each payment. Freelancer fees vary from 4.95% to 8.95% depending on based on the monthly plan (from free to $39.95 per month).
Toptal - Toptal is where employers hire the “top 3%” freelance software developers and designers in the world. To qualify as a freelancer, you will need to pass a rigorous screening process. Once accepted, you will have unparalleled access to great projects with companies like Airbnb, Zendesk, J.P.Morgan, Pfizer, etc., and fair compensation.
PeoplePerHour - find your next web project. Design, web and app development, sales and marketing, and more.
99designs - one of the best freelance marketplaces for designers. You can compete in design contests. If your design is chosen, you will have your next design project.
Domino - a cooperative of freelancers. As a member, you get access to jobs, education, and the support to grow your freelance business.
Blogs and Communities for Freelancers
Working for yourself doesn't mean you have to be alone. Learn how other freelancers work and connect with them here.
Freelancers Union - find and post gigs, connect with other freelancers locally and through the Hives online community, download free guides, shop for benefits, and get actionable advice from their blog.
Contently.net - a blog created by freelancers and for freelancers. Learn how to be a better freelancer.
FreelanceLift - Liam Veitch, author of the book Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1M Web Designer, is behind this tremendously successful website. FreelanceLift offers free video lessons, podcasts that interview successful freelancers, ebooks, blog posts, and a forum. Many resources are free but Pro membership will get you even more goodies.
WorkAwesome - Learn how to be more productive at work with insightful blog posts from freelancers like you. You can also search for jobs from their integrated job board from Glassdoor.
Red Lemon Club - Alex Mathers's blog helps artists, freelancers, entrepreneurs and independent creatives promote themselves, sell more, win clients, build discipline, grow confidence and be free.
Copyblogger - get free college-level content marketing education on content, design, traffic and conversion. Don't forget to check out their immensely helpful blog and podcast as well.
ProBlogger - Learn how to grow your freelance business with blogging from Pro Blogger Darren Rowse. Its blog has over 8,000 posts on topics such as how to create awesome content, find readers, build community, be productive, and, yes, make money.
One Woman Shop - Cristina Roman's One Woman Shop is a supportive community of freelancers, solopreneurs and businesswomen. Its blog offers interviews, how-to guides, freebies, business advice, etc. Join as a paid member to access its private members-only Facebook group, training courses, events, and free sponsorship package.
Work Made For Hire - Attorney Katie Lane helps freelancers and creative professionals handle their legal problems and negotiate for better deals through her consulting and legal services, classes and workshops. Her blog is full of sound business advice for freelancers.
Freelance Friday - a global monthly coworking meetup created for the freelance community by the freelance community.
The Middle Finger Project - Ash Ambirge's extremely candid and hilarious blog that oozes creative and intelligent advice for freelancers and small business owners. A must read!
Webdesigner Depot - this is web designer's heaven. Get free fonts, web designer kits, how-to guides and tutorials, and practical advice. The site also offers deals and freebies for web designers and developers.
Behance - a community for designers to showcase their creative work and connect with other designers.
99U - this award-winning website from Behance offers educational content and actionable advice on building an awesome creative career.
Zen Habits - Leo Babauta's blog on Zen is surprisingly popuar among freelancers. His advice on how to live a simpler and more fulfilling life resonates with freelancers. You will find insightful tips on productivity, writing, dealing with tips, and, of course, Zen habits.
Remotive - Rudolphe Dutel's newsletter offers smart and intelligent advice to remote workers on productivity. You can also search for jobs on its job board. Although the site has a blog, it hasn't been updated since October 2015. It seems that Rudolphe has been focusing on his newsletter instead.
The Modern Desk - a beautiful collection of tools and other things that will make your life easier and well, more beautiful. From Offscreen Magazine’s Kai Brach.
#Freelance - a Slack community for freelancers. It lets you connect with others from around the world, get support, share your stories and experiences, and more.