5 essential tools for freelancers in 2018
June 13, 2018 / Freelancing / Greg Atkinson
There’s a certain room in hell called ‘Working with Lousy Tech’. Here, you’re made to suffer all the frustration, confusion, and inefficiency of working with terrible tools for eternity. Perplexingly, some people choose to inflict this horror upon themselves. But with our handy guide to the essential tools every freelancer needs, you’ll be hearing choirs of angels as you work every day in 2018 and beyond. As a freelancing app, we’re not going to try and break down individual products for you (we’ve included handy links for you though), instead, we’re going to give you the categories of tools you should be looking at:
1. Hardware that doesn’t cause hernias
The debate over Android or iOS has reached almost religious zeal. But whichever camp you fall into, make sure you buy the best you can afford. This goes for your desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, and whatever else you use. This is because as an employee, you were content to make another cup of tea while waiting for the spinning wheel of death on your company PC or Mac, as a freelancer, you’re billing by the hour. That means any delays or mishaps caused by bad equipment are costing you money. You had no choice but to work with whatever…well, let’s not call it cr*p, but definitely not the top of the line model, your employer had chosen, but as a freelancer, you should definitely get the fastest, most reliable, most function-packed hardware you can. You certainly can’t go to a client and say ‘Hey, sorry this took 2 days longer than expected. My machine crashed and I had to start from scratch, but that’s only going to cost you $500 more’. If your current hardware makes you an angry, angry person, you need to do something about it now.
a) Which Macs to buy: https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/best-mac-buying-guide-2018-3460836/
b) Which PCs to buy: http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/pc/10-of-the-best-desktop-pcs-of-2015-1304391
c) A quick comparison of the best Mac and Microsoft have to offer: https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/4/15961740/best-laptop-microsoft-windows-apple-macbook-hp-dell-lenovo
2. Job search platforms that actually work
As a freelancer, you’re probably signed on to at least 5 freelancing sites. You probably also scour the net for hours hoping for a job that A) you can do and B) pays you, even if it’s just a bit. The sad truth is, hundreds and thousands of your cohorts are doing exactly the same thing, and without some way to catch potential clients’ attention, you could be stuck in a Groundhog Day of job searching. That’s why having a platform that can bump you up your clients’ search results is so important. It means you’ll be top of mind, and first in line, for new jobs.
And although we might be biased here, we know Kalido does the job better than anybody else, because that’s how we built it. Kalido will kick you higher up clients’ match lists if you’re physically closer to them (it’s psychologically comforting and useful practically). You’ll also be ranked higher if you share any common contacts or networks with them. That’s because common connections create a rapport and trust that randoms don’t enjoy. We also showcase Featured Providers (like you) for free, which means you’re getting free, targeted advertising that everyone in your vicinity sees. So, whereas other platforms claim to be searching for opportunities for you, but in reality require you to do an awful lot of work yourself, Kalido really does make your life easier. Our smart algorithms search for jobs, match you with potential clients, and push you up the search results, quickly (and for free). And as an added bonus, you can also chat or call all your clients for free from the app.
a) Find us on your favourite app store and check out our site here: www.kalido.me
b) Enough said
3. Something that helps you keep track of your money
We cannot stress this enough: having your books in order can make or break your freelancing career. A lot of freelancers, particularly those in the creative fields, think of invoicing, taxes, and chasing up on payments as ‘stuff I’ll get to when I have time’, instead of ‘real work’.
Accounting software is often daunting, with a whole bunch of menacing columns and mysterious terms. Luckily, most of them have pretty good tutorials to get you started. And if you really can’t deal, an old fashioned Excel document with IN and OUT will do the trick. Sure, it won’t create invoice templates, remind you to chase up on payments, make debit orders, or collate all your info for the tax man like a good accounting programme would, but it’s a start. Whatever you need to help you get a grip on your finances, get it.
a) A quick summary of the 20 best accounting software for startups: https://www.inc.com/john-lincoln/20-accounting-software-options-that-can-help-you-start-fast.html
b) What you should consider in app form: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/269625
c) And when nothing but a real human will do, why not add ‘I want to meet an accountant’ on Kalido: www.kalido.me
4. Something that keeps you human
The whole point of going freelance is to work from wherever, whenever, right? But without the ability to look-someone-in-the-eye-while-giving-a-firm-but-friendly-handshake, how do you build rapport? If your client or team members are scattered around the world, how do you create and maintain the human touch in your work relationship? After all, emails and text have a notoriously bad reputation for accurately conveying meaning, let alone personality. Our suggestion? Chat face to face, even if that means through a screen.
Video calling is a perfectly acceptable and perfectly professional way to build the human side of relationships. It lets the other person put a face to a name, a voice to a face, and a personality behind that voice. Even if you never have the opportunity to meet in person, video chats help you build the same rapport as if you’re across the table from someone.
a) A pretty thorough comparison of two of the most popular video chat platforms, Skype and Slack: https://biz30.timedoctor.com/slack-versus-skype-team-chat-app/
b) Science Daily explains why facial expressions, especially in moving format, is so crucial to communication: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223215119.htm
5. Collaboration tools that won’t cause fights
Whether you’re sending multiple drafts of work to clients or other team members, you need something that helps you track changes easily, lets you recover older versions when necessary, and creates a digital trail of when things were edited or sent. Many workplaces still rely on the services of Microsoft Word, with comments logged in the margins, saved under version 25 of 3.52pm. However, there are a bunch of newer tools on the market that let multiple users access the same file at the same time, see changes other people are making in real time, and save and recover old drafts instantly. And while it might initially be spooky to see words magically appear or disappear on your document while someone else is working on it, you’ll soon come to appreciate how much simpler collaboration becomes when you don’t have to download, save, and send a new document just to fix a wayward comma.
a) A no-fuss summary of one of our favourite collab tools, Google docs: https://www.techwalla.com/articles/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-google-docs
b) Alternatives to Google Docs, because #choice: https://www.techjunkie.com/google-docs-alternatives/
Since you’re living in this brave new world of super fast communication and super sophisticated tech, there’s no reason to work like it’s 1999. Match with a great client on Kalido, flip open your screen, and float into a blissful state of maximum productivity.