5 Personal & Financial Tools for Freelancers Anywhere to Achieve Success
What do you need to have a successful freelance career? Start with these helpful resources for independent contractors and freelancers to make the most of the gig economy.
You can be your own boss with unparalleled freedom. But that elbowroom comes with its own challenges. You need to know the right tools to stay productive and hit deadlines. You need to manage finances and find job opportunities for freelance gigs.
Millions of people across the world have become successful freelancers. They’re sharing their hard-won wisdom through these tools and resources.
1. We Freelancing (Web): Curated List of Freelance Apps, Books, and Podcasts
The best independent professionals have a common mantra: keep learning. We Freelancing has a variety of freelance-oriented resources for beginners and veterans.
Jess Eddy has curated a list of books, articles, and podcasts that teaches you about how to work independently. All these resources are something she has checked out herself, and there’s a nice variety of ideas that will help you build a career. Many of the podcasts are ongoing, so you can keep learning every week.
As with most such curated lists, We Freelancing also has a section of digital apps and tools. You’ll find free resources for time-tracking, invoicing, self-promotion, freelance job boards, and more. Finally, you’ll also get rate calculators. The collection features some of the essential apps and sites every freelance professional should check out .
2. The Freelancer Toolkit (Web): Legal, Insurance, and Other Resources for Freelance
Job listings website Twine has put together a neat toolkit for freelance professionals, whether you use Twine or not. It includes country-wise breakdown for topics like finance, law, and insurance.
Freelance laws change according to the country you’re in, and can even change according to the state. Twine’s freelancer toolkit is excellent to find out how you can protect yourself legally, apply for insurance (since a company isn’t going to do it for you), and handle business administration and finances.
Using the website is straightforward. You’ll first have to choose whether you’re working in the US, UK, or the rest of the world. Then, select categories like banking, legal, work, accounting, news, productivity, environment, education, business administration, insurance, or creative.
3. FYI Templates (Web): Free Freelance Templates for Docs, Spreadsheets, and Other Apps
As an independent professional, you can use all the help you can get. FYI offers a collection of free templates for a variety of scenarios you’ll come across, and for any type of app you like to use. Find templates for Airtable, Github, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Microsoft Office, Notion, Pandadoc, and Trello.
These are user-made, free-to-use templates that FYI has curated for freelancers. You’ll find invoices, payment agreements, to-do lists, and habit trackers. There are contracts for standard freelancing, consultancy, marketing, and others. You’ll also get marketing proposals, pitch decks, scope of work agreements, and other documents that you need to use with different clients.
Click any template to open it directly in the app it’s for. You can filter the templates by category or app, and even suggest other useful ready-to-use resources you’ve found online.
4. Freelance Taxation (Web): How Taxes Work for Freelancer Professionals in the US
When you go to work and have to buy lunch, is that a business meal? What about when you go out with friends but discuss a bit of business, does that qualify and can you deduct it from your taxes? Freelance Taxation answers all the common questions about taxes and finances for freelancers, and busts some myths.
Taxes are complicated when you’re self-employed or an independent contractor. If you’re working in USA, professional financial planner Susan Lee’s website has most of the tax information you’d need to know.
Lee has planned finances for freelancers and artists in New York City for over 20 years. Her experience and essential knowledge is now available in simple terms. As a freelancer, you’ll often wonder what are deductible expenses for you, or what you can claim as a “business meal.” All her claims are linked to government resources.
The website mainly offers advice on managing expenses, deductible expenses, and managing finances. There’s a separate section for useful books and websites, and please check the New York State and City freelance links if you fall under that because they’re a bit different from the other states.
5. Going Freelance (Web): Free Online Course on How to Build a Personal Brand
One of the most repeated pieces of advice you’ll find from successful freelancers is that you need to build your personal brand. What does that really mean, and how does one go about doing it? Skillshare offers a free online e-course to teach that.
Clairse Wasserman and Justin Gignac, co-founders of creative company Working Not Working, break down what you need to do to be a successful freelance professional. They’ll take you through the steps of creating side-projects, business fundamentals, and personal portfolios.
Pay attention to the two mini-sessions on marketing yourself and authentic networking for personal brand building. Do watch the entire course. It is only 51 minutes long, and it’s remarkable that they’re sharing deep insights for free.
Apply for the Freelancers Relief Fund
A quick note for US-based freelance professionals. The Freelancers Union has put together a relief fund for those independent workers facing a threat to their livelihood, due to the effects of COVID-19. There’s a potential total of $1000 in financial assistance per household, if you qualify for their requirements. Applications are currently closed, but keep an eye on it.
Best Freelance Job Listings and Boards
So once you are ready to take on the freelance world with the above resources, how do you go about landing a gig? You look through online job listings, of course. Whether you want to work remotely or locally, it’s best to hit job boards catering to your skills.
On the internet, there are a few types of freelance jobs that get more attention than others. To increase your chances, find out which are the best freelance jobs and job listing boards for each of them.
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