6 free services to manage your freelance activity
With the current pandemic, many people chose to start their own businesses. If it’s your case, congratulation. I myself focus a bit more on my freelance career since July 2020 and finding a way to work efficiently became really important. I tried many solutions, many apps but I finally found a good setup. Little bonus, all these services are free or freemium. You can use their free version and grow your business without spending a penny. Upgrading offers some neat advantages but I still use the free version of most of them.
Notion — Your life dashboard
I used several notetaking apps and to-do list apps for a long time, even paying for some of them. And then, I found Notion.
Notion allows you to create a page inside a page, inside a page, adding a large variety of components… you can turn this app into anything.
I have several dashboards for my different business and hobby, all including to-do list, important link, resources and so on. It helps me manage my activity and can easily be shared to other people.
It can be a bit hard to set-up at first, being so powerful, but the time you’ll spend will not be wasted.
I mostly use Notion to:
· Manage my client’s files and data
· Share a dashboard with my clients with all their resources
· Organize my files and tasks
· Have a nice-looking dashboard to start the day on the right track.
Google drive — Keep your files with you
Everybody should have a cloud now. It’s 2021. While many services are available, I personally used Google Drive for years and didn’t feel any need to check another service.
All my important work, my portfolio, my archives, and everything you can imagine being worth keeping should be on your cloud. Keep it well organize and download the app on all your devices. You never know when you’ll need a file, when you’ll get the opportunity to show your work, or get a call from a customer, asking you for some information.
Storytime! I used to be staff in some language study group, and I had created a lot of presentations to lead a conversation. While I had my computer with me most of the time, even when I just add my phone, I could connect to my cloud, get one of my presentations and turn an awkward and shy group into a funny and inclusive study session. Keep your work in your pocket.
Calendly — Get meeting in your sleep
A rule of thumb is any additional step a person must make to reach you or to get your product is an additional opportunity for him to give up. My solution to avoid this issue when I work with people on the other side of the globe? Calendly.
Calendly allows people to schedule a meeting with you directly online. It is linked to your calendar and you can set up the types of meeting they can schedule. I use it for my brand and website audit. People can schedule their meetings, pay online, send me all the information through the integrated form and Calendly even manage the confirmation and reminder email.
It can easily be integrated into your website, to allow you to sell and organize consulting services easily. I recently upgraded from the free version to the paid version, and it helps me a lot in my daily operations, increasing conversion and decreasing the time I spend scheduling.
Zoom — Speaking with people wherever they are
This pandemic has made the use of online learning and online meeting a lot more common. The most commonly used software is Zoom. I tried other software, but Zoom is still my top pick.
The normal meeting allows you to communicate with customers and coworkers easily, sharing your screen and sending files. All the basic functionalities you expect from such software are there.
The seminar rooms are great to organize webinars, giving you more control over the setting, on the user allowance. My top feature is the Q&A section, allowing you to separate the chat and the Q&A, making your webinar management easier. This is one of the tools I use in my webinar pack, to help the company easily organize a professional-looking webinar.
Little bonus, you can link your Zoom account to your Calendly account, automatically creating a Zoom meeting invitation when people schedule an online meeting with you. This is how I turn laziness into efficiency.
Canva — Create your social media template from your phone
Content marketing is king nowadays. You must create content on social media platforms, keep it consistent with your brand identity, and adapted to each platform. That could be a hassle but with Canva, the struggle is finished.
Canva allows you to create professional-looking content easily. I use it with the freelancer I work with, creating templates for them. They just must add their picture or video and the template will make sure the font, colors, and other components are consistent with their brand’s identity. Canva also offers the option to resize content, allowing you to quickly turn an Instagram post into a Facebook one.
Buffer — Organize and plan your social media post
Now that you’ve created your social media post, you just need to post them … at the best recommended time … regularly … If this seems like too much work, you need a social media planner. That’s what buffer is, for free.
You can schedule your posts, on up to 3 social media accounts on a free buffer account. You can allocate some time once a week or once a month to social media, creating content and adding it to your Buffer’s queue list. Once it’s done, you can just forget it.
The only thing I don’t like: the app doesn’t support carousels. You’ll have to upload them yourself. You can still add them into buffer, get an alarm when you must post it.
A little bonus for you. Mailchimp.
Emailing is still considered one of the best marketing strategies to keep in touch with your follower, previous clients, community, and so on. Mailchimp is one of the top tools to manage email campaigns, newsletters, and email automation.
I use Mailchimp with my client to set up emailing campaigns or create newsletters. This tool includes email design, emailing list management, email automation, and even more. Most freelancers will get all they need from Mailchimp.