3 Digital Tools Actually Worth Paying For When You Freelance
There are so many free digital tools out there for business owners. But, which ones are worth spending the extra pennies?
I’ve rounded up my three favourite apps for freelancers that you should invest in from day one.
Or, any other digital accounting software (there are loads but the main ones are FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero).
Seriously, the choice to invest in an accounting app has saved me hours of time, stress and worry.
You probably have the impression that, when you run your own business, you’ll be up to your eyeballs in receipts, spreadsheets and tax deadlines. By going digital, you can keep everything in one place and up to date as you go along.
Most accounting apps have a camera function that allows you to snap your receipts as you purchase business-related items, so you’re not rustling around in a biscuit tin full of crap the week before deadline day.
What I love about FreeAgent is that it has automation features. This means I can schedule invoices in advance, create recurring invoices for retainer clients and it also sends out reminders a couple of days before and after payment deadlines - super handy and saves you having to chase people.
On top of making it easier for yourself to comply with HMRC, if and when you do hire an accountant, it’s an easy handover process. Trust me, if you only take one thing away from this blog, let it be this.
I use Buffer on a daily basis to plan and schedule my clients’ social media. But, even if that’s not your business, I’d recommend you either sign up for a free account or purchase the $15 (around £11.60) per month package.
With the paid version, you can have up to eight social accounts, and schedule up to 100 posts per account.
If you’re a small business, social media is a key way you’re going to connect with potential customers, so being on top of your game is vital. Spending half an hour to an hour each week scheduling content via Buffer will make it feel like less of a chore.
Exclaimer is an incredibly nifty tool that allows you to create custom and professional-looking email signatures and attach them to every email you send.
Instead of mucking about with unreliable signatures in your mail provider (such as Mail, Gmail or Outlook), this software attaches your pretty signature to all emails you send out, whether it’s from your desktop or phone.
It essentially removes the “Sent From iPhone” stigma and makes you look on it like a car bonnet 100% of the time - hiding the fact that you reply to most of your emails from the comfort of your bed. It also reduces the number of formatting issues as it stamps the signature on after it’s sent, rather than importing it into the bottom of every message.
I have my client Just Gilbey to thank for this amazing trick.
Some honourable mentions that are worth investing in for certain business types:
The subscription gives you access to the most popular Adobe products, helping you to create stunning imagery and design for your business.
You can get a free version of Canva that I used for years before taking the plunge and investing in Canva For Work. It’s great for me as it gives me a lot of extra features that I can use when quickly and easily making digital content for my clients. My favourite paid-for feature is that you can save your brand colours and upload your own fonts.
If you work in coffee shops or hot desk, or simply like listening to music to help you focus, the Spotify advert-free upgrade is a must.
When times get tough and your mind is cluttered with thoughts, these meditation apps are the perfect way to zone out and switch off.
Do you have any product recommendations? I’m always looking for ways to improve my productivity and skills.