Are you a freelancer, designer, or developer looking for the best tools to make your workflow easier?
According to recent surveys, freelancing is growing around the world thanks to the booming digital economy.
The best thing about being a freelancer (or remote work) is that you can work from home, set your own hours, and have more flexibility in your work life balance.
However, freelancing does come with a lot of challenges that people in regular office jobs may not come across.
For example, as a freelancer, you are responsible for managing your time, keeping yourself motivated, organizing your work, communicating frequently, and of course managing your finances.
Luckily, there are a lot of useful tools to help you stay on top of everything.
In this guide, we will share our top pick of the best tools for freelancers, designers, and developers.
We have organized the best freelancer tools into different categories with multiple options under each category.
- Communication tools
- Finance tools
- Calendar tools
- Project management tools
- Productivity tools
- Cloud storage tools
- Design tools
- Time tracking tools
- Writing tools
- Bulk email marketing tools
- Website builder tools
- Website hosting services
Ready? Let’s start with the basics first.
Best Communication Tools for Freelancers
Working on your own and setting up your own hours could create a communication gap between your team, clients, and yourself.
These communication tools ensure that you can effectively communicate and not miss anything important.
You get a ton of storage (30GB to Unlimited depending on the plan you choose) and you can add new team members to your plan. All your work is stored in the cloud, can be accessed from anywhere, and from any of your devices including mobile phones and tablets.
As a freelancer, answering all the business phone calls can be a bit difficult. This is where Nextiva comes in.
It is the best business phone service on the market and allows you to get virtual phone number.
You can set up call forwarding, routing, voicemail greetings, business text messages, and more. This helps you never miss a business call and keep in touch with customers without spending too much money.
Boomerang helps you unclutter your inbox, write effective email messages, and schedule your emails to be sent on just the right time.
It works with Gmail and Outlook, on both mobile and desktop. It also comes with an AI-powered email writing assistant called Respondable, which helps you write better emails that are likely to get a response.
Need to get in touch with a company but don’t know who to email? Hunter helps you find email addresses behind a website. It uses various sources to collect those email addresses and scores them.
You can look for the generic addresses or switch to the personal addresses to connect with the actual people behind a business. Freelancers and developers can use this for cold emails, pitching ideas, or share your work some possible leads.
Alternative: Voila Norbert
Slack is a productivity tools for small teams, remote workers, and freelancers. It allows you to collaborate in real time, share work, progress, and manage teams.
You can switch companies, create channels, add new users, voice and video calls with screen sharing, and more. It works on any modern browser, desktop, mobile phone, or tablet.
Zoom is a conference calling app for professionals. It allows you to easily conduct one-on-one or conference calls with screensharing, recording, live chat, and more.
It works with Google Drive and Calendar, easily share meeting URLs, and runs on both mobile and desktop.
Best Finance Tools for Freelancers
Freelancers are responsible for managing their own finances, taxes, invoices, and payments.
FreshBooks is one of the top accounting software for small businesses, freelancers, and individuals. It helps you easily send invoices to clients, manage your accounts, recieve payments, and keep track of your finances.
QuickBooks is a industry standard for accounting software. It makes it super easy to manage your finances, accept payments, send invoices, connect your bank account and credit cards, and more.
Bench is another popular bookkeeping app that helps you keep track of your finances.
You simply connect your bank account and credit cards and the Bench bookkeeping team imports your bank statements, categorizes transactions, and prepares financial statements. This makes it super easy to file your taxes at the end of the year.
Gusto helps small teams and businesses manage payroll, time tracking, personal time-off, manage health, vision, and dental benefits, and more.
You can also get help from a certified HR professional to help you manage your team, keeping track of things, finding the right benefits and insurance programs for your budget and team size.
Best Calendar Tools for Freelancers
As your freelancing business grows, you will need to set up meetings, follow up on events, and manage your time more productively. Following are the best calendar tools that you can use to manage your day to day activities.
Google Calendar makes it easy to share events, schedule meetings, set up reminders, follow-ups, and more. You can also create separate calendars and share them with your clients and team members to collaborate.
Alternative: Microsoft Outlook Calendar
Calendly helps you manage your calendar more efficiently. You can simply set up your availability hours and allow clients and team members to book an appointment without doing the usual back and forth via email.
It works with Google Calendar, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendar. For remote teams, it automatically detects timezone and shows users local time.
Best Project Management Tools for Freelancers
As your freelancing business grows, you’ll need to keep track of your to-do lists to execute your projects in a timely and organized fashion.
Following project management tools help you manage projects by breaking them into tasks and collaborate with your team and clients.
Asana is the best project management tool for freelancers, designers, developers, and small businesses. It comes with powerful tools to set up your projects, add tasks, manage progress, and get notifications and reminders.
It integrates with all popular apps like Google Drive, Slack, Calendar, and many more. It is super flexible and allows you to customize views, import tasks, add attachments and comments for better collaboration.
Trello is powerful and intuitive project management tool for businesses, freelancers, and remote teams. It uses cards and boards to manage your tasks and projects.
This creates a unqiue visual experience with an interactive workflow that many users find easier and more productive.
Basecamp is another popular project management software suitable for businesses and small teams. It comes with the task management, projects, message boards, chat, and collaboration tools for easier communication between team members.
Best Productivity Tools for Freelancers
Apart from time management, you will need other tools to save time. These tools help you be more productive with your time by managing different aspects of your work and personal life.
It saves your passwords in an encrypted database and automatically fills login forms with a single click. It is available for all popular browsers, desktop, and mobile platforms.
Feedly is the best news and blog reading app on the market. It allows you to simply add all your favorite blogs and news sites and then use one app to browse content from all sources.
It is available on mobile, desktop, and browsers, which gives you freedom to check your reading list from anywhere anytime.
TextExpander helps you save text templates, boilerplate responses, and content snippets to reuse later in any other app. Using a simple keyboard shortcut you can easily reuse your saved snippets anywhere.
It is great for answering customer support responses, documentation, business emails, and more. All your content is stored on the cloud and you can use it on any device.
Buffer helps you automate social media by setting up queues of content to post on your social media walls.
You can connect your social profiles, add status updates, set schedule and frequency, and Buffer takes care of the rest.
Best Cloud Storage Tools for Freelancers
Working remotely or as a freelancer allows you to work from anywhere. This means you are not bound to work from your desk computer. You can travel and work from your laptop on the go.
Cloud Storage Tools help you store all your work files on the cloud so that you are not bound to a specific physical device. These tools also ensure the safety of your data and keeping back up so this is one less thing for you to worry about.
Google Drive is Google’s free cloud storage service and every free Google account gives you access to 15 GB of free storage which is shared by all Google apps like Gmail, Docs, Photos, and more.
Signing up with G Suite increases this limit to 30 GB – Unlimited, depending on the plan you choose. You can also upgrade to Google One which gives you 100 GB of cloud storage across all Google apps for $1.99 per month.
Dropbox is another popular cloud storage app with free and paid plans. The free plan gives you just 2 GB of cloud storage but is good enough to try the product and see if it fits your needs.
Paid plans start from $9.99 (billed yearly) with 2 TB of cloud storage. It integrates with all popular third-party apps, works on browsers, desktop, and mobile, and makes it easier to share files with anyone.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s alternative to Google Drive. It comes with all Office 365, Outlook, and free Microsoft live accounts.
The free plan gives you upto 5GB of cloud storage. If you are using Office 365, then this makes it super easy to store and share files with team members and clients.
Best Design Tools for Freelancers
All freelancers and programmers need design tools to create their own marketing material, graphics, social media posts, and so on. These design tools help you create stunning graphics for your own business as well as clients.
Adobe Creative Cloud is the must have tool for any graphic designer or freelancer. This subscription model gives you access to Adobe’s design apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro, and more.
Their all apps plan start from $52.99 per month which is a bit expensive if you are just starting out. You can also purchase the subscription for individual apps that you want to use for a smaller fee.
Canva is a design tool for non-designers. It comes with an intuitive interface with simple drag and drop tools and hundereds of templates for all kind of graphics.
It can be used to create social media images, website logo, promotional material, and more.
Invision is a powerful design and prototyping tool for freelancers and designers. It comes with an easy to use interface and allows you to import files from Sketch and Photoshop into the app.
Invision makes collaboration easier by allowing you to easily share files. You can also connect it to several third-party apps and import clip art, vector graphics, and images from other sources.
Affinity Designer and Photo are two powerful graphic design apps and a cheaper alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The Designer app allows you to create both vector and raster images, you can also combine raster elements to a vector image.
The apps use an intuitive user interface which is easier to learn even for beginners. You also get access to a ton of learning resources to help you get started.
Best Time Tracking Tools for Freelancers
Whether you work on hourly rates or charge clients for the complete project, you’ll need to track the time you put in work every day.
These time tracking apps help you track hours, find productivity killers, and analyze how to best use your time.
TimeDoctor is one of the best time tracking and productivity app on the market. It allows you to track time, manage tasks, save screennshots, monitor web and app usage, and view reports.
You can also set hours required, give access to clients based on projects, and add team members. It works on all platforms, gets out of your way as you work, and integrates with many of the tools already mentioned in this article.
Pricing plans start from $9.99 per month per user.
Hubstaff is an excellent time tracking and productivity monitor for teams and businesses. It can monitor web and app usage, maintain time sheets, attendance and schedule tracking, simple payroll, and easy invoicing.
It comes with a GeoTracking feature useful for businesses that need to track employee’s locations along with their working hours. It also offers integrations with third-party tools like Asana, Quickbooks, GitHub, Trello, and many more.
They offer a limited free plan and paid plans start from $7 per user per month.
Harvest is another excellent time-tracking app for both individual freelancers, teams, and businesses. It enables you to track time, manage projects, catch productivity killers, and send invoices to your clients.
It works alongside all popular tools mentioned on this list including Asana, Slack, G Suite, and many more. They offer a very limited free plan for 1 individual and two projects. Paid plans start from $12 per user per month.
RescueTime is a time-tracking software for teams and businesses. It does not save screenshots of what your employees are working on and focuses on privacy by putting the employees first.
It offers detailed activity reports highlighting app usage categorized by activity. You can set goals, projects, monitor productivity killers, get real-time alerts, set hours, and more.
RescueTime has a limited free plan and their paid plans start from $6 per month per user.
Toggl is a simple and effective time-tracking app for individuals, remote teams, and businesses. It is available as a browser add-on as well as mobile and desktop apps and syncs your work across devices so you never miss a minute of your work.
As a freelancer you’ll like their billable rates feature which allows you to set hourly rates and track your hours to make sure that you are paid fairly. You can also see which tasks make you the most money and set your goals accordingly.
Pricing starts from $9 per month per user billed annually.
Best Writing Tools for Freelancers
Content writers, bloggers, and copywriters can benefit from additional tools to improve their workflow. The following tools help you write better and improve productivity as a freelance writer.
It can check for punctuation, conciseness, tone, make word suggestions, and more. It works on the browser, as a standalone app, inside WordPress, Gmail, G Suite, and more.
Hemingway is a handy style checker app that allows you to improve the readability of your articles by making them more casual, simpler, and bold.
You can use it in the browser or download the desktop app. The desktop app directly integrates with WordPress, allowing you to publish directly to your website.
Dropbox Paper is a note-taking app created by the folks behind Dropbox. It is a free app and allows your to easily take notes, share them with your teams, add annotations, give feedback, save ideas, and more.
It offers a clean intuitive interface that just flows as you write. Formatting tools get out of your way and reappear when you need them. It makes sharing and collaboration easier and fun.
SEMRush writing assistant helps you write SEO optimized content, so your articles can rank higher in Google search results.
It analyzes your content against top ranking items for the specific keyword and make content suggestions, so you can write better content that ranks higher in Google.
Bulk Email Marketing Tools for Freelancers
Staying in touch with your clients can help you earn their trust and get repeat business. Bulk email marketing services can help you save time by sending personalized messages to the right people, at the right time.
Constant Contact is a leading email marketing tool for small businesses and freelancers. You can easily manage your contacts, create custom email templates, create a drip message sequence, and more.
Constant Contact offers unmatched support with live chat, phone calls, email, community support, and a vast library of helpful resources.
If you’re looking to create an email newsletter, then this is our #1 pick for small business.
SendinBlue is a complete SMS and email marketing software for freelancers. They are one of the fastest growing email marketing tool in Europe.
It is an extremely easy to use platform with excellent tools to create beautiful and highly engaging emails. Their simple drag and drop tools are perfect for beginners with no experience in email marketing.
Drip is a powerful email marketing platform for eCommerce, bloggers, and developers. They offer a wide range of tools to make marketing automation, sales funnels, and personalization easy.
What sets Drip apart from the competition is their intelligent marketing automation tools, smarter email segmenting, list groups, and a visual workflow builder.
Best Website Builder Tools for Freelancers
There are dozens of website builder platforms that you can use, but we recommend you choose from one of the two below.
WordPress.org (also known as self hosted WordPress) is the world’s most popular website building platform. Over 40% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress.
The self-hosted WordPress tops our list of best website builder due to its popularity, powerful features, scalability, and ease of use.
Constant Contact website builder is an alternative to WordPress. It offers a simple website builder that you can use to create a website within minutes.
It is not as powerful as WordPress, but it has all the basic features you’d need.
Best Website Hosting Services for Freelancers
As a freelancer, you will likely need web site hosting for your own website or even your clients’ websites.
Here are our top 3 picks of the best website hosting services for freelancers.
SiteGround is one of the most popular and highest rated website hosting provider in the community. They provide unique in-house WordPress speed and security solutions to make your site as fast and secure as possible.
They are known for the best 24/7 support in the industry which is why they’re an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider. SiteGround features include automatic upgrades, built-in WP caching, CDN, one-click staging and GIT version control. They are also one of the few companies offering location specific hosting with 3 data centers in USA, Europe, and Asia.
Bluehost is one of the oldest and most well-known web hosting brand in the industry. They are an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider.
They are offering WPBeginner users an exclusive 63% off discount, a Free Domain, Free SSL, and a free Site Builder with templates.
WPEngine is VIP WordPress hosting. Their hassle-free hosting offers fast and robust servers that can handle anything. Your website is practically hacker proof, and their mind-blowing customer service makes you feel like king.
They offer automatic security updates, daily backups, one-click restore points, automatic caching, top-tier security, one-click staging area, and more. WPEngine is like having an army of WordPress experts on your side for assistance.
We hope this article helped you discover the best tools for freelancers, designers, and developers. You may also want to see our list of the must have WordPress plugins and best live chat software for small business.