7 Handy Technology Tools for Millennial Freelancers to Build a Successful Career
Freelancing and remote work are becoming increasingly popular with each passing year..
Partly because modern technology has allowed us to work seamlessly and efficiently from the comfort of our home office, and partly because remote work is becoming a necessity in the new normal. Now that the world is forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect to see an even faster growth of the freelancing industry in the years to come, simply because this line of work is becoming more lucrative and preferable to employers and job-seekers.
That said, freelancing can only be as lucrative and prospective as you make it, as you can’t hope to make it in such a competitive field if you’re not using the right tools, software, and services to make your freelancing gig and business a success. Whether you’re stationed at home or if you’re an aspiring digital nomad looking to build financial independence while traveling the world, there is no denying that technology and digital services are paramount to success, so let’s take a look at the essential tools you need to have in your arsenal.
1. Start with invoice and expense-tracking software
Let’s start by tackling one of the most annoying problems novice and experienced freelancers tend to come across – financial management. The problem of tracking your finances, including your budget, account receivables and payables, is a common one nowadays simply because freelancers tend to start with a single client, which requires nothing more than a simple spreadsheet to monitor all finances. But when you acquire the second, the third, and the fourth client, things tend to get messy if you don’t have a dedicated finance-tracking app.
No need for any enterprise-level software, just get a feature-rich app that’s made specifically to accommodate the needs of freelancers, like Sighted. This is one of the rare apps that has decent reviews and is made specifically for the modern freelancer, allowing you to create profit and loss reports, send and manage invoices, choose various payment options, customize its features, and many more. The app also integrates time tracking features, product and services management, client management, and other perks that you can use to run a seamless solo operation.
2. Leverage cloud-based communication tools
For a growth-oriented freelancer, there’s nothing more important for lead generation, conversions, and client relationship management than effective, timely, and efficient communication. There is no way around it, if you’re not constantly communicating with your clients and partners, you can’t hope to build up your personal brand, earn their trust, or run a cost-effective business, which is why you need to migrate from your old phone system to a cloud-based infrastructure like VoIP. Simply put, VoIP (voice over internet protocol) is the only solution that can accommodate all of the needs of a modern freelancer, especially if you’re working with partners and colleagues in a digital office.
There are many features that you should look for in a good VoIP plan, so be sure to check professional VoIP provider reviews online to find the brands that offer everything from complete mobile optimization to guaranteed uptime, from video and audio conferencing to transcription, all the way to call analytics and more. Naming a single provider is impossible when it comes to VoIP is next to impossible, simply because different providers are geared towards different types of businesses, some are more geared towards enterprise-level ventures, while others have the perfect plans for freelancers and solopreneurs – make sure to compare these reviews to find your fit.
3. Use a handy tool to build a website in no-time
No matter the industry and niche you occupy in the online world, you can’t hope to be successful in the long run if you don’t have a strong online presence. The first step towards building an online presence is to build a website that will showcase your unique value proposition, help promote your personal brand, and give you a note of legitimacy, authority, and relevance in the oversaturated online market. This is especially important if you’re building a startup as a freelancer, and if your goals include building an entire company and hiring more employees down the road – you simply can’t afford not to have a fully-optimized website.
With that in mind, you could pay professional web designers to build you one, or you can use one of the many site-building tools. There are many, but the ones that are user-friendly and immediately stand out with their ratings and reviews include Wix, Squarespace, Site123, and of course, WordPress. While the last one does require some knowledge and is not as easy to use as the top-rated website builders, it’s still a viable option if you want to make your own online presentation to boost your digital presence, brand visibility, and reputation.
4. Don’t settle for a lousy internet connection
As a freelancer, the future of your career quite literally lies in the hands of your internet provider. That might sound like a gross overstatement at first, but when you think about it, everything that you do and every cent you make relies on your having a stable internet connection in order to communicate with clients, acquire leads, deliver the work you’ve been hired to do, and build your career as a whole. This is why you can’t and must not settle for a lousy internet connection – because your future is on the line.
Firstly, you have to choose a better provider, and secondly, you have to upgrade from traditional copper-wire internet to a reliable fiber-optic internet plan. The leading providers in this field include the popular Orange brand that now offers lightning-fast internet packages in many countries around the world, so you can even use fiber-optic internet if you’re a digital nomad. There are many advantages to using fiber-optic internet over its traditional counterpart, but the main ones you should focus on are reliability and durability, meaning that you won’t experience any “slow times” during the day, and that you will have a stable connection with constant uptime wherever you are in your home or your remote office.
5. Boost and automate your social media presence
All this talk about having a strong digital presence and eliminating the risk of going offline even for a second leads us to our next crucial point – social media management. Nowadays, everyone and their dogs have a social media account, and many people have an account on more than just Facebook or Instagram. This includes companies and individuals that could be your new clients, provided that you build and optimize your social media presence. That, managing your social media accounts manually is not only a chore, but it’s also impossible when you already have too much work on your hands.
So naturally you need a handy tool to automate social media management, and you need to keep an eye on your social media analytics at the same time. To schedule all of your posts and manage your social media presence, you can use a comprehensive tool like Hootsuite, while the tool Buffer will allow you to manage all of your accounts on a centralized platform to ensure ease of use and efficiency. As for tracking your social media marketing analytics and creating comprehensive reports quickly, use a feature-rich tool like Reportz to organize all of your marketing data in one place quickly.
6. Take customer relationship management forward
When you start growing your client list and your freelancing career finally becomes a stable source of income, you might want to consider moving to a more reliable customer management solution than your Excel sheet or worse, a physical notebook. Sure, managing one client in an online spreadsheet is easy, but when you start working for several clients, all of which have a cumbersome workload for you to handle, it’s important to transition to a tool like Hubspot.
You’re probably already acquainted with this popular service, but in case you’re not, Hubspot is a platform that allows you to manage all of your clients and customers in one place, and it also allows you to manage your pipeline and lead generation with ease. It’s a one-stop-shop for all of your CRM needs, and it can be a valuable asset in your arsenal, especially if you’re hell-bent on growing your freelancing gig in the years to come.
7. Don’t skimp on cyber-security
Last but not least, if you’re serious about making it big as a freelancer in the cyber age, then you have to emphasize cyber-security in your growth strategy. The last thing you want to happen is for someone to steal your work, or a piece of sensitive client data, because it only takes a single cyber-attack to ruin your reputation and eliminate all chances of long-term success in your field. This is why you need to integrate effective cyber-security tools, including:
- Hardware and software firewalls.
- A reliable password manager like LastPass or Dashlane.
- A comprehensive network monitoring solution, also known as a secure web gateway.
- Complete data encryption for all communication tools and devices.
- A reliable data storage tool like Microsoft OneDrive or IDrive.
- A data recovery tool like Stellar or CrashPlan.
These are the essential cyber-security tools you need if you plan to grow your freelancing career into a serious operation, and perhaps one day build a company and a global brand with numerous departments, remote employees, and a long list of loyal clients.
Freelancing can be as simple as writing a couple of blog posts a month for a single client, or it can be a serious business venture that will allow you to establish financial independence and even build lifelong affluence. While these tools won’t make you successful all on their own, they will definitely prove invaluable to your long-term success.
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