Finding success as a remote worker requires a lot. It's a challenge to stay focused, connected, on-point with your project timelines. Whether new to remote working or a seasoned vet, you need to make sure you have tools set up to ensure your success. There’s an essential set of software you need to stay aligned with your goals — let’s run through them below.
Using a project management suite is a must for someone juggling multiple projects, especially if there are multiple parties involved. Looking for a project management tool can be exhausting because of how many there are. There are super lightweight free tools, and super expensive suites meant for the enterprise. I’d recommend starting with one of the more well-known project management tools that you can try for free, see what you like, and upgrade from there.
Trello is a freemium app that makes working on group projects as easy as using sticky notes on your whiteboard. You can easily access Trello on your phone, tablet, and desktop, and it’s drag-and-drop interface and visual way of organizing your tasks makes sure you always know what needs to get done and who’s working on it. Trello has a ton of integrations and the way it is organized makes it easy to have workspaces for different projects and collaborators.
More than 75,000 organizations and millions of users rely on Asana, including AirAsia, AllBirds, Grab, KLM Air France, Kohl’s, Sephora, Traveloka, and Viessmann — and there’s a reason why. It’s a powerful tool in terms of project management. While I prefer Trello more, if you are working on complex projects with a ton of moving parts then Asana might be the right choice for you.
Another app that’s useful for collaborative projects, Notion aims to be your ‘all in one workspace’. It has four essential tools in one neat and organized package. Notion features notes and docs, spreadsheets and databases, a knowledge repository, and a tasks and project organizer. If you want to keep things simple with an all-in-one tool than Notion is worth a look.
Zoho is much more than project management. They’re a full CRM, sales and marketing suite, email and collaboration platform, and even have their own bookkeeping and finance tools. I’d recommend checking out Zoho to see if you like it, and if you do, it’ll be capable of replacing many of the other tools here. While I personally like picking individual tools that fit my needs the best, there is no denying the convenience of having an all-in-one platform.
While some of the previous apps include note-taking features, if opting for an a la cart approach to your software stack, having a note-taking app is a must for capturing thoughts and notes as they occur.
Evernote is a cross-platform app that can basically serve a ton of different purposes. It can be a simple note-taking tool, a task manager, a clipboard, a bookmark keeper, or pretty much anything. Not only does it have a ton of useful features and is simple to use, but it’s available on pretty much platform. For us, Evernote fills the gap between other apps and acts as a way for us to gather our thoughts and notes in real-time, which eventually make it into our other tools like Trello.
Invoicing is clearly important as it is how you are actually going to get paid. Different applications offer different benefits and features so make sure to check them out to see which one is the right fit. They’ll often feature things like payroll, simple accounting, and expense tracking along with invoicing and payment features.
FreshBooks is accounting software that makes running your small business pretty easy..You can easily send invoces right to your clients within the app, and set up automatic reminders for your clients for when they forget to pay. The invoices come with a built-in payment form that accepts all major credit cards — so no more chasing down client checks.
Wave is an award-winning financial software designed specifically for entrepreneurs. They understand how you need to manage your income and expenses and allow you to track everything while connecting to an ecosystem of apps like payroll, payments, and invoicing. Everything is automated and in one pretty neat package.
This is key to using different apps without having to manually enter your password or track your passwords. This is also handy for collaborating with others as you can set up different users for the same software. Being a freelancer means you not only have the software you use, but the software all of your clients use. In order to avoid a mess of forgotten passwords you need a password manager, and LastPass is a favorite of ours.
We all use some sort of a calendar to track meetings, but basic calendar apps are usually lacking in terms of functionality. Use these apps to add your availability and streamline your meeting process.
A new favorite of ours, Undock allows users to instantly schedule meetings without ever having to look at a calendar. Their AI understands the availability, preferences, and scheduling behavior of all meeting participants and uses this information to immediately suggest a mutually preferred time.
Undock is currently in beta and you can join their waiting list here.
Calendly integrates directly with your Google or Office 365 calendar, and gives you a personalized URL where people can view your availability and schedule times to meet you. They offer a basic free plan, and a paid premium plan that allows for group scheduling and other additional features.
To help you stay organized, the app lets you set up custom meeting types and durations, e.g., “30 Minute Check-In” or “60 Minute Project Review.” You can add also add custom questions to the form people use to sign up to meet with you, include a link to a document or web page people should review prior to your meeting, or even make events private.
With Doodle, you can pick date and time options, and poll a group to see what works best for them and you don’t have to sign up for a Doodle account to participate in a poll. You can also create a public Doodle URL, where individuals can request a meeting with you based on your listed availability.
Communication is at the heart of collaboration and as a freelancer, you are going to be communicating a lot to clients and other parties involved in your projects. We recommend the following messaging apps depending on your needs and preferences.
Slack is the gold standard for business messaging. One thing that makes Slack great is the ability to have private channels within a workspace that can feature people outside of your company. This means you can have channels with your clients while having all of your communication in one larger hub. Add in the fact that it integrates with everything and starts for free and you have a winner.
Telegram has a lot of the features of Slack but is a bit more disjointed when it comes to using for client projects. One of the main benefits of Telegram is just how fast it is, and how it works pretty much seamlessly on all different types of devices. Telegram is an open platform, so if you are a developer or are technically capable it could be the right way to go.
Canva is a graphic design software solutions provider that helps users to design presentations, social media graphics, and more with various layouts, images, photo filters, icons and shapes, and fonts. The platform combines a drag-and-drop design tool with a stock library of photographs, illustrations, and imagery. The free version is awesome, and even if you decide you need to upgrade the pro version it's only $10 a month.
Spark comes free with Creative Cloud and syncs with Spark Page, Spark Post and Spark Video iOS mobile apps, allowing users to create, edit and share their visual story from any device. While most of Adobe's products are meant for professional designers and have steep learning curves, Spark is an easy-to-use online tool that allows non-designers to create professional quality graphics, short promotional videos, and impressive single-page web “stories.” Spark Page allows you to create one-page websites where all of the content is accessible via scrolling, Spark Post is for the creation of graphics that feature texts and editing photos, and Spark Video is for creating simple animated videos.
Hootsuite is the world's most widely used platform for managing social media. More than 15 million users, including 800+ of the Fortune 1000 companies, trust Hootsuite to manage their social media programs across multiple social networks from one integrated dashboard.
Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in that it will allow you to schedule out your social media campaigns. The feature list is a bit lighter, but the user interface is fantastic. I'd recommend checking out both.
If it isn't broken don't fix it - this one doesn't really need an overview, and you probably already use it to collaborate. Google G Suite is an easy and affordable way to create all of the documents you need.
Office 365 is the online subscription for Office. It allows you to create documents using your familiar office products from virtually any device. If you love Office and couldn't imagine switching to Google G Suite then this is obviously for you.
While we're still in beta, I'd definitely recommend checking out Snipply for collaborating on documents. Snipply connects the content inside the apps you already use like G Suite and Microsoft® Office, allowing you to focus on work and keep everything in sync. Since our add-on's and add-in's sync your document and spreadsheet content in real-time you never have to switch between applications to copy and paste, update, and verify your content. You'll be able to collaborate live with users in G Suite and Office, regardless of you app of choice.
Docsend allows you to stop sending files (aka proposals, revisions, etc) as attachments. They give you real-time feedback, advanced document sharing, and permissions control, all wrapped in a seamless package. They also allow you to create signable contracts, so you don’t need to worry about adding an additional platform for signatures. Even better, it starts at only $10 a month and has a free trial.
If you liked this list make sure to follow our blog, and if interested in tools to make your world in freelancing easier, check out Snipply’s beta here.
Suffering from editor fragmentation and collaboration headaches resulting from it? Love using Excel but hate Sheets? Want to put an end to your team’s friction over Office and G Suite? Join our waitlist here.