If you are going to make a go at freelancing, staying organized and developing consistent ways of getting things done will be the best ways to move forward. Thankfully, there's lots of great free software out there these days to help you do just that. Here's a list of 5 Free Tools for Freelancers, and I have used them all personally. Well most of the items on this list have some advanced features that can only be used with a paid subscription, they all function very well even in their free versions. That's important, because you want to keep your expenses to an absolute minimum and your productivity at a comfortable maximum when you're flying solo.
Google Docs - This is a powerful tool for creating and sharing documents, particularly if you are a writer. Google docs is cloud-based and can be accessed through your Gmail account anywhere that you have an internet connection. All the files that you create a stored in your Google Drive, and you can share them with other people for viewing or editing. Rather than tossing around multiple versions of a Word document, you can give everyone access to a live Google Doc that changes in real time. Some features include comments, formatting, and automatic outline creation.
Wave Accounting - I've been using Wave for quiet awhile now, and I've always been impressed with it's professionalism and easy-to-use interface. Wave can be accessed on your desktop or in mobile versions where you can record expenses, create invoices, see your earnings and more. After a client has paid an invoice, you can send them a digital receipt for their records. Freelancers need a way to record all of their expenses and earnings, but they also need a client-facing system that looks professional. Wave does both, and it does it well. Plus, it's free!
PayPal - Paypal is a convenient way to send and receive money, particularly if you deal with clients in other countries. It's free to create an account, but there is a small transactional fee when you're receiving funds in another currency. However; there's even an upside to that. Those fees are recorded in the reports section, and you can count them as business expenses at the end of your fiscal year. You can connect your online banking to your PayPal account in order to add or withdraw money.
Google Calendar - Here's another cloud-based piece of software from Google that's well worth using. Google calendar is a great way to stay organized because you can add details about meetings, appointments and other tasks and it will automatically send you reminders on any device. You can also send out invites to meetings through your email and when a recipient accepts the event will instantly be added to their calendar as well.
Go To Meeting - It's not uncommon for a freelancer to work remotely with clients, so a reliable platform for conference calls is a must. Go To Meeting provides top quality audio and video, screen sharing capabilities, and allows you to host up to 25 attendees in various locations all at once. Now to be fair, it isn't exactly free. You can sign up for a free 30 day trial, after which subscription costs $39 CAD a month. But, after using Go To Meeting for a month, you might find that it's worth it! Personally, I find the quality far superior to Skype or other similar tools, and it's important that technology glitches don't get in the way of big meetings.