Below is a complete list of tools and resources I recommend for finding jobs, building and growing your freelance business, increasing productivity, hiring help and much more.
With so many options out there, I wanted to put together a complete (and ever-growing) list of the exact resources and tools I have used myself and tested to accomplish various goals.
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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. This helps keep the site running instead of filling the site with a bunch of annoying ads. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Building a Website
It’s a digital age and having a website platform for growing your freelance business is important, if not essential. Below are the services I have used personally and highly recommend.
NameCheap – This is where I personally buy all my domains. I own about 130 domains as of this post (Yes, it’s an addiction). The reason I use Namecheap is that they offer great prices, but most importantly they have amazing customer service. They also give free WHOIS protection for the 1st year to keep your personal address private.
SiteGround – If you’re looking to have more control of your website and understand how to set up your own WordPress software, I’d recommend checking out SiteGround. They offer hosting starting at $5 / per month for unlimited domains, emails, storage, and 24/7 support. I have most of my sites hosted with SiteGround including this one and highly recommend them if you are just starting out.
SquareSpace – If you are looking to get a freelance portfolio up quickly we recommend using Squarepace.com. They made it extremely simple to build a beautiful website that is easy to manage. Their pricing starts at $16 per month which also very affordable to have a site fully running with little headaches of managing it yourself.
Need to get some clients or find work? Below are the sites I use to both get freelance jobs on and hire help to free up my time to focus on other important parts of growing my freelance business.
Upwork (formerly Odesk) – I love Upwork. I’ve both worked on Upwork to get some freelance gigs under my belt, and also have hired help here. They have a huge selection of options for freelancers to get hired. If you check out their categories you can find work for almost anything you offer.
Freelancer.com – Another great site to find freelance jobs on. Thousands of jobs are posted here daily for all types of work. This also works on a bid system similar to Upwork.
AuthenticJobs.com -Authentic Jobs is a leading job board for designers, hackers, and creative pros. If you fit in those categories this is a great place to find freelance clients you can serve.
Behance Jobs – Behance is a great site that showcases creatives. They also provide a great job board where large companies place their need for freelancers as well.
Dribbble Jobs – Dribbble is an awesome community for showcasing your work, but they also provide a great job board for free to find jobs in multiple fields.
JobMote – If you are an IT professional looking for remote/freelance work this is an awesome site for providing freelance work.
Krop – Find creative, design and tech jobs here. Top companies post here all the time looking for top talent.
Smashing Jobs – Smashing jobs offers a ton of design and programming jobs from both small and large companies looking to hire.
TopTal – This is the new guy on the block in the world of hiring. They offer jobs from some of the world’s biggest companies looking for design and tech talent both long-term and freelance. You can land very large projects here, but do keep in mind they charge a large % of your earnings.
Folyo – Great place to get freelance work if you do web design, UI design, icon design, UX design, logo design, print design, mobile design, illustration, or package design.
Fiverr – If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you can also use this site to get work for yourself. Fair warning, it can be very hard to make a living at $5 per job and I wouldn’t recommend it. I listed this last, as a last resort if you are unable to find work on all the sites above. If you want to increase your earnings on Fiverr, I recommend offering gig upgrades that buyers can purchase to speed up the job, get more mockups, or whatever else you can offer to improve your gig. This will increase your earnings per customer. Again, please try other sites above first, but if you must you can try Fiverr.
Email List Building & Marketing Automation
You may have heard the saying, “the money is in the list”, well here are some tools to help you grow your own list of potential clients. These are the tools I use to automate my inbound client getting.
ConvertKit – ConvertKit rocks. It’s a simple email marketing system that also includes landing pages! This is a great price friendly tool for any new or seasoned freelancer.
ClickFunnels – While a bit on the pricey side, ClickFunnels is a another great tool we use to build funnels and capture new client leads. They offer a full system that you can use to capture leads and even earn sales. You can easily connect it with ConvertKit or any other email system.
Getting Paid / Invoicing / Accounting
Stripe – We love stripe. We wish all apps were as simple as stripe is. Stripe is an incredibly easy and fast way to get paid, that connects with dozens of apps that will set you up to start collecting money in minutes. Stripe also deposits your money automatically on a rolling 2-day basis so you can fill up your bank account every two days with whatever sales you are making from client work or your freelance freedom businesses. What we love about Stripe is the ability to set up multiple separate business accounts under one account quickly, this way you can separate all the money coming in for accounting and tracking purposes.
PayPal – PayPal is a well known and established way of getting paid online. Most people are comfortable paying through PayPal already so I recommend having both Stripe and PayPal to collect money for your products or services.
PayPal.me – PayPal.me is a new service provided by PayPal. I would recommend claiming your own personal URL there before anyone else claims a name you want to use. Paypal.me lets you get paid easily by sending someone a link with a payment amount that goes right into your PayPal account. Easy!
Xero – Xero is my favorite accounting tool to date. We have tried others like Quickbooks and dozens of other free accounting tools but Xero is the easiest way to connect your bank account feeds and sort expenses for tax time. They also have built-in invoicing features and you can connect Stripe or PayPal directly to collect payments and keep everything in one place.
FreshBooks – Freshbooks is another easy way to create and send out invoices for payments and do accounting for your business. If you run a service business I would highly recommend setting up a Freshbooks account to optimize how you collect your payments. We have used Freshbooks to collect thousands of dollars in payments and they have never failed me.
Scheduling / Booking Clients
Calendly – I love this tool to have my clients and potential clients book an appointment with me. It connects directly to your calendar of choice so you can make sure clients only book days & times you are available. It’s easy for them and makes you look incredibly professional.
Below are a few tools I have used to stay productive and run my businesses.
Dropbox – Dropbox is an affordable and simple way to store your files in the cloud. I use to buy multiple hard drives per year that were at risk of dropping or malfunctioning causing me to lose lots of important files (yes this happened before). But now that I store most of my important files in the cloud on a highly secure and regularly backed up account I can sleep more peaceful at night. Dropbox also connects with hundreds of apps online so you can easily share files with family, team members, or co-workers.
Evernote – A powerful note keeping tool that I use often to save notes. What I love most about Evernote is the ability to create notebooks that work like folders and separate all my notes into different groups. I have dozens of notebooks like Marketing, Sales, Productivity, and even notes for different products and courses.
Team / Project Management
Trello – Trello is amazing. It’s an easy way to manage almost any project using a proven Kanban Process and SCRUM method that came from Japan and moved into software development. You don’t need to know what SCRUM is to use it. Trello can help you manage anything from a school project to a full-blown web application. I use it for tracking personal goals to even building web apps. The best part? It’s free!
Asana – Asana is another amazing project management tool. Especially if you have a larger team. I have used Asana for various projects to keep everything on track. Recently Asana also added Kanban boards which made it much easier to use in my opinion.
Basecamp – Basecamp is a simple way to manage multiple projects. Whether you are managing client projects or just your own in-house projects. With Basecamp you can keep everyone up to speed in your team and keep clients in the loop on projects. I have used them for years and absolutely love their philosophy of keeping things simple and effective.
TeamWork – Teamwork is another fantastic project management tool. They have a lot more options then Basecamp if you are looking for more features and tools like built-in time tracking and Gantt charts.
HubStaff – If you have a client that requires you to track time, and you are not using a service already like Upwork definitely check out HubStaff. They make it easy to track work time and ensure work is being done with screenshots. Once you’ve established a relationship with your client you can turn off the screenshot features if you want and continue to track time worked automatically. Ideally, your client does not require you to use time tracking at all. You can also use this tool if you hire other freelancers to help and feel like you need to track their hours.
Screensharing / Screencasts
Screencast-O-Matic – If you need to records screencasts and videos this app will handle it for you. It’s a simple and free way to start recording high-quality screencasts. I upgraded to the Pro version (only $15/yr) to unlock all the features and unlimited recording time. If you have short videos the free version may be all you need.
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – The Blue Microphone from Yeti will make you sound like a professional for a very reasonable price. Ranging between $99 and $129 you can basically have a professional recording studio quality sound at home for all your podcast and audio recording needs. It also looks really cool 🙂
This list will continue to grow as I test and implement more tools for my own freelance business and receive recommendations from all of you in the Freelance Rise community that I test.