It’s incredible how many great web apps there are today to help run your business. As freelancers, we are extra lucky because nearly all of them offer free full-feature accounts for smaller companies. Below is a list of my favourite apps – I use them almost every day to help me work smarter, faster, and generally stay on top of things. You’ll notice that Google, the king of web apps, is missing from the list. Do not fret, there are so many great tools there that I’ll cover it in a future post. Onwards!
Most of us have multiple devices – a smartphone, a laptop, maybe a desktop. Sometimes keeping track of which files are where can be frustrating and lead to, speaking from personal experience, forgetting much needed files. Dropbox solves this problem by creating a “Dropbox folder” on all your devices. It works just like a regular drive on your computer, you can save to it, open things from it, copy-paste, etc. However, everything inside that folder is always synced throughout all your devices and on the Dropbox website. This means you can not only access something you saved on your laptop on your other devices, but literally on any device (with internet) in the world. Check out the video on their website to get all the details.
There is a free plan that gives you 2GBs of storage, but you can get more by inviting some friends. Also, you can share folders within your Dropbox – great for working with a team. Get it at – www.dropbox.com
I used to do all my invoices manually in Word, it was time consuming and frustrating. FreshBooks turns invoicing from an annoyance to a delight. Once set up (entering clients and tax info, etc.), everything is pretty much automated and accessible through a really intuitive interface. All you do is pick the client and enter the job details (it also saves things you bill for often). FreshBooks then puts together a professional invoice with everything added up and your info added, and emails it to your client. The really cool thing is all the feedback you get. You can see when clients look at your invoice, on average how long it takes a client to pay, and you can also generate a variety of financial reports to give you a clearer picture of your business.
There is a free plan for up to three clients, though this is one app you’ll want to start paying for because it means you’re getting more clients! Get it at – www.freshbooks.com
If you’ve ever wanted to run email campaigns, MailChimp is your new best friend. You can create multiple email lists, embed sign-up forms into your website, and view a variety of feedback reports for your campaigns. One feature I love is the auto-design button for creating email templates. You enter the URL of your website and it automatically pulls the colour scheme and design elements to create a template that fits with your business.
Their amazing free plan lets you have up to 2000 subscribers and send 12000 emails per month. Get it at – www.mailchimp.com
If you often find yourself making lists, then Workflowy will take you from an amateur to a pro. In essence you create one big list through the super simple interface, which then breaks down into micro-lists and so on. This allows you to simply navigate large amounts of data fairly effortlessly. You can get really nerdy and memorize all the shortcuts so you won’t even have to use your mouse. It can be a bit tricky to wrap your head around at first, but they have a great video explaining how it all works. One thing that would be great is an iPhone app, but they seem to be working on one – fingers crossed.
The only account they offer is a free one. Get it at – www.workflowy.com
If you have a web app you can’t live without please share it below.