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Maximise your time: 10 essential free tools for contractors
Are you planning to make contracting your career? Besides managing your tasks and monitoring your finances, you’ll need an array of tools to aid all aspects your professional life. Thankfully, there are now plenty of tools out there that help you to work smarter for free. Here are some leading platforms with free plans to help get you started.
Waveapps offers fully-featured invoicing and accounting to help you manage your books for free. The company is committed to keeping the app free which means that you can send unlimited invoices and bill your clients for free.
If you’re charging by the hour and need to track the time that you’ve put in, you can do so with Paymo, a flexible invoicing and project management tool. Simply install the widget, browser add-ons or mobile app to log your time. The free PaymoPlus desktop app also runs in the background on your PC or Mac to keep track of time.
Skype is one of the leading tools that allows you to make voice or video calls for free to other Skype accounts, making it perfect for staying in touch with clients wherever they are in the world. You can also top-up your account at a small cost to make calls to landlines or mobiles.
A helpful tool that allows you to bring all conversations together in one place, you can create channels in Slack to discuss projects that you’re planning or utilise Slack’s video or voice calls if you need to stop typing and start talking. The best part is that Slack integrates with apps and services you use every day, so you can pipe in performance data, budget approvals, and more. Working within a small team? Just sign up for free.
Dropbox is the go-to tool for document sharing, allowing you to store up to 2GB of files, images and more in the cloud. Simply refer friends, and Dropbox will give you more free storage space. There’s a desktop version of the tool, which allows you to keep files in sync across devices, and share links to download the files so your counterparts can easily access them anytime, anywhere.
Google Drive allows you to store all your files in the cloud. All you’ll need is a Google account, and you’ll be able to start uploading your files. The best part is that Google Drive syncs with a suite of tools, so your Google documents, spreadsheets and slideshows are automatically saved in your Drive. Start with 15GB of free storage to keep photos, videos, designs, videos and more.
Turn piles of business cards into contact lists to save time and cut admin costs. CamCard captures all your business cards, scans and saves all the contact information into your smartphone, so you can access your contact details on the go. The app is free to download and available on most of the app stores.
Project Management Tools
Trello is like a digital noticeboard – collect and collate ideas, set tasks or use it a project management tool. Based on the Kanban approach to project management, you can use the ‘cards’ and add due dates, notes and checklists and share your boards with multiple collaborators.
Asana allows you to organise tasks, projects and workflows easily. From creating tasks to organizing tasks into lists or scheduling meetings, you can easily track projects from start to finish and have clarity on who is doing what. The tool is free for up to 15 members, and the free version has almost all the same features as the paid one, so you can manage all of your projects and collaborate with clients from your desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Behance is the leading online platform for designers and creatives to showcase their work and get discovered. All you’ll need to do is sign up for a free Adobe ID to get started uploading your online portfolio. Behance is also a good place to get spotted by global companies who are exploring opportunities to work with designers.
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