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The 5 best freelancing tools for creatives in 2023

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Being a freelancer often means working alone and working alone means relying on your own wits and the right tools. For a creative freelancer, those tools will, of course, depend on the role you’ve built for yourself. You’ll rarely hear of a graphic designer, for example, that doesn’t use the Adobe Suite and you’ll struggle to find a copywriter that doesn’t use Grammarly (guilty as charged).

More often than not, tools are what we use to cut down the inordinate amount of time we tend to spend not creating. Tedious admin work and exhausting emails are a blight we all know too well. That’s why, I won’t be focusing today on the tools that help you be more creative. Indeed, if you’re here then you probably already have a set of tools that you’re more than comfortable with in that regard.

Today, I’ll be focusing on the tools that could make you a better creative by liberating you from the amount of time you spend on the boring bits. What can this give you above all else? Time. And time is the one thing on this earth we can all agree is more valuable than money. So, make your resolution in 2023 to save time by investing in one (or perhaps a few) of these invaluable freelancing tools.

Invoicely

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One of the most frustrating aspects of freelancing is managing your invoices and inevitably chasing them up. Back in the day we’d have needed to keep receipts and physical files but, thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Indeed, even Microsoft Excel is rather antiquated compared to the automated Invoicing apps available today.

Invoicely is the best of the bunch, in my opinion. For one thing, it offers a free plan that allows you to send up to five invoices a month (which will be more than enough for some) and it also tracks everything from time spend on work to expenses and more.

Trello/Asana

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I was on the fence here about which project and task manager was the better fit for a creative, as I’ve had experiences with both. Trello is a good drag-and-drop solution that’s used widely across the creative community, whereas Asana is very much the new kid on the block.

While Trello might be more immediate, however, Asana is a smarter bunny, with Focus Mode helping you to focus on one project at a time. Ideal for those of us that become scatter brained when working on more than one job concurrently. It also integrates neatly with Slack, the real-time messaging app. Both, however, are great choices and any project management solution is mandatory if you have more than one client.

FastMail

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I only discovered this one myself a few months ago but it’s become a firm favourite already. This Australian email client offers just about all the features you could hope for and plenty more besides. For me, the fact that it automatically backs up your data to the cloud is a real help, as using other clients like Thunderbird in the past I always managed to feel like I might be losing something when migrating over to a new device.

As somebody who has been in the game for well over a decade now, my work email has also been blighted by hundreds of nefarious entities and FastMail does an incredible job at filtering out the vast majority of them. So, if you spend at least 15 minutes of your day getting rid of unwanted emails, I’ve just saved you a solid hour a week.

Whereby

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In the wake of the pandemic, most freelancers will have undoubtedly spent hours upon hours fiddling around with various video conferencing solutions, struggling to connect, figuring out “if the mic’s on” on generally wasting time fighting with the software when you should be getting to work and making magic.

Whereby is another tool I stumbled across just a few months ago that cuts through the unnecessary guff of Teams or Zoom. There’s no app or software required as it’s entirely browser-based and it’s incredibly stable. The virtual whiteboard feature is also a godsend. Honestly, if you’re a creative and you’re using any other video conferencing platform in 2023 then you’re doing it wrong.

Creativepool

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I’d be remiss not to mention Creativepool when it came to useful freelancing tools for creatives. As the internet’s unofficial home of creative work, there is no better platform for finding new clients and contacts.

It not only gives you a deep and flexible portfolio to work with but direct access to the rest of the creative community, be it agencies, brands or other creative individuals. If you spent far too much time in 2022 listlessly scrolling through LinkedIn, signing up for a Creativepool account could be just the ticket for 2023.

Header image by Tiffany Beucher

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