Business Tools for Improving Freelancer Efficiency

November 22, 2009 · 28 comments

by Lars

business-tools

I have already posted a few lists of Freelancer Tools for tracking time, collecting money and project management and collaboration. In these posts you found several great tools to support your business but there is still uncovered areas that are important to you success. Having tools to support your efficiency and structure you business is essential and I have collected a list of tools in this post that may be of great help.


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Doodle

business-tools

A scheduling tool that has been created to help reclaim time and put an end to the endless back and forth communication that has become normal when scheduling a meeting. It is so simple and yet very powerful.

Registration isn’t required to use the basic free service (Branded and Premium versions also exist and offer more flexibility), so getting started is quick and easy. To schedule an event, you just select some dates and times and let the participants specify what works best for them. With a quick look, you’ll see everyone’s availability and be able to make a final decision that satisfies the entire group.

“Doodle is used worldwide by more than three million people per month, and features like Outlook and Facebook integration help all of these users in their quest to gain victory over meetings.”

Google Apps

business-tools

This is an obvious choice for freelancers and small businesses that can’t afford more expensive suites. “More than 2 million businesses run Google Apps!”. Communication and collaboration tools from Google.

Gmail for business 25GB storage, less spam, and a 99.9% uptime SLA, and enhanced email security.
Google Calendar Agenda management, scheduling, shared online calendars and mobile calendar sync.
Google Docs Documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Work online without attachments.
Google Sites Secure, coding-free web pages for intranets and team managed sites.
New! Build collaborative sites faster with site templates.
Google Video Private, secure, hosted video sharing.

gliffy

business-tools

With Gliffy online diagram software, you can easily create professional-quality flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings, and more.

Campfire

business-tools

“Over 100,000 people have used Campfire to send more than 60,000,000 chat messages to their clients, in-house colleagues, and remote teams.”

Campfire is a web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms. Invite a client, colleague, or vendor to chat, collaborate, and make decisions. Link to a room on your intranet for internal communications. Read past chat transcripts anytime you want. Campfire keeps a history. Upload a GIF, JPG, or PNG, and it shows up right in the chat room.

HighRise

business-tools

Highrise prepares you for your next call, next meeting, next pitch, next follow-up, and next sale.“. Track communication and conversations with leads, employees, clients, colleagues, vendors. Monitor pending sales leads, proposals, wins & losses. Outlook, Excel, CSV, vCard, ACT! and Basecamp contacts. A history of calls, meetings, and conversations with your contacts.

Central Desktop

business-tools

Very feature rich shared workspaces and web conferencing. Share files online in secure area, search them version control them etc. Personlized Dashboard Overview of Workspaces, Reminders and Overdue Alerts

Relenta

business-tools

Manage your email, contacts, documents and activities. Relenta lets you share email between multiple users, so that it doesn’t matter if a co-worker is on vacation or located many time zones away. You can view messages associated with any contact and instantly catch up on any activity that’s taken place. You can share generic aliases such as sales@yourcompany.com or support@yourcompany.com across multiple users. Now everyone can see at a glance which inquiries have been responded to, and which still need to be addressed. You can create rules to filter and sort incoming email, so that messages are automatically assigned to specific queues, users, teams, or contacts. You can also create a shared library of canned responses to reduce workload and ensure consistency. You can even set up conditional auto-responders so inquiries meeting specified criteria instantly trigger appropriate pre-written responses.

Zoho

business-tools
More than 20 Business and productivity tools. You will find office tools, conferencing tools, invoicing, CRM etc….

Campaign Monitor

business-tools
Email newsletter software. Design great looking emails using your own tools, or create templates and let your clients log in and build their own. We handle signups, unsubscribes and bounces automatically. Easily create targeted segments of subscribers. Actionable reports that go beyond opens and clicks. Track your email related conversions and sales.


Snap Contract

business-tools

Is a great new tool that allows you to create and sign contracts on-line. Electronic signatures are legal in many countries including the US. Check it out for your own country before using this tool.

solocrm

business-tools

SoloCRM is a tool designed specifically for independent professionals such as freelancers, independent contractors and consultants. soloCRM focuses on the needs of the independent professionals that service multiple clients at the same time. The purpose of this tool is to organize service providers and their clients so that they can efficiently get through their projects without all the familiar headaches. Unlike many CRM applications that focus heavily on the marketing side of customer relations, this tool focus on the delivery of services.

Concept Feedback

business-tools

“Getting ready to launch a brand new concept? Would you like to know what other professionals think before you release it to the world? Concept Feedback is designed specifically for you!”. Upload and share your website, advertisement, logo and more. Receive quick, actionable feedback
from a professional community

bigcontacts.com

business-tools

One address book for all your information. Track meetings, events, and more. Customize and edit detailed reports. Manage workflow in your business. Store important files, docs and photos.

Wufoo – Make forms to survey your clients
AIGA Spec Letter – Sample letter to communicate with clients who want spec work or free pitching
CPA Directory – Find an accountant (in the US)
SBA – Small Business Administration, help and advice

Paypal – Online payment system
Business-Paper – Easy business cards
GoToMeeting – Easy online meetings Moneybookers – Online payment system

FaxZero – US & Canada – Send Faxes for Free

Escrow – Online payment system that protects the buyer and seller, useful for those bigger jobs with anonymous clients.
Resources for the Design Entrepeneur – Free sample forms and agreements
Work – How-to guides to running a small business
XE – Quick and easy currency converter for all your international transactions…
Trendwatching – Consumer trends and insights resource
Breeze – Email campaign and newsletter software. Create, send and analyse campaigns.

Five Second Test – While you need to purchase tokens to unlock some premium test features, you can create and run as many tests as you like for free. reating a new test only takes a few seconds, registration is optional and we provide multiple ways of viewing and organising your results. People use five second test to locate calls to action, optimize landing pages, and run A/B tests. You can use them for whatever

contentcube . It is like visual FTP. You can have all your originals organized online and then share proofs or deliverables with your clients. The service automatically generates previews of PSD and AI files too. Great presentation tool as well.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kumar October 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm

How about Replicon employee time tracking software? which is one of the leading time tracking software.

Reply

annesofie October 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hi Kumar, thank you for sharing this time tracking tool with us.

Best regards,
Sofie

Reply

Shane Pateras April 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

Recently, we have decided to switch from Relenta to WorkForceTrack . Because it is cheaper than Relenta and has the same functions. As far as I know, they also offer some kind of discounts and localization from English to other languages. So, I am recommending you to try this

Reply

doodle idea September 21, 2010 at 8:36 pm

very interresting and very informative… nice.. thanks for sharing…

Reply

Simon Poulston September 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I was introduced to pivotal tracker recently. It’s free and is excellent if you need to manage agile projects.

http://www.pivotaltracker.com

Reply

shannon November 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Definitely give http://contentcube.com a try. It’s great for designers and marketing professionals who work with PSD, AI files. Very simple and elegant solution to share and present work to your clients.

Reply

Karl November 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

Nice set of links here :-)

Reply

Arturas November 23, 2009 at 9:24 am

I would definitely recommend http://www.comindwork.com for project management and collaboration, very agile, great for freelance teams

Reply

AllProgramming November 22, 2009 at 12:07 pm

This is an excellent sample set of websites to make use of. I will definitely recommend many of these websites to my clients that are looking for a simple and effective solutions. Great inspiration for software development as well.

Reply

Collette Schultz November 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Very nice list I’m going to be sure and include a few on these on my podcast Software Savvy Sub, which is software a virtual business needs to run from start to finish.

Reply

website design November 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

Hey that was a really nice post… I work in a website designing company and appreciate it a lot…

Reply

Sneha November 19, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Great list. Have you tried out Injoos Teamware. I would reckon that they have the most comprehensive integrated collaboration platform. With their latest release they have added a new twist to track and execute projects “the social way”. Checkout their Blog http://injoos.com/blog/2009/10/09/seamless-collaboration-with-release-35/

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James November 18, 2009 at 11:10 pm

GotFreeFax.com also allows user to send free fax online to the US and Canada. User can either upload a PDF/Word file or enter text to fax. Plus, it does NOT add Ads to user’s fax and is suitable for faxing formal documents.

Reply

J. Hendrix November 18, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Great Collection. Some of these tools definitely look worth checking out.

Reply

K James November 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm

In 2002, there were approximately 23 million small businesses in the United States according to the US SBA (Small Business Administration).

Reply

designfollow November 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

great collection

thank you

Reply

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