Hardware

32 online tools that can help your tech freelancing career

Out of necessity or out of choice, many tech professionals are choosing to go the freelance routes in the current economy. Here are 32 online tools that can make the venture easier.

Out of necessity or out of choice, many tech professionals are choosing to go the freelance routes in the current economy. Here are 32 online tools that can make the venture easier.

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With the current job outlook, many people are choosing to go freelance in their tech careers. Sometimes this is a choice; other times it's pushed upon them by unemployment.

While the success of freelancing is largely determined by the freelancer's ability to market himself or herself, there are a number of great online tools that can make the day-to-day elements a little easier. I came across a piece on the site http://freelancefolder.com/ that lists some great online tools. I pulled from the list the ones that pertain to technical freelancers.

  1. Bubbl.us: A brainstorming tool that lets you put your ideas into bubbles and save your mindmap as an image.
  2. Relenta: A tool that helps you manage your contacts, emails, documents, and other activities.
  3. Slideshare: A tool that allows you to create and share slide shows online.
  4. Toodledo: A Web based to-do-list to help you organize.
  5. Mint: A very simple and easy to use finance tool for personal use and for managing your freelance finances.
  6. eFax: Although you might think Fax is outdated, we are pretty sure most of your clients still use it, especially the corporate ones. Use this site to make your life easier when it comes to faxes.
  7. Webnote: This tool allows you to quickly take notes using a Web browser. You can save the notes using any computer and visit the site later to retrieve notes. It's useful when using public computers.
  8. Box: Share files online with your clients and friends using this simple tool.
  9. ReadBag: A bookmarking service that lets you save links that you can read later in your browser, email, phone, and even in an offline mode.
  10. Stock.xchng: Free stock photography for your blog, site, or any other use that you might have for images.
  11. YouSendIt: This tool allows you to send files and folder that are up to 2 GB without clogging your or your client's inbox.
  12. Wordfast: A translation tool that is compatible with any language supported by Word.
  13. FaxZero: Lets you send free faxes to the United States and Canada.
  14. Copyright: Find everything you need to know about US copyright.
  15. RSS 2 PDF: Turn your RSS feeds into PDFs and read them even when you are offline.
  16. CentralDesktop: Helps freelancers collaborate, communicate, and share files with clients and coworkers.
  17. InstaCalc: A Web based calculator that includes spreadsheet capabilities, unit conversions, and programming commands.
  18. Blinksale: Lets you send invoices online, recurring templates, and keep track of your invoices and purchases.
  19. Skim: Helps you take notes directly on a PDF file as you read.
  20. Icebrrg: Lets you easily build online embeddable forms.
  21. ConceptShare: Allows you to invite clients to take a look at your design work and get real-time feedback while you work on the project.
  22. GoToMeeting: Set up online meetings with clients and colleagues using this popular meeting tool
  23. Wufoo: Another tool to help you build forms.
  24. Escrow: Use this service to protect yourself and clients when the stakes are high.
  25. XE: Most freelancers work with international clients, and a currency converter is a must to determine the payment. This tool takes care of giving you up-to-date information on currency rates.
  26. ProjectStat.us: This tool allows your clients to view the status of a project using a token.
  27. Creative Commons: This site provides free tools that lets freelancers easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.
  28. ProofHQ: Lets you annotate a variety of document types - PDFs, PSDs, JPGs, Word, PowerPoint - and Webpages.
  29. Proposal Kit: An online tool that helps freelancers with proposal and contract management.
  30. SlimTimer: An online timer that helps you track time spent on a particular project and bill your clients accordingly.
  31. Spot Runner: Use this Website if you are planning to build a TV advertising campaign.
  32. Monkey On Your Back: Allows you to create a to-do-list that you want other people to do.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

57 comments
Arina Ardashiyan
Arina Ardashiyan

Our dsign team uses this tool as a tool for collabration and task-management

wjwood64
wjwood64

#29 - Proposal Kit: An online tool that helps freelancers with proposal and contract management. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Based on your recommendation I purchased this product. For a set of MS templates the price seems a bit high. On top of that I did pay for the Pro Kit AND Wizard and the second download link to the Wizard did not come. I left a message with the company and within 15 minutes received a phone call to remedy the situation. It was taken care of quickly and professionally so while I was frustrated initially they DID do a stellar job resolving the issues. After getting this kit AND the Wizard that comes with it there is some value and it is useful if you need to produce proposals.

livereceptions
livereceptions

LiveReceptions website chatting tool help compnay to increase sales, provide website customer center, better than email and phone call, it can handle more people at same time. LiveReceptions is easy to use. Every time someone visits your website, you will be immediately alerted by a bell. Your operator can then offer the assistance immediately and answer any question your potential customers may have, directly. This ensures that you will never miss an interested customer. Like never before, your operator is not only able to chat live with potential customers, but they can also record individual customer information, i.e. email address, telephone number, product and service requirements, price preference, etc. This will make sales follow up much easier. Additionally, you can export data to other databases for further analysis, ?LiveReceptions? can also help you track customers to your specifications. Alternatively, LiveReceptions can serve in an additional role as your help center in the event that you have limited human resources. Our well-trained employees can offer customer friendly service with multiple customers simultaneously. This serves more efficiently than traditional call centers and ensures your money is well spent. If you are interested in this up-to-date technology for business solutions, we are ready to show you in person how ?LiveReceptions? works. We will even offer you a limited trial period upon an indicated interest in this product. Please visit our website www.livereceptions.net

xweetlilly
xweetlilly

"All your timesheet are belong to us."!!???Slimtimer: Can I trust this grammarless company?

szsjq
szsjq

GotFreeFax.com is another free fax tools.

michaelhartzell
michaelhartzell

whew... I thought my list was pretty deep. You proved me wrong... wrong...wrong. thank you for this! Mike

alan
alan

I don't know about you but I don't have the time to check and download all the tools that I might use at some time in the future. I asked Toni to provide it in format that could be copied but never heard back. The list looks great but who has the time - right now?

etrepreneur
etrepreneur

We have just launched an expenses mail-in solution for freelancers in the UK. Great for staying on top of expenses...We are literally taking the pain out of doing them.... As we are still in private beta (Yep still Free:-)) We are inviting 25 of you to try our service. Just enter SHEEP25 in the reg page. We are looking for feedback to help us improve the service before its public launch this summer Thanks Sam

portable
portable

I used eFax (or at least a service with that name) several years ago. It was free if you had a few faxes per month. I started telling people about the service. Then after about 6 months I started receiving fax-spam. Finally I got a notice that my account was being canceled for going over the limit. After a fair amount of digging I found that it was eFax sending the spam! Apparently they decided that my receiving a fax every month or so cost them too much, so instead of having the ... guts ... to tell me that, they spammed me and then said I had broken the rules. My opinion is WATCH OUT if you deal with them.

thyssens
thyssens

Don't like online tools. Server owners may read all your information and use it for its own benefit. ?No, thanks! I still prefer offline tools...

roicontracting
roicontracting

Hello Toni, many thks for providing such list. Very useful for my case as I have now been for the last 5 years an IT professional always on the road, Br, Jacques

santeewelding
santeewelding

"...success...largely determined...by ability to market..." You have succumbed to the Dark Side. And, you contradict yourself. The 32 tools -- good selection, by the way -- bespeak of success the old-fashioned way: elbow grease. "Marketing" is what got us into the mess we're in. Don't trumpet it.

hjf71
hjf71

LogMeIn free is a tool I've used for years for remote access to my clients to troubleshoot. It requires a client be installed on either end. I'd sure like a tool that I could use on the "fly." I also use CCleaner to clean up temporary files, Registry Distiller to clean up the registry, Belarc to take a PC's inventory, and AVG free as a virus scanner. All are free.

pherbear2
pherbear2

Thanks Toni for the list! Great to have something usefull.

irinam
irinam

GoToMeeting is great, but www.via3.com gives you fully secured workspaces with unlimited video, voice, and IM. No phones to use, no numbers to dial. Great resource for client collaborations that involve IP or sensitive legal documents. Good voice and video quality, easy to use and install.

bofcarbon1
bofcarbon1

So many tools thank you. Its becoming more apparent that organizing internet resources for business and social life is a full time job. Of course each of these sites should be researched before using them for security reasons. There are a lot of suggestions in replies for additional sites and open contribution suggestions should be scrutinized even more so as they are sources which might not been verified as journalist do for their articles (hopefully).

ravila
ravila

Toni, Thank you for the great list. This are great tools to have.

gemuet
gemuet

Great tools, great tips! Am going to take my time and try them one after the other. www.jobenbissong.wordpress.com

grubbsdw.ctr
grubbsdw.ctr

Delicious.com: This free site provides a great way to bookmark and categorize web sites for access from any PC instead of just storing then on your local PC. You can also search for sites you've bookmarked including any tags (categories) you assigned to them. You can share your bookmarked sites with other delicious.com users or keep them private. Dan

Jeff George
Jeff George

Thank you, Toni. I would add GoogleDocs to this list. Been using it to collaborate with clients, allowing for documents, spreadsheets and slides. Another would be, as someone has already mentioned, TeamViewer for remote support.

billcooey
billcooey

I agree these are all great sites. However, I have an issue with using so many disparate systems. Efficiency is diluted and clarity is muddled. I would rather manage key information in one system that had fewer bells and whistles than to have so many tools to deal with. bc

ProducedByJoel
ProducedByJoel

Great list, Toni! Add to it the 4 online apps from the extraordinary company 37 Signals, Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. And for excellent online billing, invoicing and time-tracking, Freshbooks.

zigmasb
zigmasb

Excellent list. I suppose that you should include Evernote, Zotero and Ubernote (you have included Webnotes) and knowledge visualization tools - you will find link about it on my blog http://zigmasb.wordpress.com Zigmas

PackMule64
PackMule64

You can sve the page as an HTML document. In firefox just right click the page and select "save Page as" from the menu then give it a meaningful name be sure to use the save as type "web page, complete" save it in a folder or your desk top where you can find it later. This saves the entire page including the links just like you see it now and it is on your hard drive. I use it often especially for pages that change frequently. I dont use IE so I dont know if the same option is available there.

DanBubis
DanBubis

Not trying to be dense or start something but what does this post mean? "...success...largely determined...by ability to market..." You have succumbed to the Dark Side. And, you contradict yourself. The 32 tools -- good selection, by the way -- bespeak of success the old-fashioned way: elbow grease. "Marketing" is what got us into the mess we're in. Don't trumpet it. Do you think marketing is bad? Or is it just anything commercial is bad?

bobp
bobp

I was using AVG Free on a laptop. I switched to PC-Tools (free) and it caught two Trojans and a virus that AVG missed. (just a head's up) I tried PC-Tools because I had a client who had a stubborn Trojan that Avast! couldn't get rid of. I install PC-Tools on client's machines now.

Gadz00ks
Gadz00ks

Im not sure I will use all of these but this will be a good start. Thanks!

JCitizen
JCitizen

like LogMeIn free? Of course with LogMeIn, if your using it for business, you probably have to pay. I haven't read the EULA because I use it for personal non-profit reasons.

ctaylor
ctaylor

You might want to review the licensing agreement to make sure you are not surrendering your intellectual property, ownership, and other rights for anything posted to Google.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Sorry. I am at as much of a loss as you are. I fail when it comes to one as you, complete in your possession of the good, who marvels at any possibility of, "bad".

JCitizen
JCitizen

for my clients, plus exhibiting instability on their XP machines. I'd take Avast anyday to it - good to know about PC-Tools. I assume it isn't bloated and unstable like their Spware Doctor? I found AdAware Plus did a way better job than Spyware Doctor, especially on spy-trojans. Lavasofts Adwatch and Avast make a kick ass combo. Malewarebytes Anti-malware is one to watch also. Haven't tested the real time protection to see if MBAM conflicts with ESET or AVAST.

danny.kellett
danny.kellett

I monitor threat lists and see that AVG lists are quite up to date. Which "trojans" did it miss?

JCitizen
JCitizen

I am one to talk! I love butchering my language for fun! I get simply cockeyed about it!! You must have read my post about watching my IDS like a hawk! :)

santeewelding
santeewelding

Not so much "from", but into, where a one becomes so complete in possession of it as to leave no eye cocked to the side.

JCitizen
JCitizen

even "Department Managers" can't recognize the proper use of it.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Please take what I said to Dan and replace "good" with your, "actuality".

s31064
s31064

I take it that English is your second language; either that, or you're just too smug (or stoned) to realize you didn't actually say anything...

JCitizen
JCitizen

with one eye cocked to the side - wary of self interested commercialism. I do tend to wallow in the darkside; a bad habit I'm trying to shake.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and because of my success at deploying MBAM to the 32 bit users, I decided I'd use the new 64bit version, with the $24 dollar lifetime license!!! You can't get a deal like that very often!! It is the first real time protection I've found that doesnot conflict with good Anti-virus. I haven't tested it on flunky AV, because, what's the point? HA! =)

ron.dondelinger
ron.dondelinger

I switched from AVG to Avast! back when AVG 8.0 came out, because Avast caught a few viruses that slipped by AVG. Been using Avast ever since, for myself and my clients' PCs. I also employ a manual scan with MBAM as the occasion merits. I haven't detected any conflicts between it and Avast.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Is that I've found it really isn't necessary to do a manual scan. The hueristics are that good. I haven't tested version four yet, but will soon. Then I can see how it's malware engine compares to AdAware's. I would be absolutely gob-smacked if it could replace it too!

danny.kellett
danny.kellett

I never got an answer from Bob but I do monitor the threat lists for part of my job. AVG Free is "ok" but my money is always on ESET just for thier capability to update daily and accurate. Just my 2 pense worth