Having freelanced for a little over a year now, I’ve been able to try out a bunch of cool tools and apps created just for freelancers. While it’s true there are many resources for freelancers (hooray), there are moments when I think, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had something like [insert mega-cool, inventive freelancer app here]?”
So I asked fellow freelancers:
Below are some of the great ideas people gave me. (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will one day become real.)
An app to connect freelancers better, allowing us to network and share ideas. We often hear that freelancing is booming in the U.S., and over 40 percent of the working population is expected to be freelance by 2020, but we have no formal way of connecting and grouping together – either by niche expertise or geographic location. I'm thinking of a Facebook-type app for freelancers – Freebook!
–Glenn Carter, The Casual Capitalist
“Freelance Tinder” Service Connection
An app or website that better connects business owners in smaller cities with freelance writers. Small business owners in my area have fantastic products, but very few are doing a great job of taking their business online. Right now, most business owners are relying on sites like Craigslist – and that can get sketchy fast. It would be great if there was a freelance Tinder.
If you could invent one app, tool, or new resource to help your fellow freelancers, what would it be?
Small business owners could swipe through freelancers in their area to see if the freelancers' skills match up with the services they need. And freelancers could swipe through for projects they think they'd be a good fit for.
–Sarah Michelle Walsh
Words of Encouragement for Freelancers
I like the idea of creating an app that's a mix of Whisper and PostSecret. A place where freelancers can anonymously post words of encouragement, positive anecdotes, or designs and images. Anyone using the app can view them as a means of motivation.
Freelancing is difficult, whether you do it full-time or part-time.
It requires drive, organizational skills, the ability to multitask, a genuine passion for what you do, and a thick skin. You will have days when you don't feel creative, have to deal with difficult clients, feel lonely, or have to cancel plans because your freelance priority is greater. This app would be a tremendous help in letting you know that you're not alone and that you’re on the right track towards reaching your goals.
–Heather Taylor, social media associate at MyCorporation and part-time freelancer
Get Access to an Online Accountant
Cost Versus Value Freelance Project Calculator
I would love to have an app that calculated the true cost and value of a project so that if I entered the project fee and some other parameters – such as a large company with lots of picky stakeholders or a small organization with low funds, but a great reputation – it would spit out the true value or hourly rate.
This would help me so much in times when a big project fee blinds me to red flags, such as an impossible deadline or conflicting instructions from the client. Conversely, it would also show how some gigs don't pay a lot, but make up for it with prestige, personal brand building, and so forth.
–Anitra Budd, writer and editor
An app that sends a message about what taxes or insurance payments are due that day, and how much. You simply click a button and all is automatically taken care of for you. You can push another button and the app automatically populates a business expense spreadsheet with mileage used, purchases made, and so forth.
–Kelly Boyer Sagert, freelance writer
Time Zone Update
An automated app that updates multiple apps or devices to your current time zone. It would inform people via Skype, your website, phone, and Google Hangouts, when they shouldn't call. It might be possible with IFTTT, but something out-of-the-box would be useful. That way when someone calls me at 3 p.m. in the U.K., they get an instant notification that it's 3 a.m. wherever I’m at currently, and I won't answer!
–Brandon Ackroyd, freelance consultant
So there you have it: some of our favorite freelancer dream apps and tools to improve your daily life.