Freelance work requires a ton of commitment. It can be very overwhelming for a new freelance writer; especially when it comes to organizing the many aspects of running a business. Because, that’s right, you are running a business.
You are not an employee– not even to the clients you are writing for. You are a professional providing a service to those who need your skills.
With that in mind, one of the most important things you can do to improve the growth of your business is to change the way you think about yourself.
When you see yourself as the professional business owner that you are, it will change the way you view relationships with clients; and even the way you view the goals you have for your business.
However, that’s a discussion for another time…
Today’s topic of discussion is a bit less existential, but (hopefully) just as helpful, in making the running of your freelance writing business easier.
Below I’ll list a series of resources that will help you organize your projects, track your expenses, and assist in making sure that your content is readable!
So, let’s talk about 8 Free Apps For Freelance Writers that I’ve found to be super useful in running my own business!
Trello is a browser app introduced to me by a previous client. Trello is used to organize projects through “boards”, and communicate with fellow team members. Trello allows users to upload files, review files, create project boards, make edits to projects, and so much more!
Trello has been so helpful to me because it’s extremely easy to use, as I was able to familiarize myself with its basic features quickly.
Trello also boasts a nifty drag-and-drop feature; which makes organizing my boards fun and satisfying…
(… What can I say? I’m easily amused!)
What’s one of the best things about Trello…?
And that makes it is very freelancer-friendly!
Trying to find high-quality images for blogs, without infringing on intellectual property, is not an easy task… However, using images to break up your text is an amazing way to keep a reader’s attention… especially if you’re writing long-form content.
Images also provide the opportunity to further optimize the blog you’re writing for SEO.
The fact of the matter is: most of us are not skilled photographers… And so, Content Writers must scour the internet for free-use images – that won’t cost you hundreds of dollars.
I struggled through this for quite a long time, myself… until I happened across Pixabay.com! Pixabay.com is a massive gallery, full of high-quality images that are completely free… the best part? Using the images on Pixabay.com does not infringe on someone else’s property.
To show support to the creators, you can donate to the photographers, or follow their social media. Otherwise, you can download high-resolution images for your blogs without fear!
Just like all of the apps on this list… creating a Pixalbay account is free!
Keeping in line with the visual aspects of creating copy and writing blogs, let’s talk about Canva! This browser-based design application has been immensely helpful whenever I want to create images for my website, copy samples, logos, and even my Pinterest cover images!
Alongside being a Content writer, I have been a Graphic Designer for much of my career… thus, I have created hundreds of logos, brochures, flyers, catalogs, and more.
This has availed me the opportunity to have used industry-standard design programs in-depth… and, even so, I find Canva to be a fantastic tool for freelance writers who need quality graphics without the learning curve!
Canva is very easy to use because it has dozens of templates to choose from, and signing up for a free account gives you access to more than enough design features.
You can buy a premium subscription, but it is definitely not necessary to get the most out of Canva!
Spreadsheets are boring to many people… I happen to love spreadsheets, but I understand how the simplicity of digital grid paper may not appeal to everyone(especially creative, right-brained people).
Learning to love a spreadsheet is beneficial to a freelance writer for a plethora of reasons! Here are examples of how spreadsheets can be used:
- Organize clients and projects
- Track payments
- Track your revenue and expenses
- Create Invoices and Receipts
- …and so much more!
Having a clear and concise outline of your expenses is vital when tax time comes. So, the short-term hassle of implementing a spreadsheet into your freelance writing business will be a huge help to you in the long run!
Obviously, deciding to make a living as a writer requires creativity … but the effects of even your most imaginative copy can be completely nullified by technical writing flaws.
The truth is... even the best writers make mistakes. Often our ideas come faster than our fingers can keep up with… and even if we’ve spent several hours reading (and re-reading) our work for errors, it doesn’t mean we won’t miss some of them. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though, we’re only human, after all.
Thankfully, the power of technology and our robot overlords are here to lend a helping hand to us in these times of need!
No doubt you have heard of Grammarly, as it has been around for several years, and is extremely popular amongst students and professionals alike.
I have Grammarly as a free Chrome extension (as I do all of my content writing in Google Docs), and it is super helpful when it comes to analyzing my work not just for spelling and grammatical errors, but also for ineffective sentence structure!
Just as important, if not more so, than technical writing quality is making sure your work is free of plagiarism.
The word churns your stomach, and even the idea of anything you’ve written being remotely associated with plagiarism is enough to make you want to crawl into a hole and never see the light of day again.
Now, plagiarism is something that can happen by mistake. Sometimes, after hours and hours of researching and writing, you might unintentionally word a sentence or idea in too similar a way to another resource, and it could damage your reputation as a professional writer.
Along with its helpful grammar, spelling, and sentence structure capacities, Grammarly has a plagiarism checker that can review your work for any signs of plagiarism, making sure that your writing is always ready to send to a client without fear!
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Writing effective content isn’t just about stringing pretty words together that are spelled correctly…
With how much competition that currently exists on the internet, clients want the content written for their business to rise above their competitors. This is accomplished through SEO and Content Optimization.
One of the most important aspects when writing content, is optimizing your headline. Your headline impacts not just how likely someone is to click on your content, but also how well it appears in relevant search results.
From email subject lines to blog titles, the importance of an effective headline cannot be understated; and clients are right to expect you to know that.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer will help you assess the effectiveness of your headline, and offer helpful suggestions.
Simply copy and paste your headline into the analyzer bar, and CoSchedule Headline Analyzer will review the text for key aspects that drive readers to “click-through” to the content. It gives you a base score, and breaks down the areas of your headline that can be improved!
While it is tempting to use exotic language in your content writing, to be frank… the simpler the better. As a blogger or copywriter, the goal is to convey information in the most concise and engaging way possible.
Even as a blogger, who often needs to reach a specific word count for SEO reasons, wordiness is never helpful to you or your client.
Hemmingwayapp.com is another great proofreading app that checks your writing not just for general grammar and spelling, but also provides you with helpful insight on how to trim down your content for clarity and readability. It even gives you a readability score, advising at what grade level your writing appeals to.
The “grade level” you receive is not a race to the top, either. The most talented content writers try to keep their writing scores between a 6th to 8th-grade level. Again: the point of writing is to be clear, concise, and exciting. Having a writing score at the middle school level doesn’t mean that your writing is immature – but easy to read!
The only cons I feel worth mentioning:
- If you make a change to a word’s formatting or have to click into a different browser tab, Hemmingwayapp.com automatically shoots back up to the top of the document (making you have to continuously relocate the spot where you left off)
- If you accidentally close the tab, then say “buh-bye” to all the work you just did! Perhaps there is a way of preventing this that I have yet to find, but what I do for now is copy and paste sections from Hemmingwayapp.com into my original Doc.
After that, I make the edits (because all of the errors are still highlighted after I’ve pasted it into my document). So it isn’t really that big of a deal but, definitely, something to be aware of.
Go Forth and Conquer, Fellow Freelancer!
We’ve reached the end of this list, and I hope it has given you a few new tools you can use to make your life easier, more organized, and efficient.
As the saying goes: work smarter not harder, right?
My goal in sharing these browser-based applications with you was to make running your business a little less stressful without having to break your budget.
(I very much hope that I achieved that)
I tried to find only the resources I felt were easy to use, and have been a massive help in keeping my own freelance writing business organized.
If you have any apps that have helped you in your freelance writing journey, then comment on them below! This blog is about supporting each other; so don’t be afraid to share your own experiences!
If this post has proven informative and entertaining to you, then I recommend you check out my other content writing blogs! My goal with my personal blog is to use my own experiences so that I can help new writers on their own journeys!
Not to mention, make sure you subscribe so that you never have to miss out on a future post. I try to have a new blog up every one to two weeks!