9 Essential Apps for Freelancers
According to Forbes, more than one third of US workers are freelancers now. That’s 53 million Americans, some of which freelance exclusively, with others moonlighting in freelance jobs. Freelancing is, in itself, more respected nowadays as a career path, with 65% of respondents to a Freelancers Union survey. But keeping up with your freelancing business can certainly be challenging, which is why you need the right tools and apps.
Whether you’re looking to kill some time or setting everything up for your next business trip, these apps are sure to help you get everything squared away from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet while you wait to board your flight, are stuck in the middle of traffic or while you wait for your next appointment. Here are some of the useful and entertaining ones for most of your needs.
9 Essential Apps for Freelancers
Take 21st Century Notes: Evernote
Evernote is a cross platform, freemium app that pretty much constitutes the twenty first century version of a notepad and pencil. If you need to constantly write down memos and other reminders, then this is the app for you. You also have the option of having a day planner and even adding image, audio and handwritten notes to your agenda. Evernote also lets you attach articles and photographs found online. The biggest attraction of this California-created application is its cross-platform nature. There are clients for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, OS X, Windows and Windows mobile, and of course the web. Therefore, anything you need to know is at the tip of your fingertips regardless of which device you are using.
Never be Late: Uber
Anyone who lives in a big city can attest to the fact that when you are in a hurry to get somewhere, all taxi cabs in the city seem to either disappear or are already busy. Uber promises to make that a thing of the past, as you just load up this app, order a ride and you’ll be on your way in no time flat. You don’t even need to carry around cash, because you can load up you credit (or debit) card number and the company will automatically deduct the fare for the ride. You even have your own choice of different cars that can pick you up. You’ll receive a text message when your car is on the way, plus a phone call once your ride is there for you. Uber was founded in 2009 as UberCab and gradually rose to become a worldwide success, especially after it expanded in 2011. It certainly allows you to stop worring about having cash for your cab or even wasting money on renting a car to drive yourself.
Know Where you’re Going: Waze
Waze, which is conveniently pronounced “ways,” is one of the most popular GPS-type apps available right now. Since its users can upload traffic information, such as traffic accidents, jams and even blocked routes to its database, it always gives up-to-date information so you can plan your route without running into any problems. Waze can also give you time estimates and shortest possible routes so you can get anywhere you need to get to quickly. The community-driven app works by using your smartphone’s built in GPS tracker and your mobile carrier’s signal to transmit all the information in real time. You can also choose different icons to represent your position on the map. The app won the Best Overall Mobile App award in 2013, beating famous contenders like Flipboard and Dropbox. Yes, it’s that handy.
Communicate Effortlessly: WhatsApp
This app became an overnight hit because of its ease of use and easy integration with your phone’s contacts. WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, Inc in 2014 for $19.3 billion and now is estimated to have a user base of one billion, according to Wired magazine. Using your mobile connection you can send texts, images and voice messages to people all over the world, provided that you already have their phone number. From the United to States to Sri Lanka, from Costa Rica to Malta to London and back, you can send messages and have people receive them in a matter of seconds so you can have real-time conversations. The best part is that you only get charged for used bandwidth by your service carrier, as opposed to the per message sent charges that carriers usually do, which can save you a lot money, especially if you have business contacts abroad. It is very useful for business types who have to be in constant communication and available for all mobile operating systems, from Symbians to iPhones.
Wind Down and Exercise your Brain: PokerStars
Face it, you probably won’t dedicate 100% of your time to your work, not only because it’ll burn you out, but because realistically speaking, nobody does it. Even the most hardcore workaholic needs to wind down. Unwind with a little online poker, Words With Friends, Candy Crush, or whatever. Especially if you spend a lot of time commuting or visiting clients, it’s important to have some entertainment at hand. PokerStars mobile is the smartphone version of the popular poker brand’s desktop offering, providing sophisticated poker games against real opponents. Poker is a recognized mind sport which exercises your observational, mathematical and social skills, so there are also benefits to choosing it over other past-times. With thousands of users worldwide, you can log in at any time of the day and find other card enthusiasts to play with.
Get Paid On the Go: PayPal
Getting paid from freelance work and keeping track of finances is certainly important and challenging, especially to new freelancers. There’s a variety of apps to help you with that, but perhaps the most essential to get paid by people from all over the world is PayPal. Paypal is one of the quintessential internet success stories, and for good reason: Established in 1998, it rose to become the world’s largest internet payment company, with over 179 million active accounts in 100 currencies and across 203 markets, processing more than 9 million payments annually. In fact, according to the company’s own reports, PayPal processes 30% of the total eCommerce transactions in the US. All it takes is signing up for an account and verifying your identity. As a PayPal user, you can both send and receive money from anyone else with a PayPal account.
Find a Table in a Jiff: OpenTable
Out of town, hungry and you don’t where to find a good place to eat? It can happen, especially to contractors who need to travel a lot. Do you have a big business meeting and your client wants to grab a bite while you talk? With this app you can check what your local restaurant options are and even make dinner reservations. Open Table has a database of over 27000 restaurants, so in theory you could get a table at a different restaurant every night without ever repeating. Its US restaurants catalog is impressive, but it also features restaurants abroad. As a mobile app, OpenTable is available for Android, iOS and Windows phones, but you can also use their website.
Show, Don’t Tell: Paper (by Fifty Three)
If your trade calls for lots of presentations, or if you simply like to present your ideas in graphic form to your customers, Paper (by Fifty Three) will let you sketch it out so you can show off on your tablet anywhere, anytime – even remotely. It includes a good variety of different brushes, pencils and colors as well as more elaborate tools so you can give free reign to your imagination. It’s also a fun time waster if you’re bored but don’t actually want to invest any brain power into playing an actual game.
Don’t Be Afraid to Work the Cloud: DropBox
DropBox is like having a little virtual hard drive with you at all times. It’s cloud-based storage optimized for synchronization, sharing and collaboration. You can sync up various devices so you can have easy access to your files even when you don’t your computer or smartphone on you. There are also desktop and mobile clients that will automatically backup each file they find in a specific folder on your device, and always keep it up to date with the latest version, no matter where and on which device you last edited it. It’s also handy for when you want to move files around, but they’re too big to just send as email attachments. The free version offers 2 gigabytes but you can earn more storage, up to 16 gigabytes. They should be enough for all your needs during a business trip. If it works for you, try their paid upgrades, available both for groups and individuals.
With the abundance of apps out there in today’s market, all of these have a lot of imitators and competitors, but they remain some of the best, if not the absolute top, of their category. Depending on each freelancer’s line of work, habits and needs, they may find additional apps useful as well – we’ve tried to keep this list to a tried-and-tested format, to help keep you organized, communicate and move around effortlessly. And why not? Have a little fun.