Tools to make a freelancer’s life easy
Every freelancer starts with an unorganized life and there are many who never get organized just because they don’t know how to. Communicating with clients is the most important part of a freelancer’s job. Not many of us like it just because most of the times we have to search through our mess (emails, documents etc) in order to keep our clients updated. Here are list of some tools that can make every freelancer’s life really easy and well organized.
1. Project tracking tools
This is one product which stresses on communication rather than information. Project management cannot get simpler that this. You just need to have some decent command over the language and rest will be taken care by Basecamp. Once a team starts using basecamp its less likely that the team manager is going to need charts, reports, stats to manage the team.
Essentially an open source issue tracking system but if used intelligently it can be an effective project tracking tool. Seamless integration with subversion and custom query builder for generating reports gives it an edge over other tracking tools. The timeline feature shows all the current and the past project events in order, making the acquisition of an overview of the project and tracking progress very easy. The road map shows the road ahead, listing the upcoming milestones.
XPlanner is a project planning and tracking tool for eXtreme Programming (XP) teams. The developers estimate the effort to complete the stories either at the story level or by decomposing the story into tasks and estimating those. Information about team development velocity from the previous iteration is used to estimate if the team can complete the stories proposed by the customer.
2. Communication tools
I wonder if there are any freelancers on this earth living without using google apps. With Gmail, Gtalk, Google Docs, Google calendar etc in the offering Google has made sure that the man kind never looks beyond google. Google apps is all you need to work and communicate smarter. One other best thing about Google apps is that there no learning curve. It just works out of the box.
There are times when a team needs to collaborate online in order to discuss issues and come to some conclusion. There are times when one needs to share desktop with others. Then, there are times when one needs to have a face to face communication. If you are wondering how you can do all this? Dimdim is the answer. Dimdim is a free web conferencing service where you can share your desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk and broadcast via webcam with absolutely no download required for attendees.
Freelancers some times have to send fax. For example, signed NDA document, Invoice etc. A freelancer would definitely not want to spend money on something which is not an absolute necessity. FaxZero gives us one more reason for not buying a fax machine. One can now send a fax for free anywhere in the U.S and Canada using FaxZero’s service.
Apart from the above list, there are some other really cool apps that can help you in getting your life organized.
- RememberTheMilk is one such task management tool.
- HighRise is from the makers of BaseCamp mentioned above. It helps you organize your contacts.
- Harvest can help you maintain your time sheets, invoices, accounts etc…
If you know of better alternatives to these tools please comment and add to this list.