Helpful Resources for Freelancers

Here you’ll find a painstakingly assembled collection of super useful tools, resources and services.

These are my tried and tested resources – but I always love hearing about more – so drop me a line if you have some other favourites.

Some of these are affiliate links – something any good freelancer should be using. They give you the opportunity to earn a little commission by naturally recommending great products and services you love to others who will find them useful.

Increasing Productivity

As a freelancer, you quickly realise that your time is one of the most crucial resources you have. You are responsible for using your time as wisely as possible, and that is a lot easier said than done. With no boss breathing down your neck, procrastination is something all freelancers have to be able to fight off. These tools will help you along the way.

RescueTime

RescueTime DashboardRescueTime is at the top of the list for good reason – it’s probably my favourite tool freelancers can use, and it’s one that will make you money.

With RescueTime, you have no excuses and nowhere to hide. The software runs in the background as you work, watching and recording what you do.

It then charts the data as either productive, unproductive or neutral and breaks down how you spend your time into various reports and graphs.

Simply an unbeatable tool for keeping you accountable – you’ll feel the burning shame whenever you try to log onto social media at the expense of your productivity score, which will start dropping.

The free plan is enough for most people, but I do recommend the paid version if you can – the extra detail, and ability to keep track of your offline time means you really can get an overview of all your working hours. Take the time to set up goals too.

I’ve used RescueTime for over five years now, and I still love it. Most importantly, it makes me more money and makes me considerably more productive and accountable.

Sign up here.

Freedom

Working from home can be tough for many reasons, but one of the main challenges comes with staying focussed.

There is an incredible amount to get distracted by, and our brains are hardwired to look for relief when we face hard, or boring tasks.

Freedom is a simple tool to block time wasting websites, and catching yourself in the act when you flip over to Facebook or Twitter on a productivity-killing whim.

RescueTime also features a useful in-built distraction blocker if you want to limit your app usage.

I like Freedom because you can schedule blocks of time in advance – which means the temptation to aimlessly browse the news or social media before getting started with my day is simply removed for me in the mornings for example.

Try Freedom

 


Books

I love recommendations on good books for freelancers – and I have no shortage of recommendations for you.  I’ve tried to limit this to my favourite five, but I will create a post with much more in soon. I’d love to hear yours too, if there are any you think I’m missing!

The Freelance Manifesto

If you’re even slightly into motion graphics or animation, then you have probably heard of Joey from School of Motion. He has created some fine courses in that field, but his book – The Freelance Manifesto – is great, no matter what field you want to work in.

It includes a fantastic strategy for reaching out to and getting new clients, along with countless other tips and insights.

Take a look

Hyperfocus

I’ve just finished this one, and loved it. As freelancers, we have to multi-task to some extent, but this book makes a great argument to the power of shutting out distractions and focussing on one task at a time to create our best work.

It also talks about the need to rest too. When the mind is recharging it is able to create new connections and solve problems by itself.

Take a look 

Deepwork

Similar to Hyperfocus, this book is making a similar case – we need to use our brainpower better.

Take a look

 
 
The 4 Hour Workweek

Perhaps the most famous book about taking control of your life and living the freelance dream. Some of the content is outdated now, or a little over the top, but if this book doesn’t inspire you to at least give freelancing a shot, nothing will.

Written by Tim Ferris, who also has a great podcast which I would recommend.  

Take a look

Profit First

Handling your finances can be one of the biggest challenges of being freelance. This book breaks down a simple but effective way to divide your income, ensuring you have enough money for everything you need – from taxes, to marketing spend.

Take a look

The Chimp Paradox

I talk a lot about the impact of mindset when it comes to freelancing. 

A lot of the time we are our own worst enemy, because doubt and fear creeps in. Maybe you lower your quote, or feel that all-too-familliar impostor syndrome.

This book is all about controlling the crazy part of your brain, so you can make decisions based on logic and reason, rather than emotion. Great for life in general, as well as business.

Take a look

Audible

I actually find that I’m taking in more and more books via Audible these days.

I often listen to a book while doing some routine work, taking a walk, or travelling.

Get a free audio book by clicking here.

 


Organisational Tools

There are loads of tools out there to save notes and keep your projects on track. I’ve tested plenty and these are my favourites for freelancers who tend to be working independently. 

Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis ...
 
Notion

You might have heard a lot of buzz about Notion, because it has a lot of superfans.

I found it a little confusing at first, but now I couldn’t live without it, and spend a lot of my work time in there. 

Completely flexible to do whatever you want it to, I use it as a glorified to-do list for all of my different projects. I write articles, blogs and notes in it. I even keep my graphical elements in it, and personal details such as shopping lists.

Watch a few tutorials on YouTube and you’ll quickly start to see its power.

Take a look

 

ClickUp

Notion has largely replaced ClickUp for me now, but ClickUp is improving all of the time, and an excellent project management service.

A free (there are paid options) alternative to Asana and Monday.com, it’s really worth checking out.

You can also track time for projects, and share access with clients, which is handy.

Take a look

Podcasts

Being Freelance

Freelancing can be a little lonely at times, but you can always pop on this cheery podcast to listen to Steve chatting away with another freelancer.

Full of insight and advice for freelancers of all disciplines, it’s a great listen.

Take a look

The Futur

Although it is aimed mainly at designers, The Futur has fantastic content for any creative wanting to learn more of the business skills needed to succeed.

Check out the YouTube channel which is full of amazing videos, and give the podcast a listen.

Take a look

Finances

Quickbooks

A super easy way to keep on top of your finances, Quickbooks is a great option with a nice visual overview of your businesses’s current position. 

Take a look

Waves is a free accounting optionWaves

Offering a good service, you can use Waves for free to log your transactions and generate reports. I’ve found it a little more confusing to get my head around than other options – but you can’t complain at the free price tag.

Take a look

 
 
 
Xero

I’ve not actually used Xero, but I have heard good things, and my accountant often recommends it to new clients. Let me know what you think if you try it out 🙂

Take a look

 

Expand your virtual team

You only have so much time – so it can be a great idea to outsource some of your tasks or projects when you need to. Here are my favourite sites for getting jobs done well.

YunoJuno

I recommend signing up for YunoJuno if you can. The site is an exclusive market place for some high quality freelancers and is now UK wide.

I am a member but I also find it useful to recommend clients to YunoJuno when I don’t feel like we’re a good fit. 

Take a look

Fiverr

Fiverr is another option – the idea is simple, you can hire someone to do something for you for just $5. In reality, you will often have to pay more than this – especially if you want something half decent.

Take a look.

Web Hosting

 

Stablepoint is my favourite wesbite hosting option
 
Stablepoint

Web hosting can be an absolute nightmare to put it bluntly! You want to find a relatively small company, but one offering a high quality service and good customer support. Not being able to rely on your website staying online can be so time consuming and stressful as a freelancer.

I used to use TSOHost – a UK based hosting company who were initially great. I found that I was less and less impressed as time went on.

I then found Stablepoint – which was set up by the founders of TSOHost, before they were bought out. And it’s brilliant. Check out the reviews and enjoy stress-free hosting that you can rely on. 

Get a one time, 20% discount using this code – J5GJ6YJFZ8

You can read my full review of Stablepoint here too.

Squarespace

If you just want to get online, and don’t want to worry too much about maintaining your website, then it is hard to beat Squarespace.

A simple drag and drop builder will have you up and running in no time. Be aware that a more WordPress sites, and custom sites can offer you A LOT more flexibility and bang for your buck, however.

If you want to get a simple online presence up and running  – and don’t enjoy the technical side of things, Squarespace can do the job nicely, however.

Take a look here

 

Education and Training

As a freelancer, you need to be keeping on top of your skills, and constantly working on them. Nobody else will push you to do this, so I think it’s worth dedicating some time – and budget to learning new skills and improving. Here are some of my favourite ways to top up my skills:

Masterclass Landing Page

MasterClass

With swish production values and Hollywood A-listers in their ranks, Masterclass is a real big hitter in the online learning space.

There is some great value to be found there, however, and you can learn from people who have been there and actually done it.

It’s particularly great for writers, with countless top authors offering real insights into their processes.

The classes are often less practical, but they can be incredibly inspiring and help you to improve your mindset and confidence. And learn from some experts in other fields to your own, which is great for improving your perspective.

Here are a few of my favourite classes:

 

Skillshare

It’s hard to avoid mention of Skillshare on the internet, but with good reason – it’s a great site for learning practically anything.

While the production may not be as fancy as some places, it’s extremely affordable.

Get started with a free two month trial.

 

CreativeLive

I’m a big fan of Creative Live, and they have some great content for creatives, who often need a bit of a push with the business side of being freelance.

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins has a great course on there if this is something you need a little help with. She also has a great YouTube channel here.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC Video Editing: The Complete Guide

This is a great course for getting over a fear of video editing. Premiere Pro is extremely powerful and easy enough to use once you’ve got the hang of it.

Photography Classes

They have a particularly great selection of courses for budding and experienced photographers.

You can learn everything from food photography to Adobe’s Photoshop CC.

Take a look

Annual Pass

One of the great things about CreativeLive is that you can buy classes and actually own them.

But the annual pass is great value if you’re going to use it. It gives you access to practically the whole library for a set price.

 

Free Design Tools

Canva

Just like Squarespace can help you build a website if you have limited website development knowledge, Canva is the tool to allow non-designers to create nice looking imagery and graphics.

Take a look

Unsplash Website
 
Unsplash

One of the best sites on the internet! Stock imagery can be an expensive outlay, but Unsplash is one of the few places where you can access free imagery.

Links to the author are always appreciated, but not essential. The images are really high quality too.

Take a look

Online Security

NordVPN

As a freelancer, chances are you’ll be working in all kinds of places, from cafes to hotels, libraries and airports…

Using public Wi-Fi makes your data vulnerable. That’s why using a VPN is really important.

NordVPN is my favourite, and it’s super affordable and easy to use.

Take a look here.

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