The pandemic panic might have slowed the freelancing opportunities in the last two months. Still, we have seen a 20-25 percent growth in payments from micro-entrepreneurs, including freelancers and individual-run businesses since April.

What are the factors that are driving remote freelancing? Today businesses are in search of a flexible and feasible alternative for the traditional payroll, which is powering the freelance and remote working economy. 

According to The Economic Times, Internet business companies, information technology, IT-enabled services, startups, hospitality, quick-service restaurants, retail and logistics would get converted to freelance roles over a period of time. 

That means remote working or freelancing will be the next normal for businesses and the world. Some of you will be professionals. Some of you will be new additions to the freelance or remote working economy. And to survive this economic fallout, you need the right tools to be productive.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, companies like Google, Microsoft and Zoom are offering their premium products for free, but they are not the only one.

Free project management tools for freelancers

  • Asana – A popular project management or collaboration tool, Asana helps you manage your team’s tasks, keep track of the progress of freelancers or remote workers. Users can have a complete view of goals, plans and responsibilities in a shared place, and the app is free for up to 15 people
  • Trello – Another popular collaboration tool, Trello is for remote workers who want to have an organised brainstorming session. Trello is a free project management tool that helps freelancers organise whiteboards, attach files, images and share in real-time
  • Loom – If you are working remotely and want to create tutorials, then Loom offers a few benefits for its users. A free plan, record from computer screens and share it with your remote team or clientele. And, all professional plan trials are extended for 30 days. How’s that for productivity?
  • Freedcamp – A straightforward project management software that was created as a free alternative for Basecamp. The dashboard allows you to create unlimited projects, set up project templates add deadlines and targets 
  • Basecamp – If you are a freelancer social media marketer, then this project management tool is all you need. Basecamp provides an all-round solution for managing message boards, cloud storage, to-do lists and many more

Free documents and editing tools for freelancers

  • OpenOffice – An old warhorse and established open-source software that allows freelancers to cover their admin and creative duties. Apache OpenOffice is a free tool that is compatible with many significant suites, reads many file types, and can be used for private, educational, government and public administration, and commercial purposes
  • Photoshop Express – Only for freelance graphics designers who are new or occasionally need to brush up their work or if you think paying for a premium Adobe Photoshop is overkill. Photoshop Express is an online photo editor, best used with an iPad allows quick edits for free
  • Google Docs – The only free alternative for MS Word and Excel that freelancers and remote workers can use. An all-in-one solution to be efficient and productive. Easy workflow management with cloud makes remote collaboration effortless
  • Canva – The popularity of this tool goes beyond Guy Kawasaki. Yeah, Canva users have declared themselves as graphic designers. Blame the free tutorials to create a beautiful image, videos and documents
  • Behance – Created for freelancer designers and copywriters who want to showcase their portfolios. A recommended option for freelancers who don’t want to deal with website building cost 
  • Evernote – From meeting notes, web pages, projects and to-do lists, Evernote is your ultimate pad for anything you don’t want to forget. Use the browser plugin to save and share files and webpages, forward emails, screenshots or any impromptu ideas. Well, you can dump anything and organise effortlessly

Free cloud storage tools

  • DropBox – Freelancers can avail DropBox’s free subscription for up to three months. NGOs and teachers that are working from home can use DropBox and Hellosign to adapt accordingly
  • Google Drive – An alternative to DropBox that provides more flexibility and versatility for a freelancer. Pulse, you can use Google Suite to manage your workflow better

Free social media tools for freelancers

  • Hootsuite – The professional plan of Hootsuite is now available for small businesses and non-profit organisations. This productivity application will help you to manage social media accounts, engage with your clients and communities. 

Also, users can get free access to various training for social media management which can help create compelling content and manage communication

  • Buffer – A smart and free social media tool that fits into your browser and helps users manage their social accounts, schedule posts and find shareable content from the web
  • Tweetdeck – This powerful web-based app is entirely free! It allows users to manage and monitor your Twitter presence. For example, view tweets from the accounts you follow, schedule messages from different accounts

Free premium offerings for freelancers 

  • Zoom – The app has a pandemic dedicated user support page for businesses, freelancers and remote workers. The app’s free version allows users to conduct meetings for 40 minutes with almost 100 people
  • Google – The search engine giant has offered its premium video conferencing tool for businesses and schools to stay connected during the pandemic. Users can also use Hangouts and Meet with 250 participants, record, and save in their Google drive
  • Salesforce – The company is providing a COVID-19 care response solution that provides free access to technology for emergency response teams, call centres, and health systems responding to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Slack – True to their motto, ‘Wherever the work happens’, Slack is providing free plans to teams that are working remotely. Interested people can receive the free version of Slack by emailing covid@slack.com

Writing tools for freelancers

  • Grammarly – If you are a sucker for proofreading blogs, presentation or scripts, then you have landed in the right place. Grammarly fixes silly eros, punctuations, suggests synonyms and everything an editor does
  • Yoast SEO – This plugin is a must-have if you are a freelancer and use WordPress for your website. It simplifies onside SEO implementation, handling redirects and generating XML sitemaps

Conclusion

There are uncountable tools for better productivity, project management, graphic designing, writing, coding, scheduling finance, legal help and many more. But choosing the right tool for your purpose will define your path. 

The ease of lockdown, businesses willing to hire freelancers, remote working are all signs of better flexibility. But to ace productivity, it’s essential to create regular communication habits within the organisation. Whereas, working from home and freelancing work models will give companies to build goal-oriented teams.

“Remote work, and the talented freelancers who work remotely, will increasingly become the norm,” said Hayden Brown, CEO, Upwork in an interview with a business magazine. “The trends supporting this started well before the current crisis and may be accelerated by the changes everyone is making to adapt to new realities.”

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When I'm not gushing over World of Warcraft or playing Witcher you'll find me strumming my six strings and minting rhymes.

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