Freelance Starter Pack

Figured I’d just do a roundup of tools I use to freelance; all of them are pretty liberal with what they let you do on a free single-person plan! Which is exactly what you want as a new freelancer.

ZipBooks - invoicing and expense tracking app; very generous free tier. The expense tracking was also super useful when tax season came around and I needed to itemize my way to a refund. They do have occasional downtime and I think they’re a small operation, but support is really responsive and I have very few complaints.

ClickUp - task tracker with the ability to invite guests to your workspaces—I have clients join boards for their project so that we can collaborate on the to-do list and they can review items I’ve moved to the “done” section. I think there’s a limit on spaces as a free user but I have no idea what it is. Also has the ability to time track and has a built-in stopwatch feature on tasks.

Goblin Tools - helps break down tasks, rewrite things in a more formal manner, and estimate how long things will take you.

Freelancers Union - not per se a union union, but they’ve got guidance on writing contracts, do advocacy work, and offer some healthcare options to members. Membership is free. Note that I don’t recommend joining their medical care option unless you’re really sure you’re not going to have a big health problem (and can you ever be really, really sure?) because it’s not insurance, it’s just a telehealth service. You can however get discounts on vision and dental through them.

Opolis - Basically a service that provides some of the centralization/corporate benefits of working at a company… but to freelancers. I haven’t tried it, but it seems like you can get a Cigna PPO through them that may be better than what you can get from state health exchanges, depending on who you are and where you are. (My exchange BCBS plan is cheaper, though, so comparison-shop.)

Your Local Library - for real, though. If you check your local library’s website, they often have education and career resources available through them for free. Mine has access to Udemy’s subscription plan; the nearest major city has free access to LinkedIn Learning.

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