Being a freelancer is running your own business, and to do it properly you need the right tools! These are ten apps I use to run my blogs and freelance for online publications, including tools for marketing and promotion, idea management, research, recording interviews, time tracking, and invoice making, etc.
If I were only able to keep one app on my iPhone, it would be Evernote. I use it ALL THE TIME.
For my writing, I use Evernote to keep track of quotes, pitch ideas and places to pitch, book recommendations, even first drafts. I also use Evernote for so many personal functions: wines I want to try, restaurants people recommend, movies I want watch.
An Inc Magazine article explains the founder, Phil Libin’s idea around creating Evernote: “Libin began to think about what a better electronic memory would be like. You could put in information in any form, be it a typed document, a handwritten note, a photo, a webpage, a spoken conversation. And you could instantly get the information into any of your devices on the fly without worrying about how to organize it.”
Pocket is my go to when I find something online I want to remember to come back to. It’s a straightforward app with browser extensions and a great smartphone design. You can also save pages to Pocket right from Safari on an iPhone.
I pull up Pocket in doctor’s offices or on train rides when I have little chunks of time. I could store these things in Evernote, but it’s so easy to save a URL with Pocket, I find it’s worth my while to use the separate app.
See, I have this dilemma. I’m not very good at working from home — I get distracted easily by chores or the promise of a good nap.
I sitting in coffeeshops, energized by the bustle of people coming in and out. But the noise can be distracting! People talking on their cell phones? Ugh, the worst!
Having a good writing playlist sets the mood. I listen to the same music every day as a way of telling my brain that it’s writing time. And Spotify is an easy way of always having that music available. When I DO happen to get tired of my playlist, there are plenty of options for new songs to try out.
Use Trello to keep track of your articles, from ideas to published pieces. It’s also common for editors to use Trello to assign pieces, so it’s a handy little app to get used to. And it’s easy to get used to it. Really really easy to use.
Trello works like an old fashioned idea board with post it notes. Remember theses?
Drag and drop “cards” from one list to another as they advance on their merry little way. Ideas become pitches become assigned articles.
I know, I know … Facebook is a time suck. It’s true. I can easily prevent myself from writing by going down the Facebook wormhole. BUT, it is also the primary site I use to find support as a writer. I use Facebook groups to keep in touch with other writers, find assistance on pitches and see where people are submitting. Whether you are a literary writer, a journalist, a novelist, or any other kind of writer, Facebook is the place to find supportive online community.
In case you didn’t know, this is a WordPress site. So, of course I use the WordPress app every day! I primarily work on my laptop, but the mobile app is surprisingly well-designed. It’s easy to check the stats on my blogs, start new posts, reply to comments, and check out other blogs I follow.
Hootsuite is super helpful when it comes to promoting your pieces. Submit updates to multiple social media profiles at the same time. It’s particularly helpful for Twitter, being able to shrink links and look up Twitter follower’s usernames. Schedule tweets in the future so that you’re actively promoting your work even when you’re not working.
My preference for time tracking, AndCo combines a simple interface for tracking time per project with invoice creation. You can even embed payment options like Paypal into your invoices and send them through the app.
Feedly is simply a feed reader. I started using it after Google Reader was phased out.
You want to be a writer? Read, read, read! Want to know where to pitch articles? Read, read, read! Whether you’re interested in writing for blogs, major news sites, literary journals, you name it … most sites will have RSS feeds. I don’t use Feedly every day. There are so many ways of getting to content, right? But Feedly is a great way of keeping track of lesser known (and/or your favorite) content sites.
10. Tape a Call
I use Tape a Call for all my phone interviews. It’s cheap, and I can upload the interviews to my Google Drive.
I do a test call first to someone I know to make sure the app is working correctly. If you don’t pay for the Pro version (which is a $10 annual subscription), Tape a Call will only record the first five minutes of your calls.