Tonight’s presentation, the Freelancer’s Toolbox, was meant to give new (and experienced) freelancers a peek into the tools of the trade that other freelancers use. I polled a bunch of my freelancing friends to find out what they used, and while I expected (and got) a bunch of fancy new tools, I found two things:
- There is no “standard” for doing anything in the freelance world
- More people use low-tech methods for their businesses than I’d expected!
In corporations, “they” in their infinite wisdom, tell you what tools to use in your daily work. As a freelancer, you’re free to choose whatever solution works for you, even if that solution is post-it notes and your email’s inbox for project management! As a freelancer myself, starting out in the software world, we were forced to use Microsoft Project for our needs. As a freelancer, that’s like using a bulldozer to crush a bug when a well-placed heel would do. I find that Excel- yes, Microsoft Excel, is fantastic for most of my task-driven project needs. Many other people agree.
Outlook/email is the standard for many people for contact management.
Here is the list of programs we mentioned in our presentation, and others that users contributed during the presentation! (several of which I’m excited to try!)
nowdothis.com (iPhone only?) sequential todos
HiRise is integrated with iCal?
how to deal with non-paying or late-paying clients –
* offer a deal for a discount if they pay up front
* if you get into trouble, be ANNOYING & PERSISTENT to non-paying clients, and you will be the one that gets paid first!
* to account for an inevitable discount, pad your rates a bit at first too
gmail labs – inbox sectioning
google checkouts (used to be cheaper, now on par with paypal)
BetterProjects – Dana’s company
blellow.com – more sharing and confirming
ISOLATOR PROGRAM FOR MAC – makes everythign else fuzzy on your screen
Here is a list of the programs mentioned in tonight’s presentation:
- Acrobat Connect
- tokbox (web based video conferencing)
- google talk/video
- Other Inbox
- Bubbl.us (brainstorming)
- MixedLink (collaborative writing)
- slideshare.net (put up presentations)
- cloudcontacts.com : send the dude your business cards, he scans them in for you
- prweb.com : will broadcast your PR
- nutshell mail: organizes your email
getsatisfaction.com (user feedback)uservoice.com (user feedback, often used to gather info from groups, like what seminars people want to see)
- Tweetdeck (has groups, filters, but takes a lot of screen real estate)
- Twhirl (filters)
- nambu (has groups, but a little slow)
- tweetie for Mac (fast, multi-threaded conversations, no groups)
- Seesmic desktop (like Twhirl + groups)