Running a Freelance Business for the past 5 years has taught me the importance of being efficient and productive and if a service or application aids me in achieving that, then I’m interested. Over the years I’ve tested numerous services and web applications to refine how I work, both in my business and with my clients.
I’m now sharing with you a selection of the online services that I’ve come to rely on:
I signed up with Wufoo late last year as a more efficient way of collecting data from visitors and clients. I use Wufoo on both my blog (a simple contact form) and as a Web Design and Logo Design Worksheet for prospective clients. The theme customisation is fantastic, meaning as I redesigned this site, I was able to redesign my Wufoo Forms to tie in with the new design and branding.
Use: Beautiful, Customisable Forms
I’ve tried most Design Collaboration tools and services and always felt they were lacking in some way….and then I found Prevue. It’s simple and efficient and allows for private feedback and re-branding. The interface for annotating projects and adding comments is excellent. I’ve now used this with several clients who have all remarked on how easy it was to use.
Use: Simple Project Feedback
Curdbee is the perfect invoicing solution for me and features Time Tracking, Expenses and Dashboard Reports. It doesn’t have thousands of unnecessary features, it’s intuitive and elegant and allows me to spend less time accounting and more time working. I’m such a big fan of the service Curdbee even featured me on their blog!
Use: Invoicing and Estimating
Dropbox is a vital of my business as it allows me to sync my calenders, passwords (using 1Password) and backup my project files. It also doubles as a version control system for important files. Working across multiple machines and devices is straightforward as Dropbox keeps everything in sync.
Use: Version Control & Syncing
CloudApp is small but perfectly formed, it’s a quick, reliable and secure way to share images, links and files. Some would argue Dropbox and CloudApp are so similar you don’t need to use both, however I prefer to use Dropbox for permanent, shared folders and syncing while CloudApp is used for temporary, screenshots, bookmarks and one-time file sharing.
Use: Storage & File Sharing
6. Google Apps
My email, documents and calendars all run through Google Apps. I’ve found using this approach has streamlined my setup with zero maintenance and as everything is hosted by Google I have access to all the services on the road. The continual improvements in all the services and ease of use make this a no-brainer.
Use: Email & Documents
Running a business that has international clients means providing a method of online payment is essential. While PayPal isn’t my favorite service, there isn’t a viable alternative that suits all of my clientbase. The fact that CurdBee ties in with my PayPal account by offering clients the chance to pay straight from their invoice is it’s one saving grace.
Use: Online Payments
8. Teux Deux
While TaskPaper is one of my favorite organisation apps, I’ve found TeuxDeux has become an essential part of running my business. It’s simple, beautifully designed and in combination with the iPhone app, it’s unbelievably useful. I start with a weekly overview and check off tasks as they are completed.
Use: Task Organisation
In an upcoming article I’ll share with you the (Mac) applications I use on a daily basis.