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7 Online Services and Tools for Home-Based Workers and Freelancers

Aug 12, 2020 10:40:00 PM

Working from home, a cafe, or a cozy rented cottage by the beach is a dream for many people. Lately, however, it’s becoming the norm. More and more people are now shifting to doing remote work, and we’re seeing increased preference for home-based employment versus working in an office.

If you’re in a similar situation, or if you’d like to make a transition to a freelancing or a home-based career, you should know that the switch requires some adjustment. Sure, there are a lot of very tempting perks, but be prepared to face some challenges as well.

The good news is that you CAN become a successful remote or freelance worker, and this guide will help you get there.

Below, we take a look at must-have online tools and services that every freelancer and home-based worker should have so they can enjoy better productivity, more streamlined processes, stress-free payments, and more.

1. Online Productivity Tools

Optimizing the time you spend working is valuable. While most available data at the time of writing shows that remote workers tend to be more productive, there are a few who run into significant trouble managing their time and trying to focus.

Simple resources that can help you track the time spent with clients, arrange virtual meetings, and organize daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, thoughts, and ideas will make you feel more in control of your work.

Some tried and tested productivity tools you can check out include the following:

  • Evernote - Powerful tool you can use both offline and online to store ideas, keep track of tasks, and even collaborate with your team.
  • Focus Booster - Helps you stay focused on work using the Pomodoro technique, all while helping you better understand how you are using your time.
  • I Done This - An online tool that is centered around achieving results for yourself and your team.
  • Noisli - If you like background sounds, this online service will help you relax and keep your mind on the task at hand.
  • MindMeister - For remote workers who prefer creating visual representations rather than take boring notes. This online mind mapping tool is great for dumping and then organizing ideas.

2. E-Wallet

Some remote workers and freelancers are always on the road, while others are cooped up in their homes for weeks at a time. This can make going to the bank to take out or deposit money a nuisance.

Fortunately, we can now turn to online payment services to help us receive and move cash without ever going to the bank to cash a cheque or send payment. Many refer to this type of service as an e-wallet or electronic wallet.

An e-wallet is something every remote worker should have. Not only will it make it easier for you to get paid, but this also opens up more opportunities to make payment interactions without ever using cash.

If you don’t have a website yet but need to send an invoice to a client overseas or in a different part of the country, for instance, PayMaya Digital Invoice can help. You can bill clients who hire you or even customers who buy from you. And best of all, you can bill any client through any messaging app by activating a payment link and then sending it to them. For your invoices, you can choose from a wide selection of clean and customizable templates to save yourself some time and even add branding elements to your documents.

PayMaya Checkout is another online service that lets freelancers, home-based workers, and even small business owners accept payments with ease. With PayMaya Checkout, your website or app can directly accept payments made through credit and debit cards, e-wallets, and other emerging payment solutions..To use PayMaya’s Checkout service, you’ll need a website that runs on Shopify, Magento or uses WooCommerce.

Check out the following pages to find out how you can install PayMaya Checkout on these platforms:

3. Project Management

Staying on top of your own to-do list is challenging enough. Managing an entire team’s tasks and coordinating their responsibilities, however, can be even more complicated.

The good news is that, with certain tools, it is totally doable regardless of where you’re working from.

Trello and Asana are some of the popular names when it comes to online project management. They also offer free plans, which do have certain limitations but are still helpful for tracking and managing projects.

Another well-known project management tool to check out is Basecamp. On this one platform alone, you already have access to several core functions such as messaging, collaboration, task management, reporting, scheduling, file sharing, and more.

Other project management tools worth trying include the following:

  • nTask - A task and project management tool that lets you organize meetings, timesheets, tasks, and projects with ease.
  • Casual - Turns projects into visual workflows; very intuitive to use.
  • Omniplan - One of the best project management tools for Mac and iOS users.
  • Todoist - Simple to use, keeps everyone on track, and is available on 10 different platforms for easier collaboration.

4. Remote Desktop Access

If you need to help remote teammates who are having technical issues, you might lose a lot of time (and hair) giving instructions or making a lengthy video guiding through the process step by step. Sometimes, what you need is a remote desktop access tool.

You may have heard of TeamViewer, for example. Up until a couple of years ago, it was the go-to remote access platform for companies and individuals. Today, however, you have plenty of other options to choose from. At the end of the day, it all boils down to which features you can and can’t live without.

Chrome Remote Desktop and Microsoft Remote Desktop, for instance, are both worth considering. With Chrome, you can access the host even if Chrome isn’t running or if the other user isn’t logged into their account. There are no chat functions, though, so it’s better as an entry-level option. As for Microsoft Remote Desktop, it’s similar to Chrome and lets you access a host anywhere in the world. However. there are drawbacks to free tools such as this one. The first is that you can’t access a Mac from a Windows PC, and the second is that there’s no file-sharing or other options that offer more convenient IT assistance.

Other remote desktop access tools you should look into are the following:

  • RemotePC - Allows for file-sharing and can handle a large number of connections. Ideal for freelancers and even business users.
  • RemoteUtilities - Has powerful features all packed in one tool. Offers session recording and multi-device compatibility. An affordable yet value-packed tool that’s specifically made for Windows.
  • Parallels Access - A great option if you’re looking for a remote access tool that’s fast, reliable, and intuitive to use. Instead of showing your desktop screen on your smartphone or tablet, you get a mobile-friendly version so you can comfortably access computers from your mobile device.

5. Video Conferencing and Real-Time Communication Tools

Whether you’re just at home or halfway around the world, real-time and video conferencing communication tools are a great way to keep communication alive and strong within remote teams.

Whether you need a simple chat space or a powerful online meeting platform, communication tools should be used by each member of a remote business to create a successful borderless culture between freelancers, home-based workers, and clients.

There are hundreds of online tools and services to choose from, but the top contenders most people and companies use today are the following:

  • Skype - A dynamic collaboration tool for online business meetings with powerful features. If you’re using Skype for Business, meetings can easily accommodate as many as 250 people and have advanced calling options to better control the flow of the conversation.
  • Slack - If your goal is to streamline work and team productivity using a messaging platform, Slack is one of the best tools for that. It’s easy to access and share files on Slack, and you can also automate mundane tasks so information exchange is easier for everyone in the team.
  • Zoom - You’ve probably heard about and seen how Zoom is the popular choice lately for online video conferencing. One of the clear upsides of using Zoom is its multiple platform compatibility, which means meetings are still smooth even if team members are using different devices to join in.
  • Google Hangouts - If convenience and intuitive features are what you need to work as a freelancer or home-based worker, then Google Hangouts is a solid choice. It’s also fully integrated with G Suit so you can join meetings through your Google Calendar events or using email invites.
  • Microsoft Teams - Thinking of hosting webinars with thousands of attendees? Microsoft Team can accommodate up to 10,000 people in a single meeting space. The platform also has other features that are useful for remote teams such as scheduling bookings, note-taking, screen-sharing, file sharing, and more.

6. Writing and Editing Tools and Services

Even if you are not a professional copywriter, journalist, or story writer, creating emails and reports that are free of spelling and grammatical errors can help you look more professional.

Before, you would need to hire a writing assistant to constantly check your work. Today, however, you’re spoiled for choice at the many tools and services that you can access online to check, not just your grammar and spelling mistakes, but also the tone and clarity of your writing.

Grammarly is one such tool that writers and other remote workers love to use. It’s essentially an electronic editor and it’s also available as a plug-in that checks your writing on Google Docs, Gmail, and even on social media sites. Grammarly is used often to check grammar and spelling, but the paid version offers advanced features that can really polish up your writing.

Another tool to add to your writing arsenal is Hemingway Editor. There’s plenty to love about Hemingway, including its writing analysis feature that tells you if your sentences are simple or too complex for most people. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of highlighted text when using Hemingway — it’s a great tool for making your writing more bold and concise.

Another indispensable tool for freelancers and remote workers is Google Docs. It’s one of the most widely used online word processors and offers easy sharing and editing features.

Other tools that can help you appear more professional when writing include the following:

  • Power Thesaurus - A powerful and fast online thesaurus for writers or anyone who wants to improve their writing.
  • CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer - Gives you a score of the quality of your article headlines and prediction of its potential to garner social media shares and SEO value.
  • OneLook Dictionary Search - If you want to see related words and definitions all in one place, OneLook is the site to use. You’ll also get a nice selection of alliterations that you can use for coming up with company slogans or taglines.
  • Calmly Writer - If you need a distraction-free and minimalist place to write, Calmly Water is worth checking out as well.

7. Time Tracking Services and Platforms

Keeping track of time worked by employees remotely can be a challenge, especially if you allow them to input this data themselves. To reduce stress and hassle, you might want to consider using time tracking tools instead.

This isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer being left alone to take care of work, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If, however, it’s crucial to keep track of time spent on a project, especially for billing purposes, then you might want to take a look at the following tools:

  • Zoho Projects - Technically, Zoho is a project management tool but it also offers a time tracking feature so you know how much time a team has dedicated to a project in a given day, week, or month.
  • TSheets - If you need something more user-friendly, TSheets might be the answer you’re looking for. You get a decent selection of customization options, as well as deep reporting and an open API for integrating third-party services.
  • Time Doctor - An in-depth employee monitoring tool that keeps everything simple and functional. The interface might not get you excited but it does what it’s supposed to.

Takeaway

Finding the best technology can make a world of difference for your freelance or home-based work. Armed with the tools and services mentioned above, you are sure to save a lot of time, effort, and stress.

Furthermore, because we’re witnessing a massive shift from office to remote working. We might be seeing more people competing for remote jobs in the next couple of years or so, which is why there’s no better time than now to secure the right tools and services.

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