We all have our favourite apps to make life a bit easier, even if it is a bank online application that you resisted first but then, after a sequence of lockdowns, followed by the permanent closure of several financial branches, you were forced to adopt a digital approach to the way you do things.
But when it comes to work, especially for freelancers, apps are an everyday need that makes it almost impossible to imagine life before we had these tools that optimize work.
According to a report on global freelancer income published in 2020 by online money transfer and digital payment services Payoneer, 30% of workers in the field of web and graphic design work for themselves, either as a freelancer or fronting a small business.
Charlotte Burke, a UK-based freelance writer and designer who set up a blog featuring travel and spirituality content is one of those professionals fomenting the increasingly popular gig economy.
“By far my most heavily used app is Canva. It has absolutely everything you need to create all your marketing content, videos, and graphics. It also has incredible high-quality royalty-free images and stock videos – even music. And the fact you can use a vast majority of it for free is incredible too”, says Burke. “If you are creative enough you can get everything you need online using sites like Canva”, says Charlotte about the Australian graphic design platform founded in 2012. Canva saw a $40 billion valuation last year, according to Forbes, and often popped-up while I was interviewing freelancers for this piece.
“I use Canva multiple times daily to create blog and social media images. I find it a simple and easy to use drag and drop tool for creating visual content, even though I am not talented in graphic design at all. It is helpful that I can save brand colours and fonts to make it faster when branding my content.”, explains money and lifestyle blogger Victoria Sully.
Even apps that were not initially devised as a work tool are proving to be essential.
Marketing professor and behavioural economist Michal Strahilevitz is prone to using voice messages and notes to avoid typing, whenever she can.
“Don’t laugh but I use WhatsApp to communicate to all my research and teaching assistants. I honestly have way too much typing in my life and the fact that I can record messages anytime without bothering them is fantastic. Some of my research assistants like to also record messages and others like to type and WhatsApp gives us both options. As proof of how seriously addicted I am to WhatsApp, I tell my research assistants before I hire them that they will have to get WhatsApp if they’re going to work with me. It just makes my life so much easier that I can record a voice message from my phone without having to deal with an outgoing message or worry that I’m calling them too early in the morning.” Says Strahilevitz, a PhD who is also the director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business at Saint Mary’s College of California.
“When I have done consulting work, I’ve also used WhatsApp to communicate with clients. Obviously, the deliverable is a written document and/or an oral presentation, but for asking and answering questions, I think WhatsApp is the best tool there is, especially when I am dealing with clients overseas in different time zones. Not only does WhatsApp allow me to make calls for free but it allows me to leave messages based on my own schedule without having to worry about what time it is where they are. When I lived in Australia and New Zealand a few years ago, I honestly don’t think I would have survived without this app”, analyses Michal Strahilevitz.
“I believe that in 2022, the most heavily used app or software for freelancers is likely to be one that helps manage their time effectively. With more and more people working from home, there is an increasing need for apps and software that can help individuals stay on track and avoid distractions” forecasts Inez Stanway, a former elementary school teacher for over a decade who now runs an online learning template and craft platform. “While there are many different options available, some of the most popular ones include RescueTime, Freedom, and FocusMe. All of these apps allow users to block out distracting websites and apps, set timers, and track their productivity. In addition, they provide detailed reports that can help users see where they are spending the most time and identify areas where they need to improve. As a result, these apps can be incredibly valuable for freelancers who want to make the most of their time”, says Stanway.
“The app that I use on a daily basis is Asana, and my business would crumble without it. It’s an essential tool for managing my schedule and keeping on top of my monthly clients”, explains Scollon.
Freelance voice actor John Lano, from Minneapolis, USA, also has a preferred app to monitor and organize his daily routine.
“As a full-time, freelance voice actor I use Notion daily to organize my audition and project timelines, blog post and social media content ideas, invoicing status, and daily to-do lists. It’s literally my one-stop app for organizing both my work and personal life. You can also invite a client, colleague, or family member to collaborate on a task with you. It’s powerful, customizable, and can be used across pretty much any device you have”, explains Lano who has lent his voice to companies worldwide including American telecom AT&T and sports equipment brand UnderArmour.