Will Brennan
Will BrennanDesigner

What are the best tools for doing freelance creative work?

Up to this point I've only ever done full-time work as a designer, but am now dipping my toes into freelance work on the side. What are the best tools for getting started, i.e. tax tools, invoices, time tracking, etc. Is there a one-stop solution for all of this?
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18 recommended
  1. 32
    AND CO

    Invoicing, Expenses, Contracts & Payments for freelancers

    Armand Jay
    Armand JayFounder at Artwxrk.com & Student at CSU Β· Written
    Super simple interface that does everything you need like contracts, time tracking, and invoicing!
    Eva Reder
    Eva RederGrowh Hacker, Traveler, Founder Β· Written
    And Co does more than a lot of other software and ever since they got acquired by Fiverr it's totally free. I used to pay 9.99 USD a month for a similar product with less functionality. Love their contracts & proposals feature!
    • Matt N
      Matt NIndependent Designer/Developer in LA

      I've tried every time-tracking/invoicing app there is for freelancers, but when I finally tried AND CO I was instantly sold!

      Both the web app and mobile app are a delight to use. They are fast and just work without any hiccups. The features are great and have helped me save a ton of time on admin work. Sending an invoice or a contract is a breeze. You also get a real, live human to ask for help! Need to invoice a client? Have a question about your taxes? Simply send a message to your CO and they will always have your back!

      Their dev team is also great! I requested a couple features and they were released within a few weeks. That showed me that the team at AND CO listen to their customers and give me confidence to use this app for the long-term.

      It's not often that I fall in love with an app. AND CO is the exception. Highly recommended.

      Comments (0)
    • Makes it super easy to invoice in a beautiful simple way that clients love. Offering credit card, PayPal and bank ACH payments really feels like it helps me get paid faster and looks professional. It's also a breeze to confirm that I've received payment and is helpful to get reminders of outstanding invoices. Love hearing the chime when money rolls in.


      Can't believe I forgot to mention the support crew. I'm so used to banking/financial apps making service an afterthought. Whenever I have a question or issue they're on it within minutes and always eager to help.

      Comments (0)
  2. 21

    The project management tool that grows with you

    Zenkit is very flexible to fullfill various needs of freelancer. For instance, use Zenkit as tasks/to-do planner, project management, CRM for invoices, file archive, and many more. You can switch views from Kanban, Table, To-do lists, calendar, mind map, and upcoming Gantt chart! Zenkit also integrates with different time trackers for your needs!
    • Using Zenkit for a few months now and can't see myself going back to my old tool. The team has done a phenominal job of building an application that addresses the need of power users, light users, and everything in between.

      Comments (0)
    • Edited my review to reflect the awesome response time to problem I encountered. Incredible, hard working team and their app reflects the care and dedication they have put into Zenkit. Keep up the great work, Zenkit!

      Comments (2)
  3. 20

    Contracts, invoices, and expenses for digital freelancers

    Kesava Mandiga
    Kesava Mandiga15Curious cat. Writer. Explorer. Β· Written
    Hello Bonsai has an entire suite of tools for freelancers. Contracts, time tracking, design, project management, invoicing and so on. πŸ™Œ
  4. 14
    Awesome Design Tools

    The best design tools for everything.

    Valia6All Problem Solver at FlawlessApp.io Β· Written
    Valia made this product
    Awesome Designs Tools is the most comprehensive collection of design tools: more than 500 tools in 35 different sections. Hope you'll find here great tools for doing freelance creative work, as well :)
    • Ahmed
      AhmediOS/macOS Engineer. Founder of Flawless

      I'm the part of the team and can be a bit biased. But this is the biggest design tools list so far with the best tools, explanation of the design tasks and huge variate of free offerings. I open it daily and use for my design tasks.

      Comments (0)
    • I saw how Lisa & Valia made this project. Inspired to see more and more tools done by women in tech!

      Comments (0)
  5. 10

    Automatic productivity & time tracking for macOS

    Ivan Mir
    Ivan Mir4maker of Qbserve time tracking app Β· Written
    Ivan Mir made this product
    Qbserve (our app) tracks project time automatically and generates invoices from collected data. It also gives real-time feedback on your productivity – a very important feature for a person new to freelancing and working from home.
    • Kiran Kunigiri
      Kiran KunigiriA guy who makes cool stuff.

      This app is pretty awesome. They made it so detailed that when I walked away from my laptop for 20 minutes, instead of just logging whatever app I was on, it asked me if I was eating, sleeping, exercising, etc. since it knew I was away from the computer

      It logs every single website and app you visit, and almost everything has been categorized for you. You can even make your own categories and projects to specifically log as well. At the end, I can also look at everything I did with charts and a pie chart showing my overall time spent categorized into productive, neutral, and distracted, which is a really awesome way to get a quick overview.

      Comments (0)
    • Ted Han
      Ted HanTechnical Lead, DocumentCloud

      Other activity trackers and systems for keeping organized have always stressed me out a ton. Qbserve is the first activity tracker i've used that i don't feel hung up or bad about using through the entire cycle of use. There are periods where i will stop tracking for a while, but Qbserve is always easy to jump back into and use. You get immediate feedback about what's going on, and the color tracking in the dock icon gives a great visual feedback mechanism as a reminder for how on track you've been (or not).

      Classification has gotten better, and the ability to triage stuff yourself is great. I wish there were some way to segment up my twitter use into work related, and time wasting, but that's my only complaint.

      Comments (0)
  6. 3
    The New Freshbooks

    Ridiculously easy to use invoicing and accounting

    Kesava Mandiga
    Kesava Mandiga15Curious cat. Writer. Explorer. Β· Written
    I haven't used this one, so it is based on feedback from other freelancers. One stop accounting solution that does pro invoices and more.
    • Matt Pliszka
      Matt PliszkaCEO & co-founder @ pickSaaS.com

      No matter if you're a self-employed person looking for an accounting solution or a small/medium enterprise co-operating with you accountant, FreshBooks makes accounting much easier to handle.

      Comments (0)
    • Victor Lukas
      Victor LukasMarketing Manager at Secret Recipe Cakes

      ave a tool that is responsible for accounting and payments in a precise way, correct and pleasing to customers, because with their bills templates you have personalization, and give the touch to your service.

      Comments (0)
  7. Ayush Mittal
    Ayush Mittal28bro @boombro, Founder RefR ✌ · Written
    I used Upwork earlier and Fiverr for my freelance work. Apart from its database of 1.5 million clients, Upwork is excellent. It lets you set up different client accounts within your freelancer account along with powerful reporting tools for every project. It accommodates both short- and long-term projects, hourly or per-project work and expert-level and entry-level engagements. What is more - timesheets, time analyzer, earnings by a client, lifetime earnings, logs, history, etc.
    Comments (1)Share
  8. 2

    Simple Online Time Tracking Software

    Kesava Mandiga
    Kesava Mandiga15Curious cat. Writer. Explorer. Β· Written
    Harvest makes time tracking easy. Simple and easy to use, it can help keep track of pretty much everything you work on.
    • Great product - we went through several time tracking apps on our journey to use Harvest and this is the best for us.

      The Asana integration is wicked!

      Whilst the UI is ever so slightly dated and some functions can be a little hard to find than they should be but on a whole it is, in fact, very functional and infinitely better than some pretty but clunky app.

      Highly recommended.

      Comments (0)
  9. Anton Sten
    Anton Stenantonsten.com Β· Written
    Anton Sten made this product
    Full disclosure: I'm the author. That said, readers so far have been really satisfied with it and told me it's given them tons of value. For a list of the tools I use, check: https://antonsten.com/tools
  10. 2
    Timing 2

    Automatic time and productivity tracking for Mac.

    Daniel Alm made this product
    When you are a freelancer, you want to focus on doing your best work rather than tracking your time. That's why my app Timing 2 completely automates your time tracking. It observes how you use your Mac, then gives you an overview of that time. Some nice extras: - Timing automatically suggest blocks of time that belong together. That way, you can assign a whole day in just seconds. - Timing can even automatically ask you what you did, as soon as you return to your Mac. Of course all the basics (projects, start/stop timers, reports, exporting, etc.) are handled as well :-)
  11. Celine Carpet
    Celine CarpetProductivity, travel Β· Written
    PDFelement for Mac/windows is a speedy, lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful PDF editing application. Product page: https://pdf.wondershare.com/?utm... And PDFelement also releases a basic version for those people who require to edit pdf in a simple and fast method with an affordable price. PDFelement Pro for Mac-it helps to read, edit, or annotate PDFs, convert PDFs with ease. Convert PDFs to words/text/PPT/EXCEL. It also support OCR(convert image to words) Product page: https://pdf.wondershare.com/pdf-...
  12. Eugen TiΘ™covschi
    Eugen TiΘ™covschiFounder, CCO @ Creator.Design Β· Written
    Eugen TiΘ™covschi made this product
    The Creator helps you create and design better and faster, branded graphic design for your business, your startup or for your clients. Unleash your creativity! You are The Creator! Full & Free Things Included. :)
  13. Levente Szabo
    Levente SzaboCustomer Success at Midori Β· Written
    Levente Szabo made this product
    Create your invoice, quote or project plan or any other documentation in PDF from Jira issues with one click.
  14. 1

    Mute background noise during calls

    Krisp offers a free deep learning tool to completely mute any background noise from the person you are speaking with but also if you are in a noisy area. Especially useful if you have to attend a video conference in an open office space, home with children on the background or any other place with noise you want to eliminate for the other party. The good news, it's compatible with any conferencing app - Zoom, Skype, Slack andd 500 more! One more reason to work from your browser!
    • Melik Karapetyan
      Melik KarapetyanML engineer and backend developer.

      What it does is a magic. It has two modes. The first one does noise cancellation of your speech those sending only your voice to the recipients and does it really really well. The second mode does the opposite. I'm using it for about a week on daily basis.

      Comments (0)
    • alan jones
      alan jonesMentor, BlueChilli & Startmate

      Seems to work quite well. Can sometimes hear a little bit of background conversation in behind the active speaker but only when they're talking. I wonder if the algorithm is affected positively or negatively by something like the beam-forming microphones in my AirPods?

      Comments (0)
  15. 1

    Pay-as-you-go contracts for freelancers

    Jacob Trazire
    Jacob TrazireCEO of Bellicose Β· Written
    Might be what you're looking for. A bit odder as a solution but if you already have a system for finding clients, this is perfect.
    • Giulia Cian Seren
      Giulia Cian SerenGrowth consultant

      I tried Deel after a friend recommended it to me. As a digital marketing consultant, this addresses the challenge to be paid on time perfectly. A few clients are resistant to change but most of them love it too!

      Comments (1)
    • Nana Mark
      Nana MarkSexy Free and Single

      i like it

      Comments (0)
  16. 1

    Ready-made store for freelancers & entrepreneurs

    Marko Islamovic made this product
    Easy to sell one's work - through files and appointment scheduling.
  17. Great pick! Schedule your meetings and appointments with your leads and send them to your website after the booking. Automatically share relevant links of your work with an follow up message from the system. Connect it to Hubspot CRM (both free tools) to have an organized lead management system in place for yourself.
  18. Amy Lockwood
    Amy LockwoodAmy Lockwood Β· Written
    Brand your emails with a professionally designed HTML signature that showcases your business's best contact details and social media profiles to anyone you send an email to. Works with most major email clients.