If you’re a freelancer, you’ve hopefully equipped yourself with a smartphone by now. At the very least, they give you the option of receiving your work emails wherever you are, which makes them invaluable to those running their own business. But there are many smartphone apps out there that will benefit freelancers too – here’s a rundown of our personal favourites (we’re Android users, but most of these are also available on the iPhone):
1. Evernote – If you ever need to record snippets of info on the fly, get Evernote. With a user-friendly interface and optional widget for quick access, it allows you to type in the important information and save it to your online account where it will remain indefinitely, so you can recall it at a later date. It’s password-protected too, so the information is kept safe at all times, making Evernote a more efficient option than jotting things down on sticky notes!
2. PayPal – If you run a small business, chances are you accept PayPal payments. This excellent app allows you to send, withdraw and request money just by using your phone. It also lets you split a bill, donate money and add a card to your account. It’s fast too – in fact, it’s quicker than using the PayPal website and we feel that its layout is more user-friendly.
3. eBay Calculator – This is useful for small business owners and not just those who run eBay shops. Why? Because it comes with a PayPal calculator, enabling you to work out what PayPal will charge you when you’re at quoting stage. Very useful, particularly if you like to pass this charge on to the customer.
4. Realcalc – There are loads of calculator apps out there, but this is our favourite. It has all the functions you’d ever need and it looks great too. Much better than the stock Android calculator app, and worth the small asking price.
5. Business Calendar – The most comprehensive calendar app available on Android. With 11 different widget design themes and endless options in terms of layout, you’ll never tire of tinkering with it. More importantly, however, you can sync it with Google Calendars and Outlook, so whether you’re at home in front of your computer or on a train using your phone, you can access and update your calendar instantly at the touch of a button (or the poke of a screen).
6. Documents To Go – As proofreaders, this is a particular favourite of ours. Documents To Go allows you to open and edit Word documents on your phone, which is incredibly useful in our line of work. We wouldn’t actually edit a document from our phone as it would be too cumbersome, but it’s great to be able to open a document, have a quick look and then check the word count. It means we can give our customers instant quotes wherever we are! Documents To Go also allows you to access and edit Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and other documents. Impressively, 100% of the original formatting is retained too. An invaluable app for freelancers.
7. Dropbox – The Daddy of file-sharing websites has a nifty free smartphone app to boot. Download Dropbox to both your desktop and your mobile and any file you upload to your account will automatically save to both your computer and your phone,as well as the Dropbox website! For the jet-setting freelancer who needs to transfer work-related files online, the Dropbox app is a godsend.
8. Mighty Text – One of the main benefits of a smartphone for freelancers is the ability to access emails remotely, but what if you also receive texts from customers but don’t always have your phone to hand? That’s where Mighty Text comes in! Mighty Text is a free app that syncs with your computer (via your Google account) so that whenever you get a text, the message flashes up on your destkop. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s pretty clever and we like it!
9. Barclays Pingit – It hasn’t really taken off yet, but Pingit will surely be one of the hottest apps for freelancers in the not-too-distant future. Customers who have the app, regardless who they bank with, can send you money directly to your account just by tapping in your phone number. If you’re a Barclays customer, it’s also a great way to check your bank balance when you’re out and about.
10. Hootsuite – If you have a website for your freelance business, you’re probably utilising the major social media channels to spread the word and get new clients. Of course, it’s not enough to just have a Facebook business page these days – you need to be on Twitter as well, and possibly LinkedIn and Google +. With so many social networks to keep up with these days, it can be a nightmare trying to be a prolific marketer across all these platforms. Luckily, Hootsuite allows you to manage your accounts under one roof, making social networking less of a drag and more of a hoot!
So they are our favourite smartphone apps at the moment. What are yours?
About Nick Jones
Nick Jones is a proofreader, editor and copywriter. He is the owner of Full Proof, an editorial company based in Cheshire, UK.