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10 Free Tools for Your Freelance or Marketing Business

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Back in 2013, I posted about the many free resources available to freelancers. Three years later, I’ve found still more free resources and tools that can help out freelancers, marketers, and budding entrepreneurs. Without further ado, here they are:

1. Pixlr

This photo-editing program is a close rival to PhotoShop but, unlike PhotoShop, is completely free to sign up for and use. The program offers two web app versions, the Editor version and Express version. With Express, you can apply quick fixes, stickers and filters. With Editor, you can do more detailed alterations, overlays and special effects (like pinching).

Pixlr can also be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices as an app.

2. Excel Online

Spreadsheets help you do everything from tracking your finances to keeping tabs (literally) on subcontractors. Microsoft Excel costs $10/month on a subscription basis, but you can get almost the same thing for free with Excel Online.

Because this program works within your Internet browser, its files are compatible with both Windows and iOS systems.

3. Pablo by Buffer

This free program enables you to craft your own messages and post them on a background image provided by either you or Pablo. And as far as royalty-free images are concerned, Pablo has over 600,000 of them to choose from. You can also upload and use your own.

Once you create your custom image and add text, that file can be uploaded to Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter directly. You can also send your file out via email.

4. SlimTimer

As a freelancer or marketer, you probably work on several different projects over the course of the day. Keeping track of your projects is a challenge if you must report your work hours to different clients.

With SlimTimer, you can create different tasks in a separate toolbar area, then click on each task whenever you start or stop working on it. After you click on a task, a timer will start running on it. When you click that task again, the timer will stop. The “multitracking” reports you create using SlimTimer can eventually be sent to Excel or through your email account to your clients.

5. VectorStock

This tool offers over 40,000 free vector images, graphics, icons, etc. that you can download at no cost. There are also over 5 million vectors priced at just $1/vector.

The downloaded vector files arrive as a zip file that contains an Adobe Illustrator 8.0+ compatible .eps file; some graphic artists will also attach .jpg, .pdf, .ai, .tiff and other file types.

6. Dropbox

Big files eat up your computer’s hard drive; they also kill any emails they are attached to. However, with Dropbox, you can load big files and provide recipients with a single link that gives them access to images, videos, multimedia, etc. Best of all, because your files are stored on Dropbox, you needn’t worry about carrying extra discs or thumb drives with you when you travel.

Once you’ve added files to your Dropbox account, you simply click a button to share them, select your recipients, and pick out their file rights.

The free Dropbox account provides you with 4.25 GB of data space; more is available if you pay a monthly/yearly subscription. However, if your purpose for having a Dropbox account is so you can email vital files to your clients, the free account should be sufficient for your needs. Also, you can delete the files you no longer need.

7. Google Drive

This free resource from the folks at Google offers 15 GB of storage space for your files that you can also share with others in real-time. But that’s not all- on this platform, you can also access and use three file creation programs, including Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. The files created via these Microsoft Suite-like programs are also shareable in real-time. Best of all, any files created using Google Drive are instantly saved on the program.

8. OpenOffice

If you’re not enamored with Google as a document-creation platform, try Apache OpenOffice. This free Microsoft Office-like suite of applications includes Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and Math, enabling you create text files, spreadsheets, multimedia presentations, 3D illustrations, databases and equations, respectively.

You can save and keep your documents on your own hard drive, and all documents are exportable into .pdf.

9. TextExpander

As a freelancer, you’re probably sending lots of emails that have a similar look-and-feel and even identical information. Writing the same content over and again can get tiring. And it’s certainly not the best use of your time.

With TextExpander, you can create sections of text, images, recordings, CSS and more and have these snippets automatically inserted into your emails when you press a few keys. You can even set the program to correct common typos that you make.

10. SlideShare

Great presentations, infographics and documents take days or even weeks to create. So, unless you have a confidential presentation, why hide your work once it’s completed? With the LinkedIn SlideShare program, you can publish your presentations online and even share them through social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

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