One of my readers, Dahna M. Chandler at The Stellar Communicator, asked what tools I use to run my freelance business and stay consistent with marketing.
It’s been years since I shared anything like that, so here's the list of the 34 apps and tools I use most often:
The best tools for freelancers
Notion – “Possibility” app where my content database lives. It’s so versatile it’s hard to describe succinctly, but I primarily use it to compose weekly Freelance Cake newsletters here, as well as all of my LinkedIn posts. All of the planning and process docs my assistant and I use also live here.
Podia – Learning management system I use to house Freelance Cake courses and other digital products; also use this to manage my affiliate program
SendOwl – Shopping cart app I use to create payment links for products when there’s a really specific use case that Podia can’t cover
Palladio – App we use to design the Freelance Cake newsletter before uploading the various pieces to ConvertKit
ConvertKit – I use the ConvertKit platform to send all of my newsletters. They also host dozens of landing pages for my freebies and lead magnets and deliver various email sequences and email courses to my subscribers.
Hypefury – This is the tool I use for social scheduling: both LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator – From time to time, I’ll fork over the cash for a month or two of access to the Sales Navigator tool and will use the advanced search functionality to assemble a list of prospective clients.
Dux-Soup – This is the Chrome extension I use to export the LinkedIn profiles I save in Sales Navigator as a .csv file, which I then upload to GDrive for further data entry.
Hunter.io – This is one of several email discovery tools I’ve used when I’m needing to find email addresses for a company or brand I want to contact.
Shield Analytics – This is the software I use to track analytics for my LinkedIn posts—notably, which past posts have gotten the highest number of impressions and highest engagement.
Loom or Tella – For creating screencapture videos or sending video messages.
Boomerang – Gmail plug-in I use to schedule emails I’ve written to send later.
Moxie – App that runs my freelance business—everything from scheduling meetings, sending intake or discovery forms for clients to fill out, invoicing, sending contracts to be signed, ongoing task management, the whole kit and caboodle.
1Password – My go-to password manager
Slack – Messaging app I use with my assistant and consulting clients
ClickUp – My favorite project management app when I need to interface with clients for their projects
Roam Research – My smart notes app, aka second brain. I plan to migrate all my notes from Roam to Notion, if only to reduce the number of subscriptions.
Canva – Design app my assistant uses
Keynote / Google Slides – Presentation apps I use to create decks for workshops. Keynote is my preferred app, but some of my clients and partners prefer to work with Google Slides.
aText – Inexpensive keyboard shortcuts app for Mac that I use to save email templates and other bits and pieces of text I use quite a bit.
Zoom – Video conferencing app I use most often
Noun Project – App I use when I need license-free, royalty-free icons for various design projects
Focus@Will – Music app I use while writing and working
Transistor.fm – Podcast hosting
Webflow – CMS for FreelanceCake.com which I use instead of Wordpress
YNAB – Budgeting app my wife and I use
Dropbox / GDrive – File storage and management
QuickBooks – Accounting software I use with my bookkeeper and my CPA
Flywheel – Hosting for several of my old websites, including Balernum.com and AustinLChurch.com
Circle – My preferred community app
Pipedrive – My preferred CRM, though these days I use a lead tracking GSheet and Moxie
Temi – Voice recording and AI-powered transcription app I use to write certainly things by talking
Miro – Mindmapping, collaboration, and presentation app I use on occasion for certain client projects
ChatGPT – AI assistant I use to do research and summarize information
Believe it or not, this list isn’t comprehensive. I use lots of other tools, just less often: SEMRush for keyword research, an app on my phone to scan documents, you get the picture.
Final word of caution
As much as I love tools, I also love simplicity.
The search for a better tool is often a classic example of bike shedding. When in doubt, stick with the good-enough tools you already have.