Update: We’ve now released The Freelancer Toolkit, which is a more definitive resource of creative tools and services for creative and digital freelancers!
We’re sure you’ll agree that life as a creative freelancer is really awesome. Being your own boss, choosing where you work and who you work with. But you know as well as we do that there’s a lot more to it than that. As, there’s so much to keep on top of, (invoicing, accounting, insurance, etc), it’s useful to also have a strong bank of creative tools.
Thankfully, we’ve formulated an entire list of the biggest and best, to help our freelancers! Whether it’s giving you legal support, or streamlining your payment processor’s creative tools to take your work to the next level!
These creative tools are broken down into the following categories:
- Creative industry tools
- Accounting software
- Legal advice
- Office space
- Productivity software
If you need to create high-quality images quickly and easily then look no further than Snappa. Their beautiful and easy-to-use interface will allow you to whip up graphics for social media, ads, blogs, and more without needing expert knowledge of Photoshop or other advanced creative tools.
2. Spark and XD
Adobe is famous for making the best creative tools and with Creative Cloud they now give access to the latest versions of their most popular products — including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign — Plus, there are millions of stock assets and premium images that are built right in making it easier than ever to jump right into projects.
Spark makes it easy to turn your ideas into beautiful graphics, web pages, and video stories – which is perfect for marketers and any creative freelancer that needs to promote themselves.
Adobe XD enables you to design, prototype, and share user experiences.
Creative Cloud also has lots of amazing collaboration tools built into all the creative apps, making it easy to store, share and sync assets securely and create amazing work anywhere you are. Learn more about the Adobe suite.
Shutterstock is one of the biggest stock image libraries in the world, with over 208 million royalty-free images, stock video clips, and music tracks. Over 4ooo images are added every single hour and their amazing search and discovery tools make it easy and quick to find the perfect image for your project. Learn more.
4. Getty Images
Another amazing image library is Getty Images. They create and distribute the world’s best and most diverse imagery collections in a really intuitive and usable way. Their library contains everything from contemporary creative imagery to news, sports, entertainment, and archival imagery. Have a look.
Bonus Tool: Music Teacher’s Helper
Music Teacher’s Helper is an online software created in 2004 by piano teacher Brandon Pearce that helps manage lesson schedules, and reminders and offers blog content about anything music-related. Managing your students will be a lot easier, saving precious time that would otherwise be lost on tedious tasks. Get a taste of it with a free trial on any device.
Accounting and managing expenses
Intuit’s Quickbooks is the world’s #1 online accounting software for freelancers. Their app will enable you to create and send invoices that show off your business and know once they’ve been viewed and paid online. This tool makes a creative’s life so much easier.
Also, GoPayment is also by Intuit as a handy way to receive card payments physically. It can link with your Quickbooks account to make it simple and can work with most major credit cards. So now you can sell your products on the go. Learn more.
We’re sure you know just how annoying and difficult it is to manage your expenses. But don’t worry, Expensify is here to the rescue.
From receipt scanning to exporting into your accounting solution, Expensify automates every step of the expense reporting process.
Here are just some of their amazing features:
- One-Click Receipt Scanning: Expense reports are finished with one click. Take a picture of your receipt and Expensify automatically fills out and submits an expense report for you!
- Company Card Reconciliation: Card transactions automatically populate in Expensify, making it easy for admins to centrally manage company cards. Each transaction reconciles against the corresponding receipt, automating the entire reconciliation process.
- Automatic Accounting Sync: Any changes made in your accounting system are automatically synced with Expensify in real-time for constant visibility into your organization’s finances, making audits and tax returns a breeze.
7. UK Accountant: Gorilla
Gorilla Accounting is a UK-based accountant that specializes in supporting creative freelancers. They provide fixed fee all-inclusive accountancy packages that will take care of all your business and personal taxation needs, so you never have to worry about receiving an unexpected tax bill again. Their packages start from £85 + VAT per month.
With Twine, you can get an exclusive deal. Just click here.
8. Company formation
An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. The main reason for forming an LLC – whether you are starting a new business or formalizing an existing one – is to separate your personal affairs from your business. When done properly, and kept compliant, an LLC means you are not responsible personally for debts or liabilities of your business: invaluable protection. An LLC is also very flexible about who can own and manage the business and how you decide to manage its tax affairs.
If you decide to create an LLC, it is possible to convert it to a Corporation in the future if your needs change. who are seeking external investment or plan to take the company ‘public’. This comes with greater formalities such as requiring a Board of Directors, issuing stock, and creating bylaws.
LegalZoom has formed over 1 million LLCs and corporations (Inc.) over the last 10 years in the US. Limited Liability Company (LLC) Packages start from only $79 + filing fees and are tax-deductible. The ordering process only typically takes 5 minutes with LegalZoom so get on it. There are also Incorporation (Inc.) and Nonprofit options. Learn more.
LegalShield is an alternative and they have a simple product called Launch. They offer LLC, Corporations, and Sole Proprietorships (DBA or Doing Business As) and will give you a lawyer on hand who you can speak to on the phone. Learn more.
9. Intellectual Property
It’s extremely important that your work is protected. Whether you need a copyright, trademark, or patent, it’s really important you’re covered.
There are two partners which offer some excellent creative tools around legal. LegalZoom can help make the process easy and affordable. Learn more about LegalZoom. LegalShield also provides gives you a lawyer on hand and also can help collect bad debt, which is essential for freelancers. Learn more about LegalShield.
10. Professional indemnity and professional liability insurance
Also known as PI or indemnity insurance, professional indemnity insurance helps protects your business against the cost of settling or defending a client’s claim that there is a problem with the work you have done for them. This could be where a client alleges you have given incorrect advice or made a mistake that has cost them money. Your clients may ask you to have professional indemnity cover as a contractual requirement, or if you are applying for a tender.
For UK-based freelancers, Dinghy is freelance insurance that’s instant and starts at only 25p per day.
They have an amazing professional indemnity insurance platform so you can turn your insurance on and off. You only need to pay for the insurance you’ve used. They also can make a decision quickly online in 60 seconds. Learn more and even get £15 off your first policy through Twine.
Here is just some other protection Hiscox offer:
Public liability insurance covers the cost of settling or defending a claim for bodily injury or property damage from a client or member of the public, such as slipping on a wet floor. Learn more.
Cyber and data risks insurance covers everything from extortion, data theft, and hacking, to phishing attacks. If your business is interrupted by a cyber attack or a hacker holds your data to ransom, they have a team of people to help get you back up and running. Learn more.
WeWork is a global network of workspaces. Their main focus is on creativity and collaboration between the companies and freelancers that work out for them. They transform buildings into awesome environments for creativity, focus, and connection.
WeWork believes they are more than just “the best place to work”. They believe it is a movement towards humanizing work.
We believe that CEOs can help each other, offices can use the comforts of home, and we can all look forward to Monday if we find real meaning in what we do.
They have a number of promotions, often receiving the first month or two free. Learn more.
Whether you struggle with spelling or grammar or just like to check that your writing is free from errors and is easy to read, Grammarly is the best creative tool around to help you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and nearly anywhere else you write on the web.
No matter what project you’re working on — pitching on projects or giving clients regular updates — Grammarly will be there to help you express yourself clearly and accurately. Learn more.
No matter who you are—photographer, graphic designer, musician, you can manage your website and business all in one place with Wix. Alternatively, you could hire an awesome designer on Twine to make you a custom page…
Start with a blank slate or choose from over 500 designer-made templates. With the world’s most innovative drag and drop website builder, you can customize anything you want. Create beautiful websites with video backgrounds, parallax, animation, and more—all without worrying about code. With the Wix Editor, you can design the most stunning websites, all on your own.
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MasterClass is an immersive online experience that offers access to genius by allowing anyone to take online classes with the world’s best. Genuine celebrities and leaders in the field. They make learning the best creative tools simple and fun. Want to learn from Ron Howard, Armin van Buuren or Martin Scorsese? Check it out.
Skillshare is an online learning platform that has 21,000 short classes in design, business, tech, and more. The classes range from bite-sized 15-minute lessons to longer 2-hour courses. You can also share work and insights with their community of 3 million members. You can also practice what you learn by completing the project included with each class. Learn more.
Similar to Skillshare, but Udemy favors 2+ hour courses. Learn more.
Banking and Payment Services
17. Tide (UK)
Having a bank account is essential to running a business. The problem with most, is they are archaic. They’re slow, not that helpful, and generally seem like a burden.
In the UK, Tide a new online bank gives you an account number and sort code in just five minutes. They are free to use and have a simple business model by charging 20p when you do a transfer. Furthermore, We’ve got you a deal where you get £10 of your transfers for free when you sign up by Twine here.
18. Revolut (Europe)
In Europe, Revolut is a great mobile bank that gives you a Visa card, a bank account, and the ability to transfer money instantly. Their business baking integrates with all major accounting packages too. Read more.
If you do international payments you need to be efficient with your transfers. Because many traditional banks charge you up to 5% in hidden costs when sending money to any bank account abroad. They hide it in a poor exchange rate on top of the high transfer fees.
TransferWise is up to 8x cheaper than most banks by using mid-market exchange rates. Then you’re not getting the hidden charge. TransferWise allows you to transfer money abroad easily and quickly in 59 countries covering 504 currency routes. Check them out.
If you haven’t already, check out The Freelancer Toolkit, which is a more definitive resource of tools and services for creative and digital freelancers.
Are there any tools we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Full disclosure, Twine has partnered with some of these companies and has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.