Free tools and apps for indie workers, freelancers and small businesses
A catalogue of handy tools, sites and apps is essential for any indie worker or small business - and if they’re free, even better! We’ve summarised some of the best free tools for you here, from invoicing to time management and design (including some lesser known gems).
Images and Design
PicMonkey - a free online image editing tool, with graphic design, collage making and photo editing features. Premium, paid features also available.
Canva - a free online graphics design tool that helps you create designs for social media posts, posters, flyers and infographics. Ability to store branding for multiple use, including logo, fonts and colour palette, with free and paid images available.
Meetup - a free site that finds local events for your interests, with a paid option if you’d like to host a meet up yourself.
Asana - an online project management system that allows teams to create and assign tasks to themselves or each other, comment on tasks and keep each other updated on progress. Projects can be arranged in lists or boards. Free for up to 15 people.
Trello - a free online, collaborative tool that allows organisation of projects by boards, lists, and cards, with commenting and attachment features. Free and paid options available.
Tickspot - tool that tracks your time spent on a project and shows you how close you are to using up your client’s allotted budget. Free for 1 project and unlimited people, then scaled pricing based on the number of active projects.
Toggl - a time tracking app that provides a quick overview of time spent and identifies where time is lost. Free up to 5 team members, and works offline as well as online.
Harvest - a time tracking and invoicing app that integrates with Asana, Basecamp and Trello. Free for 1 person and 2 projects, then scaled payment plans.
On the move
AroundMe - a free app that shows you the nearest bank, bar, petrol station, hospital, hotel, cinema, restaurant, supermarket, theatre and taxi rank.
TripIt - a travel organisation tool that transforms your confirmation emails into a personalised itinerary that you can access from any device. A pro, paid version with mobile alerts and sharing features is also available.
Terms and Contracts
Bonsai - a free tool that allows you to create proposals, contracts (that can be signed electronically) and invoices, as well as collect payments.
ShakeLaw - a basic contracting tool with a range of free contract templates, which can then be sent and signed electronically on a smart device. Paid extras available, such as getting the contract reviewed by a lawyer.
Not technically free, but we’re including it anyway -
Bidsketch - a paid tool that creates professional project proposals in minutes, so one that may well be worth the money to indie workers that spend (unpaid) hours on proposals. Features include pre-built templates and landing pages, electronic signatures and personal branding.
Accountancy and invoicing
Zervant - free invoice software aimed specifically at freelancers, sole traders, and small business owners, which can also create receipts and estimates.
Wave Accounting - a free cloud-based app that handles invoicing, accounting, receipt scanning and payments for freelancers and small businesses. Paid add-ons available for credit card payments and payroll.
ZipBooks - a free accounting tool for creating invoices, tracking time, managing payments and clients, sending payment reminders and tracking expenses. Plenty of features in the free version (including unlimited invoicing and clients) with paid, premium options also available.
Cloudwards - not an app in itself, but Cloudwards offer a great run down of their favourite accounting tools in one handy guide.
We hope you find this roundup of tools useful - let us know if any we’ve missed!