Back in the simpler days of 2009–Wii Sports, the Nissan LEAF, The Hangover–a term started popping up in work spaces: the gig economy. Freelancing and side hustles went from a niche interest to a way of life for millions of Americans, with more companies depending on freelancers and gig work than ever before. Today, the right freelancer tools are a necessity to set yourself apart in the booming gig economy.
Because we can probably start calling the gig economy by what it really is: the economy.
Thankfully, a new and evolving crop of freelancer tools are springing up to directly assist the millions of Americans who have launched freelance or founder careers. They include:
- Stable Diffusion
At Worklife, our mission is to invest in companies making life and work easier for creatives–from managing and splitting finances with partners, to creating multiple streams of income through product lines and eCommerce.
We give you the best freelancer tools to boost your brand, generate more revenue streams, and build up your portfolio in tech–and beyond. These tools help with areas like:
- Building and managing your website
- Handling your finances
- Improving your networking
- Implementing AI
- Streamlining your business hubs
- Rethinking work life in diverse industries
Here are our favorite game-changing freelancer tools you need to thrive in the current economy.
Top Freelancer Tools for Building and Managing Your Website
Ever meet someone and know instantly that you’re going to bond? Your website design is just like that first impression. 75% of a visitor’s trust in a company is based solely on website design. Here are 3 of our favorite freelancer tools for guaranteeing visitors keep coming back to your site. They are:
Create a Stunning Website with Webflow
Launching a striking and easy-to-use website is Task No. 1 for anyone creating their own company or marketing their creative services. Webflow has leapt up the website builder rankings because it allows you to craft responsive, custom, and visually stunning sites using no code whatsoever. While larger companies like Rakuten, Michael Kors, and Dell use the website builder, Webflow’s bread and butter is serving smaller operations.
There are a ton of examples of impressive Webflow sites that look like they took $100,000 budgets and intensive coding — but didn’t. One of the best is this one from Wannabe, an online store selling action figure collectibles. Created by designers Niccolò Mirando and Jordan Machado, the experience of scrolling the shop is seamless and “merges Japanese cinema with ‘70s Italian cinema” perfectly.
Web-design, SEO, and content marketing agency Slam Media Lab implements Webflow in all their website builds. Starting out as freelancers, Slam grew into a leading web marketing agency with the help of Webflow. If the professionals trust Webflow to build their websites, that’s the strongest endorsement we can think of.
Launch Your Own DTC Brand in Weeks with Pietra
Launching a product is an enormous feat. At least, it used to be. Pietra is a new freelancer tool making it easier than ever for creators to get their dream direct-to-consumer lines out without needing huge amounts of capital or certain insider connections. The site operates as a global marketplace that matches creators with product designers, manufacturers, and warehouse companies to launch lines in several buckets of products, including clothing, candles, coffee, jewelry, fragrances, and more. Customers can also browse Pietra profiles to find makers to buy from directly.
Pietra lowers the barrier to entry, so that more creators can succeed in selling direct-to-consumer products. It’s perfect for anyone who already has a community of followers — that’s why Pietra partnered with influencers such as Victoria Brito, a well-known model, dancer, queer activist and self-proclaimed Sneakerhead, to launch lines for their fans. Brito created an eight-piece collection on Pietra dedicated to her love of all things sneakers and sold out quickly.
But Pietra isn’t just for those with massive followers — any creative person who has a community behind them or is committed to building one should look into the company. Ronak Trivedi, Pietra's co-founder and CEO, wants to make sure people without startup capital or existing manufacturing relationships can bring a product line to life in a matter of weeks.
Build and Sell Your Own Courses and Content at Podia
“Content is King” has been the name of the game in tech and business for decades, and with each passing year, it only becomes more true for more industries. That means most entrepreneurs spend at least some amount of time creating content around their work — and Podia is helping them monetize it easily.
On Podia, you can sell online courses, audiobooks, webinars, cheat sheets, ebooks and other content. The company allows you to run everything in one place, including a custom website, a live chat widget, email marketing, and 24/7 support.
More than 50,000 creators have sold through Podia at this point, and it’s growing fast.
John D. Saunders, who runs multiple successful online businesses, is just one of Podia’s success stories. After working at an ad agency for multiple years, he pursued a side project creating 5four Digital, a website agency. This led to John creating urbanwallet, a site that teaches millennials about finances, and Black Illustrations, which gives creators access to illustrations of Black people for their digital projects.
He’s able to manage all of this by creating standard operating procedures that keep things running smoothly — which led him to launch his Learn to Create Standard Operating Procedures online course on Podia. On launch day, he immediately earned $10,000 and since then, he’s made more than $100,000 in total from his Podia site.
Other examples include The Oh Joy! Academy by Joy Cho, who has a well-known lifestyle brand and blog out of Los Angeles, Best Selling Year Academy by personal branding and content marketing guru Shalena D.I.V.A. Broaster, and a slew of courses from Natalie Sisson the “suitcase entrepreneur.” If you have a community and something to teach, look into this one.
The Best Freelancer Tools for Your Money, Literally
We know freelancing is about more than the money. Flexible work hours, exploring new career paths, and chasing your passions are all more valuable motivators than a few extra dollars. Once your side hustles do start turning profits, you’re going to want a tool to handle all those revenue streams. We’ve got 7 great freelancer tools for handling all your cash:
Split and Manage Money with Stir
We’re living in the era of collabs — where makers and founders often team up to see a business idea through. And the reality is that if you’re a contractor, you might be juggling multiple projects, each with several channels of income and many players involved. This can get complicated fast and require you to spend hours reviewing invoices, receipts and spreadsheets to keep things in order. That's where Stir makes your life less stressful.
This startup operates as a financial studio that allows you to manage all things money related in one place: you can split revenue with partners, manage metrics, transfer funds, automate paperwork for tax time, and see what money you’re bringing in from multiple sources like Patreon, Twitch, Shopify, Subtack, all in one place.
The company also often drops new tools for creators, like Presubscribe, which allows people to sign up and pledge their support — even saying how much they would pay — to give you a sense of how much support you’ll garner before you launch a new project. Stir also is known to spice things up with its members, recently blindly matching those on the platform to team up on releasing exclusive face masks.
Stir is a favorite tool for YouTubers like Airrack and Liza Koshy, musicians like Peter Hollens, vloggers like Casey Neistat, along with podcasters, producers, editors, and other creative fields sourcing money from many places. Do yourself a favor: get rid of Excel and let Stir help you out.
Get Paid Today and Ditch the 30/60/90 Nets with Archie
One of the biggest bottlenecks for freelancers is delayed payment — paying contractors is a notoriously drawn out process, with the usual range anywhere from 30-60 days after project completion, and sometimes much longer. As a contractor, having secured and guaranteed income delivered at a specific time is a huge benefit.
Archie is out to help companies do just that: pay freelancers immediately for their work, with no delay. The company is working with animators, architects, makeup artists and all types of creative projected-based workers.
Archie is still in beta, but you can sign up to be invited to try out the platform now (tell them Worklife sent you) and keep up to date about when it’s launching.
Start Selling DTC with Cashdrop
Once you nail down that million-dollar idea, put together a solid business plan, and secure startup funding, the big question becomes: how do you get paid? A thousand startups offer solutions, often with the catch of transaction fees or pricey up-front contracts. Cashdrop is here to change all that.
Ruben Flores-Martinez founded Cashdrop as the solution to the prohibitive startup costs of eCommerce platforms and full website builds. Cashdrop solves the startup cost problem for founders with 4 key features:
- Founders pay no fees–at all!
- Zero cost for joining Cashdrop
- No sales fees for sellers
- Customers are charged a 5% service fee
Cashdrop shifts startup costs from the founder to the customer, making launching a business a viable option for more people. Now, getting paid for your hard work is as fast and easy as downloading the app.
Tame Your Cash Flows with Settle
Working more than one job has been the norm for millions of Americans for decades now. If you have more than one income, the likelihood is you have a few outgoing streams as well. How can you manage all those bills and invoices without an advanced Accounting degree? Easy! Let the professionals at Settle do the work for you.
Settle is your all-in-one money management tool for the diversified freelancer. Working internationally? Settle lets you split payments into pesos, euros, yen, and more. Sending your hundredth invoice for the week? Let Settle handle it.
Make Your Money Make Money with Extra
Raise your hand if you’ve heard the phrase “Make your money work for you” too many times. Raising your hand? Us, too. Extra actually lives up to that claim.
The first debit card that builds credit, Extra looks out for your financial well-being by improving your credit without charging high interest rates. Freelancing is all about financial independence, and Extra gives you flexibility while increasing your financial stability.
Personalize Your Banking with Mercury
Most freelancer tools focus on the individual. Mercury tackles the big picture. A banking platform for startups, Mercury supports founders by keeping your money safe and connecting them with VCs to raise capital.
Through their Raise Seed program, Mercury helps you secure funding for your passion project. Be honest, when was the last time your bank did that?
Safeguard Your Startup’s Cash Flow with Stripe
Freelancer tools are designed to be hands-on. Cashdrop and Pietra show the results of your work in a matter of hours, and often faster than that. Who is behind the scenes for these founders, putting in the hard work to showcase your hard work? Stripe, that’s who.
Stripe is your all-in-one software for accepting and making payments, securing transactions, and managing the financial infrastructure of your business. Every time your clients hit that one-click payment option or autofills their credit info, you can rest assured that Stripe is handling the background work to secure your startup’s cash flow.
Rethink Networking with the Right Freelancer Tools
Travel back to 2009 and “networking” was the buzzword answer in tech circles for gaining sponsors for your vlog or securing seed money for your startup. Networking today is still all about finding investors and building professional communities, but if you’re going about it like it’s 2009, you’re doing it wrong.
If you want to network better, seek out the builders. Luckily, those builders are revolutionizing networking with some of our favorite freelancer tools, such as:
- Flow Club
Grow Your Network Through Lunchclub
LinkedIn reinvented networking in a digital era, but Lunchclub takes it even further to help people form more meaningful connections. Founded in 2018 by Vlad Novakovski and Scott Wu, the company uses AI to analyze your network, skills, goals and personality to match you with professionals that can benefit your startup. Think of it as a dating app for business, which makes sense, since Lunchclub’s chief marketing officer Chelsea Cain Maclin started at Bumble.
Whether you’re looking for a co-founder, seeking investors, searching out new freelancer opportunities, or just want to meet interesting people, Lunchclub’s algorithm links you to people daily on its virtual platform. You can decide if you’re interested in sending an invite to connect via video call with one of your suggested connections, and then schedule everything through the site.
The use of Lunchclub skyrocketed during the pandemic, as IRL networking meetings came to a halt. Lunchclub used the pause in normal work life to disrupt networking altogether, reimagining it as AI-driven and more accessible for WFH and remote employees. Through a casual setting, Lunchcclub makes it easy to network throughout the week–it’s a good way to step outside of your work and learn from others, make connections, and grow community.
Collaborate on Anyone’s Website with Bubbles
Most contractors aren’t sitting side by side in an office with everyone they’re working with. That was true even before the pandemic sent more people into WFH and remote work, but it’s even more true today. For people who are collaborating across time zones, projects, and teams, Bubbles offers a new tool to communicate more effectively.
The idea: start conversations by commenting on anything you see on your screen.
Designing a website? Looking at a data point? Reviewing photos or video? No matter what task you’re focused on at any given moment, with Bubbles’ Chrome extension, you can click anywhere on your screen and start talking with others about what they think.
Discover More Collaboration Opportunities with Polywork
Ever come across a great article–maybe about next gen influencers–and just needed to share it with like-minded people? It’s easier than ever with Polywork’s collaborative network.
Polywork connects professionals seeking more than just a new job. Want to share your thoughts on that article on a tech content podcast? Match with creatives that want to hear from you. Branching out into freelance web design? Polywork hosts groups that will link you with that new career path.
Polywork reimagines networking as more than just professional titles and job hunting. Founders, creators, and freelancers like you are joining Polywork to build a community that empowers the creative over the well-connected.
Locate Top Freelancer Talent Through Upwork
Upwork operates under a simple, smart mantra: “How work should work.” Globalizing the hiring process, Upwork connects employers to top freelance and independent talent through its expansive network. More than just a job-posting board, Upwork offers:
- Access to the top 1% of talent worldwide
- Control of your workflow, including classifying your talents
- End-to-end support for its partners
Whether you are searching for the right fit as a writing freelancer, or you need top design talent for your startup marketing agency, Upwork’s network will find it for you.
Freelancers come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe you have a web developer background. Or you studied copywriting at college. What if you have a really great speaking voice? Fiverr networks beyond the traditional freelancer roles and finds a place for your talent–any talent–in the workforce.
What’s the coolest job that didn’t really exist 20 years ago? On-demand character scripting for video games.
19-year-old Arash Lahijani is making $10K/month writing 400+ Grand Theft Auto character stories via Fiverr.
Fiverr features voiceover artists, product photographers, and on-demand video game scripters to connect your most eccentric interests and abilities with employers and clients searching for exactly what you provide.
Cowork With Anyone Through Flow Club
One unspoken truth about freelancing: it’s really f*king hard! Making your own hours, being your own boss, and working wherever you want are all great selling points to go into freelancing. Once you do, the big issue becomes: how do you stay motivated? Flow Club is here to help.
Flow Club knows how easy it is to let distractions affect your productivity as a freelancer. Want to meet friends for lunch? Of course, your afternoons are always free! One more episode of The White Lotus? That copywriting project isn’t going anywhere, it can wait. Flow Club cuts through these distractions by joining you with other remote and WFH freelancers and coworkers, keeping you in the mindset for work.
Founded by Ricky Yean, Flow Club is the perfect freelancer tool to keep you motivated, focused, and crushing more projects with a fun network of like-minded professionals.
Add AI to Your Freelancer Toolbelt
Nearly 40% of companies in the U.S. are implementing AI to enhance their workflows. While many are protesting it as a job killer, AI is actually projected to create more jobs. As a freelancer, putting AI to use for your projects is a way to separate yourself as a creator. Here are the freelancer tools that will help you do just that:
- Stable Diffusion
Tell Your Story Using Tome
If you have ever written anything–an essay for Lit. class or a short story just for yourself–you’ve encountered writer’s block. Tome is an AI-powered storytelling device that generates full-length stories in a matter of seconds.
With a simple prompt, Tome’s AI creates title, outline, content and even accompanying images to your story. Push through the writer’s block, find inspiration, or just have fun with Tome’s AI-powered storytelling.
If you’ve followed AI developments over the past few months, you likely know about Stable Diffusion. Using text prompts, Stable Diffusion produces art and images in a matter of seconds. The possibilities for this AI are literally endless, including:
- Generating color palettes
- Reimagining scenes from movies and TV
- Creating new art from existing inspo
- Leveraging AI inside existing software
- Concepting new characters for games or comics
Learning how AI art generators work and what they can do to improve your workflow will be a key part of freelancing in the very near future (or the present, for some industries). Complement your existing design skills or build up new freelancing tools by taking advantage of generative AI.
Freelancer Tools to Streamline Your Business Hub
Just like the multiple streams of income generated through freelance, contract work often means you’re sending invoices, answering Slack pings, and emailing a CVS receipt-sized list of .orgs and .edus. Keeping all of your freelance work organized is Priority #1, and these freelancer tools take the stress out of it:
Run Your Business Hub with Bonsai
Bonsai is your all-in-one business management tool for freelancers to help you build a fully-functioning hub. Bonsai puts you in the boss’s seat through 3 key features:
- Manage your clients. Access the scheduling, forms, contracts, and proposals you need to manage your DTC business.
- Manage your projects. Bonsai provides time tracking, invoicing, and comms portals to oversee your project management.
- Manage your finances. From payments to taxes to banking, Bonsai handles the details of your finances so you can focus on your work.
Visualize Your Project’s Success with Graphy
The traditional way of processing, visualizing and analyzing data has typically been reliant on data analysts and engineers. Those who don’t specialize in those areas are often at a loss about where to start. The reality is creative people care about data, but a lot of them aren’t sure of the best ways to process it.
Graphy enables teams to create, share and collaborate on data collection and analytics remotely. You can even have real-time conversations, make annotations, reply to people, and react to data points. It features a lot of helpful templates and visualizations, too.
Record and Organize Your Workflow With Loom
Google Meets and Zoom calls are a part of life for every freelancer. We’ve been on our fair share of video calls, and we know it isn’t always easy remembering all the details covered in the call (especially if our Slack pings are going off, or our dogs are barking from the next room). Loom remembers everything for you.
Rather than having to recall which video service you used for which freelancer meeting, Loom records your screen, saves all your meetings to one place, and lets you organize them by keyword. Want to make a quick explainer of your latest edits on Figma? Hit the Loom extension in the lower left-hand corner and start recording. Need a refresher on your last client’s updates? Log into your Loom account, and all your saved videos are right there.
Never forget a thing, communicate more easily with coworkers and clients, and organize your business hub all through video recordings with Loom.
Improve Your Video Conferencing With mmhmm
The best name in the game, mmhmm wants you to be a better video conferencing freelancer. Record, create, and collaborate with mmhmm’s video conferencing add-on. Want to block the stacks of clothes in the background of your Zoom call? Insert an interactive background just over your shoulder, and impress your clients with a more professional presentation.
mmhmm is compatible with almost all virtual camera apps, including:
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
Take it from founder Phil Libin: just going for it is the next big thing in carving out success as a founder and freelancer. mmhmm just goes for it with its interactive design and customizable features, letting you just go for it, too.
Organize Your Communications Through OpenPhone
If you’re hitting your busy season as a freelancer, you are likely getting pings, texts, DMs, and–God forbid–phone calls all hours of the day. OpenPhone is here to save you the headache of keeping track of all those messages in one app.
Through its all-in-one platform, OpenPhone lets you access contacts, messages, calls, and clients across any of your devices. Streamline your business hub by keeping transcribed voicemail messages, texts, and call logs all on one screen. You can even collaborate with your team in the same convos with your clients, problem solving in real time as you answer questions about your current projects.
OpenPhone use cases extend to almost all services, including:
- Small businesses
- Professional services
- Real Estate
- Logistics and transportation
If you freelance for educational programs, trucking companies, or the latest tech startup, OpenPhone streamlines your workspace to keep you organized and on deadline.
Rethink More Industries Through Freelancer Tools
When we first heard the terms “freelancer” and “gig economy” way back when, our word associations jumped to copywriting and tech startups. Freelancing is thriving in those industries, but any innovation is going to tackle more than the expected areas. These are our favorite freelancer tools that are inspiring us to rethink industries:
Decent Provides Startups With Affordable Healthcare
It was only a matter of time before startups took aim at the gaps in the healthcare industry. Digital health startups brought in nearly $30 billion in 2021, a number experts predict will rise in coming years. Decent goes one step further by focusing on startups, providing affordable healthcare for your business.
Many freelancers sacrifice healthcare and savings accounts as a tradeoff for the benefits of working your own hours and being your own boss. Decent works to stop this trend, providing more startups and freelancers the safety net of health benefits without the prohibitive costs.
Coach Up Your Athletes With Kairos
Ever accept a part-time coaching stint for your nephew’s T-ball league, or your kid sister’s traveling basketball team? You’ve done some freelancing, then. Combining an organized hub with improved athletic performance, Kairos is designed for coaches and athletes looking to gain an edge. Plan and schedule everything on Kairos’ scheduling suite, from upcoming matches to meal times and sleep routines.
Freelancer Tools are for Everyone
Apps like Cashdrop and Archie are revolutionizing the way money is made in the startup industry. Decent is rethinking healthcare for the freelancer. And Bonsai and Loom are building better business hubs for you to stay organized and on schedule with your freelance work.
All these apps are the best freelancer tools available for you to thrive in any path you take, from web development to voiceover work. The secret: freelancer tools are for everyone. Implementing Webflow for your newly-founded marketing agency or your established auto parts distributor is just smart business sense. Implement these freelancer tools in your workflow and you’ll see big changes in your work life.
To discover more tips and tools for work life–whether you’re a freelancer or a founder–check out our other posts here:
- Experiencing Creative Burnout? This Creator Is Here to Guide You Through It
- Performative Corporate Activism is Tired. It’s Time to Open Your Wallet.
- Keeping the Hunger, Building the Next Big Thing
- Celebrity Entrepreneurs and Brands, a Growing Cohort