If writers found a genie to create wishes, they’d wish for more time. Whether freelance writing is your full-time occupation or a side hustle, what if I told you you might be able to save hours each week?
Recently an old freelance writer friend told me about an app he’s discovered which saves him from one to five hours each week, depending on how many proposals he creates.
What’s this magic app? It’s a proposal generator. If you haven’t used one before, it can seem like magic.
He’s never sounded happier. “You won’t believe this,” he said. “There’s an electronic signature facility. Plus, you can get paid, right within the app. Do you know how much time I’ll save—I’ll have time for another round of golf each week.”
Although I haven’t used the proposal generator he’s found, I’m a grateful user of Proposify, another proposal generator, because the app saves me time and money.
Freelance writing: time equals income
Time definitely means money for your freelance writing career, so any app which save you time will save you money as well.
Before we get onto freelance-specific apps, here’s a short list of my favorite apps for writers:
- Scapple (mind mapping tool by Scrivener developers)
- Ulysses (Mac)
I’ve no connection to the developers of any of the above apps, but I’ve used all of them for years, and can heartily recommend them to you.
Now, onto the time-saving apps. The following freelance writing apps have become firm favorites because they eliminate so much hassle.
1. Clockify (free): track your time
Whether you charge by the hour or by the project, Clockify allows you to see where your time goes. Install it on your computer and on mobile devices—changing projects and tracking your time just takes a few clicks. You can track your team’s time too, if you’re working with sub-contractors.
If you’ve been using spreadsheets as time trackers, Clockify simplifies the mess and is a real time-saver.
The basic version is free. Need to create branded reports for clients? Here’s the pricing. The Plus version is an excellent deal.
2. Cushion: achieve your freelance goals
Not only can you track clients, projects and invoices, you can do extra stuff like use multiple currencies (handy for your sub-contractors) and manage your budget as well.
New freelancer? Cushion integrates with Stripe, so you can invoice and take payments within the app. Definitely a time saver.
3. Stress-less scheduling: Doodle
Tired of scheduling meetings/ phone calls/ presentations across time zones? Doodle saves your sanity—and time.
The Premium version is an excellent deal: it has a facility called Bookable Calendar; you can let clients book appointments via a personal scheduling URL.
The app offers a 14-day trial, so you can check whether it saves you time, and how much time.
4. Proposify: professional proposals save time and win more business
Work it out. If your freelance writing fee is $100 an hour and you create three proposals a week, that’s $300 of unpaid time you spent. (Chances are you spend more than an hour on each proposal in phone and email discussions with a client.)
Proposify helps you to create proposals and agreements fast. You’ll get paid fast too; the app includes electronic signature facilities as well as invoicing.
My favorite Proposify feature: its no-hands, easy upsell. I love this feature, because clients can choose additional add-on services, right at the proposal stage.
5. Otter Voice Meeting Notes: it’s not Dragon, but it’s a time saver
My favorite voice recognition software, Dragon by Nuance, dumped Dragon Dictate for Mac in 2018. I’m annoyed, to put it mildly. Why should I buy a new computer (and new software) just to use the Windows version?
Otter Voice Meeting Notes isn’t a direct replacement for Dragon. It’s a hassle if you’re using it for long projects like novels.
On the other hand, it’s a huge time-saver for transcriptions of meetings and interviews. You get 600 minutes of free transcription a month, too.
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Updated: May 16, 2021
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.