As a freelancer, I sometimes find myself in need of office tools I don’t have. As a freelancer on a budget, I’ve had to find workarounds to get things done. Here’s a peek at a few of the tools I’ve found especially helpful:
One company with which I works requires work orders to be faxed to a fax machine. Not email, a gen-u-ine fax machine. While my all-in-one printer/scanner/copier has fax capabilities, I don’t have a separate line for faxing and it was too cost prohibitive to put one in for only one client. Also costly was ($2/page) using a nearby copy/shipping-type company’s fax service. Fortunately, I found gotfreefax.com, which allows me to fax scanned pdf or doc files to a fax machine at the low cost of zero dollars for up to two faxes (3 pages or less) per day. And if I need to send a larger packet, I can send 10 pages for about a dollar. Sweet!
This week I had a situation in which I needed to split a 5-page PDF file into two separate files in order to meet gotfreefax’s 3-page-per-fax criteria. With PDFSplit!, I was able to do that in about half a minute. And it’s free!
I travel a lot and need to have easy access to all my client files wherever I am. Dropbox is an easy-to-use file/photo cloud-based storage service that provides 4G of storage for free, with other packages available for a fee. I’ve been using it for a while now, and I’m still not at 50% of the limit. (One of my goals is to become so wildly successful that I have to buy storage! ) I have it set to sync with both my desktop and my laptop computers, so I can access my files from both…or even from a client’s computer.
While I use Microsoft’s Office suite for most of my work, I do use Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) when I’m working collaboratively with others. Drive offers word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation applications (and more besides), with the ability to give access to others for viewing or editing the files. Real life example: when planning a conference, the main organizer and I were able to manage the registrations, calendars, and communications by using the same set of documents. No sending files back and forth, no uploading to a server–we used the same set of documents, and it was perfect!
Those are just a few of the tools I’ve found helpful for my freelancing work. Most have also come in handy in everyday life as well. And the best part of all is that they’re all FREE!