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17 min read

The 13 best apps for freelancers in 2024

By Jessica Lau · April 16, 2024
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When it comes to managing a business, consultants, coaches, freelancers, and solopreneurs everywhere face the common challenge of navigating their own path. That, and taxes—but we're not here to discuss my inability to keep track of receipts.

Without a blueprint, a map, or even a compass for that matter, freelancing can feel at times like you're hacking your way through an overgrown jungle with a butter knife. Worse, the challenges of solopreneurship (marketing, meetings, invoicing, accounting—the list goes on) can keep you from your primary focus: working on what you do best and what got you into business in the first place.

You're not alone, though. Based on my experience (read: struggles) and the experiences of the Zapier team, I've rounded up the 13 best apps for freelancers to help you manage the day-to-day burdens of being your own boss.

The 13 best apps for freelancers

  • Website builders like Google Sites

  • Meeting and appointment scheduling apps like Calendly

  • Project management software like Trello

  • Time tracking apps like Toggl Track

  • Invoicing software like Wave

  • Electronic signature apps like Docusign

  • Self-employed accounting software like FreshBooks

  • Social media management apps like Buffer

  • Keyword research tools like Moz Keyword Explorer

  • Cloud storage apps like Google Drive

  • Password managers like 1Password

  • AI tools like ChatGPT

  • No-code app builders like Zapier Interfaces

How we evaluate and test apps

Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, we spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

The best freelancer apps at a glance 

Best for

Standout feature

Google Sites

Building websites

Incredibly simple interface, even for beginners

Calendly

Scheduling meetings 

Direct integration with popular calendar apps

Trello

Task management 

Highly customizable Kanban boards with a solid library of project management templates

Toggl Track

Time tracking

Ability to track time via mobile app or a web browser extension 

Wave

Invoicing software

Built-in native payment processor

Docusign

Electronic signatures 

Central dashboard makes it easy to track document statuses (drafted, sent, or received)

FreshBooks

Accounting software

OCR for extracting data from receipts 

Buffer

Social media management

AI Assistant for content generation and social media scheduling

Moz Keyword Explorer

Keyword research for SEO

"Priority" score to evaluate the worth of keywords

Google Drive

Cloud storage

Advanced search functionality and integration with Google Workspace

1Password

Password management

Transparent security and multi-platform usability

ChatGPT

Leveraging AI

Free AI chatbot for content generation

Zapier Interfaces

Building a customized solution

Allows for complex automations and integrates with over 6,000 apps

The best freelancer app for website building

Google Sites

Google Sites, our pick for the the best freelancer app for website building.

Google Sites pros:

  • Easy to use (like Google Docs)

  • Great for collaboration

Google Sites cons:

  • No SEO tools

The first thing you'll need when striking out on your own is a digital HQ: your website. Sure, you can spend an unlimited amount of money paying someone to build that for you. Or you can spend an unlimited amount of time learning all the ins and outs of cascading style sheets. But if you live in the real world with actual constraints, a website builder is going to be your best bet for creating a functional, attractive space that supports your business.

Going with a website builder takes one important decision off your plate, but choosing the right platform adds a whole lot more for you to consider. For a straightforward, effective tool that's friendly to beginners, try Google Sites. Choose from a dozen templates and six themes, or build your site from scratch. Like any Google file, it's saved right in your Google Drive. You won't get access to any SEO tools, though, so keep that in mind if search ranking is something you want to manage yourself.

For more website-building options, check out:

One thing to keep in mind: even though the website builders are free, you'll want to pay for a custom domain (same thing goes for your email address).

Google Sites pricing: Free to build, host, and maintain with a Google or Gmail account.

The best freelancer app for meeting and appointment scheduling

Calendly

Calendly, our pick for the best freelancer app for meeting and appointment scheduling.

Calendly pros:

  • It's a trusted name—that can matter when trying to get people to book with you

  • Connects to a lot of calendars

Calendly cons:

  • Free plan supports only one meeting type

Once your website and social channels are up and running, you've got good news and bad news to deal with. The good news? Vendors, clients, partners, and stakeholders are going to come rushing to your door. The bad news? You'll need some way to schedule all those meetings and appointments.

Rather than scribbling illegible notes all over your favorite wall calendar (mine features shiba inus in adorkable doggie costumes), harness the right software tool to handle this tedious but important work for you. 

You can streamline your appointments with any of these calendar apps, appointment scheduling and booking platforms, or AI-powered alternatives. You can also enlist the help of time blocking apps to track and manage your day-to-day availability. 

In addition, there are a number of meeting schedulers to keep you on top of your daily commitments. Calendly, for example, connects to your calendar and provides you with a booking page that allows clients and partners to see your availability and book a meeting with you directly. Paid tiers allow you to generate workflows, send out feedback surveys, and relay SMS messages. 

Calendly also integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like create new Zoom meetings whenever a new meeting is scheduled or add new meeting attendees to your email marketing list. Learn more about how to automate Calendly, or get started with one of these premade workflows.

Create Google Sheets rows from new scheduled Calendly events

Create Google Sheets rows from new scheduled Calendly events
  • Calendly logo
  • Google Sheets logo
Calendly + Google Sheets

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button. It only takes a few minutes to set up. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Calendly pricing: Free with limited features; Standard plan starts at $10/user/month (billed annually) includes unlimited event types, multiple calendars, and meeting reminders. 

Read more: Automate your scheduling

The best freelancer app for task management

Trello

Trello, our pick for the best freelancer app for task management.

Trello pros:

  • Super customizable boards with unlimited Power-Ups

  • Tons of templates to get you started

Trello cons:

  • Free users are limited to Kanban board views

Project management platforms can help keep you on track when there's nobody else looking over your shoulder. That kind of freedom is why you decided to strike out on your own, but losing sight of project goals or encountering unanticipated obstacles can ruin your efficiency. That's where a task management tool comes in handy. 

Trello is a classic example. By visually breaking up your project elements into Kanban boards, Trello allows you to quickly identify backlogged, in-progress, and completed items. Create checklists, assign due dates, affix labels, attach files, and add comments. Trello's intuitive interface and template library allow you to get up to speed quickly, while providing you with a bird's-eye view of your project via the activity menu.

For even more flexibility, use Trello's Zapier integrations to connect Trello with your favorite apps, like Gmail and Slack. Learn more about how to automate Trello, or get started with one of these premade workflows. 

If you're a fan of Kanban boards, but you want to explore other options, check out the best Kanban apps. For more ways to visualize your projects—for example, calendar, list, or timeline—without needing to upgrade to a paid plan, here's a list of the best free project management software. And if you outgrow those, here are the best project management apps for small businesses and other Trello alternatives.

Trello pricing: Free plan includes unlimited cards and members, 10 boards per workspace, unlimited Power-Ups, and 250 automated commands each month; Standard plan for $5/user/month (billed annually) includes unlimited boards and file storage, custom fields, advanced checklists, and up to 1,000 automated commands per month.

Read more: Automate your project management

The best freelancer app for time tracking

Toggl Track

Toggl Track, our pick for the best freelancer app for time tracking.

Toggl Track pros:

  • Integrates with Toggl's other time-tracking and invoicing tools 

  • Pomodoro timer doesn't feel like an afterthought despite not being a major feature 

Toggl Track cons:

  • Way more features than most people need

Project management tools can definitely help you plan out and direct your workflows, but they won't always tell you how efficiently you're getting that work done. Love working weekends and sacrificing sleep to meet project deadlines? Neither do I. Time tracking apps give you added insight into how much time you're spending on a task so that you can budget your efforts appropriately. 

A time tracking app like Toggl Track lets you track your time via a mobile app or a browser extension that follows you across your web apps to record your productivity—start or stop time simply by closing a window. Toggl Track also provides you with idle detection to stop tracking when you stop working, as well as reports of your tracked entries in a grid or calendar format. Whether you're collecting billable hours for a client or just making sure to keep yourself on track, time tracking is a game-changer.

While Toggl Track's free plan is simple and easy to use for basic time tracking and reporting, you'll need to upgrade to Premium if you want granular insights into your work, saved reports, or billable hours. For your money, another app on this list of the best time tracking apps would probably work better for you.  

Like any app, Toggl Track works best if it connects with the rest of your tech stack. Here's how you can automate Toggl Track to sync with databases, calendars, and even accounting software so you can finally measure the unmeasurable.

You might also need an app that reminds you to take a break. The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to direct your workday into concentrated bursts of productive energy, interspersed with short and long breaks, to make sure you avoid burnout (or becoming a desk potato). Toggl Track has a setting for this, but if you want a dedicated timer, here are the best Pomodoro timers.

Toggl Track pricing: Free for up to 5 users, unlimited clients and tags; Starter plan starts at $9/user/month (billed annually) and includes time rounding, billable rates, and custom reports.

Read more: Automate your time tracking

The best freelancer app for invoicing

Wave

Wave, our pick for the best freelancer app for invoicing software.

Wave pros:

  • Super user-friendly, even on mobile

  • Built-in native payment processor

Wave cons:

  • Invoices aren't as customizable as some other options

Invoicing is more than just firing off a Google Docs template with a dollar amount scrawled at the top. Once your solo enterprise takes off, you'll need to handle things like recurring payments, expense reports, and even—I hate to break it to you—taxes.

Invoicing software can help you get a handle on all of the dry, time-consuming, and yet terribly important financial aspects of your business. 

If free sounds best to you, consider Wave. It connects directly with your bank account for seamless tracking of expenses. It also gives you the ability to generate invoices and expense reports from predesigned templates. You can even reconcile your accounts and then use the optional features to handle payroll and file taxes. Once the money starts flowing, a tool like Wave is a great way to stay on top of your finances without having to schlep receipts in shoeboxes to your local accountant. 

Plus, you can connect Wave to Zapier, so you can automate even more of your invoicing workflows. Here are some ideas to get you started.

For more affordable (read: free) options, check out the best free invoicing software and the best invoicing software (free and paid) overall

Wave pricing: Free plan includes all invoicing, accounting, and banking features; add-on to accept online payments starts at 2.9% + $0.60 per transaction for card payments (3.4% + $0.60 for card payments from American Express); 1% per transaction for bank payments (ACH). 

Read more: Automate your invoicing

The best freelancer app for electronic signatures

Docusign

Docusign, our pick for the best freelancer app for electronic signatures.

Docusign pros:

  • Ability to create contract templates 

  • Nice and easy to use

Docusign cons:

  • Cheapest plan limits you to five signatures per month

With contracts flying back and forth through your inbox, an electronic signature app can provide you with an at-a-glance overview of where each document went—and where it stands.

Docusign is a popular choice, providing you with updates on a variety of different documents at several possible stages of the signing process. Use the central dashboard to track your documents' statuses, whether they've been sent, received, or simply drafted. For recurring documents, Docusign also provides you with template creation tools, as well as reporting features to help keep things in focus. 

If you really want to streamline things, Docusign also integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like automatically upload Docusign envelopes to the cloud or let your team know when one has been signed. Check out some ideas for automating Docusign with Zapier, or try one of these premade workflows.

For more options, check out the best electronic signature apps and the best Docusign alternatives. Don't worry: you can still keep that old inbox/outbox contraption on your desk—just for kitsch value.   

Docusign pricing: Personal eSignature plan for $10/month (billed annually) includes 5 envelopes sent per month and reusable templates; Standard plan for $25/month includes collaborative commenting and customized branding.

Read more: Automate your digital signature workflows

The best freelancer app for accounting

FreshBooks

FreshBooks, one of the best freelancer apps for accounting

FreshBooks pros:

  • Very easy to use

  • Extracts data from receipts with OCR

FreshBooks cons:

  • A bit expensive considering the features offered

You wear enough hats as a freelancer. Adding a green accountant's visor to that list is probably the last thing you want to do.

And while tallying figures in endless spreadsheet columns can be a tedious chore, it's also important work with serious consequences if not done properly. Your options then are to hire a professional and eat into your precious profit margins; try to figure it out yourself and eat into your limited time, energy, and expertise; or take advantage of self-employed accounting software and eat…out for lunch for a change, to treat yourself for making such a good decision.

FreshBooks is a big name here. While it doesn't offer a free tier, it's still worth a subscription for its intuitive interface with built-in tips and additional user support via chat or ticket. You can track time, create invoices and expenses, manage projects, and handle their accounting, all while consulting a calendar view to assess the big picture. You can also upload receipts just by snapping a pic and offer your clients a handy online payment portal. It's practically as useful as having a full-time accountant on staff, only it takes up much less office space. 

If you love how easy FreshBooks is, you'll love how even easier it is when you connect it to Zapier. You'll be able to do things like automatically subscribe new FreshBooks clients to your email list and receive notifications when new invoices are created.

For more options, check out the best self-employed accounting software

Read more: Automate your accounting

The best freelancer app for social media management

Buffer

Buffer, our pick for the best freelancer app for social media management.

Buffer pros:

  • Dead simple scheduling for all your social media accounts 

  • Decent free tier and per-channel pricing keeps costs low for small businesses 

Buffer cons:

  • Buffer has a history of changing up its pricing and features quite drastically

Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to modern businesses. You can use it to find new clients, drive traffic to your site, and keep in touch with existing customers so that they stay engaged with your business.

Buffer, for example, supports all the platforms you could possibly want to be on: Facebook, X, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Mastodon, Pinterest, and Google Business Profile. If you use social media to promote your eCommerce store, Buffer also integrates with Shopify, so you can see how your posts affect your store. 

Like many other social media apps, Buffer has added an AI Assistant. It can generate posts, rephrase your drafts, and otherwise do all the other AI content generating you'd expect.

With Zapier, it's easy to link any other service you use to Buffer. For example, you can automatically add new blog posts to your schedule, either directly from WordPress or through an RSS feed, or add new Instagram photos to Buffer. Learn how to automate Buffer with Zapier, or get started with one of these premade workflows.

For more options, check out the best social media management tools. Or, if you want to leverage AI, check out the best AI social media management software

If you're posting regularly across social channels, you'll probably need a way to create graphics to go along with those clever captions. Here's the best free graphic design software to get you started. 

Buffer pricing: Free plan allows you to connect to 3 channels, schedule 10 posts per channel, and use the AI Assistant; Essentials plan for $6/month per channel includes 2,000 queued posts per profile, and reporting tools. 

The best freelancer app for keyword research 

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz, our pick for the best freelancer app for keyword research.

Moz pros:

  • "Priority" score makes it easy to find the keywords worth chasing

  • Broad set of tools available for free

Moz cons:

  • Free plan includes only 10 queries per tool per month

When done right, the best keyword research tools make it easy to find the right keywords to target so you can drive traffic to your website. Moz's SEO platform offers several different tools designed for keyword research—and it doesn't require you to empty out your bank account in order to access that data. 

With the Keyword Explorer tool, you can search any keyword you choose and see its monthly volume, difficulty, and organic clickthrough rate (CTR). You'll get an analysis of current results ranking for that keyword and suggestions for similar keywords. Moz also includes a "Priority" score that simplifies keyword research by giving you the bottom line on whether a keyword is worth chasing for you. 

Moz isn't the only free option on the market, though. For more, check out this list of the best free keyword research tools. If you have the budget, here's a roundup of other full-featured SEO tools and the best rank tracker tools.  

Moz pricing: Keyword research features are available for free for up to 10 queries per tool per month with up to 1,000 keyword suggestions and 10 SERP analyses per query; Moz Pro plans start at $99/month for 150 keyword queries per month

The best freelancer app for cloud storage

Google Drive

Google Drive, our pick for the best freelancer app for cloud storage.

Google Drive pros:

  • Advanced search functionality makes it easy to retrieve files 

  • Powers storage of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other Google Workspace files

Google Drive cons:

  • Not the most cost-efficient option on the market 

If you're adopting all of these recommendations so far, your hard drive is probably screaming out for relief by now. A cloud storage app will provide you with seamless backup and added security to keep your important files both up-to-date and safe. 

Google Drive is a common option for cloud storage, popular in part because it's built to house files from the Workspace apps you work with, like Google Docs and Google Sheets. It's available for desktop and mobile, on both iOS and Android. Google Drive allows you to work on files even when you're offline— syncing them to the cloud the moment you jump back online.

Perhaps most importantly for your needs as a freelancer, Google Drive plays well with others. That means you can integrate Drive with a host of third-party apps to customize your workflows and keep your work backed up without endlessly having to jump back and forth between platforms. 

For more flexibility, use Zapier to connect Google Drive to thousands of different apps. Learn more about how to automate Google Drive, or get started with one of these workflows. 

If you're not a Google Workspace user, there are plenty of other options—like OneDrive for Windows and Microsoft 365 users and iCloud for Apple users. For a full list of options, check out the best cloud storage apps.  

Google Drive pricing: Get 15 GB of Drive storage alone for free: starts at $1.99/month for 100 GB; Google Workspace users: starts at $6/month for 30 GB. 

Read more: Automate your cloud storage

The best freelancer app for password management

1Password

1Password, our pick for the best freelancer app for password management.

1Password pros:

  • Easy to use across any device

  • Very transparent about its security

1Password cons:

  • No free option

Still adding apps to streamline your solopreneur journey? Your workflows will thank you, but the part of your brain in charge of passwords is probably at a breaking point by now. Which ones required the special characters again? The answer to that question is: you need a password manager. 

Password managers are worth having for the same reason that map and calendar apps are. You no longer need to remember directions to the nearest FedEx facility or keep track of Grandma Tillie's birthday. These tools do that for you, freeing up valuable gray matter for you to devote to growing your business. In addition, the best ones can boost your online security by providing you with strengthened passwords and two-factor authentication.  

1Password is a great option. It provides you with vaults for both your personal and professional needs, allowing you to store not only passwords, but credit card information, addresses, notes, and more (up to 1 GB of storage). You can also upgrade to share your info with family or team members. In addition to two-factor authentication, 1Password provides you with ongoing updates about the security of your passwords, alerting you to duplicates, hacks, and other potential compromises.

1Password will work for most people, but if you want to explore other options, check out the best password managers

1Password pricing: Individual account for $36/year includes unlimited items; Families for $60/year includes 5 accounts.

The best freelancer app for leveraging AI

ChatGPT

ChatGPT, our pick for the best freelancer app for leveraging AI.

ChatGPT pros

  • Free to use (for the less powerful GPT-3.5 Turbo model) 

  • Supports nine languages, including English, Chinese, French, and Spanish

ChatGPT cons

  • More powerful features, like DALL·E 3 and web browsing, are limited to paid plans 

Since you're unlikely to be reading this article under a rock, you've probably heard about artificial intelligence by now. Consider putting this powerful technology to use for you with some of these AI productivity tools.

ChatGPT is a free option, and it's a great way to dip your toes into the world of AI. You can use it to write marketing copy, summarize articles, do market research, write sales emails, and speed up loads of other tasks. If you upgrade to ChatGPT Plus, you can also access the AI image generator, DALL·E 3. You can use it to ideate new physical products, create brand logos, and generate blog images

When you connect ChatGPT to Zapier, you can access the power of the AI chatbot from within any of your favorite apps. Learn more about how to automate ChatGPT, or get started with one of these workflows. 

For more options, check out the best AI chatbots

ChatGPT pricing: Free plan available; ChatGPT Plus for $20/month includes the latest GPT-4 model, web browsing, DALL·E 3, and other advanced features.

The best freelancer app for building your own solution 

Zapier Interfaces

Zapier Interfaces, our pick for the best freelancer app for building your own solution.

Zapier Interfaces pros:

  • Integrates your app with over 6,000 apps (and counting)

  • Allows you to set up complex step-by-step logic

Zapier Interfaces cons:

  • Takes longer to build in comparison to ready-made solutions

If none of the apps listed above fully meet your needs—or perhaps they meet your needs, you just wish you didn't have to cobble together five or six apps to get the job done—you can build your own solution. 

Zapier Interfaces lets you build your own personalized solution—everything from landing pages to request forms to project management trackers to a mini-CRM. There's a library of templates to help you kickstart the app-building process, and you can store all your data in Zapier Tables, so everything is under one roof. 

You don't have to ditch your existing apps, either. You can connect Interfaces with thousands of other tools, so your new app can be a starting point for complex automations. For example, when someone fills out a form, you can send their information straight to your email marketing tool. Here are some examples.

If Interfaces doesn't hit the spot, there are plenty of other options, too. Here are the best internal tool builders and the best no-code app builders.

Zapier pricing: Free plan available; from $20/month (billed annually) for the Premium plan, which includes five interfaces and file uploads up to 10 MB.

Other freelancer apps for personal productivity

Going out on your own is hard enough, which is why it's important to take advantage of tools that can make self-employment smoother and more successful. Here are a few more apps to boost your efficiency:

  • To-do list apps not only keep you from being smothered in an avalanche of hand-written Post-its, but they can also help ensure that none of your important tasks slip through the cracks. 

  • Free survey tools and form builders offer an easy way to gather client information. 

  • You can capture questions, observations, and those valuable aha moments as soon as they arise with a note-taking app or workspace app.

  • The right email app helps you stay organized and responsive without letting your inbox spiral out of control. 

  • Presentation software allows you to create professional-looking slideshows that will keep potential clients engaged while you're running through your pitch deck or product demo. 

  • If you have enough clients that a CRM might come in handy, you could try a free CRM or use one of your existing tools, like Notion or Trello.

Related reading:

This article was originally published in June 2023 by Toby Peterson. The most recent update was in April 2024.

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