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The Essential Freelancer's Toolkit


In a world where everything is constantly changing, there are a few staples that I feel are essential to have in your ‘kitbag’ when it comes to being a successful freelancer.

man at table with laptop

It’s easy to get carried away and take onboard everything every influencer says you should use. The truth of the matter is, it entirely depends on your needs and what will make your life as a freelancer easier! This is my toolkit – hopefully, it will help you build yours:

1. The absolute essential

Freelancing is great, no matter what you do, however, in order to be able to function in ANY way in the current world of work it is absolutely essential to have something to work on! Of course, I’m talking about a laptop. Make sure you have something that meets your needs in terms of memory and screen size (if you’re a creative like me, you can easily create over 1TB of files in a year!), but is also the right size to be able to throw into a backpack or suitcase for those last minute impromptu trips away! You could, alternatively, use something small and compact like a Surface or even an iPad, which have all the capabilities you need for working on the road.

2. Time is money

When you’re working on client projects, it’s easy to just give them a cost and work away, forgetting that time is money. However, you should always be measuring your time spent so you can learn and adapt for quoting future projects. In order to do this, I would recommend using something like Harvest. I use it to track the amount of creative development time I spend on my clients projects, as well as it’s nifty estimation and invoicing system to combine all of my admin work into one area. It’s great to use as a freelancer – it’s cheap and cheerful, contains lots of cool tools and keeps everything together for you in one place, including client contact details and finance management. You can even plug it into accounting software such as Xero.

3. Managing those pesky projects

When you’re managing multiple clients with multiple projects and multiple divisions to those projects, well let’s just say emails get very crowded. Sometimes important comments can get lost in the midst of even the most organised of inboxes. Instead, try using something like Asana or Basecamp to keep comments, files and conversations in one place. Some of these  tools are free for single users or smaller teams so you can invite suppliers and clients to join and keep everything beautifully organised for FREE.

4. You are your Google result

Today, we all have an online and digital presence. With this in mind, it’s even more important to maintain your profile. You should always be thinking about the way in which people perceive you, both personally and professionally, and how you want to reflect this on social media, websites and other digital platforms. My advice is to explore creative applications and use them as much as you can to create a professional looking presence and engaging content. If you are creatively savvy you can invest in something like Adobe Creative Cloud, where you can edit imagery and create video content. Alternatively, there are a number of (often free) online softwares that make it easy to create professional looking content without a design degree, such as Canva (for designing artwork, logos etc) and Squarespace (for beautiful templated websites).

People are more likely to respond to visuals and video, so keeping this in mind will help you grow your audience.

So there you have it. A rundown of assets to keep in your armoury for managing, fulfilling and perfecting your freelance career. Good luck!

Phil Bennet

Designer and Hoxby Associate, Phil Bennett

Phil Bennett is the Founder and Creative Director of PIP Creative, a multidisciplinary design and branding agency focussing on helping SMEs and Startup businesses to develop their visual identity and audience engagement.

Phil has worked for multiple agencies in the past, focussing on developing collaborative relationships with clients in the pharmaceutical, financial and technology industries and a huge portion of focus on sports marketing, having worked with the likes of HSBC Wimbledon, the Ladies European Tour, Ernie Els and Musto.

His experience in design and skills in account management and client direction means Phil is an all-rounder and always has the client’s best interests at heart.

After setting up PIP Creative, Phil joined The Hoxby Collective as an associate and has provided services for some great client project including The View from the Shard, Singletons Cheese, Sunstone and Perrigo.