9 Free Or Low Cost Resources For Creative Freelancers

Why pay a fortune for something when it is free or pocket change, right? Freelancers are always scouring the internet to get hold of the latest cost effective or free resources that can help them professionally. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned. There is such a range of excellent software and source material out there that you can use without paying anything or only a small monthly fee – it would be a crime not to tell you about them. Whatever you are looking for is only a few links away. Here’s a selection we think you ought to know about, if you don’t already.

Canva

www.canva.com

For design and marketing this one is a gift – pitched as ‘amazingly simple graphic design software’. It has drag and drop features and professional looking templates. Design anything from book covers to entire magazines. This is particularly effective at knocking up memes or graphics for your social media marketing if that is what you are into. No design skill needed – this suits novice designers who want a quick and easy suite of tools and templates.

Tiltshift Maker

www.tiltshiftmaker.com

tiltshift-makerTilt shift photography is a technique best known for its ability to transform real life panoramas into surreal toy towns, through selective focus. It’s particularly effective for busy cityscapes involving people and objects a long way away, making them appear like static painted toys. The effect works by contrast of very out of focus and in-focus areas in the image. It has really come into its own as a trend in photography and filming. Whilst originally the reserve of the photographic professional it’s now a method available to everyone through free online software. Tiltshift maker is possibly the most fun you can have with your photos and will give your images a new lease of life. If you are submitting photographs for a commission, it might be worth taking a look at this site to produce something a little different and unique for your assignment.

An image we put through tiltshiftmaker

An image we put through tiltshiftmaker

Pixabay

www.pixabay.com

One of the best free picture resources online. Very well stocked with a wide range of professional shots and an easy search function too. There are a few of these types of photo banks around but Pixabay remains the strongest in terms of versatility and range.

Mailchimp

www.mailchimp.com

mail-chimp

MailChimp comes as free or is a cheap option for E-Marketing software. The free service means you can rack up 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month. It comes with comprehensive analytics when you send an e-mailshot. It’s simple to get used to and as a service it’s a way to market to large groups. You need to get consent from people to receive your e-shot, so build your community over time. This is a superb method of keeping your community of followers informed of offers – but be warned, if people unsubscribe in large numbers, it’s flagged up that you are spamming low quality content, so produce some news stories and offers that are worth looking at or you’ll be kicked out of the system.

Office 365

www.microsoftstore.com

Office 365 is basically office in the cloud which means your PC isn’t burgeoned with files to slow it down, it has better security and backup and means you can access your documents and work anywhere on any PC or mobile device. Updates to software are automatic and you can share and edit amongst other people which in freelancing is a time efficient process. Office 365 gives you your staple office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher & Access as software as a service (SAAS). It also means you can make calls over the internet via VoIP, which saves money on phone bills. This will set you back £7 a month but it meets some pretty essential needs for freelancers.

Dropbox

www.dropbox.com

Dropbox is cloud storage where you can share masses of MBs. Perfect for photography and freelancers who deal in meg heavy docs. It’s basically a file hosting server for hire. For the Pro service it’s £6.58 a month per user and you get 1TB of storage, which should do for most projects!

Evernote

www.evernote.com

A notepad with style and versatility best describes this service. Jot down ides, sketches and pics on the go so when inspiration strikes or memory fails – this can save the day. Basic Free service has 60MB of new uploads synced across two devices per month.

Xero

www.xero.com

xero

With around 700k subscribers it’s hit a chord in terms of need around the world for SMEs and independent workers. Working out and filling in a tax return is less fun than plucking your nasal hairs out with pliers. If you use Xero you can manage your affairs properly with churned out numbers for your tax return at the end of the financial year. It’s useful for all sorts of businesses. You do have to be disciplined enough to use it regularly but with an invoicing function that takes seconds to process once set up and a user friendly interface (plus those handy video tutorials) it is a good way to circumnavigate hiring an accountant. You can run this software for as little as £4.50 a month, or $9.

Find a Creative Pro

www.findacreativepro.com

Obviously we had to include this one! A service for connecting freelancers to businesses looking to hire them. There is a free account which gives the ability to display basic details about your skills, along with contact info but for £65 a year you can have an all-singing, all-dancing content heavy personal profile website all of your own.

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