Today I'm going to share some free online tools and services that have helped me manage my clients and writing career. All of the following tools and services make invoicing, following up and working with clients much easier for me, and I hope you'll find some or all of them helpful as well. So what do you say, are you ready to make your writing career less stressful by adding some new tools and services to your virtual office?
Sometimes we get so swamped with work that we tend to forget upcoming deadlines, query letters we've sent out, jobs we've responded to, clients we need to follow up with and etc. However, with a free e-mail reminder service, those important dates will no longer slip your mind, because you'll be able to schedule reminders to be sent to your e-mail inbox on certain days.
I schedule reminders to help me remember when to follow up on query letters, my upcoming deadlines, upcoming interviews, when to follow up with existing and past clients, and when to follow up on writing jobs I've applied to but didn't receive a response from.
Free-Minder: You can set your reminders to remind you of the upcoming task 7 days, 14 days, 3 days or 1 day in advance. There's also a note field that you can use to let you know which query letter you need to follow up on, the name of the client you're following up with and more.
I used Free-Minder for a long time -- before my e-mail provider added a reminder feature -- and I loved it! They sent the reminders just as I had scheduled them, and I enjoyed Free-Minder's features, especially the notes field.
Memo to Me: Set one-time, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly reminders.
Invoice Journal: This free invoicing tool that will let you send invoices to your clients. Moreover, you can create and manage invoices, as well as send invoices in multiple currencies. Use Invoice Journal's free demo to explore all the features before you register.
WriteWith: This free tool will allow you to share documents and communicate with clients. Some features include e-mail or text messaging notification of changes the client has made to your documents, new assignments from clients and invites to view documents; ability to chat with clients; view any changes a client has made to a project; export documents to PDF, HTML or other formats; publish documents to a Wordpress or Typepad blog, plus many other features.
I absolutely love WriteWith! It's so much easier to communicate with my clients and work on their projects.
I use to pay $30 a month for my fax service through my local phone service provider. On top of paying for the fax service, I had to purchase a fax machine, which cost me approximately $100. While I could write the fax machine and service off on my taxes as a business expense, I still had to pay the monthly bill for the service. Moreover, to be honest with you, I thought $30 a month was a little expensive since I didn't send or receive too many faxes. With that said, I went in search of a less expensive fax service through the Internet, and that's when I learned I could cut my $30 a month fax bill down to $10 a month! I immediately signed up and have been satisfied with my online fax service every since. The best part is there's no software to download and I even get a toll free number so my client's and others don't have to pay to send me faxes.
My Fax: Through My Fax, you'll get a toll free fax number and cut down on paper expenses incurred by printing out income faxes. You can save all incoming faxes to your hard drive and print them out only if you need to. You get all of that and more with My Fax for only $10 a month!
Paypal: You may already be familiar with this service, but just in case you're among the few writers who may not be, Paypal is web-based tool that will allow you to send and receive money. Most clients now pay their writers through Paypal, so if you haven't already signed up, head to Paypal to discover more. If you want to receive payment from clients quickly, this is a must-have for your virtual office!
Tools for Trend Research
Google Trends, Yahoo! Buzz and Google Alerts will help you stay on top of all the latest trends in your areas of interest. These three tools have become a lifesaver for me many times, and I believe they're essential for any writer's virtual office.
There you have it, a list of some of my favorite tools and services that I have added to my virtual office. I help you find them as helpful as I have.
Do you know of any other free tools and/or services that every writer needs in his or her virtual office? Then, please, comment to share your favorite tools and services for writers with us.
Photo credit: Rintakumpu