Freelancer Apps & Co-Working Programs: Our 16 Favorites
WIth the vast assortment of freelancer apps and co-working programs out there, it’s easier than ever to create a freelance career that can go with you down the street or across the world.
Freelancer Apps for All the Basics
Even if your typical work day never takes you out of your neighborhood, having the right set of apps means you can stay connected and be more efficient without being chained to your laptop.
This powerful app has everything you need to get a polished proposal out to a potential client whether you’re hustling from home or the road, with gorgeous and customizable templates for tons of project types.
Tracking your time and creating accurate estimates and invoices is essential to making sure your freelance is profitable. With Paydirt, you can set up all of your clients and projects, and then track your time in just a couple clicks. You can also create invoices based on your time logs, and accept payments online via Stripe or PayPal so no matter where you are, funds are going in the bank. Try it for free.
Hands down, the easiest way to accept credit card payments, the ChargeStripe app connects with your Stripe account so you can accept credit cards using nothing but your smartphone. That means you can take a credit card for a project deposit right over the phone to seal a pitch. It’s also a great way for freelancers to offer flexible payment options for their clients, and with a 5-minute set up, no monthly fees, and support for multiple currencies, it’s a must-have for any freelancer on the go.
Freelancing means you can work at whatever time of day you want, but it’s poor form to email clients at 2:00 am. Boomerang is an app that lets you write an email, and then schedule it to be sent later. It also has a super handy reminder feature that will ping you to follow up if you haven’t heard back from someone by a set time.
If you’re taking on a big freelance project, it’s a good idea to have some basic legal agreements in place. Shake gives you access to templates for freelance work agreements. Just enter a few details to generate a contract that can be signed online.
Isolation and distractions are two of the biggest downsides to freelancing. If you haven’t changed out of your PJ’s all week, it’s time to find yourself a co-working location where you can work like the pro you are. The coworker.com website has reviews for spots in 165 cities with many offering online booking and free day passes.
Freelancer Apps for the Hard-Core Traveler
If the idea of a permanent address makes you shudder, you’ll need to take things to the next level to stay organized while you fill up that passport.
Even if you don’t live in one location, having a mailing address is handy for things like business registration notices, taxes, and any clients who still insist on paying by check. Traveling mailbox lets you pick an address in a number of U.S. states and cities. The service scans all of your incoming mail items so you can view them online, and will even deposit checks and forward mail.
Easily schedule meetings with your clients without having to do the math (and make mistakes) on the time difference. This one’s essential if you’re moving around a lot, or have clients spread out across a lot of time zones.
There are a lot of great free text translators out there, including Google Translate, which lets you point your phone at a sign and read it in your native language. But iTranslate Voice offers actual voice translation in over 40 languages so your phone can have a conversation for you.
Being in new locations all the time used to mean constantly having to track down laptop-friendly work spots and trusting Google or Yelp reviews. Not anymore. The WHA app is geared specifically towards freelancers and remote workers looking for a place to hunker down, caffeinate, and hustle with info on power outlets, wifi, prices, and parking.
11. Hola VPN
If you’re traveling abroad, you may not be able to access all of the websites you’re used to getting to in the States. This can put a damper on promoting your freelance business via Twitter. If you manage social media sites for clients, it could shut down your whole trip. Hola VPN creates a private network so you can get where you need to go online, no matter where you are.
Bonus: The 5 Best Co-Working Programs for Freelancers
As the digital nomad trend gets bigger, the list of companies offering curated co-living/co-working programs across the globe for newbie nomads gets longer and longer.
While each program’s focus, locations, costs, and what’s included vary, the basic idea is that you pay the company a set fee, and they provide you with an itinerary, a place to live with other traveling professionals, and space to work that includes an internet connection.
So if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a digital nomad, but you’re a little (or a lot) intimidated by the idea of traveling abroad on your own, a co-working program might be just what you need to get started.
1. Remote Year – Paydirt’s Pick for Newbie Travelers
- Length of Time: Options include 4 months, 6 months, or 1 year
- Cost: Varies depending on itinerary; expect a down payment of $3,500 – $5,000, plus monthly payments of $2,000
- Destinations: South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia
- Best for: Remote workers and freelancers with steady income
Remote Year takes a group of around 75 digital nomads to a different destination each month. Book your flight to your first destination and home from your last, and they pretty much take care of the rest, aside from feeding you.
With the price tag and long-term commitment, you’ll want to have some idea of your monthly income and be sure that it’s enough to cover program fees, feed yourself, and have some extra money for outings and side trips.
2. Wifi Tribe – Paydirt’s Pick for Best Destinations
- Length of Time: Flexible options starting at 1 month
- Cost: $1,800 – $2,000 for 1 month in a private room (costs go down for shared rooms and longer time commitments)
- Destinations: Central & South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia
- Best for: Freelancers looking for a short trip abroad, and experienced digital nomads looking for a group experience
With Wifi Tribe, you choose your own adventure with “chapters” that last 4 weeks. Pick a single destination, make a full year of it, or dip in and out depending on your travel plans and desires. The groups are also currently much smaller than Remote Year, consisting of 12-25 people, which may be a better option for more introverted nomads.
Wifi Tribe also offers the best destination list in our opinion, with chapters in cities and destinations you just won’t see on other programs. Want to get off the beaten path and go to Nairobi, Florence, or Antigua? It’s going to be a lot easier with a group like WiFi Tribe.
However, with the added flexibility and more remote locations, you’ll have to be a little braver when it comes to travel because getting to and from your destination is up to you. Check out this review on experiences in Ecuador and Panama with WiFi Tribe on the Remotise blog.
3. Nomad Cruise – Paydirt’s Pick for Goal-Oriented Travel Program
- Length of Time: 7 days
- Cost: € 700 – € 2000 depending on the type of cabin and when you book
- Destinations: The next scheduled cruise goes from Portugal to Gran Canaria
- Best for: Solopreneurs looking for networking opportunities
4. Edumadic – Paydirt’s Pick for Goal-Oriented Travel Program
- Length of Time: Programs vary from 6 weeks to 3 months
- Cost: Varies by location and duration; a 6-week program in Bali is listed at $1,600; a 3-month program in Asia is listed at $3,900
- Destinations: Indonesia and Asia
- Best for: Freelancers with a specific learning goal or business development project
It can be hard to set aside time to network and develop new skills when you’re focused on freelance. Nomad Cruise and Edumadic are two programs that offer time-boxed travel experiences focused specifically on these things.
Aboard Nomad Cruise, you’ll take part in a week-long floating conference with keynotes, workshops, networking, and time for excursions. On an Edumadic trip, you’ll take 6 weeks to 3 months in a new destination with groups focused on self-directed study, like learning a new programming language, writing a book, or working on your design portfolio.
If you have the means, these programs can get you out of your routines and put you in an environment with likeminded people to kindle your creativity.
5. Venture with Impact – Honorable Mention
- Length of Time: 1 month
- Cost: $2,100 – $2,500
- Destinations: Columbia, Thailand, Portugal, Mexico
- Best for: Freelancers, remote workers, and nomads with extra time looking for a voluntourism opportunity
Most travel programs geared towards digital nomads focus pretty solely on your profit and pleasure as an individual traveler. Venture with Impact is more outwardly focused, striving to provide meaningful, skill-based volunteer opportunities for remote workers abroad.
This is a newer organization and the reviews we’ve seen range from glowing to “never again,” but it’s worth researching more if you’re looking for a purpose-driven trip and a chance to be involved in a community at a more local level.
One thing to note is that while trips include accommodations, they don’t provide you with a co-working location, which makes their focus on remote workers a little confusing. We think the program would probably be better for someone between gigs, or looking for a break with a chance to give back.
Whether you’re looking to take your freelance abroad for a week or a year, there are a plethora of freelancer apps and co-working programs to help you do it. So stop making excuses, and start making plans.
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