What We Couldn’t Work Without

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Every freelancer out there has a bag of tricks they wouldn’t want to do work without—whether it’s their computer, useful software, or their favorite radio station. Find out what sorts of things help FreelanceSwitch.com contributors during their workday.

Perhaps their advice will inspire you to try something new, or reaffirm that what you currently use is the best in the biz.


My Apple Kit

I regularly use a MacBook Air, iMac, iPad, and iPhone for work. I love the style and function of OSX and iOS, and the quality of these tools is just amazing.

I can enjoy a huge screen at home for digging into some in-depth work, and take the super lightweight MacBook Air on the road. My iPhone never leaves my side, and I’m constantly amazed at how much work I can get done on such a tiny device. —David Appleyard

MacBook Pro

My MacBook Pro is my best partner when it comes to visiting clients and presenting projects. —Eliffio Rodriguez

My iPad2

This was a wedding gift from my husband. He even got me a digital camera plug in and 3G service—two things that really bugged me about the iPad.

I had no idea how much I would use it when working away from the office. I especially love that I can take photos at the wedding shows I attend for my job and instantly upload them to our Facebook page and Twitter account.–Melanie Brooks

Creative Software

Text Expander

Text Expander is a great little piece of software that lets me use shortcuts to place large blocks of test. When I type “FSW,” for instance, it automatically converts it as “FreelanceSwitch.com” for me. I have shortcuts for words and phrases I use regularly, as well as templates for documents and emails.–Thursday Bram


WordPress is pretty simple—I wouldn’t have a website without it. Furthermore, I couldn’t do freelance web design without it. My skills are built around the WordPress framework and it allows me to do my job quickly and effectively.—James Clear

Notational Velocity

Notational Velocity is everything I need in a word processor. It’s far more simple than Microsoft Word, which just seems bloated to me now. Plus, it automatically saves and syncs with Dropbox, which means all of my writing is backed up and accessible from anywhere as soon as I type it.–James Clear

I love open source software. I use GIMP to edit images and prepare screenshots for my blog.–Anna Kovaleva

Organizing Software

Whizfolders Software

I spend most of my day writing for my clients. Whizfolders software is an outliner and text editor that I depend on for a lot of my projects. It’s easy to draft things in a modular fashion and then rearrange them later on in the process.–Will Kenny


Dropbox allows for online storage and safety in my business. Every important document I have is backed up on Dropbox. It also allows for rapid data transfer with business partners. Business on the cloud is quick and easy.–James Clear

Keeping everything in sync between these devices is vital, and Dropbox is hands down the most important online service in my life. I can quickly move from one computer to another without needing to move files around manually. It also keeps a backup of all my important files in the cloud to boot!–David Appleyard


I’ve tried many different pieces of “Getting Things Done” software, all of which have their relative pros and cons. OmniFocus is the application that stands out from the crowd, and I use it to manage absolutely everything from listing work that needs to get done on Envato projects to planning how I’m going to cook Christmas dinner for 15 people–David Appleyard


I am the social media maven for a few organizations (including my own). I need to be able to manage Facebook and Twitter efficiently, and HootSuite allows me to do this.–Melanie Brooks

Remember the Milk

I have been using this online to-do list and task management software for organizing my whole life. I’ve been using Remember the Milk for years!–Eliffio Rodriguez


Gmail is, by far, my favorite email platform. Besides, it keeps all my important data, notes, files, and contacts.–Anna Kovaleva


A Decent Office Chair

I actually spent four months in physical therapy, on pain killers, and otherwise not doing very well because of using a cheap chair at my desk. Get yourself an ergonomic chair.–Thursday Bram

A Timer
I can always manage to work for 15 or 30 minutes at a time, so I use the ‘Due’ app for iPhone to keep myself on track and focused.–Thursday Bram


I get most of my business by picking up the phone and asking people for their business. It’s not always easy. In fact, most of the time it’s pretty frustrating. But I haven’t found anything else that works as well—not even the exalted social media we hear so much about these days.–Martha Retallick

Digital Camera and Computer

I couldn’t be a modern-day graphic designer/photographer without the combination of a digital camera and computer.–Martha Retallick

Pen and Paper

A lot of times, the framework for a marketing strategy, website content, or a complex project or document is easier to sketch out on paper than on the computer.–Will Kenny

Random Other Stuff

My Radio

My radio is glued to Tuscon’s community radio station, KXCI-FM 91.3. This station plays just about every style of music on the planet. It’s the background friend for my work day.–Martha Retallick

My Dog

Miles the Chihuahua is a wonderful little distraction when I need a break. He has a bed under my desk that he hangs out in while I work, and when my shoulders or eyes start hurting from sitting at my desk and looking at my computer, I dive under my desk for a little affection. He makes me feel like I’m not completely alone all day, even if I am.–Melanie Brooks

Irish Gaelic Broadcasts

I am a volunteer teacher for an Irish language group in Minnesota (www.gaelminn.com) and listening to Irish language broadcasts, reading news articles, or work on my lesson plans helps recharge my batteries. It is such a complete shift of gears that it does a good job of flushing a lot of debris out of my brain.–Will Kenny

There You Have it, Folks!

Twenty-one different things that FreelanceSwitch freelance contributors wouldn’t work without. I bet you have some ideas you’d like to add to this list. Please leave them in the comments section below so we can all benefit from each others’ expertise and passion!

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