Kick Start Your Online Freelance Career With Some Basic Tools

Freelancing jobs are commonly found online. The jobs which are most in demand now are web design and development, graphic design, social media management and marketing, content production and marketing and project management.

Having skills and knowledge in one or more of these fields gives anyone, thinking of working as a freelancer an edge already. But having that knowledge is not enough. Every freelancer should have relevant tools readily available to him so he can start with an online job once he’s given the opportunity. He should not wait to be hired for the job before getting his tools ready.

The tools a freelancer should have would depend on the kind of jobs he can do. Below are some of the basic tools which should be prepared firsthand:

Email Account. This free resource is the primary means of online communication right now. If you still haven’t signed up for one then do so ASAP. Your email address will also be used for registration to other online platforms which you may need to accomplish your freelance job.

Messenger Accounts. Skype is the most popular messenger among freelancers but there are other choices such as GTalk, Hangout, Yahoo Messenger and even Facebook Chat. Messengers are essential for many employers who hire freelancers online because it’s a way for employers to personally talk and see their virtual employees either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Team meetings may also be held using these messengers without the need for paying for expensive teleconferencing software. If webinars are necessary, online meeting software can also be easily found on the internet now.

Cloud Storage Service. Cloud storage is a tool which allows you to keep your files online. Google Drive, formerly Google Docs is a popular choice so is Dropbox, SugarSync and Box.Net. There are also storage platforms for specific purposes like Slideshare, Slide.Com, PhotoBucket and Flickr. It’s usually free to sign up for these resources or they ask for a minimal fee for larger storage capacity. Using cloud storage services is now seen as a need when doing your job online. These are secure storage tools which can be accessed anytime and anywhere because they are available via the internet. Sharing of files and folders are also often allowed in these tools allowing you to give access to your clients to the documents or other files they need.

Office Applications. Now the tools of your choice will vary based on the jobs you will perform. If you will do secretarial, administrative, accounting or writing jobs, you should have and know how to use applications like MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages or Numbers. For bookkeeping and other accounting jobs, there are online tools as well like Quickbooks, Freshbooks and Wave Accounting. The best friends of graphic and web designers on the other hand are Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and the like. Special tools are used by transcriptionists and video and audio creators and editors.

Personal Organization Tools. Your email and/or your cloud storage tool may also provide you with tools to organize your to-do lists. There are other cloud resources as well like Evernote, TeuxDeaux, Get It Done, TuDu List, Bla Bla List Stay Useful-Do, and Remember The Milk. I personally like Google Tasks because it’s integrated in my email already making viewing easier.

Project Management Tools. These tools will come in handy when you have landed a project or job already. Often employers have their preferred project management tools and they will just provide access to new hires. This is a big organization tool where several employees and the employer himself can collaborate to bring their tasks together and accomplish the project goals. Basecamp, Teamwork, Flow, HiTask, and Orchestra are only some of the popular resources for project management.

Enhance Your Photos With Online Photo Editors

If you have a picture that is perfect except for that one little thing, be it red-eye or a prankster in the background, this article will help you find tools to remove those imperfections. To enhance your picture and remove unwanted sections, you will have to use image editing software. Using image editing software is neither as complicated or expensive as it sounds. In fact, it is free. First we will cover the two most common uses for basic image editing.

Cropping

Cropping a photo means that you are taking a selected section of the photo and removing the rest. With cropping you can center and frame your image without stretching the original image.

Red-Eye Removal

Most photo editors have a tool to remove red-eye. You will just select the red-eye tool, select the red-eye in the photo, and the red-eye tool will get rid of the red-eye. Here are some sites where you can edit your photo for free.

Picnik

Picnik is our favorite online image editing tool. Simple, elegant, and easy to use, Picnik is a great tool for first time beginners and experienced editors. Some advanced features are restricted on free accounts, but in most cases you won’t need them. You can find the Picnik editor at Picnik.com.

FotoFlexer

FotoFlexer is perfect if you want to add animations or effects. If you do not have a lot of experience, this is a great place to start. You can visit the site at fotoflexer.com.

Adobe Photoshop Online

Photoshop online is an online version of the industry standard Photoshop desktop image editing program. If you register to create an account, you will be able to use many of the same features the professionals use. If you are serious about image editing, this is the place for you. Adobe Photoshop Online can be found at photoshop.com. Each of these image editors have a free option and can get you on your way to editing photos in no time.

Free Website Design Tools

Designing a website can be a costly venture, or not. It all depends on how you go about it and if you choose to use free website design tools.

If you choose to hire a website design firm you can expect to pay thousands of dollars. Even when hiring a firm there is work for you to do. They will need your input, design ideas, content help and your overall knowledge of the business you run or intend to start.

Maybe you want to do it yourself to save some time and learn a new skill. So the first thing you do is start researching just how to build a website yourself. You find out that there a number of ways to do it:

– Write code: This is very time consuming and it’s like learning a new language. If you want to learn, great, but unless you plan on becoming a coding GEEK this is probably not the option for you.

– Computer Software: You can buy software programs to install on your computer that allow you to create a website and then upload it or edit it live when connected to the internet. This is an option but it’s not free and there is a learning curve.

– Online Software: There are many software programs online that you can use to build and host a website. Some are free, some are paid, some are included with your hosting.

So let’s say you pick option three, using online software. Next, let’s explore some of the free website design tools available online:

Website Builders:

Weebly: This is a company that offers a free website builder. The disadvantage to this is that it is hosted on their server, meaning you have less control.

WordPress: WordPress is well known as a blogging platform but it is also excellent for designing websites. You can get high quality templates for free or paid to design a website. WordPress comes free with many quality hosts such as Bluehost.

Photo and Graphics Editors:

When designing a website you usually need graphics to some degree. Photoshop is the program most commonly associated with graphics creation but it is costly. Here are some other options:

Picnik: This is a great online tool to help you add a professional touch to any images you want to include on your website, and it’s free.

Gimp: Gimp is a program you will need to download to your computer but it does a lot of what Photoshop can do, but it’s also free.

There are tons of resources you can find online to help you build your website for free. My absolute favorite for building websites is WordPress.