Important information for Dinghy customers. Click here to learn more.
January 24, 2022

The top 10 free apps for freelancers

Written by Olivia Bufton

January is here, and with freelance work kick-starting all over again, you might be looking for ways to help you work smarter. These days, it feels like there’s an app for almost everything, promising to change your life with just a few taps of your smartphone. But how do you separate the apps that will actually help you from the ones that are just a massive time drain? Dinghy has put together a guide to the top 10 apps that we think will really help give freelancers a boost in 2022. 

Productivity and budgeting apps: get organised! 

1. Clockify 

Clockify is a super-smart app for freelancers. It allows you to measure and track the time that you spend across different things throughout your working day. For example, perhaps you’d set aside the whole day to work on an upcoming report for a client, but it’s only half-finished by teatime. Was that because the work took longer than you expected, or did you get distracted by another project? Clockify will let you keep close track of how and where you spend your time – and how much money each activity is earning you per hour. This makes it a really useful freelancer app if you’re trying to assess if your rates are fair, whether you’re quoting correctly for jobs and which clients are bringing you the most financially rewarding projects. It’s also good for demonstrating to clients the extra hours you’re putting in if you’re experiencing scope creep. It’s free, and you can sync data over web, smartphone, tablet and desktop. 

2. Mint 

Mint is an essential budget app for freelancers who are looking to take care of the pennies. You can use it to track your spending, plan your budget, and save towards your financial goals. We especially love the intelligent alerts it sends out, for example, if your spending goes up in one area it will warn you so you can keep it in check. It’s free, which also makes good financial sense. 

3. A calendar app 

The one essential productivity app for all freelancers is a good, old-fashioned calendar. Yes, it’s not particularly earth-shattering, but how else do you juggle Zoom meetings, project deadlines, events and your social life? There are loads out there, and the best one for you often depends on what email system you and your clients use. If you’re a working parent, the Cozi family calendar app allows you to set different appointments for different members of the household. 

Creative apps: spark those ideas! 

4. Microsoft Lens 

Oooh, we love a nifty gadget, and this powerful app turns your smartphone into a document scanner! It captures information from written documents and turns them into Word, PowerPoint or PDF files. We thought this might be just a gimmick, but since downloading it, we’ve used it to scan in receipts for our expenses; capture the notes from the whiteboard at a workshop event, and grab potential clients’ details from business cards without the fear of losing them later. Really good for when you’re on the go. Microsoft Lens is free and available for iOS and Android

5. Coggle 

Coggle is a wonderfully creative app for freelancers who hold a jumble of ideas in their heads all the time. It’s also useful if your work involves working with teams, collaborators or the public. Its main feature is simple, collaborative mind maps that can be created to share concepts, ideas or key learning around a topic. Although the diagrams produced look complex and professional, the interface is intuitive and simple to use. We can see so many different uses for Coggle in freelance life!   

6. Canva 

Canva is an awesome app for creating beautiful shareable graphics that look like they took hours to make. You can combine images, text, icons and other graphic elements using simple click and drag techniques. There’s a huge library of different templates to get you started, and loads of options for customisation so you can bring it in line with your or your client’s brand. It’s great for social media gurus and it’s a lot simpler than getting to grips with Adobe Suite. The basic version is free, but you can upgrade to Pro to access a wider variety of templates and tools. 

For freelance writers: refine your words 

7. Grammarly 

An essential app for freelance writers, or actually just about anyone who has to write as part of their work, Grammarly is much more than a spell-checker. Its AI-powered interface can make intelligent suggestions not just about the nuts and bolts spelling, punctuation and grammar of your writing, but also about tone, clarity and conciseness. One really useful feature of this writer app is that you can get it to make suggestions across all the different platforms you use – from Word documents and emails to Facebook posts and Slack messages. The basic version is free, but the Premium version offers more features. 

8. Google Docs 

While Microsoft might traditionally have dominated the world of word processors, Google Docs has made itself stand out for the next generation of wordsmiths. It’s cloud-based, which means that your work is instantly backed-up and synced across all your devices. It’s also really handy to be able to whip out your phone and edit a document if an idea suddenly comes to you in the supermarket queue or while you’re waiting for the train. You can invite people to collaborate on the documents either as editors, commenters or viewers. If you like Docs, Google also has Sheets (a spreadsheet app), Slides (for presentations) and Forms (for feedback and surveys). 

For all freelancers: keep business flowing 

9. Upwork 

Ideal for new freelancers or for anyone finding themselves going through a bit of a dry spell when it comes to freelance projects, Upwork is an established online freelancing marketplace. Its purpose is to connect businesses looking for freelancing talent with appropriately skilled available freelancers to take on their project. There are freelancing vacancies posted across tonnes of categories, including developers, designers, marketers and translators.  

10. Dinghy 

Yes, that’s right, you can now control your Dinghy freelancer insurance policies with just a tap using our new app, now available for Android as well as iPhone. Using this nifty insurance app lets you manage your policy, including pausing your cover when you’re on holiday or between projects. Just another way in which we’re trying to make business insurance for freelancers as hassle-free and flexible as possible. If you’ve not yet signed up for Dinghy protection, head to our website for a quote

This is not a sponsored article and neither Dinghy nor our staff has any affiliation to the websites mentioned in this article. 

About Olivia Bufton

Read more blog posts by Olivia Bufton

Subscribe to our exclusive mailing list for the latest stories, newsletters and freelancer tips from the Dinghy team