Tools & resources for new freelancers

Recently a colleague of mine asked for some advice about starting a freelance business, so I shared some of the tools and resources that I’ve found helpful in my own career over the years. I thought I’d share them here too. Is there anything that you can’t live without as a freelancer or small business owner?


Online invoicing – lets you send electronic invoices to clients and collect payment online.  It also tracks your expenses and billable hours and generates year-end reports. They have a free account option too so you can try it out first.  Freshbooks is one of my essential, can’t live without tools.

Online bookkeeping/accounting software – integrates with Freshbooks. Nice for generating quick profit/loss and year end statements.

Good quality business cards that you can order in small quantities (packs of 50) – design your own or templates available.

Online Resources

Freelancer’s Union
Free membership community with resources like sample contracts, tax advice, etc. Also provides health insurance plans for freelancers in some states.

Surprisingly easy to understand tax information and guidance on how to structure your business.

Estimated Taxes
Tax info straight from the source.  Includes link to sign up for EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System) to pay your taxes online.


My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9 to 5 Guide, both by Michelle Goodman
Both offer practical advice on how to get started as a freelancer and include plenty of real-life examples.

The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money by Ilise Benum
Guidance on how to set your rates and communicate the value of the services you provide to your clients.