Here are all of the highly recommended premium tools I have paid for and currently use to help run my freelannce writing business.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t necessarily need these right now (and you can instead rely on the free tools I recommend), but I encourage you to familiarze yourself with them and invest in them sometime in the future as your business grows.
Note: The following list contains affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission for products or services bought through the links I’ve provided at no additional cost to you.
Bluehost – I’ve been using Bluehost to host my main writer website since 2009. Starter plans are cheap, you get a free domain name for a year and you get one-click WordPress installation, making it one of the best choices for newbies looking to set up a self-hosted writer website.
Divi by Elegant Themes – The only theme I’ve ever used for any website (including this one) for years has been Divi. It’s one of the most powerful themes out there that you can use to make your site look truly your own. Although there’s a bit of a learning curve to it, it’s such a popular theme that there are tons of tutorials online showing you how to work with it.
Canva Pro – If you don’t want to pay someone else to create a logo or graphics for you website, you can easily create them yourself with this intuitive graphic design tool. The free version might do just fine for you, but I use it often enough that I’ve upgraded to Pro, which gives you access to premium graphics and additional features.
Cold Email Pitching
Google Domains – If you’re going to cold pitch prospects by email, I highly recommend getting another domain that’s similar to your main one (such as sitename.co if your main site is hosted at sitename.com) to avoid doing damage to your main domain for potentially being marked as spam. You just need it for emailing and you can forward it to your main site. Google Domains is best because you can set it up with Google Workspace to appear more trusted, therefore minimizing your chances of your emails being seen as spam.
Warmup Inbox – Warmup Inbox is a good one if you plan on taking cold email pitching seriously. For about $10 a month, this tool “warms up” your email address by automatically sending and receiving emails on behalf of you to build up its reputation. This increases its trustworthiness and increases your chances of showing up in people’s inboxes rather than spam.
Aweber – Once you have a website set up, you can create a lead magnet to offer your target clients in exchange for their emai addresses so you can build a relationship with them and increase your chances of getting hired. I’ve used Aweber for years to collect email subscribers from lead magnets and I’ve always been happy with it. You can create unlimited lists and you only pay more as your subscribers increase.
Bloom by Elegant Themes – This is the opt-in form WordPress plugin that works seamslessly with the Divi theme. If you already pay for Divi, Bloom is included in your Elegant Themes membership, which is awesome.
Legal & Financial Stuff
A Self Guru Legal Templates – If you’re going to be a freelancer, you need to use contracts with all your clients. Amira from A Self Guru is a business lawyer and blogger who specializes in offering professionally crafted legal templates at affordable prices that you can use again and again. Her contractor template is all you need. Just fill in the blanks for each client.
Freshbooks – This is the accounting and bookkeeping software I’ve been using for several years and highly recommend for its affordability, automation, and ease of use. If you have an accountant/bookkeeper, you can also give them access to your account through a special permission function.
Bonsai – I’ve only just recently discovered this all-in-one suite of freelancer tools, but I’m already hooked. For $19 a month, you can use it for contracts, proposals, invoicing, payments, accounting, taxes, project management, and more. Everything is done within Bonsai itself, using professional templates and powerful systems designed to make it all as easy as possible for you. (Tip: If you get Bonsai, you don’t necessarily need the two other tools mentioned above.)
Todoist – Todoist is my to-do list app of choice. You can use the free version, which offers a lot of on its own, but for about $ to $6 a month (depending on your currency) you get all sorts of additional features.
Scrivener – A popular tool among fiction writers, I (and countless other non-fiction writers) find that Scrivener is also an excellent tool for writing and keeping multiple projects organized for multiple clients. It’s a real step up from writing everything in .doc files and storing them in various folders on your computer or cloud platform. The biggest downside is that the tool isn’t very intuitive and you really need to spend some time learning how to use it properly. I took Karen Prince’s Scrivener course on Udemy, which made a huge difference.
FocusMe – FocusMe is a Windows/Mac application that helps you control your screen time, track how you’re spending your time, and build better work habits. It’s a great tool if you struggle with distraction and multitasking, and I especially love the built-in Pomodoro Technique timer. You can try it for free before you decide to purchase.
Brain.fm – A simple way to improve your productivity is to listen to music that has been scientifically proven to enhance your focus and concentration, which is exactly what Brain.fm offers. You can try it for free, then decide if you want to sign up for $7 a month or $50 a year.