Here are the products, services, apps and books that I love and use on a frequent basis as a freelancer, cyberpreneur, business coach, graphic designer and writer.
I will be updating this page from time to time, anytime I discover something new that’s worth sharing and life changing for me and you.
Just contact me in case you have questions on how to use any of these services.
Top Freelancer Tools
Being a location-independent worker, you need to be able to work everywhere and have your files and apps available in the cloud, so that you can access it anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection. Thanks to Google, most of the basic tools that you need is just one click away. Once you have created a Google account, you have they key to opening all the wonderful apps that freelancers love, namely:
- Google Drive – With Google Drive, you don’t need a hard drive, you can store up to 15 gigabytes of data and purchase if you want more storage. You can also easily share files with others by getting the share link, no need to attach it in your email. And it’s great for sending large files.
- Google Calendar – I not only use this for work but I also use this at home. What’s awesome about Google Calendar is that you can create multiple calendars and share it with your team or with your spouse, so you don’t miss your child’s recital or soccer game.
- Google Docs and Google Sheets – It’s simply MS Word and Excel that you can use directly inside your web browser. So, you don’t need to go to Greenhills to buy a pirated copy of MS Office or the buy the expensive original one. You automatically have them with your Google account.
- Google Chrome – If you are still using Firefox or Internet Explorer, you are missing out a lot. Apart from being one of the most reliable browsers, what’s great about Chrome is that when you save the Chrome settings (bookmarks, favorites, passwords, extensions, etc.) in your computer, you can then go to another computer and access the same settings. How cool is that. As long as you login with your Google account and configure it to remember the settings that you like, then you are good to go. Just remember to logout after if you are using a public computer.
2. Inbox (free) – Another Google App, Inbox is Gmail on steroids. At the same time, it’s more simplified and automatically groups your e-newletter subscriptions and pesky social media notifications in neat folders or “bundles” so that you experience zen while browsing your inbox. I also love how you can easily either click “pin”, “snooze” or “done” for each message so that you achieve “inbox zero” every day of your life.
3. Evernote (free or paid) – There are hundreds of note-taking apps out there but nothing comes close to Evernote. Aside from, of course, typing your notes, you can also capture todo lists, pictures, sound bytes, screenshots, websites, business cards, etc. and everything is stored in the cloud. You can also use Evernote to network at events. The free basic account allows a maximum of 60 MBs of data every month. I am currently using Evernote Premium (10 GBs) and you can also try it for FREE for 1 month (it will revert back to basic after one month if you don’t continue with the plan).
4. Invoice Ocean (free or paid) – After completing gigs for your client, you will appear more professional if you send the client an invoice as proof of the work that you have completed, even if the client didn’t ask for it. You can easily create your own invoice using Word or Docs but Invoice Ocean is this web-based invoice creation tool that not only easily creates one for you, but you can also track all the invoices that you created in it’s dashboard. Do you need recurring invoices? Invoice Ocean can. It can create recurring invoices and send it automatically to your client’s email address. There is also a basic (paid) version for better features like unlimited invoices.
5. Spotify (free or paid) – I love music, especially while I’m working. With Spotify, you can stream music from the app and create your own playlists or select playlists under different genres, especially curated by Spotify. With the free version, you will be interrupted from time to time by advertisements. If you want to make those ads disappear plus listen to music offline, then you can upgrade to premium, which costs only about P129 a month.
6. Uber (paid)– As a freelancers, we are not used to the traffic as our employee counterparts. So when I need to meet up with a client in the city, I fire up my Uber app from my smartphone and I sit back, relax and travel in comfort to my destination. It definitely beats driving my car, riding a taxi or taking public transportation. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can get a free ride worth up to P200 if you go to this link: www.freelanceblend.com/freeuber
Want to freelance as an Uber driver? Listen to my interview with an actual Uber driver. You can earn up to P2,000 if you sign up as an Uber Driver today by clicking this link: www.freelanceblend.com/uberdriver.
7. PayPal – If your clients are based abroad, you need an easy way to be able to collect payments from them. Traditional wire transfers are not only costly but unsafe. PayPal has been and still is the online worker’s or cyberpreneur’s best friend. You just need to link your local credit card or bank account and you are on your way to collecting your income and spending it as you wish. To date, it is free to withdraw from PayPal to your local bank account for amounts of Php7,000 or more and a PayPal fee of P50 for withdrawal amounts below P7,000. You may have to check if your local bank charges for PayPal withdrawals.
8. Payoneer (paid) – Another way to receive your freelance income is by using Payoneer. Payoneer provides you with your own MasterCard that comes from their office abroad, so expect about 20-30 days delivery of the physical card. So once your money has been transferred to your debit card, you can just swipe it at establishments that accept MasterCard, like supermarkets, airlines, gas stations and the like. Another cool thing about Payoneer is that they provide you with your very own US or European bank account number, so if you have American or European clients, they can just transfer their payment from their bank account to yours if they do not have a PayPal account. It also lets you avoid paying PayPal fees. Your only cost here is the annual fee of $29.95 plus foreign exchange conversion (since you will be paid in USD or EUR).
To get your first $25 free credit, sign up with this link: www.freelanceblend.com/payoneer.
9. Canva (free) – A web-based, graphic design tool for non-designers. Although I am a graphic designer and adept with Photoshop, I still find myself using Canva’s easy-to-use graphic design tool. There’s plenty of cool templates for blog posters, social media posters, invites, et al to choose from. You just need to select a template then change the text, colors and backgrounds as you wish. What’s great is that this service is free.
10. MailChimp (free or paid) – Internet marketers always say, “The money is in the list.” Freelancers and cyberpreneurs alike should always collect e-mail addresses in their websites to grow their list of potential clients. The best way to do that is to use an email service provider like MailChimp. I think MailChimp is one of the easiest and simplest email providers out there and that’s why I love it. It allows me to create an email collection box in my website and then link it to my MailChimp account to send out blog posts to my subscribers automatically. The service is free for the first 2,000 email subscribers.
11. PicResize (free) – Website speed is important for search engine optimisation as well as keeping your blog readers from leaving your site. If you upload big images to your website like me, then you will need to lower the file size using this web-based service, PicResize. You just simply drag and drop your image file, and in a few minutes, you file will be resized and ready to be downloaded back to your computer.
12. Small PDF (free) – Similar to PicResize, Small PDF is another web-based tool that drastically lowers the file size of your PDF documents. This is very useful, especially if you have a graphics-heavy proposal for your web design client. You don’t want to piss them off by sending a large file. Plus, it will save you space in your email box.
13. Snagit Image and Video Screen Capture (free) – This Google Chrome extension makes taking screenshots from any website a breeze. Just click the Snagit icon on your Google Chrome bar and you will be able to capture a web screen and annotate with text, shapes and arrows. You also have the option to download the image file or just copy the link and send the link to your client, which saves hard drive space.
14. Skype (free) – Communication is key in any business, especially your freelance business. Whether it’s with a client, a business partner, a fellow freelancer or even a loved one from another city, country or galaxy, Skype has paved the way for all of us to connect for free, an internet connection is all you need. You can even have a conference call with up to 2 persons and even share your computer screens with one another, Skype is the must-have tool for any work from home worker.
Top Freelance Marketplaces: Where To Get Work as a Freelancer
There are many ways to get started earning online as a freelancer. Here are the top freelance websites that you can use to get your first dollar as a freelancer (in alphabetical order):
1. 199Jobs.com – A local startup by my mentor and former podcast guest, Fitz Villafuerte. It allows you to get hired for mini-tasks such as transcription, data entry, writing, graphic design, etc. for at least P199. Caters to Filipino freelancers and clients.
2. Fiverr.com – The international counterpart of 199Jobs, it also allows you to earn from small jobs at $5 per gig, but here you are competing with the global freelancer community. The good thing is that you are opening your service is open to the rest of the globe. Want to try a FREE sample gig? Just go to this link: www.freelanceblend.com/fiverr.
3. Freelancer.ph – Freelancer.ph is an Australian online freelance marketplace that opened it’s office here in Manila. As a global outsourcing marketplace, its service is quite similar to Upwork. Freelancer.ph’s main job categories include websites IT & software, mobile, writing, design, data entry, sales & marketing, and local jobs & services. Freelancer.com’s service fee is 10% of the amount charged to clients for free accounts while the fees are reduced once you upgrade your membership.
4. goLance.com – One of the newest marketplaces. It offers plenty of exciting new features and earning opportunities like 2-5% Cashback option, a referral program, and a goCredit program where you can get a loan either as a freelancer or a client. Service fee at goLance.com is at 10%. To find out more about goLance, listen to my interview with the founder himself, Michael Brooks.
5. Guru – Another global freelance marketplace, Guru’s main categories include web & software, design & multimedia, writing & translation, and admin support among others. Guru’s service fee is from 4.95% to 8.95%, depending on your membership level.
6. Onlinejobs.ph – A U.S-based marketplace that is dedicated mainly to providing jobs for our Filipino virtual assistants. Once you open an account at OnlineJobs.ph, prepare to provide your government ID as proof.
7. Raket.ph – A Philippine startup founded by Freelance Blend Podcast guest Lyle Jover. It basically works as a search engine that local clients can use to look for Filipino freelancers. The service fee is 5% per transaction.
8. Upwork.com – a freelance marketplace popular among Filipinos, it is the result of the merger between former freelancing giants, Odesk and Elance. There’s about a dozen major categories like admin support, writing, software dev, IT & network, sales and customer service plus hundreds of sub categories to choose from. Also, Upwork caters to both newbies and advanced freelancers. Upwork is implementing sliding service fee (between 10% to 20% depending on the total lifetime gig amount per client). Find out more in this interview.
Virtual Offices or Co-Working Spaces in Manila
3. A Space – a co-working space in Makati, across Greenbelt 5 shopping mall.
4. O2 Space – short for Optimal Office Space, it’s a co-working and temporary office space situated in Mile Long Building, Amorsolo Street in Makati.
5. Impact Hub – a large co-working and events space for entreps, freelancers, startups and creatives. Located in Green Sun, Pasong Tamo, Makati.
1. WordPress – The free blogging platform used by the most popular bloggers and even top companies in the world. For serious bloggers only.
2. Go Daddy – There are tons of cheaper domain name providers but I love Go Daddy because of its simplicity and easy integration with my hosting service. (Use my referral code WOWfblend at checkout to get 35% off).
3. Bluehost – You can have a fancy website design but if your website is slow and always down, your website will still suck. Bluehost, I believe is a reliable hosting service (note: see below why I have since moved to SiteGround) and it has been recommended by the top bloggers that I follow. It costs about $5 a month.
4. SiteGround – After experiencing some problems with Bluehost, I have decided to move to SiteGround upon the recommendation of a mastermind groupmate of mine.
Instantly, I was amazed by SiteGround‘s customer service. Upon signing up, you receive a phone call from SiteGround welcoming you to their service and checking up on you if you have questions (yes they called long distance). Then, when you arrange to transfer the site from another service, they respond immediately to your questions and concerns. As an online entrepreneur, your website is your bread and butter and knowing that your website is in good hands is priceless.
What’s more, the price is amazing at only about $3.95 a month. The only downside is that the email storage is limited.
All in all, website speed, customer support and reliability are more important for me so I highly recommend SiteGround as the best alternative to BlueHost.
5. Genesis Theme – More user friendly than some of the more popular WordPress themes such as Thesis. Also, this is the theme recommended by most web designers that I know because of it’s adaptability with WordPress’ frequent updates. Price is $59.95.
1. Pretty Link – Converts long URLs into short pretty ones. Hence the name, Pretty Link. (free)
2. PowerPress – The podcasting plugin that everyone uses to integrate their podcast episodes within their websites. (free)
1. Multi-functional Folding Standing Desk – Sitting all day in front of the computer gives me all sorts of body aches — back pains, stiff necks, head aches, etc. Until I discovered this very versatile, folding standing desk. I stand up more now while working and it has worked wonders for me. I highly recommend this desk. You can order at Lazada.com.ph.
1. Libsyn – As blogging is to BlueHost, podcasting is to Libsyn. Libsyn is where I store all my podcast episodes. It is advisable to have a separate hosting service for your podcast so it does not affect your blog site’s speed. The price starts at $5 a month (depending on the size of your podcast episode).
2. Auphonic – A free web service that levels the different tracks within your podcast and it can even help remove background noise.
3. Audio Technica ATR2100 Microphone – I take podcasting seriously so I invested in a nice microphone that will make me sound like a real radio DJ. The price is only $50 in Amazon but it sounds like a $300 microphone. This is the microphone I recommend for budding podcasters.
4. Blue Yeti USB Microphone – After two years of podcasting, I felt ready to upgrade to a more professional and a bit more expensive microphone. I have heard of podcasters like Amy Porterfield talk about this beautiful microphone and I don’t disagree. I ordered mine through Amazon.com and waited for months for my new Blue Yeti to arrive. Fortunately, this mic is now available locally through Lazada.com. Just click the image below if wish to check it out in Lazada.
5. Roland R05 Digital Audio Recorder – For podcast episodes that need to be recorded outside my studio, I take this gadget with me. The audio is great as it focuses on the voices of the interviewees while keeping the ambient sounds, perfectly capturing the scene of the interview. Price is under $200 in Amazon.com.
1. Kindle – The moment I downloaded the Kindle app in my iPhone about 2 years ago, I have never, for the life of me, bought another printed book since and have collected about two dozen (and counting) of my most favorite and the latest best sellers that come out in Amazon.com. Speaking of my favorite ebooks, please check out my Fab Five Books below. (Free)
2. ByWord – Blogging is easy with it’s very simple interface. I have this app both in my Mac and iPhone so that I can blog from either devices because the content is synced in iCloud. Price is $4.99.
I love books, especially in the genres of personal finance, business, productivity, marketing and biography. What’s common to all of the genres that I mentioned is that they all are non-fiction – because I find fiction books kinda boring (sorry fiction-lovers). I would rather read something that happened in real life so that I myself can apply the same lessons to my own life.
Also, I have always been a curious person. I always wanted to learn how a regular person broke through walls and then rose to prominence – whether in business, sports, entertainment or cyberspace. And that is the same curiosity that I bring whenever I interview the most successful and influential people in my podcast.
The following are my Fab Five Books. I highly recommend all 5 books. Reading all of them should get you into the right mindset, encourage you to take action and then eventually push you towards the path to success – whether as a freelancer, entrepreneur or any other career you desire. If you become a billionaire or A-list superstar because of these books, you know how to contact me. And you’re welcome.
My Fab Five Books
1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)
2. The 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferriss)
3. $100 Startup (Chris Gillabeau)
4. Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth! (Robert G. Allen)
5. Tribes (Seth Godin)
To get your freelance career started, why don’t you get my FREE ebook: The Most Awesome Apps, Tools and Resources for Freelancers (Hint: Most of them are free)! Click the iPad below to download instantly!