This page is a compilation of resources I personally use to run my business and my blog. I’ve also included some publishing resources because fiction is my first love. This page is meant to act as a quick, one-stop-shop to find great freelancing resources that I have already discussed on my blog. I hope you find your new favorite tool below.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links listed below. This means that I receive a percentage of sales made through the links. You aren’t obligated to click them or buy anything through them. I am only an affiliate of programs and products that I have personally verified and that I use myself.
“Getting Started” Freelancing Resources
This accounting software is the most important weapon in my freelancing arsenal. FreshBooks functions as an invoicing system that allows you to send professional-looking invoices to clients in about a minute without any headaches. Your clients can pay you by credit card right through the invoice you send them. Perhaps most importantly, it keeps track of your finances automatically. You know how much you’ve made, how you made it, and who you made it from. You can compare your earnings month by month or year by year. You can insert expenses along with PDFs of receipts to make sure you have proof of all your exemptions at tax time. It’s super user friendly and saves me tons of stress. If you’re interested, you can sign up for the 30-day free trial. (Bonus: You can also read my in-depth review for a full list of the advantages Freshbooks offers.)
Even though her niche is different from mine, Gina Horkey and her blog, Horkey Handbook, were my anchor when I started getting serious about freelancing. Though she offers her own paid freelancing courses, her blog posts weren’t vague clickbait articles solely meant to lead people to her course, as was the case with many other blogs I’d come across in my search for answers. Her posts made me believe I could make freelancing my full-time job, so I signed up for her completely free kickstarter course. The lessons came by email, and I read every one of them, working on the steps she laid out. Gina got me off my butt, gave me hope, and taught me the first vital steps of getting serious about my business. Her pitching challenge helped me launch PurpleInkPen successfully. I strongly recommend checking out her site, her free kickstarter course, and her paid courses, such as 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success by Kelly James-Enger:
Kelly James-Enger made a name for herself in the writing world as a traditional freelancer submitting articles to magazines. Thanks to the expertise she gained doing that, she started writing her own books and ghostwriting books for others. This made her extra appealing to me, as I finally found some solid advice from someone in my niche. However, Kelly doesn’t just stick to one niche in Writer for Hire. Though there is a lot about traditional freelancing writing in the book, its main focus is how to make a living as a freelance writer of any kind. I found it an invaluable resource. If you’re interested, you can find the book on Amazon (Bonus: read 12 Things You May Not Know About Traditional Freelance Writing that I learned from Kelly’s book.)
The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms by Zachary Petit:
Zachary Petit has been on both sides of the traditional freelance writing world. He’s submitted articles as a freelancer and currently accepts them as an editor. He knows what he’s talking about. He gives detailed outlines for writing numerous kinds of articles, gives tips on how to get your submissions noticed, and (arguably the most valuable part) he discusses the business side of freelancing. Just like Kelly James-Enger’s book above, while the focus of The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing is the traditional route, there are invaluable tips on getting started as a freelancer and turning your writing into a successful career, no matter your niche. If you’re interested, you can pick it up on Amazon. (Bonus: read 12 Things You May Not Know About Traditional Freelance Writing that I learned from Petit’s book.)
If you want complete control over your business site, which is really a must, you need to purchase hosting services for your domain. I use Siteground because my husband, who is a certified perfectionist, spent an hour or two one weekend researching hosting options for me, and he decided Siteground was the winner. It has the fastest loading speeds around, it can handle huge amounts of traffic, and it is super secure so you don’t have to worry about linking your PayPal account or other sensitive accounts to your site. You can read a little more about Siteground in my post What to Expect When Building Your Freelance Website.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not the same and are not created equal. WordPress.org is designed for businesses. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, is customizable. You have complete freedom to use whatever plugins you want, the themes are more diverse, and it is built to perform like a professional business site. No matter your niche, if you’re working from home and you need a business site, choose WordPress.org over .com every time. (Bonus: WordPress.org is free with SiteGround hosting!)
I’m not a web designer. I needed a theme that was both beautiful and easy enough for an elementary schooler to use, and Elegant Themes delivered with their Divi theme and Divi Builder plugin. Elegant has over 87 awesome themes to choose from, but their most valuable resource, in my opinion, is their Divi Builder plugin, which works on any theme and allows you to use a drag-and-drop building system that allows you to watch your site come together in real time without ever hitting a “Preview” button. If you’re interested, you can get the Developer package with both the theme and the builder included here. (Bonus: read how I used the Divi Builder to revamp my business site.)
A great website/blog needs great images to appeal to readers. Pixabay has a large selection of free, public domain images. When you click on an image, a sidebar will tell you whether the image is 100% public domain or whether you need to include a photo credit underneath it. Most images don’t require a credit, and even if they do, I don’t think it’s too much to ask. It’s still free. I use Pixabay for both my blog and business site images.
Writer’s Market Books:
These books are created by Writer’s Digest. Magazines and journals send in their contact information, their desired genres, and tips about what types of writing they are looking for. A new Writer’s Market book comes out each year with lists of nonfiction magazines, fiction journals, literary agents, and publishers looking for submissions, and it categorizes them based on pay, genre, and whether or not they accept unpublished authors, unsolicited manuscripts, etc. There are also subcategory books released each year that focus on novels and short stories, literary agents, poetry, etc. These books are how I decide where to submit my short stories, and I will turn to them when I need a literary agent and publisher, as well. If you’re interested, you can pick one up at Amazon. (Bonus: to learn more about the functions of these books, you can read my post on Why Every Writer Needs A Writer’s Market Book.)
If you are planning to self-publish, InDesign is a wonderful tool. There is a pretty big learning curve, but with InDesign you can craft a beautiful custom layout (and even a cover, if you have an eye for design) for your manuscript and easily convert between print and ebook formats. However, I wouldn’t suggest purchasing more than a month-long subscription for it unless you are writing lots of books, working in design, or if you are a freelancer who deals in manuscript writing or editing and can offer layout services to your clients for additional income.
Writing 101 Resources
A Money-Saving Guide for Authors and Writers
This gem of a webpage came to me thanks to a young girl named Anna who has taken enthusiastic interest in her local creative writing group. She found this collection of “getting started” resources super helpful and suggested it to her teacher, who reached out to me. It contains helpful links related to everything from finding your writing style, to getting writing scholarships or seeking publication, plus concise breakdowns of writing jobs. If you have a young writer in your life asking you a bunch of questions, point them here. Thanks, Anna!