If you're a freelancer in Malaysia, having the right tools will help you manage your gigs and projects and improve the way you work!
When it comes to being a freelancer in Malaysia, having the right tools to help you manage your gigs and projects can make all the difference. Be it two or twenty clients, it’s not easy to organize projects, manage time and be productive at the same time.
This article introduces all the amazing and essential productivity tools that freelance workers in Malaysia should use to improve the way they work and grow their freelance businesses at the same time.
There are numerous cloud storage services online that you can use for sharing files with clients and vendors, keeping and making your documents available online, syncing between multiple devices, and many more! But what would be better and sweeter than cloud storage? FREE cloud storage of course!
Google Drive is possibly the most popular cloud storage service where each new user gets free 15GB of free space shared with other Google services like Gmail, Google Photos, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and others. You can also purchase additional Google Drive cloud storage for as low as RM20 per user per month for the Business Starter plan, or Business Standard Plan for RM40per user per month and get up to 2TB of storage per user.
Google Drive is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Kindle Fire users.
Dropbox subscribers get to start off with 2GB of free space or up to 18GB if they know how to earn more free space. Although it comes with relatively small storage compared to Google Drive, the app allows you to edit Microsoft Office files directly from inside your browser or even from your mobile phone.
Dropbox is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac users.
If you have just started your freelance business and don't have the budget to hire graphic designers to help you with your logo, sales kit, and marketing materials for social media or presentation slides, you may have to DIY! Here are some graphic design tools with ready-made templates that are easy to use.
Canva is hands-down the most successful design application ever to be invented in our opinion! It’s a free-to-use online graphic design tool that can be used to create social media posts, posters, presentations, and other visual content.
Even if you’ve never designed a thing in your life, they have cool modern templates that are free. They also have premium features that you can use once you’ve upgraded to Canva Pro.
Canva is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Piktochart is said to be one of the best web-based design tools to create various charts and graphs, infographics, and other data visualization with its extensive library templates. This easy-to-use visualization tool not only offers professional charts and graphs but also social media images and presentation slides, so you don’t have to adapt the graphs using another design tool.
Piktochart is available for Windows, Android, iOS, iPad, and Mac users.
Screen recording tools are useful when you want to record videos of tutorials, online classes or e-learning, onboarding, and walkthrough videos on your own computer screen. Most screen recording tools also allow you to insert your voice while recording to make video production faster. Here’s a list of recommended tools that you can use out there:
5. Screencastify (Chrome Extension)
Screencastify is a web-based screen recording tool that offers record, edit, and submit functions and it comes with both free and paid plans. It’s a simple-to-use tool that works on the Chrome browser via the Chrome extension, so it can be used on all desktop devices.
The tool is also integrated with Google Drive; hence you can save your recordings in your Google Drive storage without the need to download them to your desktop or laptop.
Screencastify is available for Windows, Ubuntu, and Mac users and does not support mobile devices.
Loom is another essential tool for freelancers who work remotely. By using Loom, you not only can screen record your monitor but also your camera at the same time.
This is suitable especially if you are producing tutorial or walkthrough videos where you can give a personalized touch to your clients during recording.
Loom is available for Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac users.
Spendee is one of the most popular applications used by individual freelancers in Malaysia to manage their expenses with a simplified and minimalistic interface that makes it easy to navigate.
Although most users utilize Spendee to manage personal finances, freelancers could also use this to manage their cash flow and expenses too. It comes with auto-categorization of expenses, shared finances, and a sync feature with online banking, e-wallet, and crypto-wallet, and can be used on multiple platforms.
Spendee is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Akaunting is free accounting software that is aimed at freelancers and business owners. It is one of the most comprehensive web-based accounting software.
This tool can help freelance workers manage their bookkeeping where you can send out invoices to clients, track your business cash flow and expenses, as well as manage inventory to ensure it’s always up to date.
Akaunting is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Being able to self-manage time and work schedule means that planning task priorities and workflow fall solely on the freelancer. And since freelancing in Malaysia, like in other parts of the world, allows working from almost anywhere, being transparent with clients with these freelance productivity tools could also help them manage their time and resources.
Google Calendar comes with a free plan that is already packed with great features like the time and task tracking tool. The best thing about Google Calendar is that your data can be synced between your mobile devices, and it allows sharing with other accounts from your clients and team members.
This simplifies the project’s progress tracking and provides transparency for everyone involved in the specific project.
Google Calendar is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Evernote has been one of the go-to note-taking and task-management apps for its user-friendly interface that can be synced across all devices and operating systems.
Besides the two features, Evernote is also an effective app for archiving your notes and lists in one place with a universal search engine, tagging, and a folder system that allows you to manage your files systematically according to your preference.
Evernote is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Need to plan and manage multiple tasks and projects easily online? The best way is to get project management tools that allow you to do so like the following suggestions:
Small businesses and freelance workers in Malaysia love using Trello to manage their tasks and projects. It is one of the simplest task management tools that is both collaborative and accessible online, so you can take it with you anywhere, anytime!
Trello is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
12. Kanban Tool
For those who require a more visual structure of ongoing projects and tasks, Kanban Tool would be the perfect project management tool for freelancers and their clients. This tool gives collaborators an overview of their current work status in real time and is accessible online.
Kanban Tool is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
13. Google Meet
We select Google Meet as it is one of the most common communication tools for virtual meetings where a user can host up to 100participants in a single session. Additional benefits of using Google Meet are the adjustable layouts, screen sharing, live messaging, and live captioning during presentations.
Google Meet is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
If you are looking for more comprehensive communications with additional features like file sharing, organizing spaces for different clients or projects, chatting, sending audio and video files, collaborating on reports, and more, then Slack should be your communication tool of choice!
Slack also has a powerful Workflow Builder that allows you to integrate with different tools and software like Jira, Google Drive, Salesforce, and many more so you can automate routine tasks as easily as 1 2 3.
Slack is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
For someone who is doing freelance work in Malaysia, how you market your service is important because you will be answering your target audience’s questions. You can answer all these questions by using marketing tools to get your content out to build trust and develop relationships for your business. You can explore these marketing tools to expand your freelance services and business.
Hootsuite allows you to share posts and content on social media at your own scheduled intervals like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
When you have your content in place, all you need to do is schedule them in the Hootsuite calendar and publish it according to your preferred time.
Hootsuite is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Mailchimp is an effective marketing tool for freelancers no matter what services you offer to your clients or audience. It’s a platform that allows business owners to manage and talk to clients and customers and build their email lists through content subscriptions.
This way you can plan your marketing strategy to capture your audience and prospects as well as maintain communication by sharing offers and updates with your existing clients.
Mailchimp is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Various websites offer online learning courses and certifications that cover almost all the hard and soft skills you need to become a successful freelancer in Malaysia. These sites provide remote learning which allows you to explore new skills, enhance existing knowledge and increase your creativity when running your own freelance business.
Skillshare is one of the fastest-growing online learning tools available right now where you can learn from industry leaders in animation and design to lifestyle, business, photography, filmmaking, and even writing all under one roof!
What’s more impressive is you can create an account and start learning for FREE!
Skillshare is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
LinkedIn Learning is another online learning tool that could help you develop the skills you need to build a successful career as a freelancer in Malaysia.
LinkedIn Learning focuses more on providing professional courses in business, finance, career development, customer service, and project management as well as specific skills like digital marketing, accounting, data analysis, and many more.
LinkedIn Learning is available for Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
Were you expecting a specific tool or app to include in your freelancing mental health toolkit? Well, surprise, surprise! Being your own boss means that you need to consistently take care of your health and wellness even when work is mounting, and datelines are looming closer. So, in order to maintain a clean bill of health, there are a couple of important things for you to focus on:
Believe it or not, people who are active or exercising regularly have better mental health and emotional well-being, with lower rates of mental health issues reported.
Even if you find yourself struggling with mental health like depression, anxiety, stress, and ADHD, it will help improve your state of mind when you exercise or do any non-exercise activities like walking, cleaning, do grocery shopping that keep you moving.
20. Eat healthily
Eating healthy might not look like much, but studies show that when you stick to a healthy eating habit, you are setting yourself up for fewer mood swings, and an improved ability to focus.
If you don’t have any food allergies, you should be eating a balanced diet of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates at a moderate level and try to avoid processed food that is laden with sodium and processed sugar. The better your mood, the better your focus in getting your job done.
Truth be told, there is no one-tool-fits-all when it comes to a productivity tool. The best is for you to test them before deciding on using them regularly.
What we suggest may also suit some types of freelancers and may not cater to the rest of the Malaysian freelancing community. But this will give you some ideas on what you can use to improve your freelance business and services and scale it to bigger heights.
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