The freelance economy is not only going strong – it’s growing. More than 15 million Americans were self-employed in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and one study estimates that 40% of the US workforce will be contract workers by 2020. Why are more people choosing freelance and contract careers? The answer to that question is complicated but it’s clear that one reason that independent work is easier than ever before is the availability of technology that supports freelance careers.
Here is some of the best tech designed to ensure that fab freelancers can be as productive as their full-time counterparts.
Noise Canceling Headphones
Sony’s noise-canceling headphones make it easy to work anywhere – like in the now clichéd crowded cafes that let anyone with a laptop sit for hours after buying a single cup of coffee. They keep out all of the distracting noises of a coffee shop, while still giving you the comfort of working in a crowded space so you don’t feel so alone.
Everyone from reporters to sales guys can benefit from the Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook because it turns out that taking notes by hand is smart. Unfortunately, jotting down ideas and quotes on paper makes it harder to use them later. The collaborative effort from Moleskine and Evernote let you write things down with a ballpoint pen and have them appear in your Evernote account so you can get to them from anywhere.
A Tool to Streamline Operations
Successful freelancers act like the professionals they are and treat business operations like the priority it should be. Bonsai is a tool designed to guide freelancers through contract creation, invoicing, billing follow-ups and client communication.
Backpack and Battery in One
The Tylt Energi Backpack + Battery has a place for everything so you can put everything you need to succeed in its place. It also has a rechargeable 10,400mAh battery, two 1Amp USB ports and a 2.1Amp USB port so your tech never lets you down when you need it most.
Plenty of Backup Juice
Even the most careful freelancers have had vital tech go dead at the worst possible moment. The truly smart ones travel with backup like the LinearFlux Lithiumcard Pro. This portable charger is one of the lightest and sleekest on the market (it’s about the size of a credit card) but packs plenty of power – enough to fully recharge your phone. Even better, it can also be used to back up your data.
A Do-It-All Tablet
Tablets across the board are making notepads and file folders obsolete but that doesn’t mean they are all created equal. A Microsoft Surface Pro 4 can stand in for a laptop with the addition of a few accessories but has all the portability you need if you’re on the road.
Your Face Any Place
Being available for on site work can boost your freelance career but it’s not always possible. BeamPro bills itself as the next best thing to being there because it reduces the barriers to communication that trip up other telecommunications devices. You won’t be buying this high-priced device yourself, however – it’s the kind of essential freelancer tech you should pitch to the HR departments of clients who’ve said more than once they’d love to give you a desk.
As with anything else in life, freelancing is easier with the right tools. The gadgets above may or may not be what you need to compete in your industry but they’re a good place to start. When in doubt, use the strength of your network and find out what kinds of tech are helping your peers succeed. The technology they’ve found most helpful may surprise you!