July is the month that America celebrates its independence —our freedom as citizens not only of the country but of the world. One of the greatest freedoms we have is the ability to build and grow our own businesses and truly be independent workers. If you’re self-employed, especially as a writer or creative, you know the joy of setting your own schedule, choosing your clients, managing your own finances, and letting your creativity flow at its own pace. But exercising this freedom also means you have to stay organized, structured, and disciplined to maintain productivity. Since being self-sufficient often means depending on tools rather than people to keep your business running, we’ve put together this quick list of tools for solo-preneur content creators.
When you’re fed up with moving parts and simply need a few hours to concentrate on writing, check out Ommwriter. The app gives you a distraction-free writing environment with soothing audio tracks, natural screen backgrounds, and cool typing sounds so you can hit your writing stride without interruption. Whether you use it everyday or just a few hours a week, you’ll definitely apprecaite the productivity that comes out from this “instant teleport to a short writing experience.”
These tools are seriously underappreciated in the content writing industry. When you need stats and facts for your blog post, book, marketing campaign, press release, or video, don’t start with a regular Google Search. Use Google Scholar or Google Books to find high-quality academic sources completely for free that will add legitimacy and credibility to your prose. And when you’re done with your research, continue to scroll through these tools to look out for interesting reports, trends, or new releases that can inspire future creative work.
Whether you are into meditation or not, there’s no denying that setting some time to be alone with your thoughts (or rid your mind of them) can boost your creativity and cognitive skills. Headspace and Calm are both apps that can guide you through 3- to -90-minute meditations whenever you do them. If that’s not your thing, you can also simply schedule in 10 minutes a day of silent time or a quick, technology-free walk. Being able to clear your mind and come back to work focused and energized will do so much more for your business than an extra shot in your cappuccino.
Even the most independent entrepreneurs need a community. Authors Guild is one of America’s oldest and largest professional organizations of writers that offers support for everything from contracts and copyrighting, to website-building and e-book design. It’s a good place to start if you’re looking for an all-in-one writing club with a global network; but of course, there are also plenty of LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Clubhouse rooms, meetups, conferences, and associations to look to for advice as well.
Everything is visual nowadays, making it a death wish to publish a piece of content of any size without images or graphics to go with it. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for fancy stock photo subscriptions, check out the free stock-quality photos on Unsplash and Pixabay. All you need to do to use the photos is credit the photographers in your work, making it the ultimate win-win; you’re getting photos to help your writing come to life, and you’re helping a fellow creative get exposure, pro-bono.
When our head is brimming with creative thoughts, you need a tool to help get organized. Scapple offers all the functions you need to get your thoughts down in one place so that you can start to make connections and build your narrative. It’s self-described as “a virtual sheet of paper that lets you make notes anywhere and connect them using lines or arrows.” The idea is simple, but the outcome is profound. Your books, videos, blogs, essays, and other creative pieces will all benefit from having a clear structure laid out first and any loose ends tied up.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
You may not need a PR team if you have HARO: a free service from PR software firm Cision that connects journalists with sources for mutual benefit. If you’re looking for an expert source for your piece you can submit your pitch to HARO’s network of business leaders, academics, doctors, lawyers, and subject matter experts to get a quote or interview. And if you’re looking to earn coverage, just scroll through the daily list of stories looking for sources to throw your hat in the ring. It’s that easy. Note that while some features are free, more sophisticated and targeted functions require a paid subscription.
It goes without saying that any self-employed creative needs a project management tool. Monday, Trello, and Asana are all easy-to-use tools that help organize projects, tasks, and daily to-dos. Whichever you prefer is based on personal needs and the amount of technology you want involved in managing your to-do list. But if you plan to build or grow a team, you need a central location to assign, organize, and track everyone’s tasks.
Now, go enjoy your independence!
Credits: Alexis Anthony, writer; Pixabay, image