How to Be a Freelancer: Necessary Tools

Freelancing Advice / Friday, January 5th, 2018

Want to learn how to be a freelancer? You’re going to need some tools to get started. If it helps, you probably have some of these items already.

Freelance equipment comes in a heavy mix of hardware, software, and online accounts. All of these things are what I like to call tools of the trade. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to wake up in the morning and do my job.

Each one of these categories are equally important. Without the right hardware, your software won’t function properly. Without the right software, you won’t be able to access your accounts and complete your work. It all comes together.

Remember, this is general equipment for freelancers of all specialties. A photographer will obviously need photography equipment, a videographer will need videography equipment, etc.

Let’s start with the most basic category.


Hardware, in this case, is anything physical. It’s any piece of furniture or equipment required to learn how to be a freelancer. Even though freelancers work from home, we still need a fair amount of hardware to keep ourselves organized.

  • Desk
  • Laptop or Desktop Computer
  • Comfortable Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Computer Speakers
  • Webcam
  • Planner
  • Calendar
  • Printer
  • Smartphone
  • State-Issued ID
  • Internet Access


Software is anything downloaded on your computer. You won’t need all of these tools – but you’ll inevitably add some along the way as you learn how to be a freelancer.

  • Microsoft Office (2007+)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Audacity
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Drive Desktop


These accounts are highly recommended, but not required.

Some of My Favorite Tools For Learning How to Be a Freelancer

Let’s dive into what some of these tools can do.

Adobe Creative Cloud. For designers, photographers, and videographers, access to this expensive software is often essential.

Audacity. Free sound-editing software.

Upwork. A freelance bidding website that connects you to clients. This is where most freelancers start their careers. Eventually, experienced freelancers leave the platform for better opportunities.

TrelloAn essential part of my system. Trello uses a series of cards and columns to help visually organize your schedule.

Google Mail. A major method of communication you’ll use with your clients often. If you don’t have a Gmail account, I suggest making one.

PayPal. How most of your clients (outside of platforms like Upwork) will pay you. PayPal takes a small fee for each payment you receive.

You’ll use these tools – and more – as you learn how to be a freelancer.

Learn more on Realistic Freelancers.

Cassandra Bondie

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