20 top tools for freelancers

There's more to freelancing than just finance, time management and proposals. Sometimes freelance life can throw up more unexpected challenges. We've rounded up three bonus tools to help you boost your creativity, get paid on time (without the stress) and prototype your ideas quickly and easily.

18. Just Tell Julie 

Got a client that won't pay? Just call in Julie Elster to get your money in the bank

Stuck in a situation where the client isn't paying? Julie Elster offers to work as your accounts receivable virtual assistant to help retrieve absent payments. She works by calling your client on the phone and being "thermonuclear nice". She has a proven track record, and is highly rated within the freelance industry. You pay $99 upfront, then when she collects she keeps 35% of the fee.

19. Briefbox 

Pick from a diverse range of hypothetical briefs to get your creative juices flowing

Briefbox is a collection of hypothetical briefs to help keep your creative juices flowing when you're between projects. The team at Briefbox write a range of imaginative briefs – everything from designing local currency to creating branding for a painter – so you just need to pick one and get designing. 

Once you're done, you can upload your work to the site and get feedback from the community. A basic account is free, while a Pro account costs from $6.75 per month. Pro accounts offer tips from trade professionals, and constructive criticism on every submission.

20. Atomic

Prototypes are a great way to get ideas across, and Atomic offers a quick way to build and share them

Create and share prototypes with your client with Atomic, the fastest way to design beautiful interactions. Import an existing design from Sketch or Photoshop (or design in the tool itself), then link the pages together and fine-tune the transitions to create your prototype.

Once finished, you can easily share your prototype with the client by sending them a link. The client can then add any comments or feedback on your design. It's free for one user to create one prototype, or from $19 per month for more.

Full disclosure: Femke van Schoonhoven works in marketing and design for Atomic.

This article originally appeared in net magazine issue 284 and has been updated.

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