Freelance Writing Tools to Reach 6-Figures

Jul 20, 2023 | Tools for Writers

Are you ready to take your freelance writing career into the six-figure range? Are you hoping to do that without sacrificing your sanity or time with your family? If so, using the right freelance writing tools can make all the difference!

Juggling article deadlines, emails, pitches, invoices and more can be overwhelming… Thankfully there are tons of awesome tools that can help make your life as a freelancer easier and give you the freedom to focus on creating high-quality content for your clients. Let’s take a look at the most helpful writing tools, both free and paid, so that you too can reach 6-figures with ease!

This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on my site at no additional cost to you.

Essential Freelance Writing Tools

What I love best about getting started as a freelance writer is that it’s so easy and affordable! You really don’t need any fancy software or subscriptions to get going. Here are the absolute must-have freelance writing tools:

Writing Tools

The writing process is where it all begins. Whether you’re brainstorming ideas, outlining your articles, or actually putting words to paper, you’re going to need something to write with.

Pen and paper is great and all, but clients might not take kindly to you submitting handwritten articles. That’s why I recommend one of the following writing tools to start your freelance career:

Best freelance writing tools quote from blog

Google Docs

First and foremost, Google Docs is an absolute life-saver for freelance writers. This free online word processor from Google lets you create, edit and collaborate on documents with ease.

It’s super user-friendly, cloud-based, and it’s what 99% of my clients prefer, so I highly recommend it for all freelance writers. Plus, it allows multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously.

Sharing it with clients is also incredibly simple. You can either share the link, or save it as a PDF or Microsoft Word document for easy upload and downloading. This has been my go-to writing tool since day one!

Microsoft Word

I consider Microsoft Word to be a little bit old school, but this classic word processing software is a staple for many writers. Word has robust features, such as spell check, grammar suggestions, and formatting options. But if you don’t have access to the Microsoft Office Suite, the subscription can be a bit pricey.

Overall it’s a reliable choice for creating professional-looking documents. But I always suggest freelance writers go the more affordable route and use Google Docs instead.

Pages

If you’re a Mac person, then Pages is the Apple-exclusive word processor that’s already built into your laptop. It’s fairly similar to Microsoft Word, so most of the features are the same.

The downside is that collaborating with clients won’t be as easy. Plus, sharing documents as a PDF or Word document might require some extra steps.

So unless you’re already familiar with Pages, I suggest sticking with Google Docs for writing and collaboration purposes.

Text Editor

For a distraction-free writing experience, a simple text editor like Notepad or TextEdit could be used…but I wouldn’t recommend it. These tools strip away the bells and whistles, so you won’t be able to format your content correctly.

For example, a blog post that needs H2, H3, and H4 titles will probably not be ready to publish right into WordPress from most text editors because the formatting won’t be automatically in place. On top of that, you won’t be able to collaborate with anyone and you could be limited on how you can share your documents.

It’s a great tool for those moments when ideas are flying and you just need to jot them down quickly, but it shouldn’t replace Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Pages as your essential freelance writing tool.

Content Research Tools

As a freelance writer, you need reliable tools to help you uncover valuable information, discover trending topics, and conduct thorough keyword research.

Let’s explore a mix of free and paid content research tools that will help make your research process simpler, more efficient, and more effective:

Free Tools for Content Research:

  • Google Search: Let’s start with the obvious – good old Google! It’s the search engine everyone uses for finding information on almost any topic. Use advanced search operators, like quotation marks for exact phrases or the “site:” operator to search within specific websites, to refine your results.
  • Keyword Research: Keywords play a vital role in optimizing your content for search engines and attracting organic traffic. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, the Ubersuggest free chrome extension, or Moz can help you identify relevant keywords, analyze search volumes, and explore related terms to enhance your content’s visibility.
  • Answer the Public: This is an awesome free tool that visualizes questions related to your chosen topic. Answer the Public is great for spurring on content ideas, article titles, and blog post topics.
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Screenshot of Answer the Public search results

Paid Content Research Tools:

  • SEMrush: This comprehensive SEO tool offers a suite of features, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and backlink analysis. It provides valuable insights into search volumes, keyword difficulty, and even offers content ideas based on top-ranking articles. There’s a free trial so you can take SEMrush for a spin before spending money on it.
  • Ahrefs: Another powerful tool, Ahrefs, offers extensive keyword research capabilities, content gap analysis, and backlink analysis. It helps you identify content opportunities, track keyword rankings, and monitor your website’s SEO performance. Ahrefs is very good, but that quality certainly comes at a price. If you can’t fork out the money quite yet, you can try out their free SEO tools to at least get some of the information you need.
  • BuzzSumo: If you want to discover trending topics and see what content performs well in your niche, BuzzSumo is the tool for you. It allows you to analyze the most shared content on various platforms, identify influencers in your industry, and gain insights into your competitors’ strategies.
  • SurferSEO: With SurferSEO, you can uncover related keywords to your topic, analyze content structure, and optimize your own content to outrank the competition. There’s also a built-in content editor where you can write and optimize blogs, adding in the recommended keywords one by one until you get a high content score that will help your blog posts or website copy rank on page one!

Remember, content research isn’t just about gathering information; it’s about finding unique angles, providing valuable insights, and delivering high-quality content that resonates with your target audience.

So, ask yourself:

  1. What are the burning questions in your niche?
  2. What information will benefit your readers the most?

Remember, the quality of your research directly impacts the quality of your writing. Not all of these options are created equal (especially if you’re trying to stick with a free option). So start by exploring the free options available and then consider investing in paid tools as your freelance writing career takes off.

I’ve found that most of the paid tools I’ve invested in have paid for themselves in the long run because they either made my writing more efficient or uncovered valuable content ideas that other writers hadn’t yet discovered.

So don’t be afraid to spend money on tools that will help you level up your freelance writing services and get your clients better results!

Content Editing Tools

Editing is like the cherry on top of your content creation process. It’s the step that can make or break a piece of writing, so it pays to use a good editing tool.

To polish your content and ensure it’s error-free and well-structured, consider these helpful content editing tools:

Grammarly

Let’s start with a fan favorite. Grammarly is like having your own personal editor. It detects grammar and spelling errors, suggests better word choices, and even provides style enhancements.

Plus, there’s a free version of Grammarly available that offers basic grammar and spelling checks. It’s a must-have tool in any writer’s arsenal.

ProWritingAid

I used ProWritingAid for several years before making the switch to Grammarly. It’s an excellent editing tool with a wide range of features that help you check for grammar errors, spot redundant words and phrases, and ensure your content is well-structured.

The free version offers basic functionality but the paid version has some additional features tools like plagiarism analysis, tone analysis, and readability scoring.

Why did I switch to Grammarly? ProWritingAid is more expensive, more complicated to use, and the free version has less features than Grammarly.

But play with both and see which feels better for your workflow and gets you a better editing result.

Hemingway App

Are you aiming for clear and concise writing? The Hemingway App can help. It highlights lengthy and complex sentences, excessive adverbs, and passive voice, making your writing more direct and impactful. It’s like having Ernest Hemingway himself looking over your shoulder.

The app is available both online and as a desktop application, offering a free and paid version.

Design and Image Tools

When it comes to freelance writing in the digital age, creating visually appealing content is just as important as crafting compelling words.

Many freelance writers get their start writing social media content and blogging, and sometimes that means you’re also in charge of sourcing images or creating custom graphics that match your clients brand.

And I’m no designer, so when it comes to creating visually captivating content as a freelance writer, I rely on the unbeatable power of Canva!

Ah, Canva — the crown jewel of easy-to-use design tools! Canva has saved me countless hours of time when it comes to designing. It offers a huge library of free templates, fonts, stock photos, icons, videos, music and more — all with an easy drag-and-drop interface.

Whether you’re a social media manager, blogger, ad creator, or just a freelance writer who needs to make a few designs to promote your own work, Canva has you covered.

While Canva offers a free version, their affordable paid option is worth every penny! I’ve had a Canva subscription for over 5 years and they’ve got a lifelong customer in me.

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Time and Project Management Tools

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tasks that come with being a freelance writer. At any given time, I have between 5-10 clients who need different types of content, and it can be difficult to manage them all… Not to mention the fact that I still have to market myself and find clients.

Now I have a low-stress, high-success method for landing premium clients on LinkedIn. But even with my simple strategy, effective time and project management are crucial for maintaining productivity and meeting deadlines.

Here are some freelance writing tools that I use to stay organized and on track:

Time Trackers

I love “beating the clock,” and finding ways to be more efficient. So I use a countdown timer to help me stay focused and make sure I’m not wasting time.

Whether you opt for Toggl, Harvest, or Clockify, these tools help you monitor how you spend your time and identify areas for improvement.

Timer counting down from 30 minutes

Project Management Tools

I went many years just using a paper calendar and the brain God gave me to keep my projects organized. But I became sooo much more productive when I invested in a project management tool.

I’ve tried two, Trello and ClickUp, and I love both for different reasons. Trello is a bit more visually appealing and easier to customize which makes it great for creative projects, while ClickUp is more powerful with its detailed task management features.

Ultimately I’m sticking with ClickUp because of its robust nature and the ability to store everything in one place.

Both Trello and ClickUp offer free versions, so it’s worth exploring each one and seeing which fits your workflow best.

To-Do Lists

The classic to-do list is a freelance writer’s best friend. Whether you prefer a simple pen and paper or a digital task manager like ClickUp, to-do lists keep your priorities in check and provide a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

While I use ClickUp to manage my long-term projects, I also have a handwritten daily task list on my desk that helps me stay focused on taking actionable steps throughout the day.

Pomodoro Technique

Struggling with focus and productivity? Give the Pomodoro Technique a try. Break your work into intervals, typically 25 minutes of focused work followed by a short break. Just use the timer on your phone or a web-based Pomodoro timer to track your intervals.

My Pomodoro timer? My son who likes to interrupt me every 25 minutes or so!

Enhancing the Writing Process with AI Writing Tools

As a busy mom who struggled to keep up with client work after having a baby, I know firsthand the challenges of balancing motherhood and a thriving freelance writing career. But then I discovered AI writing tools.

My two favorites, Jasper AI and ChatGPT, have absolutely revolutionized the way I approach writing! If you’re on the fence about investing in AI writing tools, let me tell you about the incredible benefits:

  • AI Writing Efficiency: Jasper AI and ChatGPT help me complete writing tasks faster than ever before. These tools utilize advanced algorithms and natural language processing to generate high-quality content in a fraction of the time.
  • Enhanced Creativity: AI writing tools provide fresh perspectives and creative ideas that inspire me during the writing process. They offer unique insights, alternative sentence structures, and even suggest emotional words to make my content more impactful.
  • Improved Writing Quality: AI writing tools for freelance writers help me produce pretty-darn-near polished, error-free content. I can brain dump my half-formulated ideas and then let the AI take over — refining, rewriting, and improving my work. I definitely fact-check and grammar check before I submit, but it helps me get a clean initial draft faster.
  • Expanded Work Capacity: By using Jasper AI and ChatGPT, I’ve tripled my income in just a few years. These tools have significantly increased my writing speed and allowed me to take on more clients and complete more projects within tight deadlines. For example, a 1000-word blog post used to take me 6-10 hours spread out over a few days. Now it takes under 3 hours.
  • Personalized Writing Assistance: Whether I’m working on client work or my own personal projects, Jasper AI and ChatGPT serve as invaluable writing assistants. They offer intelligent suggestions, help me structure my ideas, and even provide topic research to save me precious time.

Screenshot of Jasper AI copywriting tool

The combination of AI writing tools and my own creative input has elevated the quality and efficiency of my writing. These tools act as an assistant writer, helping me meet deadlines, exceed client expectations, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

So if you’re a busy mama like me who needs to maximize time for your freelance work, consider incorporating AI writing tools like Jasper AI and ChatGPT into your workflow.

Tools for Managing Your Freelance Writing Business

I bet when you pictured yourself typing by a beach somewhere as a freelancer, you didn’t think about all the other tasks that come along with it…

But there’s so much more to running a successful freelance writing business than just writing!

You need effective management strategies and the right tools to streamline your solopreneur operations. Here are some of the ones I use:

Business and Finances

For freelance writers, getting paid and tracking expenses are a huge part of running your own business. Afterall, you gotta keep the government appeased at tax time and still make a profit!

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To keep yourself organized and financially sound, consider incorporating these tools:

Harpoon

Do you wish you could pay someone to automatically send invoices, remind clients they have an overdue balance, track your expenses, and give you a detailed snapshot of your business finances? Harpoon does all of that (plus oh-so-much more) in one user-friendly package.

Seriously, Harpoon is the absolute best accounting software for freelancers! This comprehensive platform offers features like:

  • Forecasting and planning
  • Automated invoicing
  • Payment processing
  • Past due reminders
  • Time tracking
  • Expense tracking
  • Real time analytics
  • And more!

I used to spend hours manually tracking my finances in Google Sheets, invoicing clients, and then monitoring my bank account each week to watch for invoices paid — but Harpoon has taken all the stress out of my accounting!

If you’re trying to hit six-figures (and even if you’re not), Harpoon is one of the best admin tools for freelance writers! It will give you a clear overview of your finances, help you set goals, and track your progress. It makes life easier and tax time is a breeze!

Screenshot of Harpoon Invoicing Software for Freelancers

Credit Card Processing

If you’re not going to use an invoicing software like Harpoon, you’re still going to need a way to get paid. Credit card processing services like Stripe and PayPal are the way to go.

These services make it easy for clients to pay you quickly with their credit cards or bank accounts. Plus, both platforms have free setup and low processing fees (Stripe charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, while PayPal is slightly higher at 3.4% +$0.49).

Wondering how to charge rates that are high enough to cover your costs and add zeros to your bank account? Here’s the best ways to price your freelance writing services

Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and self-promotion is the only way to land gigs and grow your freelance writing business. Whether you’re cold emailing, pitching in the DM’s, or just posting engaging content on social media, your marketing efforts should be on point.

If you’re looking for freelance writing tools to help you out in the marketing department, here are a few of my favorite platforms:

Canva

I’ve already mentioned Canva, but it deserves another shout-out in the marketing realm. Use Canva to create visually stunning social media graphics, engaging blog post images, and eye-catching shareable images.

Metricool

When it comes to scheduling posts across various platforms, Metricool is my preferred tool. This all-in-one social media management platform helps you plan and schedule your social media posts, track engagement metrics, and analyze the performance of your campaigns. It helps me stay consistent and engage with my target audience effortlessly.

There’s a free plan or you can upgrade for extra features. I upgraded because I also use this platform to schedule some of my clients social media content. So basically, Metricool has more than paid for itself.

Streak for Gmail

Need a way to keep track of potential freelance writing clients and follow up with them? Look no further than Streak. This browser extension is a completely free, powerful CRM that connects directly to your Gmail inbox, so you can keep track of client emails, manage follow-up tasks, and automate outreach campaigns.

Communication and Collaboration

A big part of making it to six-figures as a freelance writer comes down to your professionalism and reliability. If someone is going to pay you good money, they deserve clear communication and someone who can collaborate seamlessly with the rest of their marketing team.

So there are a few other freelance writing tools you can use for better communication and collaboration with clients:

Calendly

Sick of back-and-forth emails trying to schedule meetings with clients? Use Calendly instead! This free (or upgrade to the premium version for extra features) scheduling tool allows clients to easily view your availability and book meetings with you on the spot. Then the meetings show up right in your Google calendar!

My favorite feature is the “Invitee Questions.” I actually use this as a way to prequalify potential clients before I even hop on a call with them. Two of my questions are around budget and timeline.

If they can’t afford my baseline rate or they don’t want to wait the 2-6 weeks for my turnaround time, Calendly’s Invitee Questions let me know before we waste each other’s time.

Loom

Even writers sometimes struggle with explaining things clearly in words. If you find yourself stuck trying to explain something to a client, why not send them a video instead?

Loom is a great tool for creating quick and engaging explainer videos. Just hit record, share your screen, talk through the issue, and voila! You have an easy-to-understand video that you can send to your client. It’s also great for personalizing pitches and proposals!

Best of all, it helps minimize client phone calls so you can stay focused on your writing.

Google Drive

Again, Google takes the cake for collaboration tools. Because it’s on the cloud and sharing files and folders is so easy, Google Drive is a great way to collaborate in real time with clients. You can also easily share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

There you have it! All the best freelance writing tools to help you reach six-figures. But remember, tools are only one part of the equation. Your skills, talents, and hard work will be the deciding factor in your success.

Need some direction in that arena? Here are 17 freelance writing skills to help you stand out!

Desiree
Desiree

Hi, I’m Desiree! The writer behind this site. I’m a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer who’s been making a living with words for nearly a decade. I’m here to help you achieve your writing dreams while making a great income so you never have to miss out on life’s precious moments!

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