To be a writer, all you really need is some type of word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google docs and a Paypal or Stripe account to collect payments. You can even go old-school and only accept checks.
Really, to be a writer, you don’t need much of anything.
But, there are LOTS of programs out there that make things easier to get contracts signed, collect payments, check grammar, and manage your projects.
I thought I would share the best software for writers that I use regularly that you may want to consider for your business as well.
Trello is one of many project management programs out there. It basically allows you to create task “cards” and move them along your production process.
My team and I communicate via Trello cards. When an assignment is available, I put it in the “To Do” column. Any information that the writer needs to know is put into the card.
The team is then able to grab the assignments and move the card along the production process.
Trello gives us a free and easy way to keep track of projects and communicate. I highly recommend using it to help you stay on top of deadlines and other tasks.
Trello does have a paid service that offers a wide variety of widgets, but I do not find those to be necessary.
Hello Bonsai is another project management software, that is built specifically for freelancers. It actually does some similar things as Trello, but it is not free.
It allows you to track projects, like Trello, but also sends super nice proposals, helps you digitally sign contracts, and collect payments via bank transfer. It offers a wide variety of templates for contracts, proposals, and client management tools. I find these super useful and use them regularly.
It also has a “client portal” that you can use to communicate with clients, which I have not explored yet.
It has a simple income tracking service and offers some interesting tax analyses as well.
For a program that starts at only $19 a month, I think it provides major value.
Wave is a mostly free expense tracking app. Keeping track of your business income and expenses is essential for tax season or your accountant would not be happy.
Wave also allows you to send invoices and collect payments.
It does have fees for payments made through the service, but it is not any more than you would pay through Paypal or a different portal.
I used Wave for a long time for my accounting until my accountant wanted me to switch to Quickbooks as it allows her to run more robust reports. Quickbooks costs money and is preferred by accountants.
As a solo writer, I think Wave is probably more than enough to help you keep track of your finances.
Grammarly is a grammar and spelling checking program you can install on your computer. It provides suggestions for how to improve your writing.
I use the free version of Grammarly, which is more than enough for me.
The paid version has many additional features and tips for how to improve your writing. Some writers swear by it.
If you are a one-man team and you are doing all your own writing and editing, it might be worth it to invest in the paid version.
Paperpile is a web browser extension that allows you to quickly take PubMed links and turn them into citations. It also allows you to organize a library, so you can always keep your references in order.
It costs $2.99 a month and is a must-have to help you save time.
Getting access to full-text studies can be a challenge if you don’t have access from your job or university. While you can usually email the authors of the study and they will send them to you, that takes time.
DeepDyve offers access to thousands of studies, so you can review more than the abstract if you need to. While I don’t use it for every article, sometimes you need to look a little deeper and it can be helpful. The service costs $499 per year.
SEMRush is one of the many SEO programs out there and is the one I personally use. It allows you to find valuable keywords, optimize articles for SEO, and analyze the success of your articles. It also does waaayyyyyyy more than that and I have not even explored all of its features.
It is pricey, running $100+ a month. But, I can fairly easily justify the costs with the results I can get for my clients.
If you are just getting started with SEO, this is probably a more powerful tool than you really need. But, it might be worth the upgrade in the future. I also love it!
These are my favorite must-have programs for nutrition writers that I use every day in my business. Is there anything I am missing?
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