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. Or if you want you can even go old-school and only accept checks, so really you don’t even need software to collect payments.
Really, to be a writer, you don’t need much of anything. The startup cost is practically $0.
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 for writers out there. And it’s free! Trello allows you to create task “cards” and move them along your production process.
My team used Trello for a long time to stay organized, we recently moved away from it (I’ll explain why below). When an assignment was available, I put it in the “To Do” column. Any information that the writer needed to know was put into the card.
The team is then able to grab the assignments and move the card along the production process.
Trello provides a free and easy way to manage projects and communicate. I highly recommend using it to help you stay on top of deadlines and other tasks, especially if you are a solopreneur.
Trello does have a paid service that offers a wide variety of widgets, but I did not find those to be necessary.
At the end of 2022, I hired a project manager to help with the day-to-day tasks of my business, so I could spend more of my time growing the business. The operations company that I worked with built out a project management system for us on Clickup. The system is much more robust than Trello and lets me manage everything from leads, to projects, and more.
It has allowed us to create a lot of systems and processes for my business and client management. My only complaint about it is that it can sometimes be slow to load, but this may be because they have been adding so many features lately and it may be slowing it down a bit. If you have a team, I recommend using one of these more powerful types of software for project management. Most solo writers don’t need something that does so much.
LinkedIn is a GREAT place to connect with potential writing clients. But how do you get their attention? Posting useful content is one way, but so is connecting with potential clients via LinkedIn Messenger. But this can be SUPER time-consuming.
Dripify helps save you time by connecting with and automatically messaging potential clients from lists you create. I have found this works well when paired with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You create lists in Sales Navigator and then import them into Dripify.
It then allows you to create a very robust campaign to interact with the leads, beyond just DMs. You can also like their posts, endorse them for specific skills, and view their profile. This is a great way to get in front of a lot of potential clients in a short period of time with little effort besides the initial setup of the campaign.
Hello Bonsai is another project management software, that is built specifically for freelancers. It does some similar things to 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. If you are a solo writer, I highly recommend using Hello Bonsai to manage your freelancing business.
Wave is a mostly free expense-tracking app. Keeping track of your business income and expenses is essential for tax season. 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 more 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. But if you want to keep everything in one place, I would recommend you use Hello Bonsai for everything.
Grammarly is a grammar and spell-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!
While there are plenty of video chat apps out there, Zoom seems to be pretty consistent in terms of the quality of video/sound and overall functionality. Recently Zoom changed its service so that any meeting over 40 minutes is no longer free. I pay for Zoom because I don’t want to get cut off during an important call with a client or inquiry. I have tried using phone calls instead of video chatting with potential clients, but it seems like being able to “see” someone helps close the sale.
Best software for writers
These are my favorite must-have programs for nutrition writers that I use every day in my business. Is there anything I am missing? If you are a writer, what’s your favorite software?
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