If you’re just getting started out as a freelancer, the sheer volume of advice out there about what software to pick up can be intimidating. Luckily, there’s a new Mac software bundle that actually acts as a really good one-stop shopping solution for new freelancers.
Here are the eight apps contained in the bundle, which is available for just $50 for another 9 days:
- 1Password. One possible cure for all the rampant hacking of major sites and services going around is keeping incredibly complex, different passwords for each of your online accounts. But that’s almost impossible to remember. So use 1Password, which lets you store hundreds of distinct logins in one place. Just make sure the master password and PIN you choose to keep all that info safe is solid. 1Password is also great because it plugs into iOS apps to sync your login data across devices.
- Billings. Time-based billing is a chore that no freelancer enjoys, but apps like Billings at least make it easier than if you’re doing it using templates in Word, for instance. Billings has awesome time tracking tools that integrate into your Mac menu bar or can be operated with hot keys, and an iPhone app that syncs info with the Mac version.
- TextExpander. Thanks to keystroke shortcuts, customizable abbreviations and one-click coding shortcuts, this is the text editing tool that becomes the default mail composer, form-filler and report preparation tool for many a Mac freelancer.
- LittleSnapper. Take screenshots, send clients design samples, and save website effects that you want to recreate yourself. If you’re building a design inspiration scrapbook, you no longer have to depend on scissors and magazines. Annotations and tags make keeping your screenshot connection organized and highly searchable.
- WriteRoom. Distraction-free writing is a bit of a trend, and freelancers who do a lot of writing appreciate the benefit of being able to shut out the many demands for attention that a computer brings with it. WriteRoom is a solid distraction-free writing client that’s been around for a while, and you can sync with an iPhone client, too.
- Radium. Some people can work without a background soundtrack, but I am not one of those people. You might have jumped to something like Pandora, or the hot new kid on the block, turntable.fm, but if you prefer the set-it-and-forget-it ease of Internet radio, Radium is a good OS X front-end with a huge database of available stations.
- Arq. Backing up your data is key when you’re a freelancer, because no one but you will be responsible for preserving your documents in most cases. Arq is an OS X client that plugs into Amazon S3 cloud storage (which you have to sign up for separately) to keep your offsite backup needs taken care of.
- Alarms. This is a small utility that mostly resides in the OS X menu bar, syncs with iCal and can remind you about just about anything you need to do during the day. It offers drag-and-drop simplicity, so drag URLs from your browser or a file you need to work on from the finder, or just about anything else to bring up the reminder creation screen.
The total cost of all these apps taken alone is somewhere around $300, so if you’re a new (or experienced) freelancer looking to pick up a complete toolbox without straining your gray matter or your wallet, this is definitely a no-brainer.