Five or so years ago, I was a freelancer in Australia helping media companies and startups grow their communities and businesses. It was a great time – and I look back fondly on every minute of it. I was working remotely as a digital nomad, traveling around the globe, and meeting other indie workers and entrepreneurs. Yet, it was also hard, scary and lonely at times. Since then, it’s been incredible to see how far the freelance movement has come and get a taste for what jobs in the future will be like. 

For the past year, we’ve been building a platform and community at CloudPeeps with the mission of empowering people with the freedom to work the way they want. We started out with a very simple MVP and more recently, have expanded our product vision to be much larger than our initial understanding. Late last year, we surveyed Peeps about what existing tools they use to manage their freelance careers.

Here’s what we found:

1. Productivity is king, as long as it’s easy 

It’s no secret that it’s important for freelancers to maximize productivity and build a streamlined routine while juggling multiple clients projects and their personal lives.

The Peep community prioritizes productivity and the tools that help them achieve it. However, they don’t need any bells and whistles. They want simple tools to get the job done… literally.

Almost all respondents listed Asana and Trello as their go-to productivity tools with several listing Basecamp, Pomodoro technique, and yes, the tried and true pen and paper.

2. Communication tools should be collaborative

As more companies – especially startups – hire freelancers to help grow their businesses, the more connected freelancers are expected to be with their clients. Peeps have become ingrained as a part of the teams that they’re working with, relying on Slack for team communications.

Nearly all survey respondents listed Google Apps (Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, etc.) as their top communication tool. This goes to show that collaboration and ease of sharing is crucial for communication tools.

3. The age of the reputation economy

The majority of survey respondents rely on word of mouth referrals and existing relationships to find new jobs. Having a strong reputation and personal brand makes the world of difference when finding new clients. We’ve worked hard to showcase this on Peep profiles in the form of reviews, references and referrals. Here’s a sample from David’s profile:

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4. Freelancers want hassle-free contracts

Most people don’t enjoy writing contracts or want to hire expensive attorneys. Survey respondents indicated that freelancers need a simple solution that allows them to get to work quickly. 

5. It’s all about integration

57 respondents listed “integration of tools as” a driver of their tools purchasing decision. Peeps want a seamless experience – one dashboard to manage their invoicing, billing, contract, communications, portfolio and job discovery needs – that also has educational resources.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 10.24.01 PMBuilding the full-stack platform for skilled freelancers

We’ve already integrated many of the elements that freelancers say are important in the CloudPeeps platform, including invoicing, billing time tracking, portfolios, reviews and ratings and of course, job discovery. Every day, we make changes to make the platform even more holistic.

 

Our goal is to be the one-stop, kick-ass platform and community for workers of the next generation. To make the admin and business dev part of freelancing easy so you can focus on pursuing work you love. We want to be the bridge that you build meaningful relationships, and your freelance career on. To make your lives easier and more fun. <3

To keep up with the latest on what we’re building, sign up for our weekly newsletter, in which we include tons of freelance news, tips and goodies. Or sign up to become a Peep. You may also find this list of 25 tools every freelancer should use handy.

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Kate Kendall

Kate Kendall

Founder and CEO at CloudPeeps
Founder and CEO of CloudPeeps. Created The Fetch and Freelance Friday. Writer. Lover of chai tea, building communities and working remotely.