I hope you're keeping yourself warm and cozy these days. (Winter is here and I don't want you to be sick). Anyway, I trust you for that.
Last time, I asked you for feedback. Remember? Today, I'm gonna ask you something else. Don't worry. I don't want you to spread the word. 😅😆.
Rather, I want you to pick up the nearest notebook and pen.
Go on. Do it! I don't want you to use a note-taking app or your laptop for this. Only the plain-old paper and pen. You won't right now. Right?
Okay! I understand. Still, do this exercise whenever you can.
Now, when you have a pen and paper with you.
Write down 10 tools, platforms and websites you won't be able to work without. It can be social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc., freelancing platforms/job boards like Upwork, Fiverr, Peopleperhour, tools like Grammarly or just your simple email client.
Do you know why I am asking you to write this on a pen and paper? Because we forgot how it used to feel when we scribbled something. (a discussion for some other day)
I trust you have at least 10 tools in your kitty that you can't live without. Now, imagine what if one of your beloved platforms suddenly vanishes off the face of the earth.
Scary. Isn't it? The point of making you write all these tools?
To start a cycle of realization.
When we are cycling fast on a road, we don't think about tire pressure or squeal coming from somewhere near the pedal. But when something breaks down, we realize the importance of having a mechanic nearby or an alternative at hand.
Last night, a popular free invoicing tool, WaveApps decided to shut support for users outside the US and Canada. It was being used by many freelancers and small businesses outside these countries. (Even I recommended it in my basic freelancing stack.)
Many users and their businesses will suffer because of this. They will have to spare time to look for viable alternatives. All this will lead to unnecessary headache and loss of time that freelancers could have used to grow their business and earn more money.
In case you were using WaveApps for invoicing
I researched a bit on viable alternatives to WaveApps (Free Invoicing Tool) and added them to this thread on Twitter. Also, WaveApps is offering a special offer for ZohoBooks to everyone who is looking to migrate. You can check the specifics here.
Now, let's come back to your list. I am sure you'll see this activity in a new light now. What if one of the tools you rely on so much decides to give up on you, all of a sudden?
I am not questioning their intentions. I am not saying SaaS and cloud tools are a sham. I use them all the time.
I just want you to stay prepared, always.
Winter can come anytime. We all need to keep our stocks ready.
As a freelancer, our bread and butter (or rice and daal, or whatever you eat) depend on tools, websites and platforms. If you remember, in my last email, I talked about reducing our dependency on platforms.
I still stand by my words. It's good to try out tools, platforms and everything technology has to offer. But depending on them blindly can be costly.
Always remember, never build a castle on rented land.
If you plan to build a castle anyway, always have a backup in place. (I used WaveApps because I loved the UI but I have my own CRM system that can take care of invoicing, too.)
Freelancing is not easy. One receives many obstacles on the way. But every winter comes to an end. That's the beauty of working for yourself- you learn to jump over the hurdles and grow.
Before you start loving that tool that you've just discovered and plan to add to your freelancing mix, just have a backup plan ready. That would save you from being cornered.
I hope you'll prepare that list sometime soon. (If you do, please share it with me along with your backup plans). I would love to share mine when you do.
A little update from my side
I am working on a new website for this newsletter, FreelanceBytes as I realized it needed to have its own little corner on the internet. If you had clicked on my previous email's link , you would have got a glimpse already.
I am documenting my struggles and the journey on Twitter. I am almost there and you'd soon be able to see what I made. I can't wait to share it with you.
I hope you'll prepare well for the winters.
While you do, keep freelancing!
Your freelance companion