When I decided to start freelancing in 2011, all I had was a laptop and a penchant for words. I didn’t even have a credit card, so even if I wanted to pay for online tools, I couldn’t.
Fast forward ten years later, my expenses are still quite minimal, but there are few online tools that make me scream, “Take my money!” in the most enthusiastic way possible, even though free alternatives of these tools exist.
Notion – $45/year (Personal Pro Plan)
Disclaimer, I am an official Notion Ambassador – but only because it’s single-handedly the tool that has changed my entire life. I’m able to manage my entire life and business through Notion, and at this point, I really couldn’t see myself living without it. (Note: Notion has a free plan too if you’d like to try it out.)
Elementor – $200/year (Pro License)
If Notion single-handedly changed my life, Elementor single-handedly changed my business. Elementor enables drag-and-drop design functionality on WordPress websites. It comes with thousands of templates to choose from, super easy ways to make changes, and allows me to run a profitable website business without knowing a lick of code.
Canva – $13.95/month (Pro License)
Canva changed the game on graphic design, especially for small businesses. It has enabled me to make simple logos and graphics for my clients, and create professional proposals and other documents for my business.
Fathom Analytics – $14/month
To the average web developer, paying for website analytics sounds a bit nuts. After all, Google Analytics is free! But once co-owner of Fathom, Paul Jarvis, shared just how awful GA really is.), I saw the light. Now I’m happy to offer my clients access to beautiful, meaningful insight that they can actually use, without sacrificing the personal data of their visitors.
PayPal + Payoneer – ~6% per transaction
Someone online is always complaining about the fees charged by companies like PayPal and Payoneer for financial transactions. I won’t be one of them. Why? Because I’m a Jamaican, which means the banking system in my country is trash. Without access to these services, I would not be able to make a living from home. I’m only happy to pay them a small cut for the freedom and flexibility they faciliate in my life.
Netflix – $13.99/month
I know, I know. Netflix doesn’t seem like it belongs on this list, but trust me, it does. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, just knowing that I can tune out the world for a few hours and binge a TV show or movie for the price of one movie theatre ticket – that’s worth every dollar I pay.