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These are the most used apps and software by freelancers

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a female wed designer using the software Canva on her laptop
Gig economy: 30% of web and graphic designers work for themselves and often use image software such as Canva | Photo: Ron Lach

We all have our favourite apps to make life a bit easier, even if it is a bank online application that you resisted first but then, after a sequence of lockdowns, followed by the permanent closure of several financial branches, you were forced to adopt a digital approach to the way you do things.

But when it comes to work, especially for freelancers, apps are an everyday need that makes it almost impossible to imagine life before we had these tools that optimize work.

According to a report on global freelancer income published in 2020 by online money transfer and digital payment services Payoneer, 30% of workers in the field of web and graphic design work for themselves, either as a freelancer or fronting a small business.


Charlotte Burke, a UK-based freelance writer and designer who set up a blog featuring travel and spirituality content is one of those professionals fomenting the increasingly popular gig economy.

“By far my most heavily used app is Canva. It has absolutely everything you need to create all your marketing content, videos, and graphics. It also has incredible high-quality royalty-free images and stock videos – even music. And the fact you can use a vast majority of it for free is incredible too”, says Burke. “If you are creative enough you can get everything you need online using sites like Canva”, says Charlotte about the Australian graphic design platform founded in 2012. Canva saw a $40 billion valuation last year, according to Forbes, and often popped-up while I was interviewing freelancers for this piece.

“I use Canva multiple times daily to create blog and social media images. I find it a simple and easy to use drag and drop tool for creating visual content, even though I am not talented in graphic design at all. It is helpful that I can save brand colours and fonts to make it faster when branding my content.”, explains money and lifestyle blogger Victoria Sully.

Even apps that were not initially devised as a work tool are proving to be essential.

Marketing professor and behavioural economist Michal Strahilevitz is prone to using voice messages and notes to avoid typing, whenever she can.


“Don’t laugh but I use WhatsApp to communicate to all my research and teaching assistants. I honestly have way too much typing in my life and the fact that I can record messages anytime without bothering them is fantastic. Some of my research assistants like to also record messages and others like to type and WhatsApp gives us both options. As proof of how seriously addicted I am to WhatsApp, I tell my research assistants before I hire them that they will have to get WhatsApp if they’re going to work with me. It just makes my life so much easier that I can record a voice message from my phone without having to deal with an outgoing message or worry that I’m calling them too early in the morning.” Says Strahilevitz, a PhD who is also the director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“When I have done consulting work, I’ve also used WhatsApp to communicate with clients. Obviously, the deliverable is a written document and/or an oral presentation, but for asking and answering questions, I think WhatsApp is the best tool there is, especially when I am dealing with clients overseas in different time zones. Not only does WhatsApp allow me to make calls for free but it allows me to leave messages based on my own schedule without having to worry about what time it is where they are. When I lived in Australia and New Zealand a few years ago, I honestly don’t think I would have survived without this app”, analyses Michal Strahilevitz.


“I believe that in 2022, the most heavily used app or software for freelancers is likely to be one that helps manage their time effectively. With more and more people working from home, there is an increasing need for apps and software that can help individuals stay on track and avoid distractions” forecasts Inez Stanway, a former elementary school teacher for over a decade who now runs an online learning template and craft platform. “While there are many different options available, some of the most popular ones include RescueTime, Freedom, and FocusMe. All of these apps allow users to block out distracting websites and apps, set timers, and track their productivity. In addition, they provide detailed reports that can help users see where they are spending the most time and identify areas where they need to improve. As a result, these apps can be incredibly valuable for freelancers who want to make the most of their time”, says Stanway.

Ryan Scollon from Lincolnshire, UK, also shared similar thoughts when it comes to time management.

“The app that I use on a daily basis is Asana, and my business would crumble without it. It’s an essential tool for managing my schedule and keeping on top of my monthly clients”, explains Scollon.

Freelance voice actor John Lano, from Minneapolis, USA, also has a preferred app to monitor and organize his daily routine.


“As a full-time, freelance voice actor I use Notion daily to organize my audition and project timelines, blog post and social media content ideas, invoicing status, and daily to-do lists. It’s literally my one-stop app for organizing both my work and personal life. You can also invite a client, colleague, or family member to collaborate on a task with you. It’s powerful, customizable, and can be used across pretty much any device you have”, explains Lano who has lent his voice to companies worldwide including American telecom AT&T and sports equipment brand UnderArmour.

Love-hate relationship: compatibility issues forced me to transition to a paid version, says designer Greg Findley (pictured)

Although it is often viable to settle for the free version offered by many apps available right now, sometimes it pays off to upgrade the service needed to save time in the long run.

38-year-old freelance designer Greg Findley has been spending approximately £500 per year to have full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud, a set of online applications and services first released in 2013 that gives subscribers access to a collection of software used for video editing, web development, photography and graphic design.

“I want to love Figma or Sketch, I really do. But there’s something about Adobe, like a trusty old pair of Levi’s, that keeps me coming back. They switched to an expensive annual license model, and fundamentally the product hasn’t changed in over a decade. But my familiarity and ingrained workflow have left me in a love-hate relationship with the Creative Cloud”, confesses Findley, from Tonbridge, in the United Kingdom.

And here are 3 other apps freelancers are using daily to make their work life easier and more productive:

SEMrush – to check what your competition is doing online

Semrush: Semrush is a great tool to research your competitors and get an edge in the market. It offers tons of features such as competitive analysis, user profiles and organic search engine optimization resources.”
Abdullah Prem – full-time blogger

Surfer SEO – to give Google a hand in ranking you

“As a content marketer, my favourite software tool that I could not be without is Surfer SEO. I use it daily for on-page SEO optimization, and I can also create a detailed audit after publishing to further increase the chances of ranking high in Google. In addition, this software tool gives me content ideas for writing additional supporting articles.”

Ric Hawkins – Content marketing professional

Grammarly – to ensure what you write comes across the way you intend

I use Grammarly on a daily basis. It is a typing assistant, like the Ms-Office Clippy, but it’s actually good. It helps with spell-checking, proofreading, and setting the tone you’re
aiming for. It is a great tool for non-native English writers.
George Alexe – Freelance writer and content manager

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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BT lands £70m IT services deal with South West Police

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Police woman standing next to a police car
Ten-year contract with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police will see BT manage IT services for the two forces.

BT today announced it has secured a ten-year, £70m IT services deal with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police. Together, the two police forces handle more than a million emergency and non-emergency calls and respond to more than 118,000 incidents of recorded crime each year. The new long-term agreement will strengthen the forces’ technology estates by creating a future-fit infrastructure to support more joined-up policing, with the potential to extend the contract to neighbouring forces in the South West region.

The managed service contract will underpin a range of the police’s information, technology, and communication demands, including field mobile, airwave vehicle and handheld connectivity for emergency services – alongside security and customer service desk applications.

It will see BT work with both police forces to support public contact and staff collaboration platforms, delivering efficiencies for 101 and 999 services, whilst improving intelligence gathering and data sharing for staff. Frontline officers will benefit from improved connectivity for devices such as mobile phones, body-worn cameras and vehicle radio systems, delivering benefits for local policing by giving officers access to critical real-time information.

BT will also assist the forces in staying compliant with security frameworks, supporting measures to strengthen their security protocols against external threats. Together, these services will support Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police with their digital policing strategy and strengthen crime prevention efforts, whilst also delivering expected financial efficiencies.

More than 5,100 police officers and 3,500 police staff work within the two forces, and they employ more than 550 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and special constables. As part of the contract, BT has agreed to progress social value initiatives for both forces, implementing measures to improving transparency on the environmental impact of police activities in the South West.

“Efficient and resilient technology infrastructure is crucial to support the police in tackling both current and emerging threats – so we’re proud to have the back of South West police forces by delivering exactly that. This new managed service from BT will help future-proof connectivity in all areas of policing, from those on the frontline to behind-the-scenes support staff, helping them to protect the public and keep pace with the changing nature of crime,” says Ashish Gupta, Managing Director, Corporate and Public Sector at BT.

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12 steps to create inclusive presentations for any audience

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presentation
Encourage questions from the whole crowd. This fosters engagement from players who are not as confident or remote.

A varied work environment requires presentations that everyone can enjoy and learn from. And In today’s diverse and interconnected world, providing inclusive presentations is more important than ever, as they can ensure that all audience members, regardless of their backgrounds, abilities, or learning styles, can engage with and understand the content.

Besides aligning several levels of expertise and increase audience engagement, as everyone feels respected and able to participate fully, inclusive presentations also enhance productivity, as audience engagement, as everyone feels respected and able to participate fully in any setting.

Here experts at a presentation design agency share essential tips on how to build engaging presentations for all audiences, regardless of background, abilities, or learning styles. These inclusive habits can help you improve your communication skills and create a respectful, inclusive atmosphere.

Understand your audience

To provide an inclusive presentation, first understand your audience. This requires investigating your target audience’s age, culture, career, and any limitations. Understanding these elements enables you to personalize your presentation to meet their individual needs and experiences.

Customizing Content to Meet Different Needs

Tailor your content to your target audience’s demographics. Use inclusive language and avoid technical jargon unless everyone knows it. Consider your target audience’s cultural and educational backgrounds to avoid alienating them via content or delivery.

Knowing your audience enables you to provide a more informed and engaging presentation. This first step establishes the presence of your presenting style.

Making content accessible

Making your information accessible goes beyond words. Speak plainly and simply to individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill levels. Summarize complicated concepts and provide handouts or visual aids to supplement the spoken information. Make your papers screen reader accessible and provide various formats for visually challenged audience members.

Planning your content around these features can make your presentation more inclusive and maximize the event’s advantages for everyone.

Making Slides Accessible

The visual style of presentation slides determines their accessibility and efficacy. Learn how to make presentations that everyone can comprehend.

Visually Accessible Slide Design Tips

To help visually challenged folks, use high contrast text and backdrop colors. Black text on white, or vice versa, is simple to see.

Simple Designs: Avoid layouts that are distracting or confusing. Use white space around text and pictures in a tidy way.

Use big letters for easier reading from a distance. Headings should have a larger font size than body text, which should be 24 points.

Selecting fonts and colors

Color schemes: When choosing slide colors, keep color blindness in mind. Avoid hazardous color pairings like green and red.

Choose readable fonts. Sans-serif types like Arial and Helvetica are ideal for screen readability.

These features allow you to design presentations that are attractive and accessible to everyone in your audience, even those who have visual impairments.

Inclusive Language and Delivery

Using inclusive language and careful delivery makes everyone in the audience feel valued and involved. How to do this in presentations.

Language Matters in Inclusivity

Avoid jargon: Use clear, straightforward language that all audience members may comprehend. Avoid utilizing technical or industry-specific jargon unless it is explicitly explained or clarified in the presentation.

Use Gender-Neutral Language: To neutralize gender-specific phrases, use “they” instead of “he/she” and “team” instead of “guys”.

Cultural awareness: Cultural variations might affect how your message is perceived. Avoid using idioms and words that may lose significance between cultures.

Clear and Respectful Communication Methods

Clear, Moderate Speech: Maintain a moderate speaking tempo so that everyone can grasp the information, particularly those who process auditory information slowly.

Pause to emphasise: After making crucial statements, pause momentarily to ensure that your audience understands them. This increases understanding and accentuates the point.

Restate To help you remember crucial points, repeat them throughout the lecture.

Inclusive language and thoughtful delivery improve the accessibility of your presentation and make attendees feel appreciated.

Using various learning styles

Recognizing and engaging audiences’ learning styles improves presentation inclusiveness and effectiveness. How to Support Multiple Learning Styles:

Engaging Everyone with Your Delivery

Use a range of teaching strategies in your presentation to suit various learning styles. Use imagery, narrative, and interaction.

Polls, question periods, and small group discussions make presentations more appealing to interested students.

Notes and takeaways: Provide attendees with specific handouts for use during and after the presentation. This allows all students to study and review at their own speed.

Accepting these many learning styles can help your presentation be more inclusive, memorable, and powerful for everyone.

Tips for Inclusive Q&A

Facilitating an inclusive Q&A session engages audience members while making them feel heard and appreciated. Here are some tips for making your Q&A sessions more inclusive

Set Clear Guidelines: At the start of the Q&A session, establish clear expectations for question handling. To encourage involvement, ask polite, concise questions.

Ask questions utilizing an audience microphone if one is provided. This elevates their voice and ensures that the whole audience hears the query.

Always repeat the audience’s questions before responding. If some people did not hear the question, this will help them to comprehend it.

Encourage all attendees to participate.

Encourage questions from the whole crowd. This fosters engagement from players who are not as confident or remote.

Provide other questioning methods: Throughout the session, attendees may submit written or digital inquiries. Shy people or those who dread public speaking may benefit from this.

These ideas will improve the effectiveness and inclusivity of your Q&A sessions by enabling everyone to participate.

Use assistive technology

Assistive technology may help make presentations more accessible, enabling everyone to participate. Integrate these technologies effectively.

Feedback Collection and Use

Continuous progress demands feedback, especially for inclusive presentations. Discover how to gather and use feedback to make future presentations more interesting and accessible.

In today’s globalised society, presentations must reach and engage a wide range of audiences. This article’s eight phases, which range from audience knowledge and content production to assistive technology usage and feedback, provide a thorough approach to inclusive presentations. Presenters may utilize these techniques to make their message more accessible, resulting in a welcoming and polite environment. In order to accomplish ongoing progress and flexibility, input must be solicited and absorbed. Take the following measures to enhance your presenting abilities and promote inclusion in your professional community.

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines awarded for beekeeping tour

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines awarded for beekeeping tour
Georgina May, PR Executive, Tabi Winney, Destination Experience Assistant, Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Product Development | Photo: Michael Newington Gray

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have been awarded ‘Consumer Favourite for Excursions’ at the inaugural Sailawaze Excellence Awards 2024.

The cruise line received the award last night at a gala ceremony held in central London, attended and hosted by Patrick Grant, presenter of hit BBC show, The Great British Sewing Bee.

More than 150 entries were submitted across the award’s eight categories, which were then shortlisted by a panel of cruise line industry experts. The final shortlist was then voted for by consumers.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ rural beekeeping tour in Lithuania was highlighted by the award. This tour allows guests the opportunity to learn more about village life and the cultural significance of bees by visiting a family-run apiary to see how honey is produced, with the chance to sample various honeys and locally produced mead.

“We were incredibly proud to have received this award. It’s testament to all the work that our Destination Experience teams, both ashore and on board our fleet, put in to making each one of our guests’ excursions an incredible and unforgettable experience,” said Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Product Development at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. “We believe it’s all about the people and we believe that giving our guests the opportunity to connect with credible local people, who aren’t just providing information on a subject, but are passionate about sharing their personal stories and insights into their real lives, is the best way of engaging our guests and the communities that we visit”.

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