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These are the most used apps and software by freelancers



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.


The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project announces 50 nominees



Kim Rihal, founder of social enterprise Equal Education, is one of the 50 women shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project
Kim Rihal, founder of social enterprise Equal Education, is one of the 50 women shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project

Earlier this year, on International Women’s Day 2023, Häagen-Dazs launched ‘The Rose Project’, a global initiative with a $100,000 (USD) bursary grant inviting nominations to recognise unsung trailblazing women in honour of the brand’s female co-founder Rose Mattus. Yesterday, 23 November, on what would have been Rose Mattus’ birthday, Häagen-Dazs announced the top 50 #WomenWhoDontHoldBack nominees being shortlisted for their achievements and its five globally accomplished Häagen-Dazs Rose Project judges.

Over 2,500 applications were received for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project putting forward pioneering efforts and societal contributions made by women across the globe. From these, 50 talented and inspirational women have been shortlisted and will be put forward to win one of five monetary grants of $20,000 (USD), which will be announced on International Women’s Day 2024, to continue their exceptional work, unleash their potential or give to a cause they are passionate about. The top 50 shortlist includes women from 17 countries hailing from across Europe, Asia, Africa & Middle East, Australia and the Americas.

The all-female judging panel from across the world has been handpicked for the final selection stage of The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project includes. UK-based author, broadcaster and philanthropist Katie Piper, fashion entrepreneur and advocate for women’s fertility issues, Velda Tan from Singapore and Spanish entrepreneur and creative director Inés Arroyo, are amongst the judges.

“International Women’s Day 2023 marked the launch of The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project to honour the legacy of our co-founder, Rose Mattus, and create a fund platform to provide opportunities to women across all fields around the world who are truly deserving of support and recognition. We were thrilled to receive thousands of nominations across countries and our #WomenWhoDontHoldBack Top 50 shortlist is a compelling and diverse mosaic of trailblazing female narratives that moved us and serve as an inspiration to women everywhere”, says Aurélie Lory, Häagen-Dazs spokesperson.

To find out more about the story of each entrepreneur shortlisted for The Häagen-Dazs Rose Project, visit:

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47% of women feel their workplace is not combatting inequality



Katherine Maher, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of Web Summit 2023 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal
Katherine Maher, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of Web Summit 2023 | Photo: Eóin Noonan/Web Summit

The proportion of women who feel that their workplace is not taking appropriate measures to combat gender inequality has nearly doubled in a year, a new survey has revealed.

Web Summit, the world’s largest technology event taking place in Lisbon this week, has released its third annual State of Gender Equity in Tech report, which is based on a survey distributed among its women in tech community.

76.1 percent of respondents feel empowered to pursue and/or hold a leadership position; fewer respondents (41.8 %) feel the need to choose between family and career when compared to 2022 (50.4 %); and there is at least one woman in a senior management position in 80.4 percent of respondents’ companies, a similar proportion to last year (81.3%).

The survey found that 70.5 percent of respondents feel pressure to prove their worth compared to male counterparts, while 77.2 percent feel they need to work harder to prove themselves because of their gender.

Over three quarters of respondents (76.1 %) feel empowered to pursue and/or hold a leadership position. And almost half of respondents think that their workplace is not taking appropriate measures to combat gender inequality, increasing from 26 percent in 2022 to 47
percent in 2023.

“While it is encouraging to see progress in some areas, such as those feeling the need to choose between their family and career, there are also some deeply concerning trends within this report. Seeing an increase in those who report having experienced sexism in the workplace in the last year is disheartening in 2023. We hope that this kind of research can breed some positives, and that it will push workplaces – and women within these workplaces – to broach these topics and make progress in these areas,” said Carolyn Quinlan, VP of community at Web Summit.

Last year, 42 percent of attendees at Web Summit were women and 33 percent of speakers were women. In 2023 these numbers have slightly improved with 43 percent of attendees and 38 percent of speakers on stage being women this year.

The women in tech programme at this year’s Web Summit is at capacity, and the women in tech programme at Web Summit Rio 2023 reached capacity in record time.

The WebSummit 2023 is running from November 13th to 16th in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Krispy Kreme to give away free donuts on World Kindness Day



A box of Krispy Kreme donuts opened and with donuts inside
The company, founded in 1937, is giving away 60,000 free doughnuts around the world today | Photo: Clément Proust

American multinational doughnut company and coffeehouse chain, Krispy Kreme, is celebrating “World Kindness Day” today by distributing free donuts in the US and the UK.

The chain is giving away a box of a dozen glazed donuts for free with no purchase necessary. But only the first 500 guests that visit each participating Krispy Kreme US stores on “World Kindness Day”, Monday November 13th, will be able to get a free box of donuts.

Krispy Kreme often gives away free or discounted donuts to generate buzz on special occasions. The company, founded in 1937, traditionally gives out free donuts to customers on National Donut Day, celebrated on the first Friday of June of each year. And in July, a dozen of glazed donuts were sold for 86 cents to celebrate its 86th birthday.

Thousands of free donuts are also expected to be given away today across Krispy Kreme stores in the United Kingdom, with customers being encouraged to ask for the World Kindness Day offer. No purchase necessary.

The company, which operates in over 30 countries around the world, said it wants the brand associated with World Kindness Day to make “meaningful connections” with customers.

“World Kindness Day is an opportunity to make a positive difference by being generous,” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme’s global chief brand officer, said in a release. “Simple gestures of caring and thanks, including sharing a sweet treat, is a great way to do that.”

Krispy Kreme said that it’s considering expanding a limited partnership it has with McDonald’s to sell more of its donuts at the latter’s location.

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