Freelance writing sounds like a dream career. You have a flexible schedule doing creative work you love. What could be better than getting paid to write all day?
Except freelance writers don’t write all day.
As any freelancer knows, your time is often eaten up by random administrative tasks, lengthy email chains and continuously pitching article ideas.
You aren’t just a writer, you’re also a business owner.
All those behind-the-scenes tasks keep your business running, but they also take you away from doing the writing that actually pays the bills.
Luckily, these five Gmail add-ons are the perfect solution for freelance writers who want to spend less time on admin and more time on billable hours.
Give them a try to boost your bottom line and avoid time-sucking administrative work!
How often have you sent a batch of pitches and forgotten all about them?
By the time you remembered, you felt like it was too late to follow up. Or perhaps you always remember to follow up on pitches … but only because you spend precious time maintaining a detailed spreadsheet.
That will never happen again thanks to Boomerang.
Though it has several handy features, the one that’s most valuable for writers is the “reminder” option. When you send a pitch, simply set Boomerang to remind you to follow up if you don’t hear back within a certain timeframe.
Say goodbye to lost pitches and wasted time and hello to professional, timely follow-ups.
2. Canned Responses
Ever feel like you’re writing the same email over and over again?
This brilliant Gmail Lab allows you to save those emails and pop the text into a new email with just a few clicks. Much of a writer’s job involves getting in touch with sources and editors, so Canned Responses can save you tons of time in your inbox.
Just select the message you need, fill in the blanks with the details, and hit send!
Here are some e-mails you might want to set up a canned response for:
- Formatting new pitches
- Following up on pitches
- Notifying sources that their article has been published
- Telling a HARO source their pitch has been accepted or rejected
- Thanking an editor for responding to your pitch
Think your e-mail signature doesn’t matter? Think again.
There are thousands of writers out there trying to make a living as a freelancer, and editors are looking for clues that you’re the real deal.
WiseStamp is the simple way to create a good-looking, professional email signature.
A professional email signature immediately shows you take your business seriously—plus it encourages editors to follow you on social media or view your writing portfolio.
Editors are more likely to take a chance on you when they can see where you’ve written in the past and get a feel for your writing style. And if they check out your social accounts and see that you follow their publication and have shared some of their recent pieces, you’ll really stand out.
This clever email tool makes it simple to connect with editors and sources across other platforms. Once you add someone as a contact, Rapportive displays their social media profiles, mutual colleagues you may know, and job info from their LinkedIn profile, right inside your inbox.
Having a strong network is essential to your freelance writing career. Rapportive gives you the opportunity to connect with editors on social media, where you can interact with them and stay on their radar in between article assignments.
You can also use the job information to stay current on where your favorite editors are working. If one of them moves to a new publication, you could get your foot in the door and snag some great new writing opportunities
If your inbox looks like the email equivalent of a teenage boy’s bedroom, Sortd is for you.
This inbox organizer will keep you from losing important emails and stop you from wasting time searching for specific messages.
Sortd replaces the typical Gmail interface with a series of organized lists. You can customize each list with whatever title you want, making your inbox clutter-free and perfectly suited to your unique work system. Try these ideas for Sortd list setups to get started:
- To-Do, for ongoing tasks or emails that require action
- Currently Writing, for emails related to your articles-in-progress
- Sources, for keeping track of email chains with your sources
- Ideas, for when you email yourself that brilliant article idea so you don’t forget
- “Insert Article Title Here,” for if you’d like to organize emails by the specific article they relate to
- Editing, for tasks related to revisions and changes from your editor
- Ongoing, for emails related to recurring assignments or regular columns
Dealing with email and other administrative duties is never fun, but these Gmail add-ons are the first step to getting that drudge work off your plate. Once you get these systems up and running, you’ll be amazed at how much more time you can spend on the billable writing work you enjoy.
Do you use any email add-ons to improve your workflow? Tell me about them in the comments!