Monday, March 8, 2010

3 Online Tools that an Expat Freelancer Needs

Yesterday I conducted a very satisfying interview on Skype, which got me feeling all affectionate for the service. I do many interviews on Skype, either through their telephone service or IM chat (which I LOVE because your entire conversation is already perfectly preserved). Anyway, Skype got me thinking about the things that make life a bit easier for expat freelancers. Here are my top three.

1) Skype . I imagine most expats know about Skype, but if you don't, download it. Now. Skype is software that allows you to talk with other Skype users through your computer for free. Most of my sources have Skype and, in my view, there's nothing unprofessional about using it to conduct interviews. Did I mention that it's free?

eFax. eFax is another free service that is pretty great. When you register with eFax, you are assigned a U.S. fax number. As I mainly target American magazines, this number takes away the worry that editors will be annoyed by having to pay a premium fee when faxing documents (contracts, tax information, etc.) to me. And as it goes right to me my email, I don't need a heads-up about when the fax will arrive.

3) PayPal. Yet another free service! PayPal allows you to send and receive money online. (Actually, the service has dozens of features, but for freelancing purposes, I only use it to receive money). It is so easy. When you register, you provide your bank account information so that when you are paid, you can transfer the money from your PayPal account directly to your bank account. Many online pubs pay through PayPal, and its so much simpler than waiting to receive a paper check, and then going through the bother of taking it or sending it to your bank.

Of course, I'm talking about the basic level for all these services. For a fee you can get all the bells and whistles that these companies offer, but for me the free service works just fine. Check them out!


  1. Barbara, there is no info on your blog how to contact you other than commenting here.

  2. Hi Tarek - I can be reached at theexpatfreelancer (at) gmail (dot) com.

  3. In order to be an effective freelancer you will need the right online tools and resources that can help you, it is just depends on what you needed most. You can also try Google Docs that allows you do manage and access documents, spreadsheet, presentation, surveys and etc. Another is Evernote a tool that can remind you everything you need to remember like work schedules, events, meetings, idea and etc. Time management is essential to a freelancer which allow them do more work for different employees. Rescuetime is a tool which helps you manage time effectively and help you improve productivity. I hope these tools can also help your work as a freelancer.


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