Six Areas of Technology All Freelancers MUST Stay Current With

Freelancers operate in a rapidly changing technological environment. I don’t use the same computer software and hardware that I used eight years ago, and neither should you.

Freelancers who don’t keep up with the changing technologies may soon find themselves out of business. While you don’t necessarily have to be on the cutting edge of new developments, neither should you lag too far behind.

In this post, I’ll identify several areas of your business that you should monitor regularly to make sure that your technologies are current. I’ll also list some resources to help you keep up.

Six Areas Where You Should Stay Current

If you’re like most freelancers, you rely on your tools (meaning your computer and software). But, are your tools outdated? If so, you may not be as productive as you should be. Even worse, your work may be incompatible with your client’s equipment.

Here are six technology areas of your freelancing business that you should check regularly to make sure that they are up to date.

  1. Internet connection. Twelve years ago dial up Internet connections were common. But, if you’re using a dial up connection today, chances are that you can’t access much of today’s online resources. Forget about downloading large files.
  2. Computer hardware. Not only is computer hardware getting faster, it’s also getting smaller and more energy efficient. If your hardware isn’t up to date you won’t be able to use some of the most current software packages. Besides, this stuff wears out.
  3. Software tools. Software manufacturers update their software for a reason. Not only do software updates contain new features, they often fix old problems. To get the most from your software tools be sure to keep them up to date.
  4. Social media tools. The popularity of social media tools changes over the years. While Twitter and Facebook may be the hot online social tools for today, tomorrow the popular tools may be different. If your clients change social media tools so should you.
  5. Mobile computing devices. These popular devices are more than just a status symbol. They offer you a new and better way to communicate with clients. Plus, they give you the flexibility to leave your office without worrying about getting behind in your work.
  6. Website design. Does your freelance business website scream 1990s? An outdated website can reflect poorly on your business. Remember, your freelancing website is often the first thing a prospective client sees. Be sure to leave a good impression.

Now that we’ve identified some areas for you to check and make sure that you are up to date, it’s time to list some resources that will give you an idea of what technology is out there for freelancers.

Nine Great Blog Resources for Freelancers & Others

In no particular order, here are nine great blogs that you can use to learn more about technology and freelancing:

  1. Web Worker Daily. This resource, located on the GigaOM website, provides regular reviews of new tools and resources that are of interest to freelancers and others.
  2. Mashable. Mashable covers a wide variety of technical news topics. Freelancers will want to keep their eye on the Business and Social Media areas.
  3. TechCrunch. TechCrunch tracks what’s new in the technology world. While not geared specifically to freelancers, there is much to learn here.
  4. Smashing Magazine. This online magazine does a great job of gathering information freelancers and web designers need.
  5. Fuel Your Creativity. As the title suggests, this blog is intended to spark your creativity. However, it also does a great job of listing novel resources.
  6. Six Revisions. This site regularly publishes tutorials and articles that provide practical advice to freelancers and others.
  7. Noupe. Another great resource that includes tutorials and other information on how to get the most from a variety of tools such as WordPress and Photoshop.
  8. Freelance Switch. This blog is geared specifically for freelancers and deals with many technology issues and other topics from a freelancing perspective.
  9. Freelance Folder. Our own blog not only deals with technology questions a freelancer may have, but also provides other valuable information for freelancers.

Of course, these blogs are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other great resources that freelancers can use to stay current with changing technology.

Your Turn

Do you have a favorite resource you turn to in order to stay current with technology? Why not share it in the comments.

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