Free Online Tools for Digital Nomads

Best Free Online Tools for Digital Nomads

Hey, fellow (and future) digital nomads! I’d like to share with you my favorite (and least favorite) digital tools that I use to be a digital nomad around South East Asia and the world at large. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

#1 — Zapier (Automation)

Why — Zapier is the one-stop automation tool that is cheap and easy to set up. For example, let’s say you want to log your client’s payment in multiple systems like a Google Sheet and your invoicing software after a paid invoice in PayPal. That’s super easy to automate with Zapier! Set up a trigger to run on each new paid PayPal invoice, find the right rows in your Google Sheet and your InvoiceNinja invoice, and log your clients’ payments with ease! No more need for manual data entry and checking at the end of the month if someone has paid up.

Cost — Free for up to 3 single-step processes (100 automation runs/month), and $19.99/month (750 automation runs/month) for multi-step processes (like the one above).

#2 — Invoice Ninja (Billing & Invoicing)

Why — InvoiceNinja is my go-to invoicing tool that’s free for businesses tracking projects for up to 20 clients. It does everything from sending billing emails to clients, .pdf bill creation, and connecting to payment gateways for clients to pay their invoices right from the platform. It even does time tracking for you to keep your hours logged and accurate between clients and projects.

Cost — Free for up 20 clients. $14/month for unlimited clients and personalized (your brand) invoices and the client-facing portals.

#3 — Slack (Internal & Client Communications)

Why — Slack is great for communicating with your team and clients, and it’s free! It also connects very well with Zapier (see #1) automation tools to automate your order processing and internal communications.

Cost — Free. If you need to upgrade to more features like single sign-on and have unlimited search functionality of your prior messages, it’s $6.67/month/user, but you’ll only need that for very specific use cases if your organization is getting pretty big.

#4 — Asana (Project Management)

Why — Asana is an amazing way to assign tasks to various team members, set deadlines, and keep on top of projects. There is a lot of automation potential with Zapier so that you don’t have to manually log and update various tools. I initially used Trello for my project management (see #5 below), but I moved over to Asana as I found its task views and assignments across team members more intuitive.

Cost — Free for teams up to 15 members. $10.99/user/month for 16+ user teams, and it includes really neat workflow builders.

#5 — Trello (Order Management)

Why — If you are doing orders on your e-commerce website like I amTrello is a great way to create/manage orders from places like WooCommerce and Shopify. It also integrates with Zapier so you can update customer orders in WooCommerce from manually dragging an order card to a new status. It’s great. Use it!

Cost — Free for teams of any size, but for more complex workflow features and 11+ boards (Management, Accounting, etc…), it’s $5/user/month.

#6 — ProtonVPN (VPN)

Why — ProtonVPN is the best free and paid VPN you can buy! Keep your connections safe and encrypted for free (no logs) with this great free VPN service. If you’re looking to do more like run connections through other countries and have faster connections, you’re going to want the paid version (highly recommended).

Cost — Free includes 100+ servers in 3 countries (US, Netherlands, Japan). For more countries, more servers, and faster speeds, it’s $5/month (highly recommended!)

#7 — Pexels (Free Images)

Why — When you’re building your websites and marketing outreach, you need good images that don’t have any restrictions on their usage. Pexels does just that by removing license restrictions on all of the images on their platform. They’re also very high-quality images in both horizontal and vertical, so do some searches to find your perfect image while not worrying about breaking any copyright laws! The image used in this article is from Pexels!

Cost — Free!

#8— Photopea (Free Photoshop Replacement)

Why — Photopea is the free (almost the same) version of Photoshop, so if you’re not willing to pay $21/month for Photoshop, Photopea is your savior! I use it to create my digital artwork for my business, and it has most of the functions of Photoshop managed inside your browser.

Cost — Free!

#9 — Personal Capital (Finance Manager)

Why — Having trouble keeping track of all your accounts and finances? Want to see how long it will take you to FIRE? Personal Capital is the way to see exactly that! You connect all of your financial accounts to the platform, and it will automatically let you pick your risk tolerance and do investment analysis across your portfolio. You can see if your investment plan is currently matching your risk profile and tolerance, and you can game out your retirement plan easily (highly recommended!).

Cost — Free!

#10 — SiteGround + WordPress (Web Hosting & Creator)

Why — SiteGround is an amazing WordPress website hosting service. Okay, it’s not free (sorry), but no webhosting service is. Don’t go cheap for your WebHost, because your time to first byte and other speed issues will drop your website’s conversion rate. Invest in your online presence, and then build a free WordPress instance to build your website. There are many free templates with a lot of themes (my favorite is Astra).

Cost — $5/month for the first 12 months, then it grows to ~$25/month depending on your services. WordPress is free, so don’t pay for any website editors ever again!

#11 — Wise (Money Transfers & Payments)

Why — Wise has changed the game by greatly reducing the cost and speed to do international money transfers, and it’s become my favorite way to quickly send money to friends and colleagues across borders.

Cost — Free to have an account, but they charge based on the transaction amount and conversion rate between the two currencies.

Not Recommended: Nomadlist☹️

Why — Nomadlist left a bad taste in my mouth after I tried it. First, they market themselves as a great way to connect with other digital nomads worldwide; however, when I tried connecting with others on their Slack channel, 0 responses. Also, I find their trip logging feature pretty tacky and not helpful for actually seeing where I’ve been and where I plan to go. I feel like Google Timeline is a much more intuitive interface, although it is a bit creepy.

Cost — $100 one-time cost. They make money on the backend with affiliate and partner programs like nomad health insurance.

Note: I am not paid by any of the platforms mentioned in this article. I only want to help other freelancers know about the power of automation and free tools to improve their digital nomad efficiency.