5 great free mobile apps for small businesses and freelancers

Your life is about to get easier with these great free mobile apps

Freelancers and small business owners, your life is about to get easier. I've got five great free mobile apps to help you get more clients, be more productive, get free conference calling, and much more.

HootSuite

Freelancers and small business owners know that the best way to get new clients is to have them get in touch with you, rather than you having to seek them out. For that to happen you need visibility -- and that means as big a social media presence as possible. That's where HootSuite comes in. This free app for the Web, iPhone, iPad and Android is a do-it-all social media tool. You can manage multiple social networks, schedule posts, messsages and tweets, track mentions of you, analyze your social media traffic and more. The free version lets you manage up to five social media profiles. Paid versions let you manage more and give you extra tools as well.

MailChimp

Email newsletters are another way to gain new clients, and keep in touch with your existing ones. MailChimp is a great free service that makes it easy to create newsletters and mailing lists, share them on social media sites, track newsletter performance, and much more. It's Web-based, but there are also free mobile apps for both iOS and Android.

Square

Getting work or selling products and services is one thing. Getting paid is another. If your business involves selling to the public, you know how expensive it can be to accept credit cards, particularly getting set up with a card reader. That's where Square comes in. Sign up for free and you get a free card reader that attaches to your iOS or Android device. When you use it, you pay 2.75% of the transaction per swipe, with no extra fees. It's a great way to accept credit cards.

Intuit Snap Payroll

If you own a small business and have employees, you know the pain of payroll management: Manually calculating how much to pay employees based on the number of hours they work, how much to deduct in taxes, and so on. This free iOS app from Intuit does all the work for you. Enter the work hours, the pay rate, the state where you have your business, and this nifty app does the rest. It even lets you check the history of the payroll checks you've written.

Speek

Setting up and paying for conference calls can be time-consuming and expensive -- unless you use Speek. It's a free conferencing service that works via the Web or with the iPhone or Android phones. Schedule and create conference calls, send out invitation, see your history of conference calls, share files and messages, and more for free. The free version has a five-caller limit, but for-pay versions let you have larger conference calls and give you additional features as well.

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