Source: Mike Licht

Only half of freelancers work in their local cities and communities, so millions of independent workers across the country rely on online virtual meeting platforms to talk to clients and collaborate with other freelancers.

Setting up a virtual meeting is the kind of thing that shouldn’t be complicated -- but always seems to be. We’ve compiled the most popular services and reviewed each.

But most importantly, they all provide free plans (not just free trials) that probably have everything you need!

Google Hangouts

You can’t beat free. But we found the setup was a little complicated, probably because you can use Google Hangouts for so many different things. If you’re only using virtual meetings, there are more intuitive platforms.

Join.me

This is a virtual meeting application that focuses on sharing your screen, not on giving you face-to-face with your client. This is great for a lot of different types of freelance projects, especially when you want to go through mock-ups or review drafts with a client.

I used join.me extensively in virtual training at a previous job, and found it to be extremely reliable. No incidents of dropped calls. There is a slight lag on the screen, so that scrolling and transitions can get jumpy. You just need to make sure you’ve got a strong internet connection.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting provides video conference for up to 3 people for free. No HD, I like the simplicity of the interface. No bells and whistles, just video conferencing.

If you like GoToMeeting, you might also want to consider using GoToWebinar if you ever want to upgrade. GoToWebinar allows you to do presentations to up to 1,000 people -- a great way to pitch a client remotely or, if you want to branch into a side gig, teach a class online (and charge for access to the GoToWebinar link). GoToWebinar is an investment at $99/month.

MeetingBurner

This great service provides a lot more than the previous services on this list for free: up to 10 people in a conference, call recording, in-meeting chat, screen sharing, automated email reminders, etc. You do need to install a small application to get it to work on your computer, however.

UberConference

The most modern-looking service by far. (This is actually important when you’re setting up meetings with clients and want to look professional!) UberConference also provides a lot of great services for free, including conferences for up to 10 callers, call recording, the ability to see who joins and who’s talking, and no PINs for the organizer.

Skype

The advantage of Skype is that most of us already know how to use it! With more than 300 million monthly users, Skype is the most popular internet calling service in the world. That said, you need to download the application in order to use it, so it works best with clients and contacts who you know already have Skype -- otherwise you're asking them to download it and set up an account. Skype is free when you're calling another Skype account, but you pay when you call a phone line.

Overall, I prefer UberConference. Lots of free features, reliable, and looks like it was made in 2014, not 2006.

What online meeting platforms do you use?

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