The market for apps, tools, and resources for freelancers is exploding. And why not? With nearly 54 million workers freelancing in the United States, the demand for education and automation has skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, this has a side-effect of being rather bewildering. Which tools are right for you? Is that app better than another? How can you be sure that the advice you’re getting is good and the education you pursue is worthwhile?

Like anything else, the best bet is usually word-of-mouth. When something comes recommended, we feel a little bit more confident about it. That’s why I’ve put together a list of my top picks – I can’t promise that they will serve you as well as they have served me, but I can speak from my own five star experience.

Shopify Business Encyclopedia

This is my one-stop source for loads of different resources for small businesses. This site offers loads of articles, tips, and more about pretty much every aspect of running a business. There is plenty of information that can be really helpful to freelancers.

Focus Booster

If you are working a job that involves billable hours, it’s important to have a way to track how long you spend on each task, as well as the overall time it takes to do the job. We humans are notoriously bad at estimating how much time a certain task will take. All too often, we underestimate the number of hours we’ll spend on a project and then wind up working extra hours – for free.

Based on the Pomodoro technique, Focus Booster not only accumulates your on-the-clock data, it also creates beautiful visual reports, generates invoices, and makes sure you get some breaks in throughout the day. It has super-charged my productivity!

Prism

This app is the key to getting rid of clutter. You will never need a filing cabinet again once you begin using this app. It saves all of personal paperwork in one convenient location, including financial statements, household bills, warranties, and a whole lot more.

Having my personal life better organized has been an enormous relief. Before I started using Prism, I had papers in different places; obscurely named important documents all over Google Drive; and a lot of anxiety whenever it came time to dig somethng up. Thanks to the extra breathing room Prism gave me, I now have more time for my business.

Bonsai

Did you anticipate the amount of paperwork it would take to be a freelancer? I sure didn’t. I guess I imagined it would be as easy as get-a-gig-get-paid. Turns out, there are contracts to write, invoices to send, and receipts to process.

Bonsai takes the grunt work out of the administrative side of freelancing by offering contract templates, e-signing, and integrated payments. I’m pretty sure that, thanks to Bonsai, I get paid faster and with far fewer headaches.

Wunderlist

Not only is this app free, but it’s also shareable – meaning you can share the lists that you create with collaborative partners. It’s like a to-do list, but a to-do list on a Soul Cycle high and a cold-pressed green juice. It is a great electronic reminder of everything you need to do, and what time you need to do it.

Mozy

The dreaded computer crash always seems to happen at the worst of all possible times. Even if you are in the habit of backing up your work, transitioning off the memory stick and onto the cloud is the latest way to keep your projects (and sanity) intact. Mozy uses Cloud backup and storage. You can store all of your business paperwork, personal papers, family photos, and more. Plans start at just $13.98 per month.

Freshbooks

I hate doing paperwork which is why Freshbooks is a lifesaver. Yes, I need to be able to send invoices, track expenses, do your taxes, etc., but this is not the reason why I got into business. Freshbooks does the work for me, which frees me up to do what I really want to do... which is my job. FreshBooks is a Cloud software for accounting that takes care of all of your time tracking, invoicing, and more.

Trello

Managing tasks isn’t always easy to do, but it can be made easier with Trello. This is a powerful tool that is free to use, and you can use a different board (you will see them on the main screen) for each project. Create boards for tracking projects that have cards for each task, files in each card, etc.

Those are my top picks for a happier freelance life – do you have favorites? Share them in the comments below!

Jane Hurst is a freelance writer from San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter and Linkedin!