What should you get your freelancer friends and contractors this holiday season?
Referrals are always nice, but if you can’t give the gift of new clients, consider these options for the hardworking creatives in your life.
Gift Idea #1: A Good-Looking Phone Stand
Ideal for: Freelancers who do a lot of conference calls and phone interviews, freelancers who use their phone as a second screen while they work
Price range: $10 and up
A good phone stand is one of those basic tools that delivers a lot of value. If it’s sturdy and reliable, it frees up your hands during conference calls and lets you use your phone as a second screen while you work. If it looks good, even better.
You can find sleek, modern aluminum phone stands for $10, but there are other options, too. I’ve been using an Adirondack-chair style phone stand from Jason Hooper Pottery for several years. Durable enough to withstand my desktop clutter and arty enough to work with my office décor, it’s by far my favorite phone stand.
Gift Idea #2: A Space-Saving MultiDevice Charging Stand
Ideal for: Freelancers who want to keep their portable tech organized and ready to go
Price range: $30 and up
A pile of half-charged Kindles, iPads and phones is one of modern life’s hassles. It combines the sadness of visual clutter with the stress of knowing your devices may run out of power while you’re trying to work on the go.
The freelancers in your life deserve better than this. A desktop charging stand that holds several devices will keep their tech organized, juiced up and looking professional.
Gift Idea #3: A Sanity-Saving Second Monitor
Ideal for: Freelance editors, proofreaders, writers, designers, and researchers
Price range: $90 and up
When you start your freelance writing career, no one tells you that 40% of your workday will be alt-tabbing between apps and checking your 90 open browser tabs for the data you need. A second desktop monitor can make the workday a lot easier and more pleasant for freelancers, especially those whose work requires close reading and cross-checking of manuscripts. Look for a monitor that can be mounted vertically on a stand to save space and work with portrait-oriented documents.
Designers need second (and even third) monitors, too, but they usually need monitors with certain specs to be useful for their work. So, if you’re going to gift a designer a monitor, talk to them first to see what they need.
Gift Idea #4: Peace of Mind with an Uninterruptible Power Supply
Ideal for: Freelancers who rely on their internet access and computer to make a living, freelancers who live in areas with frequent power outages or fluctuations that mess up sensitive electronics
Price range: $60 and up
An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) isn’t flashy—a typical UPS looks like an oversized brick covered in outlets. But a UPS can save your freelancer’s tech from getting fried by power surges. It can also keep their router and computer up and running during power outages, so they don’t get knocked offline in the middle of a videoconference with clients.
Gift Idea #5: App Store Gift Cards
Ideal for: All freelancers
Price range: $10 and up
Most of us do some work on our phones. Freelancers usually do a *lot* of work on their phones, especially when they’re on the go. App store gift cards are great for picking up paid versions of the latest productivity apps for work. They’re also useful for fitness and meditation apps as well as books, music and movies a freelancer might need for research, inspiration or plain old entertainment.
Gift Idea #6: Coworking Gift Certificates
Ideal for: Extroverted freelancers
Price range: $25 and up for a day pass
Passes to coworking spaces are thoughtful gifts for freelancers who enjoy working around other people. You can find coworking options in virtually every major city in the world now, as well as smaller cities like Waco, Texas, and Huntsville, Alabama. Most offer day passes that you can email to your favorite freelancers.
Gift Idea #7: Gifts for Getting Out of the Office
Freelancers aren’t all about work, of course. However, one of the pitfalls of being your own boss is that your boss is always around. Sometimes we can use a little nudge away from the manuscript, design file, wireframe or whatever we’re working on. So, your favorite freelancers would probably appreciate a gift that makes it easy to take a well-earned break.
Gift Idea #8: Coffee Shop Gift Cards
Ideal for: Freelancers who live on caffeine, those who live in the city
Price range: $10 and up
A lot of self-employed folks run on caffeine, and people-watching at the local coffee shop can be a nice brain break. Cards for chains like Starbucks and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are good for freelancers just about anywhere in the U.S. Freelancers in the Tri-State region, San Francisco, Nashville, and a few other cities might like a CUPS gift certificate for independent coffee houses in their area.
Gift Idea #9: Museum Memberships or Day Passes
Ideal for: Just about any freelancer with a good museum nearby
Price range: $12 and up for passes, $50 and up for memberships
Writers, designers and other creative professionals can benefit from time spent exploring other people’s creative work. An afternoon at a museum, botanical garden or historic home is relaxing, and it can be inspiring. See what’s near the freelancers on your gift list and treat them to a day or a whole year of creative cross-pollination.
Gift Idea #10: Maker Space Gift Cards
Ideal for: Designers, engineers, crafters
Price range: $40 to $200 for a one-month membership
When your job doesn’t involve a lot of hands-on work, a day in a workshop is a great change of pace. Do the freelancers on your list live near a maker space, like Craft in Austin or Urban Workshop in Orange County? If so, they might love the chance to learn a new skill and get their hands dirty.
Have you made your shopping list for this holiday season? We have more HostGator Gift Guides for inspiration!