You CAN run a business on your own with the right online tools. If you're just starting out, there are many free trials and subscriptions to get in there and see what you like. Today I'm going to share my top 5 tools I open and use every single day to run my business.
1 // ASANA - Project Management
I cannot say enough good things about this one. While I don't have a giant team (yet!) this tool has allowed me to set up projects and color coat them per 'team'. By that I mean to-do's for client projects, marketing, finance, etc. You can enter a project, set it's schedule, set reminders, store files and even communicate with clients and employees about the project itself. This helps to keep that inbox level fairly low.
I'm one of those people that loves a to-do list. Some days I get jazzed about entering it all in and scheduling it out. However, some days I sit down at my computer and my mind is overwhelmed with all kinds of random to-do's and their due dates. By simply opening my Asana dashboard, I can breathe and see exactly what I need to get done that day in order to move forward.
Cost: Free. Team plan is $9.99 pp/mo.
2 // HARVEST - Estimates, Invoicing, Time-tracking
A friend introduced this tool to me around 4 years ago. While I love a gorgeously designed estimate and invoice, the time it was taking to do so was draining me. This clean interface allows me to get all the information in and sent out to my clients in a couple clicks. It keeps track of money in and money out in a simple way. Online payments? Check. Reminders? Check. I love it.
Cost: Free. Solo is $12/mo. Team plan is $12 pp/mo.
3 // EVERNOTE - Note Storage
This sweet tool gets opened multiple times/day. I write a LOT of notes: while taking a class (online or in person), writing a drafted blog post, jotting down ideas and even client meeting notes. Don't get me wrong, I love the pen to paper writing too. But Evernote is where I can find the notebook that I put the spelling of that clients employee for their business card. It's where I can capture meeting notes and then SHARE with a client. It's where I can access it 24/7 from any device. It's yet another way to stay out of the inbox.
There are TONS of ways to use Evernote. I'm sure I haven't even scratched the surface of its usage. I highly recommend it for any business owner.
Cost: Basic is Free. Plus is $34.99/yr.
4 // ACUITY SCHEDULING - Online Appointment Scheduling
I had previously been in the corporate world using a different system that could set up meetings with anyone in the company very easily - because we were all using it. However, when I moved to my own calendar, it was tricky to invite someone I had never met before for coffee or any meeting type without going back and forth and back and forth - via email or text - to try to set something up. Then if they didn't have the same calendar system (I use iCal), it wouldn't connect the two of us and, as a result, someone wouldn't show up. No bueno!
With Acuity, you can own your calendar and share it when you need to. Instead of the back and forth, I send them a link to a specific calendar - customized by meeting type - so that THEY can look at it and set up time that works for them. This saves time and they can reschedule if something comes up. You also get notified. I have it set to send a 24-hour reminder to both of us as well. It's great!
Cost: Free. Just You is $10/mo. Staff is $19/mo. (more...)
5 // ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUD - Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and more
Yes, this one seems pretty obvious since I've been graphic design-ing on a computer for more than 15 years. Yet, I get questions about how to design something quickly. There are lots of apps and simple-to-use systems - I've tried MANY of them out. However, the quality always ends up extremely poor.
The robust system of Adobe Creative Cloud is something that keeps evolving I will never know all the things each of the programs can do. However, I love it with literally all my heart. What I do know for sure is after all these years, a well-designed 'something' has taken hours and hours of energy to study and befriend the software. It's worth it to give me a call rather than use the apps on your mobile device! Nowadays with the Cloud subscription service there is no buying a box with an expensive disk in it and installing on your computer (I'm old, kids) so you are always up to date with the latest version.
Cost: Photography is $9.99/mo. Single App is $19.99/mo. All Apps is $49.99/mo. See their website for more customized costs.
Want more? Yes, I use a lot more than the above list. See them in your inbox by entering your email below.
FREE Top 12 Online Tools
...TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS