We live in an incredibly fortunate (#blessed?) time to be entrepreneurs. We have access to tools, products, and services that used to cost thousands of dollars or that had to be custom-built. Keeping a toolbox of useful programs and services that you rely is key to growing quickly, producing great offerings of your own, and staying sane in the emotional roller coaster that comes with choosing yourself.
Since it can be tough to sort through the thousands of tools out there, both free and paid, I wanted to share with you 5 tools that have made my business better and can do the same for you:
Evernote – Evernote is an amazingly versatile tool that can make your life so much easier. It’s great for taking notes, journaling, and keeping your ideas organized, but it is also a great place to store images, clip articles from other sites for later reference, and much more. One of my favorite things to use it for is saving quotes and other interesting things I read so that they’re easy to access when I’m writing or mindmapping. One of the best things about Evernote is that it has free app versions for your phone and tablet, so you can use it anywhere and keep your stuff organized across all of your devices. Get Evernote here.
Skype – Even though there are a million ways to contact people these days, a good old-fashioned phone call is still the best way to really make a connection and build relationships with other people. Skype is great for making audio or video calls with other people, whether they’re colleagues, customers, or just friends. I also use Skype to do podcast and video interviews with people and record them using an inexpensive add-on called Ecamm Call Recorder (Mac only, for PC I recommend a tool called Pamela). Get Skype here.
Jing – If you’re teaching things to other people as part of your business, you’ll need to take lots of screenshots and make short videos explaining things, which can be a total pain. That’s why I love Jing; it makes it really easy to quickly take, format, and post screenshots, and make screen capture videos that are less than 5 minutes long. You can even upload the pictures and videos to a free, hosted site so you don’t have to figure out the video hosting yourself. For a free tool, Jing is amazingly handy. Get Jing here.
Trello – When you’re trying to build a business or get a new project up and running, managing your to do list and various project lists is critical. Trello is my favorite tool for keeping track of projects, whether it’s just for yourself or sharing with your team. It makes it easy to set up as many projects as you need, and you can add notes, set reminders, share with others, and much more. And since it’s an online tool, you can access it from anywhere (including apps for mobile devices) and stay on top of what you need to be doing. Get Trello here.
Clicky – Clicky is a web analytics tool, which just means that it lets you see what’s happening on your website: who’s visiting, where they’re coming from, what pages they’re visiting, and much more. It’s similar to the popular tool Google Analytics, but I find that Clicky is a little bit more user-friendly for beginners, and it doesn’t require you to share your information with Google (who I like but don’t necessarily trust 🙂 ). Measuring and tracking your web traffic is absolutely critically to successfully making money online, so you absolutely need a web analytics tool, whether it’s Clicky or Google Analytics. Get Clicky here.
These are just a few of the tools I keep in my digital toolbox to keep my business running and growing. Now it’s your turn to share: What’s your favorite free software, tool, or service? Leave it in the comments so we can all benefit!