16 Free (or Nearly Free) Tools for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are lean. That’s why you’re an entrepreneur.
Sometimes you’re lean because finances are tight. Other times it’s because you just don’t want the clutter in your business.
Here are 16 free (or nearly free) tools to help you build a lean business:
If you manage multiple projects lasting several weeks (or months or years), project manage software is a valuable tool. Asana is a web-based visual interface that helps you easily keep track of all you’ve got going. It’s good for teams or solopreneurs. I use it.
Pipedrive helps you manage leads that are not yet clients. It does this by keep you on pace with notes to make the next phone call, email, or meeting. It’ll also help you track income (and expected income). It’s also great for teams or a single user.
Every single day I come across another person who can’t remember a password and opens up their “master list” in Microsoft Word. Not only is this ridiculously insecure, it’s a waste of time. LastPass is a browser- (or app-)based, encrypted software that remembers, fills in, and even generate secure passwords for you.
This is a customer relations management (CRM) system. The paid version starts at $200/mo. But the free version allows you some key features including tracking email openings. If you’ve sent an email to a key client (or potential client), it can be helpful to know if they’ve opened it (and how many times). It does other things, but this is primarily what I use it for.
Elementor is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create a page completely from scratch (no menu, sidebar, etc.). With this, you can build a distraction-free landing page for an ad or other top-of-the-funnel strategies that rely on keeping focus. And you can do within your own WordPress site, for free.
(Plus, it’s a visual builder, so anyone can use it.)
Tiny Scanner lets you scan anything from documents to receipts and save them to your Dropbox (or Drive or Photos). Tiny Scanner allows you to keep quality records without needing a scanner. If you’re always on the go, this is invaluable.
Drift lets visitors on your website instant-message with you directly. You can install the app on your phone so that their messages come directly to your phone in real time. If you have an expensive or unusual product, this can be the personal touch that moves visitors into customers.
Email is the backbone of many successful sales funnels. MailChimp is free for the first 2,000 subscribers, which is why I start most of my clients on it. With it you can create automated campaigns that deliver the well-written content to your visitors, transforming them into customers.
Pocket allows you to save articles to read later. It has an mobile app (as well as an OS X app). In our world of too much information, Pocket helps you cut through the clutter and keep what you really do need to save for later.
Buffer helps you schedule your social media posts. The free version lets you connect up to three account. You can queue posts, and Buffer can post them at pre-set intervals, so that your posts don’t flood your followers’ newsfeeds.
IFTTT allows you to connect all kinds of apps and services for automated workflows. For instance, the articles I ‘favorite’ in Pocket, are automatically sent to Buffer, to queue up for my social media. IFTTT works on a ton of other sites too, like Gmail, calendar, social media, IOS, Android, and on and on.
FreshBooks is web-based accounting and time-tracking software. The biggest benefit is that it’s easier and simpler than its competitor, QuickBooks. And, generally, FreshBooks costs less than QuickBooks. Starts with a free trial.
Even more stripped down than FreshBooks, BillingsPro is Mac-only software (OSX and IOS) that focuses on quotes and billing.
The main difference between Billings Pro and FreshBooks is that Billings Pro caters toward people who do a lot of quoting. Where FreshBooks is a cheaper alternative to QuickBooks. Depending exactly on your needs, try them both.
between $5 and $150 for most small projects
Need some code to change (or add) a function on your website? Fiverr is great for this. While they advertise prices starting at $5, plan for $50-150. But, per hour, you can’t beat that. What’s the secret? It’s a connection of freelancers who live in places where the cost of living is much cheaper. A caveat: before you send the order: think out every detail first (because they’re not going to be able to read your mind).
Not all PR has to be paid. HARO (help a reporter out) is a place to connect with journalists. If you’re introducing something that would make a good story, HARO lets you connect with journalists who are looking to write about it.
This is not a tool as much as it is a training service. CreativeLive creates high quality training for business and the arts (photography, design, etc.). And they charge for what they create. But, you can watch it live, for free.
Subscribe to get these articles in your inbox.
And when you do, we'll send you "5 Ways to Know When Your Marketing is Not Working (And How to Fix It)." In it you’ll learn five of the most common marketing mistakes businesses make–as well as how to fix them.