Setting up, running and scaling a business is a challenging, rollercoaster ride – to say the least!
There’s so much to think about and figure out, and never-ending choices to make.
Does any of the following sound familiar?
I don’t know where to start – it’s so overwhelming!
What tools am I supposed to use? How am I supposed to know what to choose?
How much is software going to cost me? Is it worth it?
I see so many adverts for apps these days – how do I figure out which ones are genuinely valuable?
I’m spending too much time on the wrong things – I need a way to automate stuff!
There are thousands of apps, tools and websites which promise to solve your problems. The challenge is discovering which are the best ones, and what’s going to bring you real value.
In our opinion, you don’t need an endless list of apps – just a few, carefully chosen gems.
So here’s our list of 5 killer (and mostly free) tools for you to check out!
Note – we’re not using affiliate links here, and we don’t receive any perks for promoting them. They’re purely from the heart.
Have you ever spent too much of your day trying to construct an explanation in an email? Found yourself starting to write an essay? Or you made it short and snappy – but then got a reply saying it wasn’t clear enough?
Try sending a video instead – it’s worth a thousand words!
Loom is an awesome, FREE extension for the Chrome browser. You simply click record, then when you’re done, you’ll have a link to copy and paste into your email.
That email you spent an hour constructing, could probably be explained way quicker in a 30 second video.
We LOVE it – try it out!
Zapier is a really nifty system which links together the apps you already use – and automates lots of tasks you might be doing manually.
A great example could be to automatically add a Google Form survey respondent’s details to your email list in MailChimp.
[Note – MailChimp also introduced some brilliant automation features recently – e.g. you can now send a glossy welcome email automatically when someone joins your list].
There are tons of other app integrations to choose from that you could link together in a similar way. Pretty much any software you’re using is likely to be in their list!
You can set up a few automations (“Zaps”) for free – it’s a few pounds a month if you decide to use it more extensively.
Ever gone back and forth with someone over email, trying to find a meeting slot that works for both of you?
Stop doing that – and use Calendly instead! You simply tell it when you’re not available, then let your client or contact choose a time.
You can integrate it with other popular apps using Zapier too, of course! 🙂
We’re business owners, not accountants – right?
Have you ever tried to use popular accounting software like Xero, and felt like you need an accounting degree just to get your head around it? (We certainly did!)
Wave is specifically designed with entrepreneurs in mind. It makes the process of tracking your income and expenses easy and simple.
We tried out various alternatives, and the particular thing we loved about Wave in comparison is that its user experience and design feels way more slick and stylish than all the rest.
It’s also free to use! You simply pay a very small (and in our opinion extremely reasonable) percentage fee when you receive money from your customers through the Wave invoicing system.
In a nutshell, AppSumo is your chance to bag mind-blowing deals which will save you a tonne of cash.
They partner with carefully chosen up-and-coming software companies, to run campaigns where they offer a limited amount of LIFETIME subscriptions to those apps, for a one-off fee – usually $39 or $49.
Outside of these AppSumo campaigns, the products usually have subscription costs of at least that amount (usually significantly more) per year. So over the course of even a few years, that’s a huge saving!
Now, not all these apps will necessarily be valuable to you – so avoid the temptation to keep buying them. Only choose ones that you can see yourself actually using regularly!
Honourable mention – Evernote
Evernote is very well-known now, so we can hardly claim it’s a secret weapon.
However, it’s an absolutely vital member of our toolbox – and we can’t imagine being without it! It helps us keep track and make sense of pretty much everything we do, not just in business but life in general.
It’s only a few pounds per month – and SO worth it!!
We hope these ideas help you!
If you’ve got any other secret weapons you’d like to share (go on!) – feel free to leave a comment below, we’re all ears!