Top 10 Essential Online Business Tools that I use every day … that makes my life as a female entrepreneur that little bit more awesome
Over the years I’ve tried and tested maaaaany online business tools, some were just simply rubbish and others I can’t live without and use in the day to day running of my business. You don’t need to invest a lot of money into these tools to run a successful online business, in fact most of the ones I’m recommending are free or under $37 per month
1. Skype – I’m sure you’ve heard of Skype before. I use it to chat with clients around Australia and internationally and it dosent cost me a cent, but did you know that you can also screen share? I find this great when I’m providing a client with a How To tutorial, so much easier for everyone to just show someone rather than having to try and explain it, and less room for error.
I also use Skype to record interviews with expert speakers, podcast recordings, business coaching and catching up with friends
Price: 2GB of storage for free, plus an extra 16GB free for referring friends. Pro Plans start at $9.99 per month for 100GB
2. LastPass – How many passwords do you have to remember? Some have to have capitals, 6-8 characters, numbers, incorporating secret questions blah blah blah.. it’s almost impossible to remember all your passwords! So how the hell do you do it without having to write them down (which is a security risk).
LastPass remembers all of your passwords and stores them in one central place for easy access. It takes literally 2mins to install and set up, and save profiles and passwords for all of your sites under the one main password. When you log onto your site LastPass remembers your user name and password and types it into the fields automatically for you, simply hit Enter!
You can thank me later 😉
ProTip: For security reasons you should NEVER consistently use the one password (or even variations of it), your simply making life easy for anyone who wants to hack into your accounts, websites etc. Lastpass gives you the option for a very complex and system generated password to be created over multiple log-ins, or you can just simply choose your own.
3. Evernote – is my brains filing cabinet. When I need to have a brain dump I write down all my thoughts and ideas and organise them the same as if you would pages into a notebook (I have a different notebooks for various topics i.e. My Goal Planning, Blogging Ideas, Things I Want To Do, Business Ideas).
I also have the app on my phone so that when Im out and about I can add to it then and there (I quite often will be driving and have a great idea, but by the time I get home Ive completely forgotten it). Best bit is that you can also voice record your ideas, I find this great when Im in the car. I simply get my son to open the app (because playing with your phone and driving is BAD) and hit record then I can record my idea and work out the other bits later. Happy Days!
You can also use it as a daily To Do List, Shopping List, task manager and you can even sync and share specific notebooks with your team (or external third party) for a particular project.
Price: I use the free version but Premium Plan is $6.49 per month
4. Fiverr – *Disclaimer* this website comes with a warning… It is highly possible that you can become so distracted with all the amazing things on offer, that the next thing you know you’ve just wasted half a day on it. SERIOUSLY!
Fiver is an online marketplace offering tasks and services (primarily freelancers) starting at only $5.00. You can get everything and EVERYTHING done here, even some really crazy stuff!
Pro Tip: Just remember… you get what you pay for! So if you are after something more personalised, complicated or technical (i.e. SEO, Marketing Plans etc), then your are going to get in turn a $5 product. BUT if you want a voice over, short intro video, graphic design, a video of a puppet saying anything you want (as you do!) etc… then this is the place to get it done.
5. Google Calendar – Ooooooooh I loves me some Google apps! This calendar syncs with my phone, computer and gmail. I also use it for my time management and break up and colour code my calendar into personal (green), appointments (red), work tasks (blue) etc and can assign my appointments calendar to my assistant to manage (yet still have the privacy of all my personal stuff).
Let me give you an example of how I use it for time management. I block out and schedule tasks in my calendar of what I need to do for that day. If I need to schedule my social media posts then I put aside 2hours every week, I receive reminders 30mins before that time block on both my computer and phone (although you have a choice to not use this reminder function). This in turn holds me accountable for completing that task on that day. No excuses!
6. PicMonkey – PicMonkey is an online tool that allows you to do photo editing, create graphics, Facebook banners etc without all the confusion of software like Photoshop etc. It’s that dead easy even I can use it! I’ve even been known to edit out the bags under my eyes before posting a photo on Facebook (but I can not confirm or deny allegation).
I use it here at DBW to great our quote graphics for Facebook, banners, and customise and brand our pictures etc.
Price: You can use a basic version which is FREE but I prefer the upgraded ‘Royale’ version which gives me more editing choices, cool fonts etc and its only $4.99 per month
7. Leadpages OK, so hands down this is one of easiest and fastest landing page creation tools. I can create a profession landing page (or splash page, whatever you want to call it) in 10mins or less! It integrates with my GoToWebinar account and Aweber account so that people who register to whatever Im offering are automatically added to my subscriber list – and we ALL know how important it is to build your subscriber list!
With over 80 different customisable templates to choose from you can’t go wrong. They have templates with proven conversion rates ranging from sales pages, opt-in pages, webinar pages, thank you pages, up-sell pages, launch pages, pre-cart pages and other cool stuff like About us pages – that can be embedded directly onto your website or hosted by them so it does not slow down your website.
You can also set them up to be fully automated AND you also have a split testing capabilities option. How cool is that!
You can also use Leadpages to deliver free reports to your opt-ins, run Facebook campaigns, and deliver free video training programs. My conversion rates skyrocket since using Leadpages.
Price: Starting from $37 per month
8. Aweber This is what I use to send out my monthly emails newsletters. It is popular for its superior autoresponders and is a solid performer in all aspect of email marketing. You can simplify your newsletters so that everything is completely automated, plus by simply adding a code to your website, potential customers can opt-in and be added to your list directly from your website… easy peasy right!
What I love about this is that you can send unlimited emails every month, and then have access to an analytics report that shows your your opening rate, click through rate and spam rate. These reports are great for helping me decide what people are reading, click through rate etc… and helps me improve my future newsletter content.
With over 700 drag and drop templates to choose from there is something here for everyone!
Price: you can get started for only $1 for the first 30 days (a try before you buy option), then after that prices start at $10 per month for up to 2500 subscribers
9. Hootsuite This program allows you to manage all of your social media accounts within the one platform. You can schedule your posts to go out across all of your social media platforms at times when your audience maybe online but you’re not.
I initially started off with the free version which suited me perfectly, but once business started getting busier I needed help with my social media posts and had to outsource to my assistant. I then upgraded to the paid version so I could delegate which social media pages my VA would take over.
Price: FREE or $8.99 for Pro Membership
10. Dropbox – Here I keep my library of everything I could possibly need. Last year my computer died and I lost all my personal photo’s. To put it quite simply I was devastated! Never will this happen to me again. I immediately signed up to the pro-version and uploaded all my photos and important documents including videos etc into Dropbox. It is now safely on the Cloud where I can access any time and anywhere.
Pro Tip: You can get up to an extra 32GB of space by simply referring a friend
Price: Dropbox basic account starts with 2GB of free space. If you ever run out of space you can upgrade to a monthly or yearly subscription of 1TB for just $10.99 per month.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…
What online business tools can’t you live without?
Did you miss last week’s post? You can check it out here What You Need for Online Marketing to be Successful