Resources for Business
Below are some of my favorite online resources and tools for business. These are tools I use regularly and often. I’ve categorized them into three categories: My Must-Haves (e.g. Couldn’t work without them), Primaries (Constant go-to’s for what I do) , and those that are Good-to-Know (I like to have them in my resource bank for when needed).
Google – I love all things Google! Google Drive, Gmail, Google Alerts, Google Forms and Google Calendar are just a few of the many tools offered through Google. Google makes things easy, convenient and highly accessible. I organize, store, and access information all in one place. For me, Google simplifies my business, period.
Dropbox – Dropbox is great for storing files and file sharing. The great thing about Dropbox for sharing is if anyone updates a file everyone gets alerted of the changes.
Paypal – Paypal makes online payments, invoicing and getting paid easier and quicker.
Insightly – Finding the right CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was indeed a chore. There are many out there and it really depends on your business and needs as to which will serve you best. After a lot of research, I decided on Insightly, which helps me manage my database of contacts, leads, and clients. At the end of the day, you have to have a good database.
Bluehost – Bluehost is a great option for web hosting. They offer reasonable hosting packages and great customer support — two ingredients I appreciate. I’ve used them for years and have never had any major problems.
WordPress – Websites haven’t been the same since WordPress, which is why all my websites are built using it, including this one.
Grammarly – Grammarly is a great tool that keeps you on your toes when writing by highlighting misspelled words and grammar issues in your text. It won’t catch everything, but it’s good to have around. I use it as an extension on Chrome so it shows up wherever I am on the internet reminding me constantly that I’m a writer, NOT an editor (lol).
Canva – I love Canva! Canva has changed the way you design and is the want-to-be graphic designer’s dream. It simplifies the design process and helps make your business look great graphically.
Unsplash – Unsplash is my favorite place to go for photos. They offer the most beautiful stock photography. All the photos are in high resolution and can be downloaded for free for commercial use. This resource is one of my favorites and guarantees to make all of your visuals look amazing.
MailChimp – To stay connected, you need a good email service and there are a ton to choose from. I can safely say I’ve tried most of them and MailChimp is where I landed. It’s not always the most intuitive or user-friendly, but it’s cost effective and offers the features needed to run smooth campaigns.
Evernote – Who doesn’t use Evernote? Evernote is a great place for organizing and keeping up with stuff (random and all), which is exactly how I use it!
Buffer – For social media management, I love Buffer. It’s a simple and easy way to distribute content. I love the Chrome extension that travels with you across the internet. If you see something you like, just Buffer it. It lets you post immediately or add it to your Buffer queue for later distribution.
Hootsuite – Hootsuite is another option for social media content. I tend to like Buffer better, although I use both. It really depends on your needs and how you work as to which one is the better fit.
Skype – Skype allows you to connect with anyone around the world, which makes it easier to build a global business. When one of my YouTube videos attracted a viewer from Bali, we decided to connect and Skype is the way we did it.
FreeConference – There are quite a few conference call services. Freeconference.com is my service of choice although I’m signed up with several others. It makes scheduling easy and it does the job, so I like it.
Basecamp – Basecamp is a great Project Management tool that makes managing projects a lot simpler. It’s not all things to project management, but it’s a pretty good start.
Trello – Trello is a project management tool that uses boards to help you keep track of projects and team activities.
GOOD TO KNOW
Fiverr – Need an inexpensive (really inexpensive) option for getting stuff done? Head over to Fiverr and see what you can find. Fiverr is a marketplace for all types of services, from graphic design to animation. The best part? It costs as little as $5.00. I’ve had good success using Fiverr but be prepared as it can take some time to find the right vendors.
HARO – Looking for a little PR? Check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This service matches journalists and reporters with information and content. Sign up and get daily emails of media outlets looking for news (preferably yours).
Toggl – It’s easy to lose track of your time, your most important commodity. Toggl helps you keep track of how you spend your time and it builds out reports based on your specification. With one click you can track time spent on client work. It’s simple and that’s what I like about it.
Top Ten Reviews – I like to research and do comparisons on the different online tools that are available. Top Ten Reviews is my go-to resource for identifying and comparing some of the most popular tools that are used. It separates them by categories (e.g. top email providers, CRM’s, etc.). You just type in what you’re looking for and it’ll give you a full review of the top 10 compared side-by-side. Nice!
Survey Monkey – Need to survey your clients, team, website visitors? You can build out and track survey results with this handy tool.
Overnight Prints – If I’m not printing local, this is who I use.
There you have it. Some of the resources and tools I use for my business. Use them as references and do your own research to see if they might be good fits for you and your business.