I have finally realized that for the past 3 years at Solamar Marketing Agency – I’ve been doing things WAY to manual. And these manual things were taking up WAY too much of my time. With the help of some of my mentors I’ve been able to find tools that not only make your life easier, but so much better!
Here are some tools that every Entrepreneur needs to have in order to run their online business successfully. Of course the obvious tools are needed (i.e. a website, a plan, etc.). These are simply some tools that make your life a little easier!
1) Freshbooks – Freshbooks is probably one of the COOLEST invoicing systems available online today. This system has simplified my life tremendously. Super easy to use and fun to customize. It’s a snap! And the best part – you receive 30% off when you sign up for Freelancers Union (which is free BTW).
2) Project Management – I’ve used 37 Signals basecamp for many years. When I was in the corporate world, we used it. I’m using it now as the Program Director for Family Wealth Planning Institute… and of course, I’m using it for my own business too! It works wonders when you’re trying to manage projects – and the best part about using it for SMA is that my clients can login and communicate with me AND the communication is saved in a thread so it’s super easy to track! Super easy, super cool!
3) Gmail Account & Labs – Gmail is another love affair of mine. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. I do have a business address through Google Apps and it’s super professional while being able to use the Gmail interface as well. Easy to setup and the best part of Gmail is their Labs feature – so cool!
5) HARO – If you like to write, and want to get your name out there in articles, Help A Reporter Out is the way to do it. You receive 3 queries every day – morning, afternoon and evening. You can then go through the list of needs and see if something suites you. Sign up today!
6) Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn – Social Media is truly the next big thing. It’s probably the one thing that not only helps my business, but I just love to do it. I love to network and meet new people – while promoting my business too! Great tool to have if you’re just started out. It’s just good to have an online presence – especially when it’s FREE.
8) A blog – A blog is essential to have so you can stay in touch with your contacts and get down and dirty with your personal life. Everyone wants to know you ‘personally’ and a blog is a great way to make that happen. And blogging is free as well! Nice!
9) Tiny URL – Tiny URL is something you need if you blog, tweet, facebook,etc.. And it’s also a good tool to have to keep the reader in suspense. When you don’t post the actual link it keeps the mind wondering what the link may be – so they’ll click it, and hopefully love what they read! I always have my Tiny URL open and available at all times. It’s definitely a must have as well!
10) E-News – I personally am a fan of Constant Contact, as I’ve used it for years and love the interface. Super easy to use and so easy to create an e-newsletter. I send them out often for SMA and I’ve grown to love the capabilities and reach that an e-newsletter has. Be sure to start one and keep in touch with your list!
11) Google Analytics – Everyone needs to track the traffic to your site. For many reasons… one being that you need to know where the traffic is coming from (whether it’s a marketing initiative that you did or some other drive). It’s good to stay on top of those types of things so be sure you have it setup. Again, another free resource!
12) Business.com – I’ve used a lot of pay per click options and I’ve only had good luck with Business.com. Google seems to simply not produce the money that I’m putting into it, however business.com seems to be paying off for me as It’s generated business. So I would suggest to start with business.com and go from there!
I hope these resources help you as much as they did me. Enjoy them! Also, feel free to comment and add to the list!