Below are some tools I use in my business. Almost all of them offer a generous free plan to get you started, and depending on your needs… the free plan could be all that you need.
Before using any kind of tool, always make sure they fit into your business workflow. It doesn’t make sense to use a tool just because it’s free. Ask yourself: can this potentially help me?
Another thing is… depending on which stage your business is currently in, some tools might not be right for you at this time.
Disclaimer: A few of the links below are my affiliate links (denoted by “aff”). This means I will get compensated financially if you decide to buy that particular tool/service. I’m not simply recommending to make a profit though. I’m recommending because these services/tools are really good.
WordPress.com is free, and your site is hosted on their free platform. So your site URL could look something like this: http://yourdomain.wordpress.com. The negative side is that they own your site and content. So if they don’t like your site/content, they can delete it — which means all your effort will go down the drain!
I recommend WordPress.org to create and manage your site. The WordPress files/script are free, but you need to host it on a server (which you’ll need to pay an affordable fee).
After you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll want to install a “sales-focused” Theme and some “sales-focused” Plugins so that you can easily create landing pages, lead capture pages, sales pages, download pages, thank you pages, webinar pages, a blog for “your home”, etc. And Thrive Themes is the absolute best in the market at the moment. Everything you see on this site uses Thrive Themes — the blog, the landing pages, lead capture pages, download pages, webinar pages, sales pages, etc.
When it comes to running an online business or running a business online, you absolutely need a website for your web presence. And you need to have a host/server to “house” your website. ConstantGrowth (this site) is hosted on Vultr (which I’m satisfied with)… but you need tech skills in order to host it there. For non-tech folks, I recommend SiteGround. It includes cPanel, which is an intuitive GUI (graphical user interface) for managing your website(s).
Slack is a great messaging app for your team members. It’s like a ‘simplified internal forum’. You create ‘channels’ inside the app, each channel with a different purpose. E.g. Marketing channel, product roadmap channel, sales channel, customer service channel, etc.
You then add the relevant teammates inside these channels. When you post to a channel, all relevant teammates will see your message. You can also PM a specific teammate.
We use Zoom to host our daily standup meetings and for any ad-hoc internal meetings. I find that Zoom delivers better video and audio quality while using less internet bandwidth. The free version can host up to 40 minutes of video calls. If you want longer than that and still remain on the free plan, you can. Just restart a new call and you have a new 40-minute session.
I use Skype for calling a non-teammate. E.g. Chatting and networking with other business owners, software demo calls, coaching/consulting sessions.
While I’d like to use Zoom for these purposes, not everyone is familiar with Zoom. Asking them to download the Zoom app and get familiar with app is not a really good idea.
We use this to collaborate with all team members to get the job done. We use their visual Kanban board to create, assign, and manage tasks. With this, we can easily see who is doing what and by when — both on a bird’s eye view and on a zoom-in level. This allows us to easily track where things are in the pipeline.
We use the paid version of Asana as it provides us with more features that we need such as advanced custom reports and custom fields.
Before using Asana, we tried Trello, but it’s too simple for our needs. A lot of startups and small businesses still use Trello though, so you should definitely check it out as it’s simpler and easier to use than Asana.
Freshdesk is a helpdesk software for providing customer support/service to your customers. They offer a VERY generous plan for unlimited agents/teammates that you can get started with. If you want more features, you can always upgrade to a paid plan.
Intercom is more for SaaS businesses. We’ve been using them since late 2015 and very happy with them. It’s a tool for engaging with your users — see what they’re doing in real-time with your app and then communicating with them based on their behavior. I know… awesome right?
We also use them for providing customer service to Zaxaa users.
I haven’t had Word installed on my computer since 2013 and this is because I’ve been using Google Docs instead. It’s a replacement for Word. It’s free. And you don’t need to install anything because it’s all in the cloud. You simply access it via a web browser.
You’ll never lose your work as it’ll automatically save your work as you type. And you can access it anytime and from any device.
If you’re still using Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) to jot down notes locally on your computer… STOP! Please don’t follow my footsteps…
Back in my Windows days, I use Notepad to take down notes, but I learned a painful experience when my hard disk broke down suddenly one fine day. All my notes disappeared.
Use Evernote instead — it automatically save your notes ‘in the cloud’ as you type… so that they’re always available anytime you want. No more lost files!
While I use Google Docs for writing longer articles, I use Evernote for jotting down ideas, rough outlines, and other things/thoughts that are meant to be viewed by myself (not shared to others).
This is the replacement for Excel. Things you can do with Excel, you can do with Google Sheets.
Sometimes it’s much easier to get our point to another person across via image screenshots and videos.
Jing is a super simple tool for capturing screenshots and quick video walkthroughs. Everyone in the team uses this when helping customers and also when communicating between teammates.
It’s really easy to use. You just screen capture or record the video (max 5 minutes), then click an upload button and it’ll be uploaded to their server. They’ll then give you link to share your screenshot/video.
Jing offers a paid plan if you need to increase your account’s storage, but the free plan is generous enough at 2GB. If you reach close to this limit and want to save some money, you can always delete old files from your account to recover back some extra storage.
For Mac. This is what I use to record longer video walkthroughs and create video courses.
For Windows and Mac. This is the same company that creates Jing. I’ve used Camtasia when I was using Windows. Neat piece of software for creating videos.
Google is very generous. They give me 17 GB of free storage to store my files in their cloud. It’s more than enough for me since almost all of my files are documents and spreadsheets.
I also use their free Google Photos app which automatically backs up all the photos on my phone to their cloud. And here’s the really cool part… ALL (yes ALL) my photos do not count towards my storage space (see I told you they’re very generous!).
You can always upgrade to a paid plan if you need more storage. They’re very affordable. Last I checked it’s only $2/month for 100 GB.
This is also an online storage service like Google Drive. You can back up and store your data in their cloud server and you can access them anytime and anywhere from any device.
I used to use Dropbox till a few years ago when I made the switch to Google Drive. Both are awesome and you’ll never go wrong with either.
For me, it ultimately comes down to Google providing Docs and Sheets (which I use heavily), and automatically storing these files into Google Drive — which just makes things more convenient.
For security purposes, you should use a different secure password for each and every website. Never, ever use the same password for all your accounts! This app makes it a breeze to create and remember secure passwords.
By secure, I mean passwords that are long and include a combination of numbers, alphabets, upper- and lower-case letters, and other characters like !@#.
If you use lastpass on your desktop, it’s free. I’m in the paid plan because I also want to use LastPass on my phone.
I hope you’re not one of those people who say “I don’t need a calendar. I can remember everything!”
Depending your brain to remember things and tasks is a huge mistake! The truth is… you can’t remember everything. And why would you want to remember everything?
It consumes your energy and ‘RAM’ every waking moment, which should be put to a much better use like paying 100% attention to the task at hand rather than having to allocate some of your processing power ‘just to try and remember what you should be doing today’.
Jot down your activities, meetings, and tasks on a calendar so that you don’t forget. So that your mind can let go and be free. So that you don’t always have this ‘I need to remember to do X’ in the back of your mind.
I highly recommend Google Calendar. It syncs to all your devices — be it desktops, laptops, phones, or tablets. So even if you’re on the go, you’ll never forget anything.
Yeah of course I’m biased here. This is where I toot my own horn and shamelessly plug my own selling platform right?
In all seriousness though.. I’ve used Zaxaa to sell our own courses, templates, WordPress theme and plugins (though we’re not doing that anymore as we’re completely focused on Zaxaa & BirdSend).
Add to the fact that Zaxaa processes $2.5 million USD worth of sales transactions every month, wouldn’t you say we’re pretty decent?
If you’re an online course creator, coach, consultant, or you sell any kind of digital products, why not give Zaxaa risk-free try? We provide a FREE 30-day trial.
You’ve most likely heard that email marketing is still the most profitable marketing activity to drive sales and revenue.
IT WAS. IT IS. AND IT WILL STILL BE.
Even with all social media combined, email still proves to be the single most profitable activity you can employ in your business, bringing returns as high as 4425% ROI!
BirdSend empowers Inforpreneurs & Service Businesses to grow their email revenue (and precisely track where these revenue are coming from).
Disclaimer: BirdSend is also proudly made and developed by yours truly and my amazing team.
Music is like cocaine (high five if you agree!).
Without nice melodies to my ear, my productivity drops.
Spotify boasts a total of 30 million songs covering different languages and genres. You simply do a search for what you want, click on the result, and your favorite song starts playing! You can also create your own playlist — maybe one for work, one for leisure, one for yoga, one for ‘baby lullabies’, and one for that overdue candlelight dinner with your partner?
And all this for free when you stream their songs online. If you want to listen to them while offline, you can upgrade to the paid version.
1/ The Definitive Guide To Street Smart Email Marketing (free, no opt-in required)
2/ Winning Email Promos (paid, currently closed)