10 Awesome Free Tools for Your Small Business (and Your Life)

It hit me today that, WOW, I have a lot going on.  And it sure is overwhelming.  But who’s life isn’t like that?  We all juggle jobs with family and hobbies (if we are lucky) on top of keeping up with everyday life (food, laundry, shower, cleaning–again if you are lucky to get to that).  Now that I’ve opened my second Etsy shop, Knitting Naturals, and acquired a new part-time job, I need to stay organized and on top things more than ever.

Whether you run your own small business or not, these tools have greatly simplified my life and I’ll bet at least a few will work for you too.

1. XMind

This cool brainstorming tool allows you to easily create mind maps so you easily brainstorm and organize your thoughts.  You can create topics and subtopics for your new project, and I’ve found it to be a great tool to organize all the major areas of consideration for our tiny house project.  Start with one of their easy to use templates or begin from scratch, I find this a flexible tool that fits many needs.  You can even attach pictures and documents to your subtopics, upload files, insert a matrix (spreadsheet), and then share your mind map with others.

2. Evernote

I picture Evernote as the digital place for all the notes I have jotted down on Post-Its and scraps of paper on my desk, in random notebooks, and floating around in my purse.  It’s a place to keep quick notes, thoughts, ideas, or pictures, and you can even sync Evernote from your home computer to an app on your smartphone.  No more fumbling for pen and paper when you have a great idea on the road!

3. Dropbox

I only recently started using Dropbox, but I love it already.  Whether you want to share photos and music with friends and family, make documents and spreadsheets available for colleagues, or simply want to sync files between your computer and your phone, Dropbox is a great cloud storage solution.

4. Square

I got my Square to use at craft shows so I can easily accept credit card payments right there.  This is a great advantage and can certainly increase sales when so many people carry a card with them instead of tons of cash.  It’s easy to sign up and they will send you the little square device free of charge, there’s just a small processing fee per transaction.

5. Google Analytics

A must-have for anyone who runs their own website.  See all the details of who is visiting your page and how often to get some insight on what’s happening and be able to make better marketing decisions.

6. Fount

This nifty tool allows you to identify any web font you see.  Find an awesome font on a site and what to use it on your own web page?  Now you can find out the exact name and download it yourself!

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7. Wave Accounting

A 100% free accounting app made for small business owners and freelancers. You can create and send professional invoices, track expenses, create reports, and eliminate accounting headaches.  An added bonus:  Wave will track your business and your personal finances, which I love.  I used to use Outright, but like Wave much better because of this feature.

8. Mail Chimp

Want to start a newsletter for your business to keep customers engaged and up to date on your happenings?  Try Mail Chimp, a free email marketing and email list manager.  Granted, it’s only free up to 2,000 email subscribers, but if you have that many people interested in your business I think it’s probably worth it to upgrade.  You can choose from different templates and create custom lists to focus your promotions and news.

BONUS:

Life Tools for Extra Money Making

These last two sites are actually simple ways to make a little extra money on the side if you have the time.  I’ve enjoyed both with pretty good success, so trust me, they are actually legit operations.

9. Inbox Dollars

Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky, and the site is full of colorful ads and such, but I’ve made some decent cash simply from doing surveys, reading emails, and watching video ads.  You can also browse the offers to earn extra money on services you may already be considering (like Netflix or TurboTax).  It’s helped pay the cell phone bill and buy a night out to eat.  So all in all, not a bad deal.

10. Daily Feats

Earn points for doing daily feats (anything from flossing to eating healthy to volunteering to playing with your kids), then turn those points into rewards.  Rewards can vary (and they change regularly) but are usually coupons or gift cards to different sites.  I’ve seen Ebay gift certificates, gift cards for Starbucks, and coupons for Walgreens.  It’s easy to rack up points, and I’m finding it motivates me to read more, walk my dog, and make sure I get my vitamins in every day.

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Work, Money, Love | K. Phoenix

  2. Pingback: Work, Money, Love | K. Phoenix

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