As a solopreneur and a small business owner, I rely on various tools, programs and coaches to keep me focused and on task and to make my job easier. I love nothing more than sharing these resources with folks that I think would benefit from them.
The following list of recommendations is in no particular order. Some might be products that are available for purchase, some might be products or services with affiliate links and compensation (or upgraded services) and still others are completely free.
I think it’s a good mix of resources that I find at one point or another that I couldn’t live without. I hope you find something useful, as well.
LastPass – “The last password you’ll have to remember.” So true. Basically, you create an über high security password – something crazy complicated that’s tough to remember and even harder to hack. Then you log into all your favorite sites and save the log-in info (which can be organized into folders – shopping, travel, work, social networking…whatever works for you). From that point on, you’ll never have to remember another log-in or password again. Makes paying your bills and logging into your social networks a cinch. I love that you can also securely share log-in info via email invitations.
NameCheap – We’ve slowly been migrating our hundreds of domain registrations over to NameCheap. Not only are they less expensive than GoDaddy (and no worries about elephant killing CEOs), but it’s also much easier to use and less upsalesy during ever step of the registration process.
Streamsend – These guys are a relatively new-to-the-scene email marketing company. Until recently, most of their clients were big named corporations, but they’ve recently started reaching out to the solopreneur and small business companies. And they do so much more than just email marketing. In fact, they’re launching new tools and services every couple of weeks. What I love about these guys is how easy they make it to see something on the web and share it either on your website, blog or Facebook fan page. And they’ve got a super simple (and very hot) way to create simple Facebook fan page tabs…including your landing tab…that allows for social sharing. You’ve got to love that!
Inspired Home Office – I love everything about Jennifer Hoffman and Inspired Home Office. She has a way of speaking to us non-linear, more creative types without making us feel badly about not being organized. Her Wish Kit and Office Spa Days are awesome and I can’t recommend them enough if you want some control over your office space.
Hootsuite – I think by this point, I’ve tried all the different Twitter application tools out there. To me, this is the best. I can have one stop control over my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. In fact, I have my dashboard set for both my personal and my business Twitter and Facebook accounts. On those occasions where I need to automate my updates and/or track my shortened links, Hootsuite is where I turn.
Bye Bye Boring Bio – Nancy Juetten has done an awesome job of walking you through the process of creating an awesome bio. The kind of bio that will get people excited to hear what you have to say. She covers everything from the full-length bio to a speaker introduction and shorter, social media and byline bios. Basically, she covers it all. It’s a lot of information, but even having mastered just one bio, you feel so much more confident and ready to take on the world.
Mozy – You do back up your computers each and every day, right? Mozy is one of those tools that I am down on my knees thankful for. More than once I’ve had to go into Mozy to find important documents that are now sitting on a non-working iMac. Then there was the time the PC’s harddrive crashed and we would have lost ALL of our Quickbooks and accounting. Thanks to Mozy we were able to pull up the latest saved copy and get back to work on those taxes. Trust me, you need a good back up system…in fact, we tend to back up each of our computers to multiple hard drives and systems (as you’ll see from the recommendation list).
Mailchimp – I love Mailchimp. I tried to use Constant Contact but found it to be too complicated (me, who actually gets basic HTML and CSS coding). Mailchimp was super easy to get started and even easier to use each week. And of course, being free for up to
5000 sends and 1000 subscribers 12,000 sends and 2000 subscribers EACH MONTH is beyond amazing! That’s some big time free…trust me!
Backupify – Backupify is another one of the backup systems I use. This time though, I use it to back up my social media: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Gmail and my Gmail contacts. If for some reason any of those companies disappeared, or if my accounts got hacked and I lost everything (and that’s a LOT of photos in Flickr!) I’d still have a backup. So worth it for the piece of mind alone.
DropBox – DropBox allows you to sync your online and files across computers. This is great for those times you’re away from your computer and need access to a file. You can even share files with others. I use this all the time with clients when I need to share an audio or video that I don’t have saved online, but is too large to email. They’ll start you off with 2GB which is plenty of space!
OmmWriter – I don’t know about you, but when I need to sit down and write something…like really write something…I need to cut off all distractions. OmmWriter is a basic text processor that over-rides your desktop and open applications (in a good way), so all you have in front of you is a blank screen and peaceful music. And since you can’t get fancy with formatting, it reallly helps you to stay focused and concentrate on your writing. I use this program almost weekly when I write my Success for Solopreneurs newsletter. And lucky for you, it’s now available for both Mac and PC.