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#040 – 16 Tools Entrepreneurs Love & How They’ll Help Your Business

by | Mar 21, 2016 | Blog, Other Episodes, Podcast | 0 comments

I’ve been a podcast host for 9 months now. And I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing 31 different entrepreneurs.

It’s crazy to me that so much time has passed and that I’ve been able to make so many new connections. I’ve met some really cool people. Some I’ve kept in touch with, some I haven’t.

But after every episode, I’m always motivated. I’m motivated to take action, visit a new website, listen to a new podcast, or try out a new tool that was mentioned.

I’ve put together a list of 16 tools the entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed love, and how they can help you in your business.

(Some of the links listed below are affiliate links and I will receive compensation for you signing up for service using my links.)

Cloud Storage

Losing all your data can be devastating to anyone, but if your livelihood depends on it, it’s even more important. Having an external hard drive is great, but what if something happens to that drive?

That’s where cloud storage solutions come in. I set up a folder on my computer, and there are folders within that folder for client files. All of those files automatically sync to my Google Drive account.

If I’m ever somewhere without my laptop and find that I have to access a file for a client, I just log onto my cloud account and access the file.

These are the most popular tools the entrepreneurs I interviewed use for their cloud storage needs:

  • 1. Dropbox has a free plan that includes 2GB of space. You can upgrade to their 1TB plan for $9.99 per month.
  • 2. Google Drive comes with your regular Google account. You can share 15GB of storage with your drive and Gmail account to start with. You can also upgrade to a little over 100GB of storage for $1.99 per month. They also have a 1TB plan that costs the same as Dropbox.

Calendar

  • 3. Google Calendar – Calendars in general are must haves for all entrepreneurs. But Google Calendar is especially great since you can sync it with all your devices.I use Google Calendar on the Calendar desktop app on my MacBook Pro, I integrate it with my calendar app on my iPhone, and sometimes I view my calendar on the web.Of course, most calendars will work, but you can also integrate certain service with Google Calendar; like the service I use to schedule my podcast interviews.

Contracts

Contracts are crucial aspects of every business. They’re especially critical for service based businesses.

  • 4. Cudasign allows users to virtually sign their contracts for you. So you don’t have to worry about mailing, faxing, or having clients download some sort of app or plugin in order to sign your contracts.

Email List

The money is in the list. That’s what everyone says when you start your business right? It’s true.

People move on to the next social network, they might forget your website, but if you have their email address, you always have a way of keeping them in the loop. You need to start building an email list as soon as you start your business.

Most of the entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed use Mailchimp to manage their email list.

  • 5. Mailchimp has a great free plan that allows you to grow your list without having to worry about any costs. You can purchase credits if you’d like to use their advanced features such as email automation. They also offer monthly plans.

Graphic Design

Sometimes you don’t have the time or budget to spend on a designer. Especially when it comes to very small, simple items.

That’s why entrepreneurs love the following graphic design resources:

  • 6. Canva is a web-based platform that allows you to create great looking graphics easily and free.
  • 7. Fiverr – You can get pretty much anything you can think of on Fiverr. Sometimes I like to browse and see the funny services people offer.Fiverr is great for small graphic design tasks that you don’t feel like doing yourself. You can get everything from logos, podcast covers, and blog graphics on their website, for just $5.

Networking

Many times in business it’s not what you know, but who you know. I know that’s super cliche to say, but it’s true.

The majority of my business when I first started designing came from word of mouth advertising. It started with the people I knew, who introduced me to people they knew, and so on and so forth.

  • 8. Meetup.com is a great place to find and meet with other like-minded people in your city. You can find people to network with that do what you do, or you can attend general business groups.Either way, you’ll be getting your name and business out there and can make some great connections that way.

Notes & Organization

The next two tools should have probably been at the top of my list if I were going in order of importance. But I wanted to put this list in alphabetical order by category because that’s how I roll 😉

  • 9. Evernote is amazing! It’s like Word, notes, a to-do list, and a bunch of other apps combined in one place.One of my favorite features is that you are able to sync between devices so you can start notes on your phone, and continue on your computer.I take notes during my podcast interviews using Evernote. I also save recipes, write down goals, journal, and write general to-do lists.
  • 10. Trello is one of my favorite apps as well. I use it to organize my life in list form.I forward emails I receive into a “To-Do” board, I write down content ideas, and I brainstorm business ideas. I also use this app for project management for my design clients.

Payments

There are many ways to get paid online these days. But one of the most established, simplest, and most trusted payment methods is PayPal.

  • 11. PayPal doesn’t charge any monthly fees. They allow you to swipe physical cards, send invoices, as well as receive payments on your website.

Reading

Every successful entrepreneur you’ll meet will talk about books that changed their life. They may also recommend books that you should be reading.

I read a lot. All the books I read aren’t about business. But I find that sometimes fiction books can be just as helpful in my life as non-fiction books.

Here are some great reading apps you’ll enjoy:

  • 12. Audible – If you don’t like to read or haven’t read a book since high school, a good way to get in the habit of reading is to listen to books from Audible.Audible is great because you can listen to books while you’re driving, cleaning, working out, or doing some other task that allows you to listen to something.
  • 13. Kindle App – You don’t need a Kindle device to read Kindle books. You can download the Kindle app on any mobile device, they have desktop apps, as well as a web-based cloud reader.My favorite Kindle feature is that you can start reading a book on one device, and it syncs with all your devices so you can continue reading at a later time.
  • 14. Overdrive is an app that’s tied into your local library. If your library participates in Overdrive you are able to log in, and check out books to read on your electronic devices. (I get a lot of Kindle books from Overdrive.)They also have a selection of audio books and online videos that are available to check out. The selection available will depend on your library.

Social Media Management

Social media is a huge part of business these days but can take up so much of you time. There are apps out there that make scheduling social media posts a lot easier.

  • 15. Buffer allows you to schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. You can also schedule posts on Pinterest if you have a paid account.When you set up an account on Buffer, it can determine the best time for you to post on social media. You tell Buffer if you want to post on that schedule or some other schedule. Then you set which days you want to post, and that’s it.Once that’s done, the next time you have something you’d like to post you just open up the Buffer app and write your post. It automatically posts it to the social networks you choose at your next available time slot. And they offer pretty cool analytics.

Writing

Last but certainly not least is my new favorite app which I would not have known about without interviewing some of the amazing people I’ve interviewed on this podcast.

This app is where I’ve written my last two podcast episodes, which I must say have been some of my more popular episodes because of the quality of the content.

In fact, I’m typing up this post in this program as well.

  • 16. Scrivener is an app you can use on your Mac or Windows-based desktop computer.Sure you can write your books in Word or some other word-processing app, but if you want to really organize your content and turn it into a book some day, Scrivener is where you should be writing.The way I’ve been using Scrivener for blog posts is I break down every subcategory into a different sub-folder on the app. Sometimes as I start to write something, I realize that what I wrote doesn’t go in the article, or that it should be rearranged elsewhere. When that happens I can just drag that part of my writing to where I want it to go.When I finish writing a blog post, I export it to HTML and copy the source into my WordPress. If I wanted to turn a post or series of posts into a book, I can easily export my writing to PDF, Kindle format, or some other format.I feel like my writing got super organized and focused when I started using Scrivener a few weeks ago. They offer a free 30-day trial that doesn’t require any of your contact or payment information to function.I would definitely recommend using it, and going through their extensive tutorial so you can see how amazing it can be.

There Are Many More Tools Entrepreneurs Love

I only touched on a few resources that were the most popular among guests I’ve had on my show.

Do you have a favorite internet resource or app that I didn’t mention?

Share it in the comments below and let us know how you use it.

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About Cindy Rodriguez Founder & Podcast Host

Cindy Rodriguez is the host of The Fierce Entrepreneur Podcast. When she’s not interviewing awesome entrepreneurs, she’s working on growing her startup Artistry.io, going to Disney World with her daughter, or reading a book.