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Online tools have become a requirement since the world of online business and marketing now dominates our lives. They make our work so much easier.
What I love most about them is that they can be accessed from any location with a secure net connection. I can work on the beach or even on my phone with some of these tools if I wanted to and so can you. Because the tools vary, they provide pretty well any service you need. Most tools are cheaper, faster and easier to use than buying software. It’s no surprise that they have become a part of our lives.
As an online entrepreneur myself I have a few that I particularly like:
If you are managing projects you’d definitely have to make is easy for your team to get the job done. Some project management tools offer this option as part of their package but I prefer going with something that is more designed for this. Tools for teams are designed to be more interactive between members and have way more features directed to team management. Imagine having the remote control that assigns and follows up with team members. I’m blown away even thinking about the options.
We are all about taking collaboration to the next level. Given how many options there are, I find myself using different software regularly and interchangeably. For my clients I like using Plutio. It’s pretty handy with managing businesses and working closely with clients from one place. Of course there’s the ease of team collaboration. Not to oversell it but the integrations and possibilities are great. Plutio is one tool that can be described to have it all; from invoicing to time tracking to CRM.
One other tool I love using is Notion. It has been reviewed as being similar to Legos. You know, those little kiddies play blocks that you feel like your heart might stop from the pain when you accidentally step on one. Haha. Anyway, the tool gives the building blocks that the user can use in their projects creation one layout to another.
My choice tools are mostly designed for freelancers and small businesses. Given that most team management tools have basic free versions, it means that you don’t need cash to enjoy the benefits and can always upgrade anytime you want. With that said, a great app is worth the buck.
Plutio is a paid software and my other favourite is Nifty. I’ve found they are both totally worth the price. They come with additional features that, sadly, you can’t get for free. They have lists where the team can get organized through taking notes, adding tasks, and comments. Nifty also has the option of moving over team management from other existing team management software since it allows you to pick up right where you left off.
These tools are heaven sent. For one, they are created to be completely customizable to fit the needs of different sized teams and with different goals. They bring in the organisation and management effectiveness that every project needs. Think of all the little steps in the project being integrated into a software where team members can keep track of the progress.
Most of these tools are available for free. Of course if you need to upgrade there is always the option for a relatively small fee. What I love are diverse tools like Trello that have very interactive boards that are customisable and Asana that has extensive features that go beyond the boring track and report. Making work management exciting makes it all the more easier to do, don’t you agree?
When you have all the project and tasks on one tool it is important to ensure that team members can also comment on progress. It is even better when the tools you pick have more features available. It’s no wonder that these tools are especially awesome for managing work, work flows and smooth working projects.
Marketing and Design
As an online brand you want to invest in something that communicates and promotes your products and services. Naturally, the first thing you think is that you need to be a professional to put out design work that is great. This isn’t the case. There are plenty of tools out there that non-designers can use to knock up something awesome without needing many years of skill. Some that my team and I use are:
If you love design you’ve probably come across the Aussie developed canva application. It’s a free tool that makes it easy to design presentations, social media graphics and so many other marketing material. We even have a Facebook group called ‘Fans of Canva’ where we go in depth about how great it is. With just a bit of practice you can definitely come up with some great pieces even without years of training. You’ll be glad to know you can upgrade to the even better pro version even better if you want access to more functionality!
Stencil is yet another app that I love. It makes the process of design so much easier. Even as a pro I’m amazed at how much you can do with it. So many useful user-friendly features that can allow even a newbie to quickly whip up something for social media that sells. The software has a free version and as I always say there’s always the choice to upgrade.
Ever had a great photo that includes someone you don’t like? Your ex maybe? Or maybe you just hate the background and want to create a new memory at your favourite place. Photoscissors makes it possible. You can use the software to automatically remove backgrounds from images. Which means you can cut out people or objects as well. Gone are the days when you needed any professional skills or software for a perfect clip. There is a Mac & a Windows version.
This tool brings in all the engaging visuals. I love making animations from the software and customising photos here and there. With so many options, I get caught up working on loads projects on it. Use pixteller to create: posters, graphic images, animated videos, flyers, invitations, banners, logos, picture quotes, you name it, for free.
In the online world, it’s hard to miss WordPress sites. It is the most used platform for blogs and sites and always on the rise in popularity. WordPress offers an excellent website platform for a variety of users taking up more than 35% of the entire web. Imagine everything from travel blogs to home cooking. They have a wide selection of themes to use when creating sites and I just love the Elegant-Themes. There’s just that touch of royalty they bring to your site that cannot be replicated with other themes. Maybe it’s just me.
The downside of wordpress is that its code is open-source, which means that people can modify and share code because its design is publicly available. This means what it is susceptible to security breaches which can leave your site open to hacking. I use & recommend using webARX. This is a sure way to protect your site from platform and plug-in vulnerabilities which can give access to malicious intruders and this can cause you quite a headache. I say better be safe than sorry.
If you have your site already drafted and ready to go, you will definitely need a hosting site. Whether you are using WordPress or another open source CMS you want to look for a service that is made for top speed, security and very responsive customer care. You don’t want your site crashing leaving in limbo for hours, days or weeks. That is the worst nightmare. There are great hosting services out there with users being spoiled for choice. I use Siteground for hosting a number of my clients sites, it is ideal for new or smaller websites. With their service you can get all these and a lot more including great support and a security first policy. They also include auto updates for your site.
If you know me you know I’m absolutely obsessed with mindmaps. I bet you have some great stuff that you can’t afford to forget. Mindmaps are diagrams that, as the name suggests, help you map out thoughts and ideas and visually organise the information. Check out the article I wrote on this. My favourite app for this is Ayoa. You get some sleek designs and access on different devices. The deal is even better because you can work both offline and online.
If you’ve ever attended a webinar you know how boring it is when you are waiting for the speakers to fix their connections or to coordinate their activities in the middle of the event. Granted I don’t hold many myself but when I do, I don’t like leaving things to fate. I prefer to have a set running system that absolutely will not fail me. I’ve used WebinarNinjathat makes it easy to teach, market, and sell through the webinar. It is optimized for results and very simple for us, the users. As someone who likes work to be as smooth as possible, it is awesome that the software is designed such that the host only has to focus on the presentation and not the tech.
How hectic does it get when you are trying to match your calendar to your clients and your team. Sometimes you could even have a free hour and completely miss it when planning. If you’ve never heard of booking tools before, trust me you’ll need them for your online biz. These are tools that integrate with your calendar and generate time slots for free hours depending on the work hours you put in. You want something that is very flexible and gives you as much customisation as possible. Not only does such a tool save you time it saves you a lot of money from potential missed appointments. The one I use, Book like a Boss, has payment options and reminders. It works like the name and I always feel on top of my game as the boss. The hassle of following up on payment post appointment goes out the window and I am always reminded of appointments coming up depending on how many I set. Sometimes you need more than two to remember. We’ve all been in that boat.
Everything put out to people needs a personal touch to appeal to your audience. Imagine the difference between an written pitch and a video one. You are more likely to pay attention to what someone is saying in a video than in blocks of text. I’m a big fan of video calls and messages. They give me a sense of being in the same room with the person I’m speaking to even when I’m not. Since using Bonjoro I’ve noticed that my engagement has been going up. I can record myself on whichever device and send directly to my customers. Dare I say it has helped in improving my connections and is super fun to use! You can even have video surveys using the app. How cool is that?
Sometimes you have the greatest pitch for a client but just don’t know where to start with going for it. Believe me, I and so many others have been in this rut. I discovered a software early on in my business that came in handy that I still turn to when I’m stuck in that ‘business block’.
With Better Proposals you just need to fill in a little information for the software to work with and that way you save yourself the exhaustion of writing and rewriting proposals to your clients. The hours you save on designing and writing can be channeled into doing a phenomenal job for your newly found client.
Being in the online world for a length of time I can tell you for free that you need all the best weapons in your arsenal of tools. As with any other business you want to make do with the most of what you have to get the most of what you want. So get a few online tools to make your online business the best version of it.