Since there are so many of us entrepreneural types with a little extra time on our hands due to this COVID-19 craziness, we thought we'd share a few of our favorite online tools for launching and managing a small business. Because, let's face it, you're all out there, stuck at home, working on some new business right now, anyway.
1. G Suite: I honestly can't tell you the last time (outside of academia) I wrote a Word doc or edited an Excel spreadsheet - or the last time my employer set us up with something other than the Google G Suite.
Everything Google is cloud-based so you can access your documents, calendar, email, and storage from anywhere - even your phone and, everything can be easily downloaded in a variety of other formats like .pdf + .docx, etc. All your documents can even be made "live" so that others can access + edit them in real time.
2. Timeular: As a consultant, teacher and business owner, I have all sorts of things I need to track time on. After trying a few other apps like Harvest and TSHEETS, an ad popped up on my Insta feed for Timeular.
For a small initial investment and a low monthly fee, you get this cool little 8-sided time tracker that interfaces with an app you download to your phone/computer. Once you've assigned "tasks" to each side of the tracker, you simply pick it up from its base, lay it with the side up you've assigned to whatever task you're doing and the app starts tracking. Ready to change your task? Just move the tracker to the corresponding side.
The app has a simple interface where you can see your time spent on a daily calendar view. It also has analytics so you can see what you've been working on. The big seller for me in Timeular is that you can # tasks within each task. So, for example, if you're working on a client's projects and you want to distinguish between them, you can #task1 and #task2 and the app will separate the two inside the analytics.
3. Later: Regardless of the type of business you run, you HAVE to do social media. In my opinion, the easiest way to go about executing on your social media dreams is to use a scheduling app. Our current favorite? Later.
The drag-and-drop calendar interface is very easy to work with across the 3 different businesses we manage, especially since they have "Access Suites" where you can separate your accounts by brand so they don't get all jumbled together. Plus, having all the analytics in one place saves us a ton of time when we're planning our strategies. I also love the calendar view with the actual images so that I can physically see what's scheduled and when.
4. Skitch: Full disclosure here, this is a Mac-only app. (BUT IT'S AMAZING!) You can grab a screen grab of anything, adjust the size, add arrows, text, etc. and then drag and drop or download it in just about any format you want; .jpg, .pdf, etc.
Skitch is actually a feature from Evernote (more below) and does require a low monthly membership fee.
5. Evernote: I actually started using Evernote in graduate school as a way to keep my notes organized. I was a PC user back in those days and I wasn't fond of the native note-taking apps. Ultimately Evernote is a shareable online notebook. Well, really, it's however many notebooks you want to make. Within each notebook, you can add/edit notes, import images, tag topics and share work with friends. (It's also where Skitch stores all your images so you can find them again.) There is a low monthly fee but, you do get Skitch for free if you're a Mac user!
6. Shift: If you run more than one email address, especially if they're Gmail addresses, Swift will be your new best friend! You can load in your existing email accounts and then toggle between them as well as their associated Google Calendar + Google Drive accounts. You can also set up your favorite apps inside of Shift - things like Slack, Klaviyo, MailChimp and so many more! It's like a one stop shop for all the online tools you use every day!
7. Canva: Think super-simple desktop publishing. Literally SUPER easy. They have tons of amazing templates, photos, fonts, images and graphics you can use to create professional images for everything from your social media accounts to your business cards, mailers and more!
While I could go on and on about the features, your best bet is to just jump in! They always have a free trial of some sort and between their gorgeous templates and intuitive layout, creating your new website will be a breeze!