In the online business world, entrepreneurs all have one thing in common: They literally do EVERYTHING. We’re like online octopi, with a hundred tentacles doing a hundred things each. Whether you have a full blown full-time business, or you’re nurturing your side hustle, we all have one thing in common – we could all use a (preferably free) hand with the workload of running a successful online business. Sometimes, if your business is far along enough, that means hiring someone, but in the meantime, there are plenty of very affordable, often free, online tools and apps that help streamline that workload and make it, dare I say, manageable? Read on fellow entrepreneur, to discover what I consider to be the 11 best online business tools and apps.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. This helps fuel all the super awesome content on the blog, keeping you on top of your Pinterest marketing game!
WHY YOU CAN TRUST THIS LIST
I’ve been at this online business world for close to a decade now, and have built a business around helping other business owners grow their online businesses, so you can trust me when I say, when it comes to productivity tools, I have tried/seen them all. When looking for a tool to implement I rely on four things:
- Recommendations from other trusted online entrepreneurs
- Online reviews
- Ease of use
- Low learning curve
As a fellow entrepreneur, if these things matter to you, you can save yourself a whole lotta research time, and just read this post.
Best Online Business Tools And Apps That Will Save You Time, Money And Help You Grow
The great thing about being a business owner these days, is that app and program developers know that if their product isn’t intuitive and easy to learn and use, then no one’s going to use it. So if you’re nervous about investing time in learning to implement a new tool into your workflow, rest assured, the ones I’m about to recommend are very easy to master.
A tip on implementing new tools: You don’t need to dive in all at once. Sometimes you can start by using it for one tiny project, or just a section of your business, or double up on a task in addition to your regular way of doing things. Working with the tool is how you figure out how to fit it into your business, so give it a little time and see how it evolves in your unique situation. If you find it’s not going anywhere, scrap it and move on.
MY TOP PICKS FOR TOOLS AND APPS TO HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS
Like I said, I’ve seen ‘em all, and this list is the cream of the business tool crop for 2019.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION
Who was I before Asana? Honestly, I don’t even want to know because that girl was frazzled with a capital F. Asana makes scheduling yourself a breeze and working with others a treat. Asana allows you to create and manage tasks by assigning them to projects and team members, then plugging them into calendars that are viewable by project, person, or team. This means at any given point, anyone can see where we’re at in a project, what needs to get done, what they need to do and what has been completed in a project: all at a glance. You can even have Asana email you a to-do list every day, so you know you’ll never miss a thing. Asana frees up my brain at night, knowing I don’t have to hold any business related stuff in my head overnight, and instead I can focus all of my nightly nervous energy on parenting anxiety.
Any Post-It note fans out there? Trello is your new best friend. It takes all the glory of Post-It notes (and we all know how glorious they are), but removes the carbon footprint, bulk and questionable stickiness of your notes. What if a sticky note falls off your board and gets hidden behind your desk and you never go back to pick up your dry cleaning?!?! Calm yourself friend, your dry cleaning is safe with Trello.
Trello helps you organize your thoughts and to-do lists into boards, with easy to manage sticky notes to put up on every board. I use it primarily for brainstorming because I just throw every idea I have onto its own sticky note, then rearrange them to make sense later. Guys, my brain: it’s a mess in there. Trello helps it all make sense.
ONLINE DIGITAL MARKETING TOOLS
LEADPAGES – Landing page builder
Ok, so LeadPages has a TINY bit of a learning curve, but it is so worth it. Don’t let the tech set-up hold you back, this tool has done amazing things for my business.
LeadPages turns your website into a lead generation machine, with super easy-to-build landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars and whole websites if that’s your jam. There is a cost associated with it, but seriously, it’s so much cheaper than hiring a developer, and it will honestly look like you did. You can start gathering emails right away, and up your street cred with the professionality (not a word until this moment when I just made it a word) factor, which is half the battle when establishing trust with your new (fingers crossed) customer.
You guys, I will just warn you ahead of time, whatever I say next is not enough. I don’t have the words to describe how much I love and rely on Tailwind. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s probably because you’re trying to up your Pinterest game, and if that sounds like you, you need to use Tailwind.
Tailwind does so many things. It allows you to:
Schedule your Pins: I get how this sounds like it could be a pain. But with Tailwind, it’s not. Tailwind shows you content, WITHIN the app, so you’re not switching between Pinterest and Tailwind when browsing for Pins, it’s all right there in front of you. Choose from your own content, home feed, boards you follow or search for new Pins, all without leaving the app.
Smart-schedule your Pins: Tailwind is a certified partner with Pinterest, and their job is to help you increase your reach and grow your account. Tailwind has built in recommended times to schedule your Pins and it’s incredibly easy to use. You are not bound to their calendar – it’s easy to adjust your Pins to appear whenever you want – but you can trust the built in judgement of this official Pinterest partner to set you up for success.
Re-pin your best Pins: Sort your Pins to find the best performers and re-pin them!
Literally go on autopilot with SmartLoop: Tailwind offers a feature called SmartLoop that will mine your evergreen content, find your best Pins, and repost them when the timing is perfect for them! Check out more on SmartLoop here.
Monitor your Pins: Using Tailwind analytics tool, you’re set when it comes to making sure you’re scheduling good content that your audience loves.
Find the best Instagram hashtags: Using Tailwind’s Instagram Hashtag Finder is easy and soooo effective. Just caption your post and Tailwind will automatically generate intelligent hashtags for you, then you can save them as lists, or go fresh every time. It also allows you to schedule your hashtags in the first comment so that your captions aren’t bulky or awkward looking.
These are some of my favourite things about Tailwind, but trust me, there are more. Definitely worth checking out!
The Best Online Business Tools That Will Help You Grow & Scale Your Small Business
ActiveCampaign can be summed up in one word: Powerful. It provides amazing automations and tagging features and lets you segment your audience. I was told it was overkill for my business but I got it knew I was going to scale my business, and thought it would be helpful to do it right from Day One. I’ll never regret it!
Cost: Plans start at $15/month.
IMAGES AND VIDEO/WEBINAR
I use Vimeo to host my membership videos and webinars. Lots of great features and a step up from YouTube in oh so many ways.
Cost: Start with their FREE plan, then upgrade when you’re ready starting at $9/month.
This is what I currently uset for client meetings, webinars and coaching calls. I LOVE that I can record it.
Cost: Their FREE plan is pretty comprehensive, but you can upgrade if you need additional features. I used the paid version so I can have longer client calls as well as film masterclasses and webinars.
I know, I’ve touched on this before, but it’s the best place on the web for templates. It makes social media and visual assets so easy and professional. You can find anything template related whether it’s online or in print.
Cost: Priced per product.
I use it for all things images. It comes complete with text ideas, images, and cool templates all within the same tool. It’s also loaded with free stock photography, and you can add your own too!
Cost: The FREE plan covers pretty much everything, but you can upgrade if you need anything extra.
Microsoft: Hey guys, here are some office tools you can buy and instal on one device!
Google: Great idea, Microsoft! Now let’s expand it, make it free and put it online so you can use it anywhere.
From email (Gmail), to word processing (Google Docs), to spreadsheets (Google Sheets), to presentations (Google Slides), to file storage (Google Drive) to pretty much anything you can think of, Google’s got you covered – FOR FREE.
Cost: Free! Although GSuite is an upgrade worth checking out.
Gone are the days of sending emails with mistakes in them. And gone with them, the excuses. With Grammarly you can do it right the first time. With a browser extension or document upload feature, you have no excuse for bad writing.
HOW TO USE THE BEST ONLINE BUSINESS TOOLS SO YOU CAN WORK LESS
Long gone are the days being a solo-prenuer meant actually being solo and building everything from scratch. Adding a couple of these tools to your arsenal will instantly increase your productivity, and decrease your stress. Additionally, once you add team members into the mix, it is essential that you stay organized so you can stay in your zone of genius and stay outta the weeds of your business.
KEEP THE PINTEREST TIPS A’FLOWING
I’m a Pinterest guru by trade, and an online entrepreneur as a result. I help entrepreneurs like you, harness the INCREDIBLE power of Pinterest, and use it to drive tons of traffic to your site. If you’d like to expand your knowledge base, and stay up to date with the best Pinterest tips and tricks, hop on my email list and I’ll keep you in the loop!