As a company of one, leveraging technology tools is a no-brainer for staying on top of your business.
Smart tools can help you get more organized, multiply your time and avoid worrying too much about the backend of your business. Which, as a result, allows you to focus more of your time and energy on doing the creative work you love and serving your customers and clients to the best of your ability.
However, there is a downside to adopting new tech into your life — and that’s making the decision for which tools to use.
If you’re anything like me, you end up spending more time researching and testing the tools (and fussing over the decision) then you do using them. Which means that rather than saving time, you end up wasting it.
Not quite the result we’re after.
So, to reduce the overwhelm and get you over the decision hump, I’m sharing twenty-five of the best tools that I’ve already researched (and use). These selections will make the job of serving clients and growing your business at the same time significantly easier to manage.
A digital project management tool that organizes your tasks using visual boards.
The basic version is free, and you can access it easily via the app or their website. You can also boost its functionality with a third-party app like Zapier or upgrade to Trello for Business to power-up your project boards.
Slack brings all the pieces and people you need together so you can get things done.
Slack is the answer to getting out of your inbox and getting more done. You can use it to communicate more effectively with your team, your clients, and your communities.
You can drag, drop, and share all your files and connect all your tools in one place to create a centralized communication hub for you and your business. It has direct messaging and calls built in plus it integrates directly with your other apps to allow your internal operating system to flow with ease.
Professional email + a complete office business package that works seamlessly from anywhere.
G Suite gives you the power to create, collaborate, and organize everything for your business, from anywhere you are.
For a small monthly fee, you get a professional email, plenty of storage space, and a suite of powerful online business tools including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drive. If you want to streamline your business operations, keep all your files in one place, and make it easier to create and communicate with your clients and collaborators, then G Suite is your answer.
A virtual filing cabinet to organize your work and declutter your life.
Evernote will organize your life. It keeps your ideas and notes all in one place across all your devices, so they’re always with you and always in sync.
You can use it whenever you need to record, review, or remember anything. You can even clip notes directly from the web with their browser extension and file away all the most useful content you want to come back to. It’s a great solution to conquering the information overwhelm.
Automate repetitive tasks so you can focus on your most important work.
Zapier connects the apps you use every day to help you finish routine tasks automatically. You can use it to automate your workflow, hack your systems, and create more time for yourself.
If you use Zapier strategically enough, it’s like having another team member (who never needs to sleep). It’s easy automation for busy people, so you can focus on your most important work.
All inclusive Instagram management app for planning, scheduling, and analytics.
There’s plenty of Instagram schedulers out there, but none of them gives you a good visual feel of how your feed will look once published — except Plann, that is.
Enhancing the aesthetic of your page is a key factor in attracting new followers and getting better engagement from your current ones. Organize your feed, your hashtags, and your audience data in this easy to use app designed specifically to help you attract the followers you want.
A social media scheduling tool that manages itself.
Meet Edgar makes self-promotion a breeze. If you struggle to make time to share your best content, then Edgar is your new best friend (and promotional cheerleader).
Its primary purpose is to help you boost your traffic and engage more with your audience by sharing your content more consistently on the platforms you populate. All you do is load your links to the library and then sit back and watch Edgar dole it out, in a data-driven rotation, across your social platforms.
A cloud-based home for your digital files that you can access from anywhere.
Dropbox runs in the background of your life. It automatically keeps your files in sync and backed up online. It’s like having the same folder on all of your devices at the same time.
You can store anything in your Dropbox and it’s always accessible. You can even make files available offline, which is handy if you’re stuck somewhere without internet access.
A simple time-tracker to help you get things done.
Toggl makes time tracking so simple you’ll actually use it. It helps you break down your hours by projects, clients, and tasks to see what’s making you money, and what’s holding you back.
It’s incredibly easy to use and comes with flexible and powerful reporting, so you (and your clients) can see exactly where your time is being spent. Toggl is the simplest time tracker to help you get things done.
Create content and add awesome text to your images in seconds.
Wordswag is perfect for creating social media content quickly. Everything you publish will look polished and professional, and it will only take a few seconds to produce.
You can create content from scratch using photos and text from your phone or make use of their excellent templates, inspiring quotes and professional image gallery. It’s free, fun, and incredibly easy to use.
Easy graphic design, even for the creatively challenged.
Canva enables anyone to be a designer. It’s the easiest design program around and requires zero experience to use.
The software comes chock full of great templates, free stock images, fun fonts, and cool layouts so you can create all kinds of digital media for your brand. Canva makes graphic design simple and fast.
Web conferencing platform for high-definition audio and video communication.
Zoom gives you high-definition audio and video conferencing for crisp and clear communication with clients. The free version of Zoom allows you to have an unlimited number of meetings, one-on-one meetings of any time duration, and 40 minutes for meetings of 3 or more people.
Zoom also allows you to work with others more efficiently thanks to the group collaboration features. Screen sharing is simple thanks to the intuitive interface that makes it much easier to display visual presentations and demonstrations.
Turn your leads into customers with email marketing automation.
From marketing automation, to email, to contact management, Drip gives you all the tools to transform emails subscribers into devoted clients. Drips delivers marketing automation that makes sense and despite its powerful features is surprisingly easy to use.
You can use Drip to help you completely automate your customer journey and create an intuitive email campaign that gets you results. It also integrates with a ton of other apps so you can create a seamless onboarding system for your clients.
A plugin that makes designing WordPress pages easy.
Beaver Builder is a drag-and-drop page builder that puts you in complete control over the layout of your website posts and pages.
Beaver Builder incorporates gorgeous page templates that you can use to save time while building your site from scratch. It features multiple drag and drop design elements that make website design much easier.
Easy accounting software for freelancers and small businesses.
FreshBooks makes it super simple to get paid and keep your finances in check. Invoicing is painless, expense tracking is easy, and knowing how profitable you are is a breeze.
Chasing money sucks and the less time you can spend on accounting the better. So using an all-in-one solution — designed specifically for freelancers and solo operators — is always a good choice.
A simple, user-friendly and high-powered scheduling tool.
Acuity Scheduling completely removes any annoying back and forth or scheduling headaches between you, your clients, and your collaborators.
With Acuity, clients can quickly view your real-time availability and self-book appointments that fit into your schedule perfectly. Rescheduling is painless and the software does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to onboarding, reminders, getting paid, and keeping in touch.
A password manager and secure wallet for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
1Password provides a secure home for all your valuable data. It gives you the freedom to not commit your passwords to memory while locking away your logins, credit cards, ID numbers, and all other necessary information into a protected vault.
You can access all your sensitive data easily from any of your devices without compromising your security, and you’ll be able to login into any site from your browser with just one click. It saves so much time when browsing, and you’ll never have to hit “forgot password” again.
Software that makes videos easy.
Animoto makes the daunting task of creating a video feel doable. You can use it to design, produce, and promote a professional looking video without getting stuck on the tech.
It’s easy to upload files, arrange your slides, pick your music, and add your style to your next video production. It also comes with easy embed and social sharing options so you can get more people to check out your work.
Grammar and spell checker for your online writing.
Grammarly makes sure your writing is readable, effective, and flawless. It’s a super-handy online tool that checks your spelling, fixes your grammar and trains you to write with conviction.
Using Grammarly will help you tease out your bad spelling habits and help you eliminate grammar mistakes so you can become consistently clear, concise, and confident with your writing. You can even grab the Grammarly Keyboard app so your tweets, captions, and comments can be automatically proofread as well.
A powerful, easy-to-use screen recording and video editing tool for Mac users.
ScreenFlow makes screen recording easy. If you need to record videos for your clients, produce marketing content, or create tutorials for training purposes, then you can do it all within the ScreenFlow software.
You can record from your desktop, iPhone, and iPad and have the ability to do quick edits after any screen capture. If you’re new to video (or not that great with tech) Screenflow is a simple solution with a robust set of features.
Annotate images exactly the way you want.
Skitch is an excellent (and free) annotation tool from the people over at Evernote. You can use it to add annotations, shapes, and sketches to your screenshots or any other image you have.
It’s fantastic for recording website edits, process mapping, and giving feedback or notes for other people’s work. Just download it to your desktop and summon when needed.
Boomerang for Gmail
Lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages in Gmail.
With Boomerang you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time.
It’s handy for freelancers who work odd hours but want to appear more professional with a nine-to-five response time. You can also set reminders for emails you’ve already sent, so you don’t forget to follow up when it comes to the important stuff (like getting paid).
Discover what content performs best for any topic or competitor.
Buzzsumo helps you find the most shared content on the internet and on which platform it performs the best. It’s fantastic for generating content ideas and performing comprehensive topic research, which will help you craft killer headlines and enhance your audience engagement.
Buzzsumo can also help you develop powerful and highly targeted traffic strategies. You can pinpoint key influencers and potential sites to approach for collaboration and guest blogging opportunities.
A super-simple link shortening and tracking tool.
Bitly helps you easily monitor your online marketing and promotional activities. With Bitly, you can shorten and personalize any link you like and collect data on how well it performs across your marketing channels.
You can manage all your links in one place (using the app or the site), and the analysis tool will give you a better idea of what your audience likes, and where they are most engaged with you online.
Flowcharts and funnel mapping made easy.
Lucidchart helps you create impressive diagrams and flowcharts for your business. It’s the perfect tool for communicating your ideas in a clear and more collaborative way.
The software has a simple drag-drop functionality which makes it incredibly easy to use, even for a beginner. It’s an excellent tool for mapping your customer experience and designing smart marketing funnels that will power your business.
That’s a wrap…
Taking advantage of automation and SaaS tools can help you feel like you have a team working for you — even though it’s just you pulling all the strings behind the scenes.
And when you use them intelligently, they can help you improve the flow of your business and save you a significant amount time.
You might not need all the tools we’ve mentioned today, and perhaps you have your own preferences and favorites you rely on, but even if just one of these recommendations can help make running your business smoother and significantly less stressful — it’s well worth checking them out.