It was March of 2018 when I decided to make an entry into the entrepreneurial space. I still can’t say I’m a professional because I’m learning every day.
But there’s one thing I truly love about the digital world. And that is how much simpler it’s made the idea of working from home.
Thanks to a number of applications, both web-based and mobile, life as a work from home consultant is a boon. In my 3 months of research and after testing a number of tools, I discovered that I loved these 11 digital tools for entrepreneurs.
Now understand that like anyone in the startup space, I don’t have a ton of money to invest in paid tools. So, keeping that in mind, 9 of these tools are what I use in the free version.
The other 2 (Tailwind and Buffer) have really made a difference to my business in terms of returns so I went ahead and invested in an annual plan for both.
This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.
All of these apps have helped with one of the following: Productivity, Automation of workflow and Smart scheduling of content. As a work-from-home professional, you’d find that almost all of these are pretty fantastic.
A couple of them need a bit of a learning curve. But once you get the hang of it, they’re darn awesome!
I use all of these tools on the desktop primarily and a couple of them on my phone.
Also see: 12 BEST apps for Bloggers that I highly recommend
- Acuity Scheduling
- Buffer for Social Media
- Canva for Designs and Graphics
- Drift For Chat
- Google Forms for Collecting Information
- QuickBooks for Invoice Generation
- Skype for Calls
- Ivory Mix Stock Photos
- Tailwind for Pinterest/Instagram
- Typeform for Feedback/Data collection
- Uberconference for Online Training
- Zapier for Integrations and Automation
(Note: I do have affiliate links mentioned here, but believe me, I never recommend any tool without trying it myself. Read my full disclosure policy for more.)
This post contains links to the Amazon affiliate program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my complete Disclosure policy here.
[easy-tweet tweet=”11 of my Favourite Tools as a digital #entrepreneur and work from home professional” user=”shyvish”]
This is a smart calendar tool that allows people to book appointments with you based on your availability. In my case I have a Skype appointment call set up for potential clients as well as ongoing clients. You can customise it to have your brand name as part of the booking URL, set up specific time slots when you’re willing to take calls or meetings and even ask for specific information such as the client’s Skype ID. Such a boon!
My personal booking URL is here, if you’d like to take a look at the format: https://bookshailajav.as.me/schedule.php
How it helps me: Streamlines my schedule and sends me an e-mail alert of new bookings! It also ensures that my calendar is not too full.
Buffer for Social Media
I’ve already explained why I love Buffer in my other post on Free Apps for Bloggers. But, ever since I upgraded to the paid plan of Buffer Pro, it’s been a dream-like experience!
At one shot, I can link up to 10 social media profiles across Twitter, Facebook pages, a Facebook profile, Facebook groups, my Instagram page, my Linkedin profile, my Google + page and my Pinterest account.
How it helps me: I can schedule up to 100 posts at a time for each social media account! This is fantastic because I typically try and fill up my schedule once a week, especially for Twitter. The Analytics feature lets me know which content gets the maximum engagement/clicks to my sites and helps me re-buffer that back into my queue. Oh and I absolutely LOVE the content inbox feature!
Canva for Designs and Graphics
You absolutely MUST use Canva if you’re in the digital space. As an entrepreneur, showcasing your work/your brand/your logo becomes so much simpler with this free tool. Even if you have ZERO idea about design, Canva will help you out, especially with their free and customisable templates.
From social media to blog designs to pinterest images to YouTube covers to Instagram story highlights, it has everything and I do mean, everything. The best part? The free plan is more than sufficient for your needs. No need to upgrade.
How it helps me: I have pre-set templates for my own social media graphics as well as folders for my clients’ work which makes it simple to share with a single click. I should really do a separate post on Canva soon.
Drift For Chat
I confess I came across this one very recently and fell in love with it. The interface is so intuitive and especially useful for entrepreneurs who offer online services or products. Having a chat box on the blog is a great way to engage with potential customers. Lends a human touch to the whole exercise. Plus it takes 10 minutes to set up.
How it helps me: Enquiries for my workshops/consulting services and training programmes have increased since I installed the plugin and so have subscribers to my newsletter. Double win! Oh and it sends you e-mail alerts of new chat messages.
Google Forms for Collecting Information
Literally, the easiest thing to set up to collect information pertaining to your business, your clients’ e-mail addresses, phone numbers, work requests and so much more. I set up one when I needed to add people to my Pinterest group boards. And then I went ahead and used it for other purposes too including input regarding a particular workshop or specific data related to a client request. You can also embed a Google Form on your blog, on a post or on a page and allow people to fill out details without leaving your site. (Hello, lowered bounce rate!)
How it helps me: Well, it’s free and all I need to do is log in using my Google Account. In addition, it has e-mail notifications that send responses to filled out forms. You can also create a spreadsheet with your responses. Nothing to beat the simplicity and elegance of Google Forms.
QuickBooks for Invoice Generation
This free invoice generator from QuickBooks is perfect for those of you who are just starting out and on a tight budget.
Easily generate a fresh invoice for your coaching clients, your freelance clients and more. Download and send them over by email.
Effective and simple.
While the invoice generator itself is free, they do have some interesting features on the paid upgrade:
Track income & expenses; sales & sales tax; capture & organize receipts; Manage bills & payments and Multi-currency support, to name a few.
Skype for Calls
If you’ve been on the Web for any length of time, you’d know about Skype. Skype is one of the best calling networks on the VOIP model and the quality of the calls are unbeatable. Most initial client requests are ones that I prefer to handle over Skype since it means that I can take calls on my laptop. This also ensures that I can share my screen if needed, during the call. Keeps my hands free for note taking.
How it helps me: A lot of clients ask for my phone number to book calls. Since I am not too comfortable with this model, I prefer to set it up through Skype. Privacy is everything these days.
Ivory Mix Stock Photos
Ever since I started using their images for my content both on the blog and on social media, the engagement has increased. High-quality stock images do a great deal to enhance your content’s value, especially if you aren’t a professional photographer!
How it helps me: I simply love the variety of stock images available to me, no matter what the subject of my posts. In addition, the vertical and horizontal images, the pre-set templates and the brilliant Canva templates as part of the annual VIP subscription are the reasons behind my images on Pinterest.
Use my affiliate link and check out their FREE plan to begin with and then upgrade to the other pricing plans. This is one worthwhile investment.
Tailwind for Pinterest/Instagram
If I start talking about Tailwind I won’t stop. Nothing has helped me increase my page views better than Tailwind in the last 6 months. Their power scheduling feature, their insights and analytics, their Tribes, their support desk: I have only good things to say. I’ve written a detailed post about Tailwind Scheduling for Pinterest so check it out:
Tailwind for Bloggers: How to automate your pinning schedule
How it helps me: It completely frees up my Pinterest schedule so I can focus on other aspects of my business such as creating blog posts, engaging with my Facebook group and working on my clients’ requirements.
Use my Affiliate Link to get started with Tailwind today. Bonus: You get a month of Tailwind worth $15 free whenever you upgrade!
Typeform for Feedback/Data collection
When I came across Typeform on a few blogs, I was intrigued by how pretty the forms looked! Such appealing designs and such an easy interface that allowed users to just answer a few questions and submit their requests.
When I realised that it was equally easy to set up, I whooped with joy! Adding an image, dragging and dropping content blocks and customising it for users is a fun exercise. Best part? On the free plan you can generate 100 responses per month! Perfect for the fledgling entrepreneur.
How it helps me: With e-mail alerts set up, I know when a person has signed up for a workshop or requested a session for consulting with me. I can also embed a Typeform on any page of my blog so it shows as a pop-up to visitors.
Check out this form of mine: Set Up A Consult Session
Uberconference for Online Training
I had to do this list alphabetically but given a choice, I’d be putting this as #1 on the list of entrepreneur and Online Business owner tools!
It’s a FREE chat/audio calling software very similar to Skype. But, unlike Skype, it doesn’t need users to have a special login ID or anything. You just need your Chrome Browser and the link to the conference and you’re good to go. The call quality is top notch and the screen sharing feature is the best I have come across. You can use it for meetings too!
How it helps me: I conduct my online training workshops using Uberconference. On the free plan it allows me to engage with 10 participants and lets them see my screen and listen to me speak. It also enables me to download a chat transcript of the session for later reference.
Zapier for Integrations and Automation
I came across Zapier when I was using both Acuity and Typeform and was impressed with the automation options it offered! Zapier is an integration tool that allows you to link your forms to ‘Zaps’. A Zap is a pre-set link that integrates two platforms, such as Typeform and Gmail.
For example, when a person fills out my Typeform ‘Work with me’ link, Zapier sends an automated reply via G-mail to the user and sends me a copy too!
How it helps me: It completely takes the stress off checking my links to see who has replied and making sure I reply to them. The automated response goes out first and I follow it up with a personal e-mail if there are any questions.
Which of these do you use? Do you have any favourite tools of your own as an online consultant or business owner?
Hi, I’m Shailaja, a blogger who’s been writing since 2007. My interests include books of all kinds, digital minimalism, veganism, health, nutrition, fitness and staying open to learning all the time. Welcome! Click here if you’d like an email when I publish new posts
Enjoyed this article? I welcome you to let me know your thoughts on this post via email here: email@example.com