Let’s face it – starting and growing a business can get tough. And figuring out the tools you need is one piece of the puzzle.
I wanted to make it easier for you by putting together this guide of my favorites tools and resources.
I use these to grow my business every day and I’m always on the look-out for tools that are simple to use and get things done.
Without due, here are my best tools for small business owners and online entrepreneurs, several of which are free.
Note: Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. This comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use and LOVE. For more details, read the disclosure.
Video and Office Equipment
I used to use the HD webcam that came with my MacBook as it works well, but have since upgraded to the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. I wanted something that had a crisper look and felt more professional.
If you produce Facebook or YouTube videos or are recording courses, a quality microphone makes a difference. I have the Audio-Technica ATR2100 Microphone. It comes with a small stand and plugs into USB port.
Make sure to remember to get a Mic Windscreen as well to filter out any pop sounds. It's only a few bucks more.
Laptop with video software
When I transitioned from PC to Mac, it definitely took me a period to adjust. But now, I can't work without my MacBook Air. Everyday, I'm amazed at how it makes everything so much more easier and faster.
Mine came with a ton of built-in features, so I didn't have to buy additional software like I would have had to do in the past with a PC.
I find it excels especially well when it comes to the built-in video softwares:
- QuickTime: to easily record videos, your screen or voice.
- iMovie: to edit videos in a snap.
- Keynote: to make presentation slides and record your voice over them.
I have no patience for learning complex tools. These are nothing like that and are really user-friendly. Easy-peasy.
Social Media Tools
I leverage Pinterest to drive free traffic on auto-pilot, and with Tailwind I can do it all in less than 30 minutes per week. It's also an approved partner of Pinterest.
Facebook tends to de-prioritize posts scheduled through a third party. The good news is that Facebook has its own free scheduler available to business pages and groups.
Simply navigate to your business page and click on Publishing Tools in the top menu.
I plan everything in Asana, and I mean EVERYTHING.
I have created templates that I keep reusing when creating a new blog post, onboarding a new client, planning a course launch or other recurring activities. These templates include everything I have to do for each of these activities.
This way, I don't forget things and it also dramatically speeds up my productivity as I don't have to keep starting from scratch each time. I just pull up my handy templates and off I go!
For now, the free platform is meeting all of my needs and it comes with apps for my iPhone and iPad. Asana recently revamped their mobile apps and they are now very close in functionality to the desktop version - which definitely comes in handy. I couldn't ask more from a free software!
client appointment scheduling
Acuity allows clients to easily book my services directly from my site and based on my availability. The flow includes a questionnaire and appointment reminders (there's also functionality for payments) - all managed automatically by Acuity.
It's a huge time-saver (as it prevents the back and forth on aligning schedules) and provides a good customer experience.
If your site is on Squarespace, you get the Acuity Emerging Entrepreneur package included for free - and that's always nice.
Alright, I can hear you say "Isabelle, what does meditation have to do with productivity tools?". And my answer is everything.
A focused mind is a productive one. And that's exactly what meditation does for me (and I know several others too).
I love the Calm app and try to use it every day. You can get a 25% discount here if you're interested.
Stock photography, social media templates, fonts and more
Creative Market is an amazing resources for countless graphics, photos, fonts, social media templates, website themes and so much more.
Want to DIY your logo? They have a template for that. Need cool icons? They have it. Basically, if you're looking for branding or design stuff, they have it.
When you sign up for a free account, you also get 6 free goods each week. If you're interested, you can check out the ones that are free below this week.
Powered by Creative Market
With Canva, I can design graphics in a snap. All the graphics on this post and my site were done using this tool.
It's so easy to use that I barely had a learning curve with it. And if you're stuck on something, Canva's tutorials are great.
There are also templates for pretty much any graphics you could think of (Pinterest, blog, Facebook ad, Instagram, etc.).
The free version allows you to save some branding colors, have a few folders and access to most functionality. The paid version will give you access to additional functionality, including Resize - you design one graphic for let's say Facebook and in a click resize it for Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Really useful and saves tons of time!
To prevent my site from being slowed by large images or graphics, I always compress them first. TinyPNG is free, really easy to use and preserves the image quality.
email service provider
You've heard it before - a strong email list is important to growing a successful business online.
I use ConvertKit for automating my email campaigns. It's easy to use, has strong email delivery rates and integrates with most other softwares.
I use it to deliver all of my emails, including my free course which I was able to set up in a snap using the sequence functionality.
While I originally started with a self-hosted Wordpress site, I'm now using Squarespace and won't look back!
No need to update plug-ins anymore or worry about figuring out how to protect my site against safety attacks. It's all handled by Squarespace.
It has functionalities comparable to Wordpress while being much easier to use, is SEO-friendly and I can build pages very quickly.
Growing Your Business
I offer several free resources to help you grow your business:
- Course to grow your traffic
- Pinterest Foundations for Success: Drive traffic on auto-pilot in less than 30min/wk
- Content promotion checklist: 23 things to do before and after you publish a blog post
- No-Fluff Marketing Planner: How to promote your online business like a boss
- And so much more!
You can get all of them in my free resource library.
I hope you enjoyed this guide – I know these will help you focus on tools that are simple to use and can make a difference in your business.
Make sure to pin to come back to this post later.
Author: Isabelle Paquin
Previously a corporate marketer for 14 years for some of the world’s largest organizations, I now help online entrepreneurs, just like you, grow leads & sales. I’m here so you can stop wasting time trying tactics that don’t work, and instead unlock the power of your business with marketing that connects and converts.