As a solo entrepreneur running my own website, I often feel like I’m doing everything at once. Whether it’s marketing, engineering, design, or customer support, I’ve got my head and my hands in different places from one minute to the next.
There are thousands of tools online that claim to help you save time and money, as well as provide valuable insights into your business. But how to find the good ones?
I wanted to share what tools are essential to my business and how I use them.
7 Online Tools for Entrepreneurs
Below are the tools I use every day to keep my business running smoothly and efficiently. All of them are free, and all of them are rather easy to use, with practice. Depending on your business, you may want to use a few or all of these, and then some. Find what works best for your business, and grow from there.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics lets you measure your website traffic, and provides insights into key metrics such as sessions, bounce rate, and the amount of time people spend on your site.
Before the beginning of every month, I set a personal goal for total sessions I want to achieve on my website. Throughout the month, I use Google Analytics to track how I am trending towards that goal.
I also get a lot of value from Google Analytics’ “Real-Time” view. It gives me the ability to see how people are browsing my site at any given moment, including where they came from and where they live. If I’m active on Facebook, Reddit, or another site, I can get instant feedback to how my audience is interacting with my content.
Google Analytics can also help you do referral analysis. Since I link to my site from Reddit often, I can see what Reddit posts and comments bring me the most traffic.
MailChimp provides marketing email automation for your businesses. With MailChimp, you can build your email list, send emails, and get analytics on your email campaigns.
Ask a successful online entrepreneur what they would do if they could start over? Most of them will say “I wish I started my mailing list on Day 1”.
Even if you don’t know your mailing list strategy yet, it can’t hurt to start building your list right away. You don’t have to send out emails yet. It takes only a couple minutes to set up and it’s free!
There are many ways to stay in touch with your audience whether it’s social media or advertising, but nothing is more important and reliable than your mailing list.
3. Google Docs and Google Sheets
Google Docs & Sheets allow you to create a documents and edit with others at the same time — from your computer, phone or tablet.
If you do any collaborative writing, you need to be using Google Docs. Rather than sending emails back and forth, I fire up a Google Doc and make it editable for who I’m working with. This provides so much more flexibility than sending emails back and forth. You can work in the same document, add comments, and so much more.
If you use any templates in your day-to-day (contracts, writing prompts, etc), Google Docs has an excellent feature called “Make a Copy”. This creates a new Google Doc with the same content that you can share easily.
I use Google Sheets as my CRM (Customer Relationship Management). I have to keep track of a lot of conversations with my leads. I have formulas built in to notify me if it has been a while since I reached out and that I need to reach out again. I also use Google Sheets to track my monthly goals.
Iconosquare is an Instagram analytics tool that can help you grow your followers on the go.
They have tons of features, but my favorite feature is the ability to view, like, and reply to all of the comments on your Instagram posts through their interface.
I also enjoy the ability to see the charts of followers gained and lost on a daily basis. It keeps me motivated to post new content every day!
5. Standard Notes
Standard Notes is a private notes app that features unmatched simplicity, end-to-end encryption, powerful extensions, and open-source applications.
Standard Notes is my favorite personal note-taking app. Why do I love it? Because it’s dead simple and syncs perfectly across all your devices.
It’s free forever, open source, and they have an app for iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and even a web version.
I use it mainly for my to-do list, and for quick notes.
Grammarly is a free tool that instantly eliminates grammatical errors and enhances your writing.
Not only does it check for simple grammar and spelling mistakes, but it can check for advanced grammar mistakes such as overused and unnecessary words.
They also have a Chrome extension, so it works anywhere on the internet, whether you are typing in an email or writing a Facebook status.
I’m writing this post right now using Grammarly!
Buffer is a tool that helps you manage your social network accounts, allowing you to schedule posts on multiple social media platforms.
How do people post on social media every single day? They use a tool like Buffer. It allows you to queue up all of your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more. The free tier is more than enough for what I need, too.
On Sunday, I spend about an hour or two building up all my social media posts for each day of the week. Then, I don’t have to think about it again for a whole week!
Online Tools Entrepreneurs Can’t Live Without
Building up your toolset takes time and patience – you don’t want to start with 20 different tools, you won’t get anything done! Take your time, and find out what works for you.
If you’re looking for a new tool, I recommend searching for what you are looking for on Quora. For example, if you need a CRM, search “best CRM quora” on Google and you will be sure to find tons of good options.
What tools do you use for your business? Let us know in the comments below!