Running a business as solopreneur or small business owner definitely has its ups and downs. Some of those “ups” are the freedom to set your own schedule and to work on your own terms. Some of the “downs” are the constant feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day and lack of financial resources when you’re just starting out. What if I told you that there are tons of free or low-cost tools out there that will help you streamline your business and free up time so you can really focus on your clients? Well, guess what? I’m going to share my go-to tools that help me work quicker on the business side, so I have more time to focus on my clients!
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Flodesk is an email marketing tool that lets you create beautiful emails with an easy-to-use email builder. I’ve been on the receiving end of marketing emails made with Flodesk and they truly are beautiful, eye-catching emails that your subscribers will love to get. The main thing that sets this tool apart is its “Brand Preferences” section. Here, you can upload your logo, brand colors, social media accounts and website. This information is stored into the email builder for easy access use across all your email. This makes an already easy tool much quicker and easier to use, saving you time and headache of trying to design marketing emails.
Price: Flodesk lets you try it for free for 30 days. After the free trial it is only $39/month regardless of how many subscribers you have. This is great if you have large email lists. If you sign up through my affiliate link below, you can lock in a rate of $19/month! This is much cheaper than most other email marketing tools!Sign Up and Lock in your discounted rate of $19/month
Creative Market is the absolute best place for DIY digital products. You can find social media templates, graphics, photos and so much more. I particularly use Creative Market for their amazing selection of FONTS! I love finding new fonts to use on my design projects and its great knowing that I have something that is unique to offer my clients. Creative Market is also a great resource for getting new ideas and staying up-to-date on the latest design trends. If you DIY your social media then their template selection for posts, stories, and header is top-notch.
Price: All the digital products on Creative Market are available to purchase for various amounts. However, every week they offer 6 FREE goods available to download. That’s over 24 free digital products a month! Sign-up for their newsletter and you’ll be notified every Monday that the free goods are available to download.
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Coolors.co is a 100% free color scheme generator. When I’m starting a new design project, I use it as a starting point to come up with new and unique color combinations for my clients. My favorite feature is the “Pick Palette From Photo” feature. I usually get my design inspiration from pictures and with this tool, I can upload the photo and Coolors will extract the color names and generate a color scheme. I can then play around with variations of shading to come up with the perfect color scheme for my clients.
Coolors also gives you the ability to save and name your color palettes in your account, which is useful for keeping all my clients’ color schemes organized when I’m starting the design process. Other useful features are the Adobe addons and the contrast checker, which helps me make sure my colors meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are a series of guidelines that make the web more accessible.
Pexels has a stunning collections photos and videos that you can use for your social media & Pinterest, marketing materials, branding, websites and more! All photos and videos on the site are free to use and download. Attribution to the photographer is not required but is always good practice to give credit if you can.
The photos on Pexels are truly some of the best free stock photos available online and with a quick search in the search box, I can find the perfect pictures for my project in no time!
As the name might suggest, Calendly is a calendar scheduling tool. I truly believe that is one of the easiest tools on the market and one that I use regularly in various ways. With Calendly, my clients and potential customers can view my calendar availability and schedule an appointment with me directly from my website. Once the appointment is scheduled, I receive an email notification and the appointment date and time is synched to my Google Calendar.
The platform is extremely easy to use, even for beginners. You simply create an event, integrate your virtual meeting platform (I use Zoom), then copy the code and embed it wherever you want to give customers the ability to schedule an appointment with you. The code can be shared on social media, your websites, or to your clients directly. Once a client schedules the appointment, they are sent a confirmation of the date and the link and password for the Zoom meeting. With this tool, my calendar scheduling is 100% automated and I don’t have to lift a finger. Calendly offers a variety of integrations, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, iCloud and more.
Price: Free for 1 calendar connection but there are Premium and Pro plans available for a cost if you need multiple calendars and extended scheduling features.
If you made it to this blog post from my social media accounts, then that post was likely pre-scheduled using the Buffer app. Buffer has been the #1 time-saver for me and my business. Everyone knows by now that regular posting is the key to engagement and growing your audience on social media platforms due to their algorithms. But who has time to post 3-4 times every single day and run business?! Meet Buffer! With this tool, I can schedule my posts in advance and set a day and time for them to post to my social media accounts.
I usually spend a Sunday afternoon scheduling about two-weeks’ worth of social media posts and then I don’t have to think about it again. The great part about Buffer is its analytics tools. I am able to see how many people shared, liked and commented on my posts. This helps me see the type of content that performs well so I can make similar posts in the future.
Price: With the free plan, I can connect 3 social media accounts, 1 user and schedule 10 posts at a time. There is a 14 day trail for its Pro, Premium, and Business Plans, which offer more social media accounts and enhanced features.
Recap: The Best Tools Free or Low-Cost Business Tools that You Should Start Using Right Now
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