Thinking about leaving your nine-to-five for the freelancing world? Starting your own small business? If you are ready to start your entrepreneurship journey, you’re probably feeling a sense of excitement... and a hint of worry. You might be wondering where to start, what tools will you should use, or how you can automate daily tasks.
Navigating entrepreneurship is an adventure enough; to help you on your journey, we’ve outlined the best apps for small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs that will help save you time, money, and headache in the future.
Unless you love math (and even if you do), you’re probably dreading the financial management side of your small business. There’s no need to worry though - these tools make small business expense tracking a breeze.
Wave helps millions of people manage their business finances. Their platform allows you to send invoices, collect online payments, manage accounting, and run payroll all in one easy to use platform. Wave is also known for having the best receipt scanner and a convenient mobile app so you can manage your finances on the run. Pricing starts at $0/month.
Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting tools out there and for good reason. The tools that they have created allow business owners to keep most of the tools they need relating to financing, accounting and time tracking all in one place. If you are like most entrepreneurs, you’ll be doing everything yourself, so you’ll need a tool like Quickbooks that can help you navigate and prepare for that wonderful time of the year, tax season. Pricing starts as low as $10/month.
If you’re looking for an all encompassing tool, this is it. With Freshbooks, you can send quotes and invoices, accept online payments, track your time, scan receipts, track expenses, manage clients and almost everything in between in one easy to use online and mobile app. Prices start at $15/month.
One of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur is learning how to properly manage time. A big part of that? Efficient project management. One of the most common questions entrepreneurs have, especially those with clients or teams, is “what are the best apps for small business owners?” Project management apps take the cake for saving you time and keeping you organized.
Asana is a project management tool that allows you to manage your team or client’s work, projects, tasks, deadlines and time all in one place. Hit your deadlines and stay organized with this easy to use tool. Asana was listed as one of the best apps for small business in Forbes but it’s still affordable for the everyday entrepreneur: pricing starts at $0/month.
If you have a business that thrives on collaboration, Trello is the tool for you. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards allow you to visualize your project in a fun and flexible way. It’s no wonder some of the world’s largest brands like Google, National Geographic, and Adobe trust Trello. Pricing starts at $0/month.
Slack is the preferred tool for entrepreneurs, particularly those working in tech. Best known as a communication hub, Slack is an easy-to-use tool that allows big teams both internally and externally to collaborate on projects. Slack is also known for its file integration and screen-sharing features. Pricing starts at $0/month.
As an entrepreneur, most of your time will likely be bogged down with appointments (if you let it). To help you automate and streamline your calendar, in-person appointments, and calls, we’ve outlined a few vital platforms.
If you’re an entrepreneur who needs to schedule calls and in-person meetings, Calendly is the treasure you’ve been hunting for. Calendly allows you to share a link with clients and inquiries so they can view your availability and schedule a time to meet. This can be particularly useful if you’re a consultant, hair stylist, or photographer (any entrepreneur who charges an hourly fee), because the app also allows you to require an online payment before someone can secure an appointment. That way, you save your energy for only clients that are serious about retaining your services. Pricing starts at $0/month.
Traveling abroad or prefer to keep meetings digital? Appear.in is an remote worker’s best friend. Hold 1:1 meetings via voice, screenshare or video call with a custom-branded domain that will never change. The best thing about Appear.in is that it doesn't require any parties to download the platform and it works on mobile without needing an app, too! Pricing starts at $0/month.
Zoom, a platform trusted by companies such as Uber, Slack and Nasdaq (to name a few) has revolutionized how businesses do meetings. With HD video & audio, recording capabilities and webinars that allow for up to 100 panelists, Zoom is perfect for anything from a 1:1 meeting to a webinar with 100 people. Pricing starts at $0/month.
Billing / Credit Card Processing
Here’s where we get to the fun part, getting paid! Choosing the right credit card processor for e-commerce or platform to invoice your clients can be an overwhelming task. Who charges what? What tools will give me the best bang for my buck? There are countless options out there, but these three made the list.
If you feel like you’re wearing seventeen hats (or more) for your business, you are a “solopreneur,” or freelance alone, 17hats is the ideal tool for you. In addition to its intuitive accounting tools, it also lets you manage leads, send questionnaires, quotes, and invoices, accept online payments, manage clients and manage projects in one easy-to-use web and mobile-based platform. 17hats also works with time tracking apps like Harvest, as well as payment-processing platforms like PayPal and Stripe. Pricing starts at $45/month.
Stripe has everything you need to get paid, whether you’re a service provider or product-based company. Millions of businesses in over 120 countries use Stripe to start, run, and scale their businesses, including Amazon, Lyft, Google, Nasdaq, Expedia and more. Pricing starts at 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge and 0.8% · $5 cap on all ACH Debits.
Take payments online, in person, over the phone, or automatically with Authorize.net. This platform also has advanced fraud protection, so you can rest easy knowing that your services or product payments are valid. Pricing starts at 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction plus a $25/month fee to use their platform.
Now that you have all the tools to help you run your new venture, it’s time to think about how to grow your small business too. Social media tools can be an entrepreneur’s best friend for building brand awareness, increasing sales, and managing customer reviews. Although there are thousands of amazing social media apps out there, there are a handful that every successful entrepreneur shouldn’t live without.
Facebook Business Manager
Facebook Business Manager is free a tool created by Facebook to help businesses manage their Facebook pages, locations, and advertisements on both Facebook and Instagram. Create your Facebook Pixel to track website actions and conversions from your advertising efforts and to create custom audiences. Know that your target customer lives within 5 miles from a specific zip code? Is currently a Facebook Page Administrator? Makes 5% of the top income in their area? You can set up a custom audience for that exact target demographic and pay only to reach those particular people. Your Facebook Pixel also allows you to track the sales you get from each advertisement on Facebook and Instagram that you create, giving you greater insight into what resonates with your audiences over time.
Sprout Social, is the best kept secret in social media marketing. Much like it’s well-known competitor, HootSuite, Sprout Social allows you to draft, approve, schedule and monitor your social media posts. In addition to scheduling posts on Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and more, it also has a few newer integrations; it’s autoresponder bot which will allows you to streamline customer chat questions, its new “listening tool” helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your brand mentions, and its in-depth reporting tool helps you keep track of your social media success across your platforms.. Pricing starts at $99/user per month.
ToneDen ’s smart AI focuses on brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention craft winning ad campaigns, communicate more effectively with targeted Facebook messages, and grow your influence with this easy to use “smart” platform. Pricing starts at $0/per account per month.
If you’re starting your own business, you need a great website that properly represents the quality of the products or services that you’re offering online. A website is everyone’s first impression, it’s the virtual “front door” to your business, so it’s vital that it communicates exactly what you need it to. In addition to properly representing your brand, choosing the right hosting platform can make or break an e-commerce business. When companies go with platforms such as Wix or Squarespace they miss out on the tools that will help them automate processes like shipping, marketing and so much more. Not an ecommerce business? This statement applies less to you.
Shopify is, bar none, the best e-commerce platform on the market. Running a small business is tough enough and when you really start to ramp up sales, if you didn’t choose Shopify from the start you’ll likely wish you had. Shopify is an end-to-end solution with thousands of tools that will make your life easier as a online retailer. The App includes inventory tracking, shipping management, marketing, affiliate management, SEO and more. Pricing starts at $29/month.
Managed Wordpress is another alternative website platform that allows business owners to build a high-quality website without breaking the bank. With intuitive plugins such as SEO by Yoast and to plugins that help you visually build your website without needing code, there’s literally an app for anything you can dream up to make your life easier as a new business owner. Pricing starts at $8.99/month.
Can’t afford a website developer but need a website? Some of the best website themes can be found on ThemeForest. For only an additional $50 you can have a website developer upload your theme for you. A theme is much like buying a home, you’ll still need to go through and make changes to make it your own but it saves you time and money in the long run not having to build from scratch. Most high-quality themes will cost you $59 plus the cost of hosting.
A Few Miscellanious Tools We Can’t Leave Out:
Take the guessing out of hiring an influencer with Famebit. Famebit, created by YouTube, allows you to search, connect, and analyze influencers all on one easy-to-use website. Brands such as Cannon, Sony and Adidas have trusted Famebit to find influencers that align with their brand mission, vision, and target demographic. Pricing starts at 10% of the service fee paid to the influencer.
Google has countless tools to help small business owners. These tools include professionally-branded Google email addresses through G-Suite ($5/user per month), Google Analytics to help businesses monitor their website traffic (free), Google Shopping to help small businesses sell more products in search results (free), and Google Drive (free) to help you keep your documents easily accessible to anyone you share them with.
From incubator to unicorn, Monday is the best business software you can use at any stage. Create and monitor your business plan, manage startup funding, and scale your team from just you to a whole crew. Pricing starts at $25/month.
Looking to grow your small business or freelance practice? Skillshare has hundreds of business classes to help you get there.