This is an ongoing repository. If you have any suggestions for subjects or resources, leave a comment below and I’ll add it!
When starting a new business or venture, your budget is really tight. The most important thing to know is that you should not feel bad for penny pinching. I personally feel there is too much pressure to spend in our society, and sometimes it can feel weird to not get the latest and greatest.
I’ve worked hard at discovering hacks so I retain the freedom to grow my business in the right way. Businesses, like children, take a lot of love and attention – and money.
Below are the hacks that I’ve used, either in the past or currently. I hope they make growing your business easier!
Surveys & Forms
Typeform // Free
Typeform is my absolute favorite form and survey builder. It’s super easy to use, with a drag and drop form builder, and it has a friendly interface for even the most tech illiterate user. There are some paid options, but 80% of your needs will likely be met with the free app (I haven’t paid for it, yet).
Google Forms // Free
If you already love Google, then you’ll love Google Forms. It’s also very easy to use, easy to share, and comes with a lot of options. The nice thing is that all your forms will exist in your Google Drive, as will the answers you receive.
DropBox // Free (up to 3GB)
I love DropBox. I love that it syncs to all devices, it looks like my other file structures, and I don’t have to worry that it’ll be there. I also love that it’s free! If you need to take work with you, or show something off to a client, this is an easy solution.
Google Drive // Free (up to 15GB)
Google Drive is also free – yay! It also provides more storage for its entry level and typically sync’s well across devices. I sometimes feel its storage structure is clunky, but it could just be me.
Evernote // Free
Evernote offers storage and documentation options. It’s a little more complicated than the others because it was developed to ‘save’ rather than ‘store’, so explore it well before you choose to use it in this manner. The upside is that it is fantastic for note taking and keeping track of tasks, inspiration, and system development.
Wave // Free ($15/mo for payroll)
Wave Apps is a great little accounting program. It’s cloud based, and they have several iOS and Android apps that allow you to manage some (but not all) of your affairs. It’s structured like Mint, and can send invoices and receive credit card payments. However, I’ve noticed I have to really stay on top of it for my CPA to find it useful. I don’t have a lot of time, so I use it mostly for invoicing.
Your Bank // Free
This sounds really obvious, right? Since Wave got to be a mess for me, I ended up pushing everything in and out of one bank account, then exporting a spreadsheet on a quarterly basis. I annotate it manually for my CPA, and he is able to use it to run taxes (yay!). If you’re running a physical business or selling products, you will need balance sheets and profit / loss margins, so Wave will be a better bet.
The Ol’ Spreadsheet // Free
I’m not numbers minded, so this sounds insane to me. But if you’re a sole proprietor, you can probably get away with keeping track of things via a spreadsheet. There are a lot of examples on Google, so I would search around before setting yours up. Oh, and make sure your CPA is ok with this before you make him/her go insane.
Google Fi // $20/mo unlimited talk and text – $10/mo for each GB of Data
This is my current love affair. I actually sold my iPhone to do this (gasp). I was really sick of paying $60-90 a month for cell service. Google Fi utilizes TMobile and Sprint towers (as of now) so you have better coverage. They also include international data in your plan so you don’t have to buy ‘special’ data. Calls are made on wifi when possible, and there is no term limit. It’s just fantastic!
Google Voice // Free
Before there was Google Fi, there was Google Voice. This is akin to an ‘internet phone’ and works through your Gmail account. You can make calls and text from your computer, have calls forward to a physical phone, and use their app to text. It’s not a perfect solution, but if you want a separate number for work this definitely is a great first step.
Google Apps // $5/mo./user
Google Apps for business used to be free. Now it’s not. Sadface. But, it’s still extremely affordable. Why would you use this over a Gmail account? One reason is the power of managing a team’s set of emails from an easy to use platform. Beyond that, you can manage your domain through Google Apps.
Zoho Mail // Free(ish)
Zoho is a knockoff of Google Apps. Its email function is free, but some of its other modules are not. It’s nice to be able to utilize different programs from one place, so it may be worth the extra cost to use them.
Zoho CRM // Starts at $15/mo./user
As I alluded to above, you may prefer to use multiple programs curated by one company. Zoho’s CRM integrates into their email, so you can have everything organized. And we love organization.
Streak for Gmail // Free(ish)
I use Streak. It’s a very simple, very configurable CRM that integrates into Gmail. You can set up pipelines for different organizations, and boxes in those pipelines for different clients. I have four pipelines, all color coded and organized differently (I meant it when I said ‘serial’ entrepreneur). There are some things Streak tries to upsell you for, but if you don’t have a large team, they’re not needed.
Share what’s worked for you!