Can you imagine being an entrepreneur just a short decade ago?
If you've started your business then, you'd know that things were vastly different!
I love how fast technology has evolved. The barriers to entry are lower now than they’ve ever been. And if you don’t know how to do something, you can figure it out — largely for free.
I wouldn't be able to run my business from home, if not for many of these apps that are available to us now, at our fingertips.
They helped us streamline our business processes. And most importantly, these apps are user-friendly, so whether you’re a fresh entrepreneur or a veteran with multiple start-ups, you don’t have to worry about experiencing any “technical difficulties”.
Here are 8 apps I personally use and would recommend to anyone starting and running an online business:
We use Canva for all our graphics need - landing page banner, Facebook and Instagram images, Instagram stories and even the banner for this blog post you're reading, is "designed" using Canva.
It is a simple and intuitive design platform that allows businesses and individuals to create quality graphic designs for any occasion. Even freemium users have access to tons of photographs, graphic designs, fonts, and more.
With a simple drag-and-drop design tool, it makes it easy for business owners or any of your employees to build documents or designs from scratch, without having a design background. You can easily create powerful and beautiful designs in a short span of time.
With user-friendly applications, over a million images and fonts, and budget-friendly price rates, Canva is an excellent choice for any individual and business.
We have moved on to Kajabi for michellehon.com but we still use Mailchimp to manage our newsletter at thechillmom.com.
I found MailChimp to be user-friendly and for beginner online business users, Mailchimp offers a free yet generous plan; you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month to one audience.
A key feature of MailChimp is its tracking metrics that allow you to monitor who is opening your emails and how many clicks you get from them. With its reports, you get to understand your customers’ behaviours and their needs.
Its email scheduling function allows you to designate an appropriate time to email potential clients and subscribers, thus saving you the hassle of exclusively setting aside time at that specific period to manually email them.
MailChimp provides simple yet professional templates for you to create campaigns in a very short time without fuss. You have the option of customising as well.
Mailchimp is good for any marketer, even if they have no email marketing experience and have never used any email marketing software before. Its ease of use, combined with its heavy focus on analytics, makes it a good software for anyone focused on using a data-driven approach to email marketing.
This website, blog, the newsletters that you receive from me and all of our courses are hosted, created and sold via Kajabi.
If you're selling digital products, I would say - just go with Kajabi.
Yes, the monthly subscription fee may seem higher than other platforms but if you're adding up all those other platforms' costs, Kajabi may actually work out cheaper.
Besides providing the tools for digital information product creation, Kajabi contains built-in templates for landing pages, funnels, events, and email automation, designed specifically for those who want to share their expertise with the world.
From your dashboard, you can collect payments with zero transaction fee. Meaning Kajabi doesn't charge you anything but you do have to pay the payment gateway fee. And in my case, I use Stripe - so Stripe charges a fee for every transaction made.
Anyway, in my opinion, Kajabi is one of the best platforms for building and running your online course or membership site business.
BlueHost is my go-to hosting company every time I start a new business and need a new website.
The new user interface is easy to understand and it has great 24/7 customer support.
Also, another reason for getting your own website and custom domain name, is that you want to be able to reach your customers via emails. Without a proper custom domain name, the chances of customers flagging your (suspicious sounding) email for spam is high even if it is a legitimate email.
To avoid this, use a custom domain name that matches your brand. Having a custom domain shows that you are part of a real business and offer legitimate services when replying to clients, thus setting the right impression.
If you are a small business with a small number of employees and do not want to spend much money on email accounts, then consider BlueHost Email because it is cheap, reliable, secure and it comes with a free domain name.
At MomBoss Academy, my team share our files or folders with each other with just a few simple clicks using Google Drive. There is no file-size restriction for files uploaded via the desktop application or mobile apps, provided your account has enough space.
Any file uploaded while in offline mode will automatically be uploaded when you have an internet connection, making it convenient to work whenever and wherever. Files can be backed up and lost files can be easily retrieved within 30 days (for free and basic accounts).
Users can collaborate and work on files together without needing to email documents back and forth. Automatic updates are provided when someone edits a file in a shared folder.
Ah.. Wave. I was about to sign up for an expensive accounting software when I found out that Wave is completely free and works just as well!
It is a web-based integrated accounting solution specially designed for small businesses, freelancers, and consultants. Wave provides features including accounting, billing, payment tracking etc.
What I love about Wave is that I can simply upload my bank statement and viola, everything (well, everything that was transacted via my business account anyway) is accounted for.
You can add your bookkeeper as another user in your account and simply allow access to your accountant at the end of the financial year to look make sure everything is allied and good to submit for tax reporting.
For someone who had no idea what is a P&L and income statement when I first started my business, Wave is very layman user-friendly and I meant it in a good way.
If you're asking - so how do Wave makes money?
Well, they have an invoicing tool that allows you to collect credit card payments, and that is chargeable.
If you're not on Kajabi, then you'll need ClickFunnels for your business funnels.
What is business funnel?
A business funnel is a strategic online journey that you take a visitor through, to turn them into a customer.
ClickFunnels allows you to design funnels that allow visitors to leave their contact information with you so that you can easily follow-up with them and generate new leads!
With a funnel template set up, all you have to do is “Drag ‘N’ Drop” whichever elements you deem fit for your funnel, be it a video or a photo.
An upgrade to ClickFunnels Platinum sends uniquely crafted messages directly to your customers through all forms of communication i.e. email, social media, text and desktop notifications. This means that your customers will be notified even if they’re too busy to check their notifications. Pretty cool, huh?
I'm constantly trying out new tools and apps that could improve the way I run my businesses. There are many more options available that may be more suitable for your business. So I've collated more than 328 online resources for small business (mostly FREE 😉) just for you! Download them here.