I came from the corporate world. Sure, I knew technology, dealt with many systems, heck I even co-implemented them. I consider myself somewhat techy and not scared of trying things out.
But when I started my coaching business, I still knew nothing about apps that help you run a solopreneur business online.
I didn’t even realize how vast the world of apps is and how fantastic they are. They make running an online business so much easier and a lot of it for FREE!
So if you’re new to this world and might be in the same position as me a couple of years ago, I want to make it easy for you.
Below I have complied 15 + apps, descriptions, and links that are mostly free or have a free version for you to start with. They have been indispensable for me in my business, and I hope that you’ll discover some gems here for yourself as well.
Online Marketing and Content Creation
Who could live without Canva these days? Their free account is godsent for online content creation. The choice of free templates for all social media, presentations, flyers, business cards is astounding. You can create pretty much any marketing material you’ll ever need for your business. You can share your designs and collaborate with others.
They have a wide variety of free fonts, elements, and stock pictures. You can use Canva from your mobile but probably not as easy as from a laptop.
It’s super user-friendly and helps your graphics look almost professional even if, just like me, you’re far from it. If you haven’t used it yet, you must try!
2. Mobile Apps for Photo Editing
You can have a lot of fun with your photos or stock images. For social media posting straight from your phone, there is a multitude of apps in your Google Play or Apple App Store. Here’re just a few, but the choices are almost endless: inShot, inStory, Polish, Background Remover.
3. Free Stock Photography
I like them both because of the different styles of photos shared. Also, with those platforms, you can use an unlimited number of pictures for free.
And if you have a blog on WordPress, they are pre-integrated with Pexels allowing you to upload images into your blogs straight from there. That saves a few steps and time!
Whenever you have an extra buck to spare, it’s great to share it with your favorite photographer. And don’t forget to give them credit for their work.
4. Content Scheduling Apps
These apps are amazing! They can save soo much time and help with consistent posting. Because if you read any of my other blogs, consistency is key. The apps that I’ve used are Hootsuite, Later, and Facebook Creator Studio.
In their free version, Hootsuite allows you to connect up to 3 social media profiles. Later was created as an Instagram scheduler and is very good with that. However, now, the free account allows connecting your Instagram, FB, Twitter, and Pinterest – so one more profile than Hootsuite.
If you’re only using FB and Instagram, then FB Creator Studio is a great option, although they don’t have a nice calendar view of your scheduled post (all in one place) the same way the other apps have.
5. E-mail marketing
Once you are ready to create freebies, even basic landing pages, and start building your e-mail lists, there are many choices there. Convert Kit, Active Campaign, Lead Pages, etc., but not all of them have a free account option for an unlimited amount of time.
That’s why I will focus on pointing out to you only these two platforms here.
Their free option allows you to have one type of audience with up to 1,000 subscribers. You can also create simple landing pages from templates. Once you need to get more sophisticated, paid options are available.
Mailchimp – it has been around for ages now.
I have used their free account, and it did the job. The user interface has changed lately and is better than the original, but I still don’t find it as intuitive as it could be. Regardless, I think it’s a decent e-mail marketing platform for beginners. And, have I mentioned free? 😊
This is one of the most recent all-in-one platforms. Because they are still in the Beta version, I have to tell you here that I invested in their offer of a one-time payment for lifetime access to the entire platform. This will be a great money saver down the road as I’ll never have to pay monthly fees for all the modules, which is a standard with such platforms. It’s a fantastic deal as long as you’re OK waiting for all the Beta version bugs to be worked out.
Now they do have a free account option that, at this point, is well functioning. My link to Groove Funnels is an affiliate link, although I won’t make any money if you just sign up with the free account. It will give you the ability to create template-based or entirely custom landing pages and have an e-mail list of up to 500 subscribers. Right now, the free account also allows you to create an online store and a few other things. It’s definitely worth checking out.
6. Voice to text apps
Are you finding yourself wanting to send regular newsletters to your subscribers or write a weekly blog but never seem to have enough time? Or even if you carve out the time, when you sit in front of the screen, you draw a blank on what to write? Most of my ideas come to me when my brain is not busy because I’m doing house chores, driving, or other daily habits.
If you said yes to one of these, then I highly recommend Speech-Notes or other voice-to-text phone apps. This way, whenever a blog or newsletter idea pops up in your head, but you’re not in front of the laptop, you can speak to your phone, and the app will write it out all for you! Then you just e-mail yourself the note or save it straight on your google drive. After that, all you need to do is spend 15 mins editing, and voila! The copy will be even better as it will read as if you were indeed speaking with your ideal client in person.
Whether you write a blog, create free webinars, or do LIVES, the titles are what will stop your audience from scrolling and grab their interest in knowing more.
Did you know that many copywriters come up with multiple titles for each of their pieces of work before picking one?
The title is a super important piece of content, and you want to get good at it. But how when you’re just starting? Title Generator will help you. All you need to do is enter your content keywords, and in seconds, hundreds of titles to choose from will show up on your screen.
8. Text editors
Personally, when I type my first draft on anything. I don’t worry about spelling mistakes. And let me tell you I make many! Without text editing software, it would take me forever to edit my blogs, and you’d probably find even more spelling mistakes in them 😊. Grammarly or Hemingway Editor are great to get rid of most of your writing issues. You just copy and paste your text in them, and they’ll catch 99% of your mistakes and correct your grammar. The paid versions will tell you how to improve your piece to be more engaging and clear.
Making Money & Running Your Business
9. Connecting with your clients
There are a bunch of apps you can connect with your clients on.
The most popular video conferencing in North America is Zoom. The free account allows you to have one-on-one meetings for an unlimited amount of time and group meetings for 40 mins.
Google Meet comes with our Google Gmail account, but I find the quality is not the greatest, and you have no recording options. Microsoft Teams is similar to Google Meet.
As far as texting or chatting, What’s Up is very popular worldwide. And, of course, there are the messenger apps within each social media platform: Facebook, Instagram (they are integrated through FB Business Suite if you have your business account set up for both), LinkedIn, etc.
10. Scheduling meetings with your clients
If you are an online service provider like myself, then a scheduling app comes in handy. Many options in here as well.
If you use Square for your payments, they have a scheduling app in their suite that you can even integrate into your website, and it allows you to have different types of meetings set up for free.
All three are intuitive and user-friendly, so pick the one that offers what you need right now and.
11. Client retention
I have to say I’m not crafty to come up with some great ideas for small presents for my clients and collaborators. Yes, I am creative in offering amazing value in my programs and helping my clients get results faster, but try to get me to create a thank you card, and I’m lost.
Moreover, going to the post office, spending time buying and gluing stamps to send the cards is torture as well.
That is why discovering Sedout Cards felt like a Christmas present. This online service takes care of everything for you in the client appreciation department. All you need to do is create an account, pick a card (and a present if you want), upload some photos, write a thank you note, fill in the address, and click send. They take care of everything else. It takes 5 mins or less if you entered your client’s address once.
They print put the stamp one and send the cards for you. It’s such an easy way to express your gratitude, do small acts of kindness, and stay on top of your clients’ minds for minimal cost. I LOVE this service. That’s why I became an affiliate. You don’t have to. There is no cost for the account – you only pay for cards/ presents you send to others.
12. Organizing and managing your business
I like simple. And there are many apps out there that can help you do many things. Client relationship Management (CRM), project management, etc. If you want to know more about them, just reach out. For now and here, especially if you’re just starting out, all you need is Google Suite. The business version is paid but the basic plan is quite affordable.
You have cloud storage. You can create forms, other documents and share them with others. Simple, all in one place is really all you need. Trust me. I come from the corporate world where for many years, a multi-million dollar company was run out of excel.
13. Your website policies
Once you have a website, you need some basic privacy policies to make it legal and legit. You can get some of them for free through sites that generate web policies for you based on your country and the type of policy you need. They will give you one or two for free and then the rest for a small charge.
Website Policies service is super cool and easy to use. Here is the link, and this one can help you no matter what country you’re from.
Of course, you have your business to make money. To create invoices and collect payments, I love Square. It has everything you need to do that. Invoice creation is intuitive. You can generate recurring invoices, and it has an app allowing you to charge from your phone quickly!
You can also integrate your schedule, create a simple website and an online store. Square accepts international payments and has a PayPal integration. With my referral link, you receive up to $ 1,000 in free processing in your first 180 days.
If you want o to track your income and expenses by yourself and don’t want to pay a bookkeeper yet or even invest in software, Wave is the way to go. It’s completely free accounting software with invoicing and payment options. Their free version is more than enough for solopreneurs to keep their books organized.
And we’re done. I hope this was helpful. If those 15 suggestions are not enough, I do have a list of over 50 apps that expands on what I’ve covered here. If you’re looking for more advice and would like a while list – just send me an e-mail asking for it here.