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6 Essential Productivity Tools Every Solopreneur Must Use
If you’re a freelancer, digital nomad, or solo entrepreneur, you know the struggle — your income depends on your productivity. With no boss over your head, it’s up to you to stay at the top of your game all the time.
That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of all the resources available to you. Thanks to productivity tools, you can create a fully-functioning workspace, maximize productivity and build your dream business in the process.
According to a CITO Research report, approximately 53% of respondents stated that mobile apps and software improve business processes and productivity. The key is choosing the right tools to remove obstacles and help you accomplish your goals.
We’ve put together a list of six productivity tools that will help you stay organized, share your work, communicate with clients, and keep creating without any speed bumps.
1. Evernote: Keep your notes together
Tired of trying to keep track of the notes you scribble down in a notebook or on your phone? Evernote can help with that.
This streamlined note-taking app allows you to manage your documents, take notes, share ideas, set schedules for yourself, keep track of all your passwords, and more. Best of all, you can access those notes from all of your devices, wherever you go.
Evernote offers three different plans for people at various stages of their career:
- Basic: The free basic plan lets you keep notes, voice memos, photos, and essential links all in one place. It will sync with all your devices, and you can control it hands-free with Siri or Google.
- Premium: For $7.99 a month, you’ll get twice the storage of Evernote Basic, along with the ability to access your notes offline and a few more efficient features.
- Business: If you have multiple people on your team, you can use Evernote Business for $14.99 a month to collaborate and share your notes and documents.
2. Google Docs: Create, store and share
If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to Google Docs for free.
But are you taking full advantage of this tool? It’s one of the best resources out there for a content creator or freelance writer. You can easily access your documents from any device and share them with clients and team members.
A few highlights of Google Docs’ services include:
- Cloud storage: Backup your important documents so that you never lose them if a device crashes.
- Working offline: Google Docs gives you the option to work while you’re offline — awesome for digital nomads on the go.
- Secure sharing: When you share your documents, you decide who has access to them and what level of access they have (viewer, editor, or commenter).
3. Trello: Coordinate and visualize projects
Whether you’re working with a team, or need to keep yourself organized, Trello is a fantastic resource.
It’s free to sign up and get started. You can create boards for each project, and bring in multiple team members to coordinate, post completed projects, and send messages. With the mobile app and notifications sent to your email, you won’t miss a beat.
For those of you who like to organize your projects visually, Trello lets you colour coordinate and layout all your tasks on one board, so you have a constant bird’s eye view of your entire workflow.
4. Zapier: Connect your apps to move faster
As a solopreneur, you might feel like you have your work spread over too many platforms.
While some clients use Slack and some communicate through Gmail, there are others who share content on Dropbox -- gets chaotic, doesn’t it? If that sounds like your work life, consider using Zapier to make things a little easier.
Zapier connects all your apps, so you can:
- Automatically share data: Documents in your Google Drive will sync up with your Dropbox, and vice versa, so you don’t lose track.
- Create processes: Create your own automated processes (without any complicated coding).
- Automate tasks: Zapier takes simple tasks, like sending email updates, off your hands so that you can stay focused.
5. Expensify: Keep track of your spending
Being an entrepreneur is great until it’s time to keep track of your business taxes. Dealing with taxes as an independent contractor can get complicated.
Expensify is an app that will help with that.
It’s super simple: whenever you make a business purchase: scan your receipt with the app, and it will store it for you in a spreadsheet. That way, when it’s time to file your taxes, you know exactly how much you spent, and where.
6. Franz: Never miss a message
Ever missed an important message from a client because they texted you on WhatsApp when you normally use Slack?
Franz is a free, easy to use app that simplifies your messaging services. With this tool, you can:
- Check all your accounts at once: Open the app to see new messages on all platforms, from Facebook to Gmail to WhatsApp.
- Add unlimited accounts: Link as many messaging accounts as you want on one app, with no charge.
- Create to-do lists: As soon as you see a message come in, you can highlight the content and add it to your to-do list so you won’t forget.
Bonus Tool - Markup hero: capture ideas & communicate clearly
How often do you need to screenshot something and add comments? For many professionals and entrepreneurs, this is a daily activity. Whether you are giving feedback on a marketing campaign, creating a mockup for a new feature, designing sales material or building customer support responses, one of the fastest and most effective ways to communicate ideas is through screenshots and markups.
Markup Hero will enable you to:
- Explain Ideas Faster: Take a screenshot, add arrows, text, callouts, highlights and more to communicate your ideas.
- Share Anywhere: Create a shareable link and paste into an email, Slack, SMS, Facebook or any other platform and get an instant preview.
- Organize Resources: Every screenshot and annotation is saved in your history for future editing and sending to others. Use public or private links to secure your documents.
The life of a solo entrepreneur is never easy. Between coordinating with your clients and team members, meeting deadlines, and getting to that next video conference on time, you have a lot on your plate.
So, don’t make it any harder on yourself. Find the tools that are right for you, and use them to create a more efficient, productive workflow.
It’s important not to overwhelm yourself with too many apps.
What matters most is that you’re using the resources that will truly benefit you and increase your productivity. After all, when you’re in charge of your own business, a better workflow can make all the difference!
About the author
Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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