I love, love, love free stuff. Soooo, so much. If it’s free, I’ll definitely give it a try. No matter what. Of course, sometimes I get what I pay for and it sucks. But then I will eventually stumble upon a gem that I can’t get enough of. The kind of thing that I can’t believe is free and then I become totally hooked.
So obviously through my years of entrepreneurial pursuits I’ve gathered some pretty amazing free tools that help me do whatever it is I’m passionate about at the moment. These are those tools. Some might not be strictly business, but as we all know, when you’re an entrepreneur your life and business become so intertwined that at times they are indistinguishable. Which is the BEST part of being an entrepreneur.
So here we go! The absolute best free tools for entrepreneurs:
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Udemy is a treasure trove of free online courses for entrepreneurs…in ANY topic you can imagine. There are literally thousands of courses on topics ranging from business and web development to photography and music. They also have some courses that you can pay for, so if you want the free ones, you just use the price filter and set it to Free. You won’t believe how much you find!
As a blogger, discovering Pixabay was as powerful as discovering social media for the first time – another awesome tool that has the power to increase your web traffic 10 fold (if not more). It’s very straight-forward – the site offers thousands of very high quality photos for free. When paired with sites like PicMonkey, you can create amazing images to use not only on your website, but also on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media avenue works best for you.
Related article: 7 Websites with the Best Free Stock Photos.
KWFinder was one of my favorite discoveries and boy, do I wish I had discovered it sooner. The site is simple – you enter a long-tail keyword (or short, if you want) and it tells you a ton of valuable information about the word – things like search volume, difficulty, similar keywords, and the current top ranking sites for that search. It is invaluable if you are trying to optimize your site or rely on search engines for traffic. You are only allowed two free searches a day without upgrading, so you need to be organized about your searches! But it’s totally possible and totally worth it.
Few tools have had as big of an impact on my blog as Tailwind, and more specifically Tailwind Tribes. Tailwind lets you schedule pins, which can be a huge relief if you use Pinterest for marketing and especially helpful if you have a blog. Tribes are groups of marketers that share pins with each other to cross-promote. Both are free, but after 30 days with Tailwind you receive some limitations. Tribes, however, remain completely free and thus are always useful.
UPDATE: Tailwind is in the midst of making changes to Tribes, including the “free for life” aspect. You can still take advantage of a free trial and use Tailwind’s other free offerings, so I still recommend it! I will continue to update once the changes are clearer!
Related article: 16 Different Ways I’m Increasing My Blog’s Pinterest Traffic
Depending on your specific entrepreneurial endeavors, Duolingo may or may not actually help you get your job done. BUT I can promise you that if you were cut from the same entrepreneurial cloth that I was, you will absolutely love this site AND it’s likely that it will ultimately add value to your life. Plain and simple, it teaches you how to speak another language. It’s very, very easy and allows you to cut the lessons into small bite-sized chunks so you can practice 5-10 minutes a day if that’s all you’ve got. When you’re reaching your point of burnout, this is a great distraction. And lets be honest, nowadays it certainly doesn’t hurt to speak more than just english.
I am absolutely obsessed with BookBub. Basically, it hooks you up every single day with free ebooks. You just fill out your reading preferences on their site and then they will scan for daily deals in your interests and list them all out in an email. I have downloaded hundreds of books from them already and I’ve only been using them for a few months. It is AMAZING. Whether you want to keep an eye out for new industry-specific books or just need some romantic fiction to let your brain recharge, BookBub will keep you busy.
Buffer is an amazing service that will work wonders to help you manage your social media posts. They are pros at tweets and Facebook posts and have recently expanded to also manage pins. Basically, you upload your tweet/post/pin ahead of time and schedule when you would like it released. Not only does it handle the publishing, but it will also provide free analytics that can be really handy to find out what people are actually clicking on.
I LOVE Mint. This site (along with their very mobile friendly app) will pull all of your financial data together and lay it out for you in easy-to-read lists, charts, and diagrams. This includes savings accounts, checking accounts, mortgages, credit cards, loans, cars, etc. Pretty much every type of asset. It sounds scary to put all of your financial accounts in one place, but they’re a brilliant company (Mint is a product of Intuit…the company that makes TurboTax and QuickBooks) that has made things extremely secure. And as a huge added bonus, if you endeavor to do your own taxes each year using TurboTax, you can actually link your Mint account to make tax filing even smoother. I’ve been using this site for almost 10 years and I only grow to love it more and more.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console provides invaluable information about your website – all for free. You can find which pages of your website are getting clicked on, what search terms people are using to find you, and where your site is ranking on Google. Not only that, it also enables you to make sure Google can see your site properly so that it can be properly crawled for search-engine optimization purposes. I could spend hours on this site getting ideas about how to take my site up to the next step. It has a lot of information packed in, but its totally worth learning!
My husband is in love with this app and he has finally got me hooked. This is the king of convenient and free online education. And they have classes on EVERYTHING. You can get it right on your phone too, which makes it even more convenient and easy to use. What is really exciting about this tool is that you are bound to try out classes that you never would have thought of just because they’ll show up in the featured section and seem intriguing. It’s a great way to learn and get inspired.
I’m not sure that there’s any business in the world that wouldn’t benefit from some form of a website, so I’m definitely going to say that this is a must-have for any entrepreneur starting out. WordPress provides dozens of free website templates, so you don’t need to have a blog (which is what they are most known for) to take advantage of what they offer. There are thousands of amazing plugins that help you to do anything you want too, which is a huge added bonus for using them.
It feels a little weird to put such a “boring” tool on this list, but I want to make sure everyone is utilizing Google Docs because it may honestly be the top free tool that’s out there – seriously. For those new to it, it is basically Microsoft Word but a thousand times more useful. It is hosted in the cloud, so you can access it anywhere (including your phone – major benefit!), it automatically saves your work as you type, and you can share documents with other people as you’re working on it….which opens up a whole new world of collaboration. I use Google Docs so often nowadays that I don’t even have Microsoft Office installed on my laptop – it has become totally irrelevant.
Another child of Google, Google Analytics tells you who is visiting your website, where they’re going, what they’re clicking on, where they’re from, and a ton more information that will really help you figure out your customer (or at least the people that are visiting your website). Again, this is free, so you’re a fool to at least not set it up! I guarantee that if you check into your stats every now and then you will have some big AHA! moments that will definitely impact how you do business.
I hope these end up helping you out as much as they help me! As always, pleeeease tell me if you’ve got your own secret weapons that make life extra easy for you 😉
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