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When I first started my business and website, I only had $100 to spend on it. It’s not that I was being cheap, or that I wasn’t serious about investing in myself. In fact, it was quite the opposite — I was broke. So, I started my business with the money I had, and I used as many free business tools as I possibly could.

Now that I’ve been in business for almost three years, I have more money and flexibility to invest in my business. However, I am still able to spend less than $200 a month on the business tools that I use to help me run my business. Here is a breakdown of all of the business tools I use, how much I spend on them, and how I run a successful business for less than $200 a month.

Working With Clients

First things first, let’s talk about the business tools I use to work with clients. If you don’t know, I started my blog and business as a virtual assistant. I then gained enough knowledge and skills to become an online business manager. I also niched so I could become a strategy consultant and focus on helping my clients launch their products (like courses and books) and services. Here are the business tools I use for the service side of my business.

Quickbooks

I use Quickbooks Self-Employed to invoice my clients, handle my income and expenses, and even pay my quarterly taxes, all right through the app and website! When I drive to meet clients or have to go on a work trip, I will also add the app to my phone to track my mileage. (Need a great accounting system? Use this link to get Quickbooks Self-Employed and 50% off the monthly plan).

Cost: $17/month 

Toggl

Since I still work hourly for some clients, I use Toggl to track my hours. Then, when it’s time to invoice, I just download a file that shows the work I’ve done for them and include it with their invoice. Easy-peasy.

Cost: FREE (but Toggl also offers paid plans) 

Calendly

I use Calendly to schedule discovery calls with potential clients, for my current clients to use to schedule our regular meetings, and for my strategy sessions with other clients. It’s easy for anyone to book a call with me with Calendly, and I can set up my schedule however I want it. I can also have them pay me directly with PayPal if the call is a strategy session or consulting call. (Another great option for scheduling calls is Acuity, and I can vouch for them as well.)

Cost: $15/month

Zoom

Once a client or strategy session client books a call with me via Calendly, they get a personalized link to our scheduled chat session in Zoom. Zoom is a video conference platform. When I chat with my clients, I like seeing their faces and making sure that they understand everything that we are planning and doing. Zoom is SO much better than Skype in my opinion, and I love that I can record calls, drop a link in the chat, and even mute people if multiple people are in a meeting. It’s great!

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you need the extra features) 

Hello Sign

For any and all contracts that need to be signed, I use HelloSign. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of tech knowledge, which I love! Plus, I can import different contracts based on what I need someone to sign.

Cost: FREE (up to 3 documents a month) 

Blogging

Although I love working with my clients, I also enjoy blogging. It’s a great way to connect with my audience, gain new prospective clients, be creative, and have another source of income. And while blogging can be free, there are a few things I pay for so I can keep my blog and website running smoothly.

SiteGround

Since I use WordPress for my website, I needed to find a hosting company to store and protect it. While I used another company in my first year of blogging, I quickly switched to SiteGround because I was having way too many issues and was constantly trying (unsuccessfully) to reach the other company’s customer support.

With SiteGround, I haven’t had any issues, and their customer service is top-notch. Seriously. I can live chat with someone in less than 30 seconds. And I’ve live-chatted a lot, especially because I’m not the most tech-savvy. They even updated my site for me when I had to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, which was super nice!

Cost: $145/year or $12/month

Canva

I use Canva for everything graphic design related, including all of the images you see on my website. I also use Canva to create my digital products, presentation slides, and more. Although Canva can be kind of a hassle (I’ve experienced quite a bit of downtime with them), it’s a great alternative to Adobe Suite.

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you need the extra features) 

Unsplash and Burst by Shopify

Along with Canva, I use both Unsplash and Burst by Shopify to find the stock photos that I use for my blog and products. I love both of these sites because they offer royalty-free stock photos for commercial use!

Cost: FREE

Grammarly

Grammarly is awesome-sauce. I know I’m not the most grammatically correct person in the world (even though I enjoy telling stories and writing), but I make fewer mistakes when I use Grammarly. I installed it on Google Chrome so it automatically corrects me when I need it. This is honestly one of my favorite business tools, and it makes me feel more confident when I’m writing!

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you need the extra features) 

Social Warfare

I use Social Warfare to make it easy for people to share my content on social media. I can include photos to fit various platforms (including Twitter and Pinterest) and I can also create the exact description that I want people to see when they share my posts.

Cost: $29/year or less than $3/month

MailerLite

MailerLite is my email marketing provider as of right now. I started using it when I was looking for an affordable email marketing solution. MailerLite is great if you’re just starting out, and also includes many features that other email marketing platforms charge you a small fortune for (like landing pages and email funnels). While I do plan on switching to ConvertKit soon, I love using MailerLite for now.

Cost: $10/month

Fivver

I know, I know, don’t judge me. But yes, I use Fivver. While I don’t like the setup of Fivver, and I do feel like they sometimes take advantage of the freelancers on their site, I do like using them for one-off tasks that I need to outsource. They have fantastic creators on the site that do really wonderful jobs, from podcast editing to formatting videos. This saves me time and allows me to focus on the tasks that I’m best at, while also paying a fellow freelancer. I also tip, because I want them to know how much I appreciate their work!

Cost: Around $40/month for the services I use

 

Product Creation

As I said, I offer both services and products in my business. While I don’t use a ton of crazy business tools to create and sell my products, I do have a few that I want to mention!

Teachable

While I don’t have any live courses or programs just yet, I decided to use Teachable to create and store them. I love how I’m able to create all of my content right in Teachable, and when I’m ready to sell, all I have to do is click publish. Teachable makes it easy to create digital courses and programs, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy (like me).

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you need the extra features) 

Gumroad

Gumroad is my choice for housing my products like my ebook and my vision binder printouts. Basically, I use Gumroad to store and sell my lower-priced products. For the price, it’s great, and I love how you can also set up a subscription service and start an affiliate program.

Cost: $10/month

Smallpdf

I don’t know what I did before I found Smallpdf. The site allows me to convert just about anything, compress images, combine pdfs, and even protect the files that I create. If you find yourself creating a ton of digital products, you need to use Smallpdf.

Cost: FREE

Loom

Especially now that I’m creating courses and more digital products, I like being able to have a presentation that people can watch if they learn better that way. That’s where Loom comes in. Loom records my screen and even uses my webcam so I can create videos for my clients and customers to watch. I even use it to record how-to videos for my virtual assistant! The best part is that Loom stores the videos, so I don’t waste space in my Google Drive or on my computer.

Cost: FREE (but they will be rolling out a premium plan soon)

Social Media

Alright, on to social media business tools! Again, I try to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to business tools, but since my business is run online, social media plays a big role. But, I’ve been able to narrow down the tools I use and I stick with my must-haves.

SmarterQueue

SmarterQueue is one of my favorite social media business tools. It works just like MeetEdgar, but it’s half the cost! I use SmarterQueue to share my content, content I find on the web, products, and affiliates effortlessly on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. They even allow you to create a custom plan so you can get the most out of your social media scheduling.

Cost: $20/month 

Planoly

I love using Planoly for Instagram. I love it so much that I even wrote a blog post on how to use it and why it’s such a great tool. Instagram is my favorite social media platform, but I don’t like to spend hours on it daily. Planoly allows me to schedule my content so I can spend more time interacting with my audience.

Cost: $9/month 

LinkTree

Do you know what I hate about Instagram? You can only have one link in your bio. Well, that was until LinkTree came along. Now, you can include multiple links in your bio, and your audience and followers can find everything you offer with just the click of your link. (Want to see LinkTree in action? Check out my Instagram profile and click on the link in my bio)

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you need the extra features) 

Creative Market

I use Creative Market at least once a month. I’ve purchased previous blog themes, Canva templates, ebook templates, and more through the website. I also love how my purchases are supporting fellow entrepreneurs and freelancers like myself.

Cost: $10-$20/month 

Smart Mockups

If you follow me on social media, or if you’ve purchased one of my products, you may have come across the photos of my products on iPads, phones, computers, and even books. That’s all thanks to Smart Mockups. I’m able to import my digital products and show how they would look on phones, printed out, and more. And it’s so easy to use too!

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you want more mockup options)

Tailwind

Tailwind is the only tool I use for Pinterest. Using Tailwind has increased my blog views, made some of my blog posts go viral, and even gets me a few digital product sales every single month. I love using Tailwind for Pinterest because it saves me time, and it also allows me to focus on other social media tasks.

Note: I signed up for Tailwind YEARS ago, so I have features automatically added to my plan that many won’t receive if they sign up with the $14.99 plan now. However, I highly recommend upgrading to use Tribes and the Loop feature. They’ve been lifesavers!

Cost: $14.99/month 

Task Management + Productivity

Last but not least, let’s talk about productivity business tools. I had to include these tools, especially since my website (and business) are built around being productive and managing your time as a mompreneur. So, here are my favorite productivity business tools!

Asana

I don’t know what I would do without Asana. It’s the best task management system I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried over a dozen different systems. I am able to easily organize my thoughts, goals, and tasks. I can also add client tasks, personal development tasks, and more. Plus, I can set due dates, priorities, and duplicate tasks so I always know what to do from day to day.

Cost: FREE (but you can upgrade to pro if you need the extra features) 

Coggl

A client of mine actually recommended this website to me, and I’ve been hooked ever since! If you enjoy mind mapping to organize your thoughts, Coggl is a great online tool that will allow you to do that. Plus, you can save all of your mind maps and funnels, and access them whenever you’re ready to work on them.

Cost: FREE (up to 3 private mind maps) 

Zapier

I wrote about Zapier when I talked about using automation in my business and how it helps me save time, and I still use it now. Zapier is a great tool to help “connect” tasks that you do manually, so you can spend less time on being the middle man. For example, I use a zap that will automatically tweet “hey” to anyone who follows me. I use Zapier for other tasks too, but the possibilities are endless! Whatever you’re trying to automate in your business, I’m 99.9% sure there’s a zap for that.

Cost: FREE (up to 5 zaps) 

Total monthly costs: $171

Using these business tools has helped me automate my business, focus on my craft and skills, and gives me time back in my day. And I’m able to use all of them for less than $200 a month. You can’t beat that!

What are some of your favorite business tools?

 

It\'s possible to run your business with affordable tools. I spend less than $200 a month to run my service and product based business, and I love it! If you\'re looking to keep more money in your pocket, but also automate and level up your business, check out these business tools! #mompreneur #virtualassistant #socialmedia #entrepreneur #soloprenuer #businesstools #theentrepremomer #wahm #workfromhome #freelancing