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Siobhan
July 21, 2017

Essential Tools for Entrepreneurs & Freelancers

A big part of running your own business has little to do with the work itself. Invoicing, emails, marketing, and bookkeeping are all essential for staying efficient and productive. Staying on top of responsibilities can be a balancing act involving a lot of emails, to-do lists and spreadsheets. But what other tools are out there to make an entrepreneur’s life a little easier? Our friends at Holvi have put together a list of some of their favourites, which help them (and now you, too!) work a little smarter.

Project management - Slack, Trello, Asana, Google Drive

There are a ton of apps you can use to smooth out any creases in your project management. If you’ve worked in an office over the last 18 months, not doubt you’ll have already heard of instant chat and file sharing app Slack — good for tidying up communications. If you’re needing shared, at-a-glance overviews of your projects, consider using Trello or Asana. And for collaborating and sharing documents with your clients, freelancers or employees, nothing beats Google Drive.

Accounting - Holvi

Transform your piles of receipts, invoices and dusty ring binders into a sleek, paperless accounting system. Created specifically for entrepreneurs, Holvi is a digital banking service that incorporates a lot of useful and time-saving features. Aside from paperless bookkeeping, you can generate invoices, manage your money, and even sell your products with their built-in online store. Holvi comes with a business account, so you can easily set up your shop online and get payments in on your account, instantly.

Productivity - SelfControl, Cold Turkey, Newsfeed Eradicator, Noiz.io, Rescue Time, Harvest

It’s easy to let productivity wane, especially if you’re working on a task that doesn’t quite capture your imagination. Consider installing SelfControl (for Mac) or Cold Turkey (for Windows), free apps that block access to certain distracting websites (I’m looking at you, Twitter!). Newsfeed Eradicator, meanwhile, keeps you out of the rabbit-hole by blocking Facebook’s feed module — leaving the platform’s messaging functionality in place. If you’re still struggling, Noiz.io’s ambient sound equalizer will drown out background sounds and improve focus. Right, now you’re really in the zone! Track your time on client projects with Rescue Time or Harvest.

Creativity - Deskish, Realtime Board, Project of How

How can you ensure your ideas stay fresh and unique? If you’re feeling a little stale, or could just do with a little boost, there are loads of creativity apps to get those cognitive cogs turning. Deskish is a fun desktop app that allows you to create moodboards, build portfolios, present research or generally play around. There’s the slightly more formal Realtime Board if you’re looking for for something sleeker. Project of How, meanwhile, offers insights and tips for bringing projects together — a great source of inspiration!

Building a website - Webflow, Instapage, Squarespace, Cargo, InVision

It’s 2017, and it’s never been easier to make a website — there’s really no excuse! You should aim to build a dynamic site that works on all devices — if you need that and a CMS, use something like Webflow. Instapage or Squarespace are good alternatives if you don’t need a CMS. Cargo allows your to create beautiful portfolio sites, good for artists, designers or creatives. If you’re working with a design team, you can stay in touch and track your site’s progress using InVision.

Forms and feedback - Google Forms, Typeform

If you’re looking for some quick and easy feedback on your products or services, you might be able to gather what you need with a form. Google Forms allows you to create and send bespoke forms for free, while Typeform offers an elegant interface that your users and customers will be happy to interact with.

Accelerators and investment - f6s, Global Accelerator Network

Getting a startup off the ground can be tricky, and it’s easy to lose track of the multitude of accelerator and funding programs out there. Try using f6s, a platform that aggregates opportunities and services for startups in one place. Find everything from angel or investment funds, accelerator programs, jobs, coworking and events! Alternatively, check out the Global Accelerator Network — an enormous and international community of accelerators, partners and investors.

Digital marketing - Mailchimp, AdEspresso, Hootsuite, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, HubSpot

In an age where your business can be lost to the social media algorithm, nothing beats email marketing for directly linking your customer to your business. Try a service like Mailchimp to manage newsletter subscribers, build templates, and send campaigns. AdEspresso, meanwhile, can improve your Facebook ad campaigns’ ROI, allowing you to test hundreds of ads in minutes instead of hours. Use Hootsuite to manage your social media, with real-time analytics and content autoscheduling. But what to do with those customers when they finally make contact? Firstly, track analytics and ROI with a service like Google Analytics or, in the case of apps, Mixpanel. Make sure you use a good CRM like HubSpot to manage your contacts, keep communication organised, and convert traffic into sales. 

This article was offered to you by Holvi. Holvi offers digital banking combining everything a modern entrepreneur needs in one digital business account. The useful built-in business apps like paperless bookkeeping and invoicing will help you to focus on your core competences again. Let Holvi do all the daunting tasks and be a maker and doer again!

‍Holvi, the bank for Makers and Doers

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