The Best Productivity Tools for Home-Based Businesses
If you’re like me, freelancing on a shoestring budget, you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of free and affordable productivity tools to help you stay organized, be more efficient, and more awesome (at least that’s what I tell myself). I don’t know what I’d do without these, to be honest.
You get 2 GB of storage for free. Store your work documents online in the cloud and share them with your clients. No need to email back and forth! If you need more space, it costs $9.99 per month for 1 TB of storage. There are apps for your smartphone as well as for Macs and PCs, making it cross-platform capable. Click here to sign up.
If you need more storage than what Dropbox offers, Box.com offers 10 GB for free with a 250 MB file size limit. Their paid plans start at $10 a month for 100 GB of storage and a 5GB file size. Like Dropbox, Box also has apps for your smartphone as well as for Macs and PCs, making it cross-platform capable. Click here to sign up.
3. GSuite & Google Drive
How about 15GB of space for free? Not bad, given Google also has their free suite of office software. It’s also cross-platform compatible. Click here to sign up for Google Drive.
I use GSuite to manage my email and storage, and I love it because it works seamlessly with my Chromebook! It costs $6 per month for 30GB of storage plus the capability to manage my business email, which is super affordable. I almost never use Microsoft Office 365 anymore, to be honest. Click here for more info.
4. Wave Accounting
No lengthy description needed for this service. Issue and keep track of your invoices online with no monthly fee! Only available online. Click here to find out more.
5. QuickBooks Self-Employed
Because my husband and I use TurboTax Self-Employed, we get a year’s subscription included in the TurboTax fee. It saves me so much time because it automatically imports all of my Schedule C information at the click of a button. If you also use TurboTax SE, then you should definitely take advantage of this feature. Learn more here.
I can’t say enough good things about Evernote for keeping track of your notes online, whether it’s a web page you wanted to save for reading later or a snapshot of handwritten notes (it has OCR recognition!). With its sophisticated organization system via tagging and “stacking,” finding your notes is a breeze. There is a paid version available starting at $7.99 per month, but I have yet to need it. It’s web-based with iPhone and Android apps. Click here to get it.
Need a free project management system? Then you’ll probably want to try Asana (it might be my favorite on this list of the best productivity tools). I tried Teamwork, Trello, and even Zoho, but I kept coming back to Asana. It’s supposed to be an email alternative, because your communication revolves around a particular task. While I haven’t used it for managing a team, it does make setting up projects with due dates and tasks a whole lot easier than a calendar and spreadsheet. It is also available on both Android and iOS platforms as well as on the web. Click here for a free account setup.
Automate everyday tasks with “recipes” that you create. Need to automatically send your Instagram photos to Dropbox? Quickly create calendar entries without opening your calendar? Get an email when the forecast calls for rain? IFTTT does all of this, and more. I love it! Smartphone apps are also available. Click here to sign up!
With all of the hackers out there, and the need for EVERYTHING to be password-protected, I love LastPass because it autogenerates passwords for all of your most sensitive information. Those passwords are protected with a master password, which Lastpass does not even have access to. All sensitive data is encrypted and decrypted locally before syncing with LastPass, and there’s an option for 2-step authentication for an extra measure of security. With the free plan, you only have access to passwords on your computer, but not your smartphone. If you want that, then you’ll need to pay a whopping $12 per year. Click here to find out more.
If you’re a blogger, then you need a newsletter! I use Mailchimp’s free service, and I couldn’t be happier with all of the bells and whistles I get with it. Basically, you can send email newsletters to up to 12,000 people per month, for free. If you have more subscribers than that, then I bet you can afford Mailchimp’s paid service at $10 per month. Mailchimp also offers landing pages in their free service. Not a huge selection of templates, but it’s a start. 🙂 Click here to sign up.
11. Google Voice
And last but not least in my list of the best productivity tools is Google Voice. Why? It allows you to have a business phone number for free. You can have calls to your Google Voice number forwarded to your personal cell phone. I use it for that reason, and I love it, because this way, I know it’s a business call coming in. You’ll need a Google account to use it. Click here to find out more.
Want to add to this list of best productivity tools? Let me know in the comments!