Congratulations on finally deciding to start your own business!
Now comes the hard part (as if leaving behind the security of your regular job wasn’t hard enough). Along with the thrills of being your own boss comes the burden of having to manage everything on your own.
Suddenly, you’re a CEO, a designer, a social media manager, a customer service representative, and an office administrator. Throw in client meetings and chasing vendors for payments and you’re cruising toward burnout.
The good news is you don’t have to do it all on your own. With the help of technology, you can take your mind off mundane tasks and get some free time to focus on making your solopreneurial venture profitable and scalable.
Online Tools for Solopreneurs
Here are some tools you need to make your solo journey a smooth-sailing one.
Create a Website
Creating a website doesn’t have to be an expensive affair but it’s definitely one that needs thorough research and attention to detail. Start by thinking about what purpose you want it to serve and then assemble the tools you need to get it up and running.
If you find the prospect of creating a website intimidating, relax. Creating a website is an easy process when you use WebsiteBuilder. To start, answer a few questions and Domain.com’s AI-powered WebsiteBuilder will select the right layout, along with initial images and content for your site. If you’d prefer to work with a professional to create your site, Domain.com can help with that, too.
Domain.com offers powerful and reliable hosting plans ranging from your basic hosting to more complex plans for eCommerce and high-volume sites. Additionally, they offer WordPress hosting, which is among the most versatile tools offering various templates for different kinds of websites.
Next, you will need to register a domain name that people can use to find your website. An ideal domain name is:
- Similar to your company name so as to strengthen your online branding.
- Short and simple enough to be memorable and easy to type.
- Indicative of your industry or nature of business.
- Creative enough to stand out from competitors.
- Readily available to use and free of trademark protections.
Consider using new domain extensions that can not only be more affordable but can also make your domain name more meaningful and contextual. For instance, you can use .store for an online store, .tech if you are a coder, programmer, or web designer, .online if you are going to take online classes, or .space if you need an online space to display your art.
You will also need tools to provide data that measures the success of your website in terms of the traffic it is receiving from different sources, conversions, and bounce rates. Google Analytics is a free tool that offers most services that a solopreneurial venture would need, but you can also opt for paid tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush that can provide more complex data such as in-depth competitor analysis and backlink monitoring.
Task Management and Communication
Being a one-person army is never easy. You need tools that can help you plan and organize your tasks, track workflows, track the amount of time spent on different jobs, and set up reminders. Fortunately, there is no dearth of online tools to help you in this department. Here are some of our favorites.
Microsoft 365 offers all the tools you know and love to help you establish and run your business. Need to reinforce your brand with a professional email address that matches your domain name? Microsoft 365 has you covered. They also offer the tools you’re already familiar with, like Outlook, Word, Skype, and more. From cloud-based document management to virtual meeting software, you have everything you need to manage your business when you use Microsoft 365.
Stay on top of all your tasks with Google Workspace. Whether you need to stay in touch with your customers and clients or share documents with partners and employees, you can do it all with the tools they offer. And there’s no need to worry about confusing set up, domain verification, or toggling between Domain.com and Gmail. Google Workspace is completely integrated with your Domain.com control panel, allowing instant access so you can get down to business, fast.
Todoist offers a host of features for different types of workers from creative professionals to freelancers to techies to business owners. It allows you to list and prioritize tasks and subtasks, segregate them into different categories, and set deadlines and reminders. You can also track your progress through productivity charts and earn points for completing tasks.
Monday can easily be integrated with other apps such as Google, Dropbox, and Slack to set up automated workflows and help you save time. It also offers different viewing styles such as kanban, graphs, and charts so you can pick the one that you find easiest to read and understand.
FreshBooks is particularly useful for freelancers as it also provides tools for managing finances, time-tracking, and setting up estimates and timelines for projects. The invoicing tool ensures that you get paid on time while its collaborative project management tool makes it easy for clients to share feedback, so you can be on the same page at all stages of the task.
Accounting and Invoicing
Managing your business accounts can be the most daunting task for solopreneurs, especially if you’re not from a finance background. Hiring a bookkeeper may not be within everyone’s budget. But there are a number of online tools, from simple to complex, that you can use to take the load off your hands and learn a thing or two about accounting.
This free software offers simple yet useful money-management solutions, making it ideal for small solo businesses. Its best feature is easy-to-create invoices, but it also helps you visualize your cash flows and stay on top of payments. If you want to manage your credit card payments through the app, it charges you a basic fee of $3-4 per transaction.
For more complex accounting needs, especially for those pertaining to online stores, Xero offers all of the services that Wave provides along with seamless integration with other apps that can help you automate workflows. Other useful features include inventory tracking, bill payments, bank account connections, tax calculations, financial reporting, and file sharing.
As a solopreneur, you may not have a big marketing budget, but you can harness the power of social media to build your brand, connect with your audience and even sell your products. However, managing multiple social media accounts is no mean feat.
That’s the reason why big companies have teams dedicated purely to social media. Not only do you need to understand the platforms well, but you also need to know your audience behavior, post on multiple accounts, and have the design and writing chops to create beautiful creatives and catchy captions. Sound intimidating? It doesn’t have to be, we’ll explain below.
The best part about using social media platforms is that you can use their native tools (Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram Insights, and Twitter Analytics) for gaining useful target audience insights, such as demographic information, learning when they’re most active, and to discover how they’re engaging with your posts. You can even estimate the reach of your ads based on the cost and the time frame of your posts.
Social Media Management Tools
Instead of setting up multiple reminders for posting on different accounts, you can use apps such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer to run multiple accounts from a single platform, schedule future posts and receive advanced analytics.
Content Creation Apps
Social media is nothing without stunning visuals, but don’t fret if designing isn’t one of your strong points. You don’t even have to enroll yourself in an online Photoshop or video-editing course (although those skills are always useful in the long run). With the help of apps such as Canva, Wordswag, and VSCO Cam, you can create beautiful content with pictures, text, and other design elements to take your social media game to the next level.
Start Your Solopreneur Journey Today
Don’t let the burdens of being a solopreneur dissuade you from taking the journey. Armed with the right tools, hard work, and willpower, you can enrich your life with meaningful work that resonates with your passion, reap the benefits of well-deserved rewards, and live life on your own terms.
Alisha is a Senior Content Marketing & Communication Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.