Resources

Love freebies? Who doesn't!

Technology sometimes has a bad reputation. However, one of the greatest gifts it ever gave society is the ability to gain access to any and every resource imaginable. In addition to the virtual container of the internet, I wanted to share with you a short - in no particular order - list of my absolute favourite, just - can't -live - without software apps and resources. It is my hope that these will be able to assist you in your process of gaining a clutter-free work life ...!

Dropbox is a free data sharing system that allows individuals, businesses and teams to access media without sending endless back-and-forth emails. Because files are all saved within the cloud-based software, when one-person changes or moves a file, the updated format is available in real time to everyone else working on it. Dropbox also allows users to access their files from just about anywhere with a WiFi connection, eliminating the need to be at your personal computer or laptop to get work done.

Evernote is a very useful app to have on your smartphone, tablet or use web-based. It's just what the name implies: an application that services as your note-taker, to-do list, etc. The beauty of this application is that it syncs automatically across all your devices and operating systems. You'll never lose another post-it or scrap piece of paper again. You can create a notebook for a particular subject/topic then fill it with ideas/notes. You can then share these notes with other people, add or take pictures, attach voice memos, spreadsheets or docs, set reminders and even create checkboxes for your to-do lists. This gem is a real time and space saver.

Toggl is the simplest time tracker to help you get things done. Did I forget to mention it's free? Well it is - great bonus and ideal for teams, entrepreneurs and agencies. You can track your hours with a single click and learn where you spend your time. See the hours spent on various projects and tasks at a glance or dig deeper into details with visual reports. You can also estimate project timelines and keep track of your projects with their Project Dashboard. This helps get a more accurate picture of how profitable your projects and clients really are.

Wave Accounting helps you look professional and get paid all the while being free to use. In this application, you can create and send invoices, estimates and receipts within seconds. A huge bonus is that you can track the status of these files and know when to expect money in your bank account. It also allows you to accept credit cards and get paid faster. Most invoices paid by credit card get paid in 2 days or less. More convenient on both ends of the project. There is a small percentage fee on Wave's end for setting up credit cards but it's the most reasonable I've seen out there yet!

Asana is a free tool that helps you manage team projects and tasks all the while getting a clear picture of what work needs to be done and who is doing it by when. With it's great features you can do away with chaos and guesswork, and spend more time making ideas happen.  You have ease of access to make sure you hit your deadlines by using the "Timeline" feature to create a plan that shows you how the pieces of your project fit together and helps you keep work on track as things change. And lastly, tie it all together by bringing emails, files, tickets and more into Asana with over 100 integrations to choose from, so you can see everything in one place. This online platform basically makes work less .... well work!

Trello is a free productivity and project management tool. This is a great place to organize clients and projects in a visual board format. As a bonus, you can add clients to boards individually, so that everyone stays on the same page. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, this is the most visual way for teams to collaborate on any project.

Zoom is a free video/web conferencing service. This platform provides remote conferencing services using cloud computing. Offering both meeting and webinar software. Zoom combines video conferencing, online meetings and mobile collaboration. It's truly a consistent enterprise experience. Some of the fun features within Zoom include: online meetings, training and technical support, cross-platform messaging and file sharing as well as being able to empower your apps with video, voice and screen sharing. A must-have for those of you who work virtually.

Slack  is where work happens. Slack unifies your entire team's communications, making your workflow, well, flow a lot better. All the apps you need are seamlessly integrated into their platform so you can easily search and find all your files, calls, messages and clients (or colleagues) in one place. Slack offers a lot of fun features such as: persistent chat rooms (channels) organized by topic, as well as private groups and direct messaging. All content inside this platform is searchable, including files, conversations and people. Slack integrates with a large number of third-party services and supports community-built integrations.

Google Analytics is a free analytics service with a customizable dashboard that helps you maximize your online efforts and get stronger results across all your sites, apps and offline channels. This robust reporting tool can tell you almost everything you need to know about the visitors to your website, the content they consume and the efficacy of your digital programs. With a new addition of being integrated with AdWords, users can now review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). As well as their latest addition of Google Surveys 360, where you are able to answer things in real-time. Try it out and turn your insights into action.

Maintaining attractive and professional social media profiles is one of the most important aspects of managing your online presence. One of the greatest challenges is that social media platforms are always changing and it can be hard to stay up to date on the current image and video requirements of each of them. Thankfully​, MakeAWebsiteHub.com has put together an incredibly useful social media image sizes cheat sheet so you can stay on top of your game.

WooBox is a great way to create engaging and fun marketing campaigns. If you’re creating giveaways, coupons or instant wins, you can easily collect entries through forms or social networks. If you’re more into polls, quizzes and games, you can “gamify” your marketing and gain insights by creating fun, interactive experiences for your users. Or perhaps you’re looking to create some lead generation forms to distribute some awesome downloadable content, optimize landing pages and collect form data. This platform has it all. My favourite feature is the Facebook Page Apps that brings your social media together by synchronizing your marketing with their integration tabs all onto your Facebook business page. And best of all, it’s free!

Fan Page Karma is the all-around tool for strong social media management. With this platform, you can not only analyze your profiles and those of the competition, but also manage all your customer conversations in one tool - even composing, planning and publishing posts. You can analyze by checking key data and compare it between different pages and maintain an overview anytime and anywhere because their "Social Monitoring" is always on alert – keeping you up to date with what is happening all the while keeping an eye on the competition with morning reports, post notifications and even "shitstorm" alerts. Honestly, what more could you ask for! So, why wait? Try Fan Page Karma now and make your customers and fans happy even faster! I know I sure am ... as well as my clients!

Bit.ly unleashes the power of your URLs as it is a URL shortening service with a built-in link management platform. It also allows you to share, manage and analyze your favourite links from all around the web. On average, it shortens 600 million links per month for use of social networking sites, SMS and even email.

BPlans is a great start-up business site that helps you get your affairs in order, offering resources and templates as well as checklists to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. Their site contains the largest single online collection of free sample business plans. Bplans includes practical advice on planning, interactive tools and calculators, and publishes daily advice that will help you grow your business. They are here to help you build a better business. To help you, to teach you, and to provide solutions that help you build and grow your business in smart, efficient ways. Starting your business may sound like an undertaking but the truth is, it's not if you check out the endless amount of resources on their website. Make your first website today with this step-by-step guide.

Canva is an online graphic design tool which is perfect for working individually or with teams of all sizes. It has an easy to use drag-and-drop interface and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. I feel their best feature is the pre-set sizes so if you're working on something specific you don't have to waste time hunting for the "proper" size. So, whether you’re a professional or just beginning your design journey, this resource has everything you need. They also have our  templates and pro features that you can check out for making designing in their platform even more efficient than it already is.

Easil.ly is a website that features thousands of free infographic templates and design objects which users can customize to create and share your visual ideas online. Using this site is as easy as dragging and dropping design elements, and users can either choose a template from our extensive library, or they can upload their own background image and start from scratch. Over 300,000 users have already registered with Easel.ly, and thousands of infographics are produced using the site every month. If you’re looking for an easy way to convey your visual image in a professional, flashy style, look no further.

Mindomo is an online collaborative mind mapping, concept mapping and outlining software for visualizing and organizing information. The free version has a three mind map limit and disables premium features like audio/video upload, PDF, PowerPoint and Excel download, password protection. Registered users can create and collaborate real-time on mind maps, while unregistered users can view the maps shared with them. Additionally, the software provides its users with ways to create presentations and mind map assignments. If you are looking to mind map your brand or your next big idea ... this is the place to be.

Hubspot Blog Topic Generator is a great online platform for when you are having one of those days when you just do not know what to write about. This is a constant thought that has crossed every blogger’s mind. Trust me ... I know, I have been there many of times! But let me let you in on a little secret: there is no such thing as running out of blog ideas. Not anymore with this website. All you have to do if fill in the three blank fields with terms that you would like to write about and the Hubspot Topic Generator will come up with a week’s worth of relevant blog post titles in a matter of seconds! Now honestly, how amazing is that?!

MailChimp is the world’s largest marketing automation platform. It’s kind of like a second brain that helps missions of customers find their audience, engage their customers and build their brand. This platform also has an amazing reporting feature that shows you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in. It even gives you customized tips for improvement and you have ease of access from anywhere with their mobile dashboard! This online platform truly gives you the marketing tools you need to be yourself … but on a bigger stage!

Active Campaign is a platform that carries all the tools you need to make meaningful connections and grow your business. From email marketing to marketing automation, sales CRM and even a messaging area. With a personalized email marketing tool such as this, you are able to send exactly what your customer wants … personal campaigns. And with the powerful marketing automation feature, you get your time back because it is very easy to run your marketing, set-up a welcome series, segment your contract and even use simple workflows to automate literally everything. To top it all off, this platform even offers an advanced reporting system, integrated forms, site tracking, migration services, email segmentation, automation goals and SO, so much more! See for yourself.

ClickFunnels is a platform that gives you everything you need to market, sell and deliver your products online through sales funnels. This let’s you take the power back from the tech guys! This platform was created so that entrepreneurs who aren’t programmers and don’t know how to design, easily build pages inside of a sales funnel that are proven to convert. It’s truly as simple as picking your sales funnel, picking your page designs, modifying your pages then BANG, everything is done and in just minutes. Nothing better than a drag n’ drop platform to make life easier!

WuFoo is an online form design that can help you create contract forms, online surveys and invitations so that you can collect the data, registrations and payments as needed. Building online forms can be tedious work and hard to do but this platform truly make building a breeze by being able to choose from 400+ customizable, professional, device-responsive templates. My favourite part about this platform is that it’s mobile responsive so you can share the forms you need on the go or embed them into your website while working on your desktop.

Zapier connect all of your apps and automates your workflows which is an amazing tool for busy people, such as you and me. This application moves information between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work. All you have to do is pick a trigger that sets your ZAP into motion. The ZAP completes the actions while you solve more important business problems. It’s truly a simple, fill-in-the-blank set-up … point, click, automate helping you go from idea to workflow in just minutes! What more could you ask for …!

DaFont is a great database with over 10,000 free fonts available at your fingertips for use on your website and/or other materials. And of course, for us design guru's, a way to obsess over free fonts. With over 50 categories of fonts to browse through, it is a truly impressive font catalogue. Categories include fancy, foreign look, techno, bitmap, gothic, basic, script, dingbats and holiday, with even more organization into sub-categories. In addition, you can browse fonts by themes, newest and authors. In addition to offering fonts, they also have a message board where you can present images with certain fonts in them and have other users help identify it for you. Most designers know this, and you should too ... a little font change can go a long way.

TinEye is simply a reverse image search. It allows you to search by image and find where that image appears online. This is good for fast and accurate image recognition with your own images. Especially if you’ve found that “perfect” graphic but are unsure if it holds any copyright or you are looking for a higher quality version. This platform also offers alerts for corporate and enterprise automated image tracking, including daily reports on where your images appear across the web. For an added bonus (for you wine lover’s out there), it even has a wine label recognition API which identifies photos of win, beer and spirits with their customer algorithms and neural networks by being able to detect vintages right from the label.

Spotify is a music application where you can use a single account and listen everywhere you go. There are millions of songs in this app. You can play your favourites, discover new tracks and build the perfect collection. Already know what you want to listen to? Just search and hit play. With the free version you get shuffle-play and with the Premium version you basically get an all-access pass. Research shows that music boosts mood and productivity as well as provides a sense of well-being. Does this sound like the kind of workplace you want to create? Then get going and check out the custom playlists designed for focus and productivity.

WordPress, which began as a blogging system, is one of the most popular full content management systems and website building tools for entrepreneurs, small businesses and bloggers alike. With thousands of free plugins and widgets, customizable themes and community forums, it's an easy, professional looking choice for entrepreneurs wanting to build their own website. You can create beautiful designs, powerful features, and the freedom to build anything you want. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

Wix is a cloud-based web development platform. It allows you to create HTML5 websites and mobile sites using online "drag and drop" tools. You may add functionality such as social plugins, e-commerce, contact forms and community forums using a variety of Wix developed and third-party application. This platform is not free but for start-up businesses, it might just be the right amount in order to get you what you need quickly if you are wanting to create and maintain things on your own without breaking the bank.

GoDaddy powers the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. They are a publicly traded internet domain registrar and web hosting company. With their services, you can purchase many products such as domain names, websites (including WordPress.org - not .com), hosting, email and website security. They also have 24/7 sales and support team members for those of you who are night owls or early go-getters. whether you have a brand-new idea or an established business it's a great one-stop-shop for all of you online business web-based needs.

LinkedIn is a business and employment orientated social networking service that operates via website and mobile app. This platform allows members to create profiles and "connections" to each other in an online social network which may represent real-world professional relationships. This is a great place to connect with your target market, like-minded individuals as well as other entrepreneurs and small business owners. The free version is likely all you will ever need.

Spreaker is an amazing platform where you can listen to the world's trendiest podcasts or create your own. If you are looking to record a podcast or broadcast live this platform is available via mobile app, desktop and on the web. Plus upload files and migrate content over using the RSS Importer. You can then distribute your podcast to social networks, iTunes, YouTube and more. You also have the capability to schedule episodes, embed widgets and even order your own Mobile App. With basic analytics built right in, you can measure your popularity through play numbers. For a wider variety of possibilities, look into the GoPro options.

Coursera is a venture-backed, education-focused technology company founded by Stanford professors which offers online courses. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, specializations and even degrees in a variety of subjects, such as engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science and so much more. All their courses last about four to ten weeks, with one to two hours of video lectures a week. These courses provide quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded assignments, and sometimes a final project or exam. Feeling the ache to brush up on some of your skills? Why wait and go check out their course lists right now!

Udemy is an online learning platform (just like Coursera - description above) which is aimed at professional adults. They provide a platform for experts (just like you and me) of any kind to create courses which can be offered to the public, either at no charge or for a tuition fee. This platform also also offers something called Udemy for Business which enables businesses access to a targeted suite of over 2,000 training courses on topics from digital marketing tactics to office productivity, design, management, programming, and so on. With Udemy for Business, organizations can also create custom learning portals for corporate training. Talk about ease of access on all levels. I'm in ... what about you?