Consistency, Momentum and Systems are probably the most important parts of running a smooth business as a solopreneur or side hustler. Having the right tools and resources can help you automate your small business.
Tools act as a backbone for your business. Using the right software and tools has definitely helped me systemize and automate my business in a way that frees up time that I can then spend on doing things that require me, such as creating powerful content, building relationships and being there for my community.
Here is a list of the 15 tools that you can start using today to help you systemize and automate your business:
I wish I knew about this software when I first started my business. It would have helped me save a ton of time and money. And Co. is a free business software for freelancers and studios. It has some really cool features that can help you run the admin part of your business.
- Invoicing and Payments: And Co. helps you create custom invoices, accept payments online and you can also receive alerts, when payments are viewed and paid.
- Proposals and Contracts: They have a set of customizable proposals that can help you save time and money.
- Expense Tracking: Using And co. you can automate your expense tracking. This software helps you file your expenses and creates reports that can help you to do your taxes.
- Task Management: You can use And Co. to manage your tasks more efficiently. It helps you focus on the most important tasks so you can use your time effectively.
- Time tracking: This is an amazing feature. And co has an app that helps you track your time so you can generate invoices based on the time tracked.
This is the perfect tool if you are looking for something that is free, easy to use and saves time.
Trello is a project management tool that gives solopreneurs as well as teams a visual way to collaborate over tasks, projects, approval flows, or the next big idea. This tool is totally free for as many cards, lists and comments as you like.
Trello is based on the Kanban framework and helps you replicate a Kanban board.
While using Trello as a kanban board, you could create cards for “To do”, “In Progress” and “Done”. Each task is organized as a list under these cards, which you move across the cards.
The advantages of a digital kanban board like this are the speed to set it up, the ease in sharing it with others, and the simplicity in effectively visualizing the status of each task. No matter where or when team members check in on the kanban board, they’ll see the most up-to-date status of the project. Plus, you can even use a Trello kanban workflow for your personal to-dos, like this sample board shows.
Mailchimp is a fully-featured email marketing tool for everyone from solopreneurs and freelancers to SMBs and enterprises. It features free marketing automation, templates, reporting, and sign-up forms for 2,000 users and 12,000 monthly emails, for free.
MailChimp offers automated email workflows for free, it is one of the most fully featured free platforms.
Although Convertkit is my recommended autoresponder for solopreneurs and business owners who are serious about starting and growing an email list, Mailchimp is a great option if you are not willing to invest in an email autoresponder right away. Mailchimp also seamlessly integrates with several applications and tools, including their newest integration with Manychat.
Buffer is a powerful tool that lets you schedule your social media posts across almost all social networks. You can connect 3 social media accounts on the free Buffer plan. Buffer is really easy to use, you can schedule your posts by adding them to the queue.
You can decide the time and day for your posts. The best part is you don’t have to schedule posts separately for each social media platform, you can schedule posts for multiple platforms at once.
The free plan offers unlimited scheduling with up to 10 posts per account stored in your queue at a time.
You also get to access post analytics to help you determine which posts perform well and which times of the day have the highest engagement rates.
What a lot of small business owners don’t understand is that there is a difference between scheduling social media and automating your business. When you schedule something, you can basically be spending some time every week, or every month doing it. The beauty of automation is that you can set it up once, and then forget it; for real.
That’s where IFTTT come in. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That.
IFTTT currently supports more than 360 services. You’ll find integrations for everything from iRobot vacuums to Facebook.
For example, you could connect your wordpress and twitter accounts to IFTTT so every time your post a new blog post, it will automatically be shared on your twitter account.
Yes, automation can do that!
Planoly is one of my favorite tools on this list. It is an Instagram scheduler that can automatically post on instagram once your schedule posts. I am able to schedule a complete month of Instagram all at once using this tool.
Its drag and drop feature makes it super easy for you to visualize the look and feel of your Instagram grid and helps you switch things around accordingly.
Planoly also has a hashtag manager. You can save different hashtags options based on categories so you don’t have to copy and paste hashtags for every post.
Slack is a cloud-based team chat tool that works really well if you have clients or a team you need to chat with on a regular basis. It allows you to share documents to channels, create group chats, and keep important information to hand. Slack works great for real-time conversations and as an asynchronous communication tool. Like email, but better.
Slack also integrates with several other applications via tools like IFTTT and Zapier.
Almost all business owners have used or tried to use Canva at some point in their business. I think this tool was specifically made for people like me, who are not great at design.
Canva makes my life so much easier because I can not only create beautiful graphics using this app, but it also helps me create and save templates that I can reuse for future projects. I use Canva to make all graphics for my business including templates for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and my blog.
Canva is really easy to navigate and you can find a ton of Youtube tutorials for getting started with Canva.
Manychat is a software you can use to build Facebook messenger bots. A lot of Manychat’s features can be accessed on their free plan.
A Facebook messenger bot is a tool that lets you communicate with your customers and leads inside of the Facebook messenger. Think of it like Email Marketing, only a lot quicker. As business owners, we are always looking to get people’s attention and get qualified leads so that we don’t waste time on leads that are most likely not going to convert to buyers. A Facebook messenger bot helps do just that.
Acuity scheduling was probably one of the first tools I started using in my business when I first started as a service provider. The free version is good enough to get started. You can set up multiple appointment types if you provide different kind of services, and you can also embed the calendar on your website.
You can also set up reminders to be sent before the scheduled call in order to improve show up rates.
The paid version also lets you set up an application of sorts to better qualify your leads.
Automating your call scheduling can save you a lot of time in your business.
I first started using Funnelytics as part of my full-time job as a Digital Marketing Funnel Strategist. It is an amazing tool that helps you build mockups of your funnels in turn helping your visualize the complete funnel.
It you are looking to create a sales funnel in your business, I would highly recommend that you use this tool to create a mockup before you start to build your funnel pages.
Lastpass helps you save all your passwords in one place. You have to first create an account on lastpass.com and then download their chrome extension in order to be able to use it. IF you ask me, this tool is a real time and life-saver 😉
Lumen5 allows you to create engaging video content within minutes, without any video making experience. All you have to do is copy a short piece of content into the software, and it will create a video for you. You can then edit the images and sound to customize it for your business. The platform offers a built-in media library containing millions of copyright-free photos, videos, and audio tracks.
You can start creating a video right now using these simple steps:
- Enter an article link, or copy paste text to turn it into a video
- Using artificial intelligence, the platform will find audio and images to go with your content. You can edit these later.
- Once the video is ready, you can add you branding and call-to-actions
- Once you finalize on the images and audio, you can download and share the video.
This is great for solopreneurs who are looking to start incorporating video in their business, but are shy to get on camera. Lumen5 is really easy to use and simplifies the process of providing value using video.
I have used this tool to create videos for my sales pages too!
Simply put, coggle.it is a mindmapping tool. If you are someone who has too many ideas all the time, mindmapping is a great way to organize your ideas in the form of a map, to be able to make it simple and easy to understand.
You can also share the maps with your team in order to break down complex information help your team work more effectively together.
I use this team to build a content strategy for my business, by mapping out my content themes. This helps me come up with a mix of content ideas that are unique to me.
The image below is a screenshot of my mindmap on content themes.
I have also used this tool to map out my group programs and courses.
Zoom is an online video meeting software that is cloud-based. It allows you to host online webinars using screen sharing. The free plan comes with unlimited number of one-to-one meeting, and you can host up to 100 participants of you are looking to conduct an online webinar.
The paid version has many more features like being able to host Facebook lives using zoom and having your own personal meeting id.
I personally use Zoom to have online audio or video meetings with my clients and it works really well for that. It also allows you to record your meetings on a free plan.
Google Hangouts on air:
This is the secret free tool that I use for webinars. Youtube Live is actually Google Hangouts.
You can schedule a webinar for free on Google Hangouts ( as an unlisted video), and then embed this course on a landing page. This landing page can be your live webinar attending page as well as your replay page.
Here are some of the advantages of using Hangout on air for your webinars or masterclasses:
- It is FREE: You don’t need to pay a high monthly fees in order to run trainings, especially in the early stages of your business
- Unlimited viewers: There is no limit to the number of participants for trainings you conduct on Google Hangout.
- Automatic Recording: Since this is basically an unlisted youtube video, it is automatically recorded. You can later download the video or embed/share the unlisted youtube video link with your audience.
Loom is a chrome extension that helps you record videos ( including screen-share) for FREE! Yes, its crazy. This tool was a savior for me during early days of business when I wanted to create videos but did not want to spend on a software. Loom is really easy to use, and although the quality of the videos is not the best, with proper lighting and a decent camera, the videos turn out good enough. This tool works amazingly well for screen-sharing videos and you can even edit videos on the Loom website itself.
They are also continuously updating and adding new features which is a plus.
Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator
The Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator chrome extension does exactly what it says, eradicates your newsfeed (desktop) so that you don’t waste away hours of your precious time scrolling through Facebook.
If you’ve ever started a project and ended up spending more than half of your work time scrolling the Facebook newsfeed, this chrome extension is for you. Take 2 minutes and install it now!
I have used most of the resources listed here in my business and in turn, have saved several hours of my time.
Do you have other tools you’ve used and would recommend?
Let me know in the comments below!