My Favourite Free Online Tools

A while ago I was conducting training for entrepreneurs and discussed all the free online tools available to entrepreneurs to help craft a professional and consistent brand and narrative.

It is one thing to post regularly on social media, it is another thing to make your communication stand out head and shoulders in the huge noise of the digital world. How do we do this? Distinct look and feel, quality, vetted information, content that adds value, connecting with your audience. This, funny enough, includes what your invoices look like, your email signature, how you word your emails, and if your social media posts are configured correctly with no copy write issues!

So, here is a list of my favourite FREE online tools for those entrepreneurs who know exactly what Bootstrapping is!

1. Canva

Canva is an online design tool with hundreds of templates, pictures, video clips, sound bites, and ideas. The great thing about Canva is that when you pick your design, say for instance a Facebook post, the template you work on is already in the perfect format. From email signatures, business cards, and proposals to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts – you have it all available! The secret is to build a look and feel that supports your brand and makes it recognizable.

2. Invoicely

Gone are the days when we invoice all our clients on Excell and just slap a logo on. You can create professional invoices on Invoicely. The free package allows for a limited amount of clients but more than enough if you are starting up or have a small to medium-size client book. It has a handy dashboard so that you can track invoices and payments made. If you want a more sophisticated system then the Waves Invoicing App is for you. Quite a job to set it up, but once done it is super professional and very handy, especially at a busy month-end!

3. Grammarly

Perhaps the most important tool for anyone doing any kind of writing! Not all of us are language buffs. And you cannot always rely on your laptop’s spell and grammar checker. Do yourself a favour and run your emails, proposals, and letters through Grammarly before sending them out. Even a mediocre piece of writing presents better if there are no spelling and grammar issues!

4. Mailchimp

This user-friendly newsletter platform is a fantastic tool in customer relationship management. The platform will alert you if images are too big or subject lines are too long. The free package allows for more than enough emails on a single database. Manage your database, design a template for your emails, and track responses with the easy-to-use dashboard. You can even sync it with your social media accounts to ensure that once a newsletter is sent out is also published on your channels.

5. Pexels

Royalty-free video footage! I wonder how many people just ‘borrow’ content without considering royalties. Those images and videos were made by someone. As an entrepreneur yourself, how would you feel if someone used your IP without paying you? Instead, search for Royalty-free pictures, music, and videos and know that you are doing a fellow entrepreneur a service!

There are many more tools out there. But these are some of my favourites. In fact, I almost always have these tabs open in one of my browsers! Just a reminder, that tools are only as good as the craftsman wielding them. Design your strategy and understand what it is that your audience would like to read and see and then develop the look and feel, the narrative, and the brand presence.