If you are a regular to this blog, you know that each week I write posts dedicated to the tools that I use and recommend.
Although these tools are all the bomb, most of them are not free.
I love writing about tools for entrepreneurs. They can have such an amazingly positive impact on your business. It is always such an awesome feeling to find something that you know will make your brand better, save you time and earn you money.
Now, I make money off this blog through my affiliates (which are all paid), but the purpose of this blog is to provide everyone who reads it with value, whether they purchase through my affiliate links or not.
I know that many of you are on the fence about going into entrepreneurship full steam ahead and/or need to save money in every way that you can.
If you are looking for some cost effective tools to grow your business, this post is for you.
I use a lot of paid tools, but trust me, I love freebies when I can get them too. Some of these tools will have premium versions or are micro-versions of more souped up products, but they all do simple tasks really well.
You will not need to purchase anything to get a lot of value out of the resources I am going to share. If you love the tools and want a little more, you can consider upgrading, but you do not have to.
I only use some of these tools I mention below because I use a lot of paid alternatives. This list isn't a collection of the best overall tools for entrepreneurs for each task, but rather the best free tools for entrepreneurs.
When your business gets to a certain point, you will experience "economies of scale" and will be able to afford many premium products and services and reap serious dividends from them.
Brand new entrepreneurs, this is not always the case. Many paid tools are overkill and not an inefficient use of your limited capital.
Note: Bookmark this article. If you don't need these tools now, you may later.
#1 Email a large attachment with We-Transfer
Some files are too big to email through regular mail servers, We-Transfer solves this by allowing you to email anyone large files (up tp 2GB) for free.
If you're curious how big 2GB really is, check out this article.
There is a premium version that allows for you to transfer more GB per message (Free is 2GB, premium is 20GB). It is $10/month (paid yearly) and allows for a little more customization and has a great password protection feature. The free version will most likely be more than enough for you.
#2 Create an easy business plan with Fiddle
This tool is clean and thorough. Very cool.
#3 Create a simple, .pdf invoice with Invoiceto.me
I use Freshbooks for all of my invoicing, but if you need a free option to send detailed .pdf invoices to clients in less than a minute, this will suffice.
Note: It cannot accept payments through like FreshBooks can. Any service that will process payments should cost money.
#4 Create basic, binding agreements with Shake
I am not an attorney, so be sure to perform your own due diligence when researching what Shake can and cannot do. For more serious legal work like business formation, check out legalzoom.
#5 Annotate an image with Skitch by Evernote.
I use Snag-it for the annotations in my blogs and tutorials, but Skitch is a fully capable, free program.
#6 Find a great domain name with impossibility.org or leandomainsearch.com.
There are tons of domain research tools, but this one is my favorite. You will set some very basic parameters, base words you want to use and it will generate a long list of available domains you can buy immediately.
#7 Set an ultra-simple timer in your internet browser with e.ggtimer.
There are a million ways to set a timer, but here is another cool one for you. This one is cool because it has URLs that specifically link to certain timers. Check out this one for Pomodoros.
#8 Resize your images for various social media platforms with the social image resizer tool.
This tool is provided free by the good people at internetmarketingninjas.com. If you are new to social media marketing, you will learn quickly that there are image sizes that are most appropriate for each type of post for each network.
#9 Quickly create attractive text over image quotes with Pablo by Buffer.
Check out this text over image I made for Twitter and Facebook using Pablo.
Related article: How to Create Amazing Graphics for Your Blog Posts Absolutely Free
#10 Create dozens of unique designs with Canva.
Canva was created with the help of one of my all time favorite business gurus, Guy Kawasaki. It is an absolute power house for creating design work for ebook covers, social media headers and everything else in between. There are premium assets you can use that typically cost $1. You can also import your own images.
#11 Create a meme with this free meme generator.
The world needs more memes right 🙂
#12 Create an infographic with easel.ly.
Infographics are a fantastic way to convey data in an easy to digest, compeling way. I recommend taking your most popular posts and creating infographics from them for Pinterest.
#13 Shorten URLs with Bitly.
Keep your writing neat and tidy by shrinking long URLs into shorter ones. Bitly also has tools to help you track clicks and other analytics.
#14 Create a poll for your audience with Tally.tl.
I typically create my polls on Facebook or typeform, but if you want another free option, check this one out.
#15 Find exact color matches for anything online with ColorPick Eyedropper for Google Chrome.
If you are a designer or just someone who has an eye for detail, you will like this Chrome extension.You can make sure that your theme colors remain consistent and discover the color codes of other web content that you want to emulate.
Let's say that you love the light blue color on BuzzSumo.com and want to use it in a design you are working on. You can use this Chrome extension to get the exact hex code to match the color perfectly.
#16 Find out what fonts a website is using with Fontface Ninja.
Similar to ColorPick Eyedroper, Fontface Ninja will help you discover the fonts used on other websites.
Note: Make sure you have the rights to use a font before you implement it on your own site or content.
#17 Find icons at iconfinder.com.
Many of these require no attribution to the creator and can be used for free even commercially.
#18 & #19 Create webinars/group meetings with Google Hangouts or Zoom.us.
While Google Hangouts is completely free, Zoom is free for meetings of up to 50 people and limits meetings to 40 minutes. The free plan is plenty for most entrepreneurs.
Bonus: The free version of Zoom gives you an easy way to avoid ever having meetings go over 40 minutes 🙂 Darn!
#20 Manage large projects and groups with Trello.
This is a great tool for delegating tasks, managing workflow and communicating with your team on various projects. Hard to believe that this one is free.
#21 Print web pages and remove ads and sidebars with Printwhatyoulike.com.
I use this when I want to create easier to read/reference .pdf versions of websites.
#22 Get free stock photos with Pixabay.
There are dozens of free stock photo sites, but I really like Pixabay because it is free for commercial use with no attribution required.
#23 Manage your finances and assets with Mint.
Mint is an amazing tool for monitoring your finances and organzing all of your accounts. It is free because they promote some very relevant services like lendingclub.com.
Set budgets and goals as well as seeing where your money is actually going. This is a very eye opening tool that might lead to an epiphany for understanding your finances.
#24 Create a temporary email address with 10 Minute Mail.
Protect your inbox from unnecessary newsletters. Use 10 Minute Mail and avoid relentless follow up emails that you don't need.
#25 Create a professional looking email signature with WiseStamp.
It is time to get a serious email signature for your company. I use a premium version, but the free version does plenty. Check out my signature that I built with WiseStamp:
#26 Create screen recordings with Jing.
As far as free options go, Jing is the winner. I use Techsmith's premium tools, Snag-it and Camtasia 2, but if you aren't ready to make that purchase, this will do the job.
#27 Create a simple logo with Hipster Logo Generator.
These logos are not great, but they get the job done if you are making multiple sites or mockups.
#28 Understand the market and what is trending with Google Trends.
Google goes above and beyond with their freemium services. Google Trends is no different.
#29 Save all of your passwords with Secure-Safe or LastPass (Updated)
Since I published this article, I have gone to LastPass 100% and am actually embarrassed I hadn't done it sooner. Free version will get the job done, but I have several work stations, so I have the premium version that keeps the service across multiple devices. [/box]
You can save your first 50 passwords for free. I have a premium plan because I have over 200 passwords and user names to store. You will be surprised how they add up when you begin building sites, creating affiliate relationships, and managing growing businesses and projects.
#30 Improve your writing with Hemingwayapp.
This simplistic writing interface helps you keep your writing clear and concise. It even tells you the grade level of your writing. You can use this right in your browser or download it for your desktop. Be careful though, the online version risks losing your content if you lose internet connection, so keep that in mind.
I wrote an article about Hemingwayapp as well if you'd like to learn more about it and how to keep your writing clear.
#31 (Bonus!) Find Killer Keywords with Google Keyword Planner
Google wants you to have good content! This tool proves that. There are many paid keyword research tools out there, but frankly, this free one is my favorite.
To see the full list of products I recommend, free and paid, check my resources page.
PS: I recommend that as your business expands you consider upgrading some of these services. Also, refer back to this post occasionally, as you may need these tools later on, just not right now.