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The Internet is littered with programs, apps, and plug-ins that all have the potential of being valuable tools for your business. Testing, researching, and exploring these gadgets and gizmos, however, could be a full-time job!
But I love it.
My list is ever-changing, but here’s 7 FREE Tools or “helper tools” that all business folks, VAs, and WAHM should consider using. Some of the tools and apps below are ones I have used for years, some are brand new to me. The bottom line is, I think they are all very cool and you should check them out.
1. TwitCleaner : Because it’s about the QUALITY not the QUANTITY of your Twitter Followers. Twitcleaner weeds the “junk” out of your Twitter Followers and leaves you with a solid, viable, and active base. Shady followers, self-absorbed followers, and inactive followers are all compiled into a Twitcleaner provided report for you and gives you the option to leave them be, or un-follow.
2. ClickToTweet: I think this handy tool is best thing since sliced bread. Encourage more tweets from your content by essentially making it easier to do so. Simply copy and past your 140 word quote, headline, or update into the box and click “generate link.”
3. Google Alerts: One of the keys to success is to research and monitor everything connected to your industry. Google Alerts helps you track activity on the Internet when a specific keyword is mentioned. Google Alerts help in:
- monitoring a developing news story
- keeping current on a competitor or industry
- getting the latest on a celebrity or event
- keeping tabs on your clients
Set up an Alert for your business name and it will give you a cyber “heads-up” via email whenever your name is mentioned on-line. You can also set it for industry-related keywords to track news and updates in your field.
4.Trello: Trello is a free tasks/project management application that can help teams or businesses keep projects organized and flowing in real time. I LOVE Trello and use it for the majority of my clients. I talked about Trello at length in this previous blog post and if you are a blogger, team leader, or virtual assistant this application is totally worth looking into.
5. Skype: Don’t rack up minutes on your phone! Use Skype to speak with clients, business partners, and suppliers. Opt to use the camera feature and actually see who you are talking to as well. I adore Skype and can’t imagine working without it. I can chat with clients all over the U.S.A (I even have a client in Austria) like they are sitting across the desk from me. Skype works for international calls as well. There are packages you can pay for too, but that depends on your individual calling needs.
6. Freshbooks : Freshbooks it a pretty sweet accounting and invoicing site that makes both less painful. It’s completely FREE for your first three clients. You can track expenses, create time sheets and log hours on projects. I really appreciate and use the Timer feature as well. It’s a way to keep real-time records of when projects start and end. Bring up the Start/Stop Timer tab, pick what task you are performing for which client, and start the Timer. When your done, click “Log Hours” and it automatically logs your time for you under that client for later billing.
7.PaperGrater: This free tool is a great way to check the quality of any content you put online – including Kindle books, blog posts, etc. PaperGrater looks at your writing and grades it on general “readability”, as well as spelling, grammar and it also checks for plagiarism.