Being an entrepreneur is tough. I've been surrounded by entrepreneurs all my life and I never realized how tough it is until a few years ago.
Nobody teaches you this stuff, and it really is up to you to figure things out most of the time. I thought I would put together a list of resources you can use to help your business along.
Universities don't teach you technical skills needed to really run a business online. It could be said that they are just a bit behind, but the problem with that is that most of the time they don't even tell you how to learn new stuff.
Traditional formal education does little in the way of showing you how to innovate. I've had to figure out a lot of this stuff on my own. How to do things, where to go to do things, and which tools to use to get the job done.
Here's a list of some of the best resources you'll find online as you work your way through becoming a better online entrepreneur.
Most of these resources are free and the ones that cost a few bucks are worth every penny.
Free Resources for Entrepreneurs
(or mostly free!)
Use LastPass to keep all of your sensitive information locked away in a safely encrypted vault. This allows you to have extremely complex and sophisticated passwords. You lock it with one strong master password. It helps you login to websites automatically and you can use secure notes to safeguard sensitive information. Get LastPass here. The free version is great, the premium version is about $12/year.
Business and Productivity
If you are serious about your business communications, then this is the best option available. When you sign up for Gmail for business, you can use your own email address and you also get access to premium services like storage, google drive, calendar, groups and more.
iMacros can be a bit intimidating at first, but it's easy to use and will save you hours and hours each week. If you do any kind of repetitive task online, through a browser, I bet iMacros can help. iMacros lets you create scripts that automate web activities.
I use it to automate various social network activities like signing on to certain profiles, or posting a specific message. This little piece of software works in Firefox or Chrome. You can use it to test the functionality of a website too, like filling out a form with multiple fields, options, over and over for quality assurance tests. The sky is the limit when it comes down to this, your imagination is key.
Feedly is far from perfect but after Google Reader shut down years ago, Feedly remains the best RSS reader I could find. It is available online and it works on your mobile devices as well. It is easy to read, easy to add your favorite sources. As you should know by now RSS is one of the best ways to catch up with your favorite blogs and news sites.
Pirateship. This is a gem, it does all the heavy lifting when it comes to shipping items you've sold online. Takes care of labels for you, integrates with Shopify, eBay, WooCommerce and others. It also handles payments, return labels, all the tedious stuff about selling online. And it's free!
Creating an ebook cover or a banner for your website.
You can hire someone for $5 on Fiverr; your experience will vary based on many factors. Prices for a designer range from $100 to several thousand dollars. There's something for every budget.
But if you want to do it yourself, check this tool out. Some of the covers are free, while others are premium but the pricing is nominal compared to hiring a full blown designer.
You need a logo. Nowadays, everybody starting up a business has a logo. It's just basic branding. You can have a logo made professionally by a designer. That can cost anywhere from $500 to $5000 or more.
You can make your own logo with these tools
Design Evo takes the difficult parts of making a logo out of the equation. You can make your own logo quickly and easily with the simple point and click interface . You can have a logo ready in five minutes or take your time experimenting until you have exactly the right logo.
It's affordable since they have free offerings. It's great to start a logo so you can move onto more income producing activities.
Your videos need music. You can buy music to use in your videos, but you can also find tons of free music available for you to use.
Teknoaxe - A very extensive collection of completely free music you can use on your videos or anything you want. Teknoaxe even provides a license document if you need to present this to Youtube or any other copyright claim.
Youtube Music Library. Youtube has been releasing more and more free music to use in your videos. You can find it under the creation section for your Youtube channel. Or by clicking here.
Must have in every WordPress installation. I like it better than VaultPress for a couple reasons, mainly because backupbuddy is less expensive. It also lets me transfer sites in a snap and it backs up to most common remote destinations. It works with Desktop Server too.
The best SEO plugin for your WordPress website. If you don't have it, get it. If you have it, get it configured! This comes included in my free wordpress installation service! WordPress SEO Plugin. Also see the Definitive Guide for higher rankings for WordPress Sites for more information on using this plugin.
Primarily a tool for developers, this little tool lets you run a WordPress installation on your own computer without having to deal with FTP and domains and hosting and all that stuff. This doesn't let other people browse the website, but it's ideal for you to play around with your website and make changes before making changes to your live website.
The "mothership" of all things WordPress. This is where the official support forums exist for self-hosted WordPress. There are links to the official downloads, themes and plugins available to self-hosted WordPress websites. This is a must have reference for any user, designer or programmer working with or on WordPress. Did you know that WordPress is Open Source?
A collection of tutorials I've made to solve a WordPress problem. These apply to some of the plugins I use, an issue with WordPress or even guided tutorials for those people using my free WordPress setup service.
SEO Evaluation website that gives you great pointers on how to organically fix your website's content, tags, metadata and other relevant information for search engines.
An open source, SEO dashboard to help you track your keywords, back links, index status and other important factors of SEO. You can install this yourself on your hosting or you can find a provider that hosts for you for a monthly fee. Similar to my free WordPress Website offer, I will install this for you if you purchase a recommended hosting plan.
An Alternative to Copyscape. If you're hiring a copywriter or an article writer, you must make sure they are giving you original content and not something they just copied from somewhere else.
Copyscape is the standard for this but they are shifting from a free model to a paid model, so this is a good choice if you're looking for a free alternative.
I have written several articles that may be of assistance in your journey to set up a business or improve your existing one.
What is FOSS Free Open Source Software?
An introduction to FOSS, WordPress and much of the software you use on a daily basis is Open Source, or FOSS. Click here to read.
Must see videos
Videos about various Motivation, Business, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing.
A great keynote speech by Gary Vaynerchuck.
Gary Vaynerchuck - Internet Week, New York. June 7 - 14, 2010 "The culture of apps" is going to change how we do business. There's no reason why you shouldn't start a business with a freemium model. No need for 100% free, but leverage freemium.