In a world where it’s easy to see your business costs spiral pretty quickly, I love it when I find a business tool for free and the free version doesn’t suck.
Because let’s face it, there are a lot of business tools out there where the free version is just a way to get you into the paid version and the free version is pretty useless. We’ve all been there; signed up to a free version of a tool only to realise we actually need to be spending on a monthly subscription to actually get any benefit from the tool at all.
So in this post, I wanted to go through the business tools that I use every single day. And the best reason for using them is because they are free. Or, in the case of Canva, although I now use the Pro version, the free version is what I used for a good few years and was perfectly happy with this option.
In this post, I will go over the following free business tools and cover why you need to be using them:
- Toggl Track
- Google Docs
Why I love Toggl Track
Toggl Track describes itself as an ‘effortless time tracking and reporting’ product that helps you to save time when working as a freelancer.
I 100% agree with this statement.
When working on client work, it can be hard to keep track of how long you’ve spent working on a project. This is especially true if you’re being paid by the hour or if you only have a certain number of hours to devote to a project.
I have various types of contracts in my business, including ones where I bill by the hour and others where I have retainers meaning that I have a certain number of hours per month to dedicate to a project.
Trying to keep up with all of these timeframes can be impossible to do in my head, or time-consuming if I did it in a paper diary or notebook.
With Toggl Track, life is easy.
I have various projects for my different contracts pre-set in Toggl. When I start working on a contract, I simply hit the ‘play’ button and it starts recording the time spent until I hit ‘stop.’
I can easily track how long I’ve spent working on my contracts using their reporting tab in my login. I can even colour-code everything (which I love!).
The best thing is that all of these features are 100% free.
Toggl does have upgrade features available if you want to have team members join you. But, as a solopreneur, the free version gives me what I need.
If you’re in need of a time tracker for your various projects, I’d highly recommend checking this one out.
Why you should use Toggl Track
If you are a solopreneur or business owner who has even just one project or contract that you need to keep an eye on the amount of time spent on it, I’d 100% recommend checking out Toggl Track.
Why I love Asana
Ah, Asana. The work organisation tool that makes my life so much easier.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good notebook and paper to plan on as much as the next person. But Asana is an excellent tool for me for 2 reasons:
- It has a handy app where I can add things on the go.
- I can collaborate with people on projects, something that I can’t do from a notebook.
I don’t use Asana as fully as I could or as some other people do. But, I do love it for having a range of templates set out with checklists that I can assign to projects to make sure I get things done.
For example, for my podcast, I have a podcast guest checklist. Each time I have a guest on the show, I assign this template as a new project and tick the tasks off as I go.
So easy and great for productivity.
Also, I use Asana to track projects and targets I’m working on with my business coach. We both have access to a workspace where we can write notes from our meetings, discuss projects with each other, work through to-do lists, etc.
Why you should use Asana
If you have multiple projects on the go at once (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) Asana will get you organised with boards, to-do lists, colour-coding options, and so much more.
You can even try the Pro version for 30 days, for free. After 30 days, simply carry on using the free version of Asana, without the need to pay.
Why I love Google Docs
Google Docs is another feat of genius that I use all of the time.
I use Google Workspace for nearly everything, and what I love about Google Docs is that it is easy to use and is available everywhere, including on my phone.
So often I’ll have an idea for a blog post or for a new freebie or product, but I know that if I stick it in my notes it’ll end up in an uncategorised mess of ideas on my phone.
However, writing out ideas in Docs is great because I can then save them to a folder in my Google Drive and I know that the idea is neatly categorised for when I want to find it later.
Why you should use Google Docs
If you need a word processor that you can access from anywhere, but don’t want to spend money on Microsoft 365, Google Docs is the perfect solution.
Why I love Canva
You’ve probably already gathered by now, but I love Canva.
Whilst I do subscribe to Canva Pro, I did use the free version of Canva for at least a couple of years before I upgraded. Personally, I wish I had done this sooner, but I also understand that budgets and other priorities can prevent people from wanting to upgrade.
Canva is a fantastic tool for all of your graphic design needs. Things I use Canva for include:
- Social media graphics
- Marketing videos
- Pinterest Pins
I find it so easy to use and it’s great to just have all of my graphics in one place.
If you want to try Canva Pro for free, you can get a 30-day free trial on me using this link.
Why you should use Canva
If you need any type of graphic for your business or website, simply select one of the thousands of free templates from Canva, adjust it to your brand’s needs and you’re good to go. Canva is very easy and intuitive to use and comes with loads of how-to articles.
Need help getting started with Canva? Check out this course from Certified Canva Expert, Brenda Cadman for top tips and tricks to master the foundations of Canva.
I love Grammarly so much. It is not just for those who are ‘bad spellers’ or who struggle with writing. Grammarly is for everyone and this is evident by the amount that you can get on their free version.
As an online writing assistant, Grammarly really helps me make sure that my writing is on point. After all, having spelling and grammatical errors can really hurt your credibility as a writer.
I have Grammarly installed on both my desktop and internet browser. Then, whenever I’m writing, Grammarly helps me with my spelling, grammar, and general writing projects.
It tells me when I could simplify my writing, or when there is a better way of saying something.
Why you should use Grammarly
If you want an extra hand with your writing, either because you struggle with spelling or grammar, are the queen of typos, or you just want to know how you can improve your writing, check Grammarly out.
Its free version has so much in it that I’ve never even considered upgrading to the paid-for version.
These are just a few free business tools that I love and would highly recommend. Obviously, there are many more out there and many other free alternatives to the tools I’ve suggested.
What are your free business tools and why? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!
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