Es­sen­tial Apps for the Bud­ding En­tre­pre­neur

iPhone Life Magazine - - Best Apps - by Con­ner Carey

I n 2018, I'm not cer­tain it's even pos­si­ble to run a busi­ness with­out us­ing a few es­sen­tial apps. The broad range of func­tion­al­ity that iPhone and iPad apps of­fer im­proves a myr­iad of prob­lems and daily tasks, in­clud­ing au­tomat­ing email, keep­ing all of your projects or­ga­nized, build­ing your brand, cre­at­ing stun­ning pro­mo­tional im­ages, send­ing out in­voices, and much more. From the more prac­ti­cal apps that help you with time man­age­ment and taxes to the cre­ative-but-es­sen­tial apps that al­low you to cul­ti­vate your com­pany's pres­ence on the web and across so­cial me­dia, this list will be help­ful to bud­ding en­trepreneurs across the board. My two per­sonal fa­vorites are Over, for cre­at­ing pro­mo­tional pho­tos, and Trello, for stay­ing on top of all the work small busi­ness own­ers need to do.

Un­splash (Free)

Every busi­ness needs high-qual­ity, stun­ning im­ages. There are lots of great stock photo mem­ber­ships out there that you can buy, but the unique thing about Un­splash is that every sin­gle photo is com­pletely free to use—in what­ever way you want! It's al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated when you give credit to the pho­tog­ra­pher, but there are no roy­alty fees or copyright in­fringe­ments— Un­splash is 100 per­cent free to use. Sound too good to be true? In this rare case, it isn't. Un­splash al­lows any­one to cre­ate a pro­file (web only, not yet avail­able in-app) and be­gin shar­ing pho­tos, which means there are a hell of a lot of pho­tos avail­able and they are truly beau­ti­ful, cov­er­ing more gen­res than could ever be named in one ar­ti­cle. Def­i­nitely download the app and check Un­splash out on­line too.

Over (Free)

When it comes to cre­at­ing pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als, whether for so­cial me­dia, email fun­nels, or your web­site in gen­eral, Over is an in­cred­i­ble tool. I highly rec­om­mend us­ing Un­splash to find your back­ground pho­tos and Over to add text, graph­ics, and pizazz to your mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als. Over is avail­able on both the iPhone and iPad, which makes it per­fect for both larger projects with a lot of plan­ning and eval­u­a­tion, as well as the quick im­age you need to make on the walk from the cof­fee shop to the train sta­tion. For busi­nesses that come to de­pend on Over, the Pro ver­sion of the app is a must-have. With the Pro ver- sion, you have ac­cess to all of the graph­ics and fonts your brand could pos­si­bly de­sire.

MailChimp (Free)

For on­line busi­nesses, a strong opt-in of­fer that col­lects emails is a must. Your email list is one of the only au­di­ences you truly own, un­like fol­low­ers on a so­cial me­dia plat­form. MailChimp makes it easy to get started with email mar­ket­ing and au­to­ma­tion be­cause it's com­pletely free when you have less than 2,000 sub­scribers, which is per­fect for the en­tre­pre­neur who's just start­ing out. I've used MailChimp on and off for at least four years; it's in­cred­i­bly easy to use, it seam­lessly in­te­grates with the top web­site plat­forms (such as Squares­pace and Word­press), and the com­pany con­sis­tently adds new fea­tures for top-notch email au­to­ma­tion and sales fun­nels.

SEO Edge ($2.99/3 months)

SEO is im­por­tant. The good news? It's not nearly as dif­fi­cult as the ex­perts would have you be­lieve. In­deed, I highly rec­om­mend read­ing “SEO is Not Hard” by Austen Allred (pub­lished on Medium's web­site) to help squelch those fears. SEO Edge is an app that al­lows you to track key­words and com­pe­ti­tion, sim­i­larly to how plenty of peo­ple watch the stock mar­ket. With SEO Edge, you can cre­ate pro­files for web­sites, in­clud­ing your own. Then you can add key­words and see how that web­site ranks on Google for that key­word. In my mind, the best way to use this app would be to have your own web­site with the key­words you want to rank for; as well as pro­files for the web­sites you con­sider close com­peti­tors with the same key­words so you can see where they rank and fig­ure out why they may have a bet­ter rank­ing than you (time on page, author­ity, back­links, key­word den­sity, etc.). Any SEO soft­ware worth its weight will al­low you to do some­thing like this too (and much more), but the con­ve­nience of be­ing able to track key­words and do SEO research from your iPhone is fan­tas­tic.

Trello (Free)

Trello al­lows you to take the long list of to­dos and larger projects swim­ming around in your brain and file them into des­ig­nated boards that make it much eas­ier to stay or­ga­nized and on sched­ule.

A Trello board is sim­ply a folder for your com­pany or a spe­cific pro­ject therein. Once you open the board, you can cre­ate sev­eral la­beled lists of to-dos, re­minders, blog post ideas, etc. For each item on a list, you add cards. Each card can have a due date, notes, mul­ti­ple mem­bers work­ing on it, at­tach­ments, com­ments, and more. So not only can an in­di­vid­ual use Trello to stay or­ga­nized, a team of peo­ple can use Trello to stay on task while com­mu­ni­cat­ing what they need to do, what they're work­ing on, and what they've fin­ished.

Quick­Books Self-Em­ployed ($4.99/month)

For the busi­ness that's just sprout­ing its wings, why not use the most af­ford­able ver­sion of Quick­Books: Quick­Books Self-Em­ployed. For only five dol­lars a month, you can use this app to keep track of both profit and ex­penses. You can add to each cat­e­gory man­u­ally or link the bank ac­counts you use for your busi­ness to the app, which al­lows you to eas­ily re­view pur­chases and ei­ther ex­clude or in­clude each in the ex­penses and profit cat­e­gories. You can even cre­ate in­voices for clients from right within the app and email them the bill. Plus, you can use the app to keep track of busi­ness spend­ing and de­duc­tions for tax sea­son. Speak­ing of taxes, for an added seven dol­lars a month, you can choose the Tax Bun­dle sub­scrip­tion, which makes it easy to file an­nual taxes, make year-around pay­ments, and gen­er­ally be and stay pre­pared for tax sea­son.

HoursTracker (Free)

When you work for some­one else, you usu­ally have a set sched­ule you can rely on. You know what hours you're go­ing to work and when your shift is over. But en­trepreneurs are known for over­work­ing them­selves to the point that it's not ac­tu­ally help­ing the busi­ness. That's why you need HoursTracker. Set your hourly rate and start the clock—track how much you're work­ing and the rate you de­serve to be mak­ing. This will al­low you to see where you need more bal­ance in your life and will also make it clear how much to pay your­self for the month. It may seem ob­vi­ous to some, but a lot of new busi­ness own­ers have to face the fact that profit and in­come are dif­fer­ent. When you're pay­ing your­self, it's im­por­tant to treat your­self like an em­ployee, so you're earn­ing what you de­serve while also not over­pay­ing your­self and hurt­ing the busi­ness. Us­ing HoursTracker is one way to en­sure you're treat­ing your em­ploy­ees, your clients, and your­self fairly.

UNUM (Free)

The tricky thing about so­cial me­dia is that (of­ten) we're ac­cus­tomed to us­ing it for en­ter­tain­ment. It takes a com­plete shift in our per­spec­tive to be­gin us­ing so­cial me­dia as the busi­ness and brand-build­ing tool that it is. Which means, like many other as­pects of busi­ness, we need to cre­ate a strat­egy, test it out, and make im­prove­ments all along the way. UNUM is a free app that makes plan­ning your In­sta­gram feed su­per easy. Your In­sta­gram needs to tell the story of your brand us­ing color, im­ages, and cap­tions. But post­ing daily with­out hav­ing a plan is an un­sus­tain­able, ex­haust­ing way to use so­cial me­dia for busi­ness. Plus, plan­ning out your feed will al­low you to get a feel­ing for your own brand. Trust me, plan­ning is your friend! Con­ner Carey is a writer (cre­ative & SEO), on­line busi­ness con­sul­tant, and vi­sion plan­ner. You can sched­ule a free con­sul­ta­tion or join her email list at con­ner­carey.com. She's cur­rently garage-sell­ing all of her stuff to hit the road in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan, and dog, Jodi. Fol­low their ad­ven­tures on in­sta­gram @geor­giatheRV.

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