Entrepreneurs and freelancers manage their businesses online just as much as every other kind of owner and corporate project manager, but they often find themselves working with a limited budget.
“We can’t always hire someone to keep certain information organized and structured,” says Sean Mahoney, president and CEO of AndPlus. “Custom software and the use of mobile applications on the devices we carry each minute of every day offer the single and best opportunity for us to place the time spent usually organizing into running our businesses.”
From payroll and ops to low-cost personal-assistant apps, from idea-banks to team-collaboration tools, let’s look at some of the options that can work for the independent entrepreneur and freelancer on the go.
2. Task Flow is as Important as Cash Flow: Use task reminders as if they were a personal assistant. A shortlist to check out includes Wunderlist (free; $4.99/month premium version) , Wrike (free; $49–$199/month premium version), and Any.do (free).
3. Consolidate Your Creative Materials: Combine all of your notes, pictures, and recorded audio in one place, using an app such as Evernote (free; $5/month or $45/year premium version). No matter where you are during a day, all of your creative materials are searchable. This can be a life saver at a meeting, during an impromptu pitch, or in any situation that depends on your ideas being instantly at hand.
4. Keep Your Comm Lines Open: Communicate with your team on a platform that allows mobile and desktop interaction. A good place to start: Yammer (free; up to $8 per user premium version).
5. Customize When Ready: At some point, as either your budget grows or your workflow exceeds the free and low-price apps we’ve just considered, you’ll probably want to push your entrepreneurial/freelance toolkit into the customized space. Many of what are the most common actions online professionals needs to deal with every day can be integrated into personalized mobile applications quickly and easily.
“We now are allowed to move forward with our lives and running our businesses in the way we feel is most productive, not the way we feel we’re forced to,” says Mahoney.
The bottom line is, even without a massive line to draw upon, small-business and solo entrepreneurs can create dynamic management tools that put them on the same playing field as their bigger-budget counterparts.