Ten Essential Online Tools for Solopreneur Success
Using technology as your employees
This month at Rich Dad, we're talking about the power of technology to make millionaire solopreneurs.
It used to be that in order to build a million dollar business, you needed to invest in a lot of overhead, such as a building, inventory, and employees. But today, you no longer need to make these kinds of investments to be successful.
As Elaine Pofeldt wrote for Forbes magazine:
According to new statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 30,174 "nonemployer" firms that brought in $1 million to $2,499,999 in 2013. That's up from 29,494 in 2012 and 26,744 in 2011. And there are many more nonemployer businesses getting close to the $1 million mark. In 2013, there were 221,815 bringing in $500,000 to $999,999, a number that held steady since 2012.
Nowadays, a solopreneur can create a big business making millions of dollars. And the solopreneur can do it using systems right on his or her laptop. The solopreneur can send automated emails, sell from his or her store, post marketing campaigns, send and receive shipments, and find new customers-all without doing a thing. The system does it all for them.
But, when it comes to technology, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. The following are ten essential tools you can use as a solopreneur to drive your business to success.
Every successful solopreneur business should have a great website, but that's not enough. You also need to know what your website visitors are doing. By using Google Analytics, you can get the insights you need to know what is and isn't working on your website-as well as what your potential customers are finding most valuable.
In today's marketing world, social media is an essential part of success. But who has time to be online posting things all the time? And how do you know if it's really working? Buffer boasts itself as "the best way to drive traffic, increase fan engagement, and save time on social media." Through Buffer, you can schedule posts on your computer or mobile device to automatically go out on the major social networks and access in-depth analytics on how your posts are performing. It's easy to use and frees your time up significantly.
Solid accounting and books are key to business success. QuickBooks allows you to quickly and efficiently keep your accounting up to date, clean, and actionable-all without hiring a bookkeeper. And come tax time, these clean books will help you save a lot of time, money, and stress. And QuickBooks is now online, so you can record expenses and more while you're on the go through the cloud.
It used to be that you needed a staff of experts to keep your sales and marketing machine running. Infusionsoft is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation platform built specifically for small businesses that can be your sales and marketing administration staff 24/7. Keep track of your customer interactions, know who's ready to buy and who's not, and create email campaigns that are personalized and go out automatically based on how customers and potential customers interact with your offerings.
Solopreneurs are notorious for having a lot on their plate. It's essential that for your own projects and projects you're working on with clients and contractors that you have a solid project management tool. Asana is that tool-"with tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish." And as a cloud-based application you can manage your work from anywhere and at anytime, including your mobile phone.
An essential part of building an online business is building your email list and creating different campaigns and offerings to drive business. LeadPages makes that super simple, allowing you to build templated landing pages and utilize opt-in forms for list subscriptions. It works with your existing website easily and can help you quickly build an online selling machine without the need for a developer.
If part of your business involves service, it's essential that you can track your time and costs, as well as invoice your clients accurately and efficiently. Harvest allows you to track time via your desktop or on your phone, monitor progress on projects and make forecasts, and to invoice you clients with a click of a button. And it has a number of integrations, including with Asana and QuickBooks.
Online business moves at the speed of light. You can't afford to keep your documents in one place. You need access to them all the time, wherever you go. Dropbox is a centralized, cloud-based document storage system that allows you to access your files and documents 24/7. As changes are made in one place, they are updated in Dropbox and applied on every device you use to access Dropbox. No more calling up your assistant to pull that contract.
Any business that doesn't give swift and excellent customer service is a business that will go out of business. FreshDesk is a helpdesk and customer support platform that helps you keep your customers happy by making sure every issue they have is solved and accounted for. With a host of tools that can be accessed via your computer and your mobile phone, you are able to always help your customers out in quick order.
Of course none of these tools help you out unless you can get paid. That's where Square comes in. With Square you can process payments online and on your phone for any transaction.
Life gets even easier when all your apps and tools work together online. Zapier makes that happen. As they state on their website, "Connect the apps you use, automate tasks, get more out of your data." With hundreds of "Zaps", Zapier connects your apps to automate all sorts of processes-saving you time and money.