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10 Free Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Have

10 Free Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Have

Managing your own company shouldn’t be that hard when you can have apps that can make your life easier. From a time tracking app to a cloud data integration software, these tools will help you run your business smoothly and efficiently without spending a cent. Here’s a list of free apps every entrepreneur should have.

1. TMetric

Whether you have a small business or a big company, this simple time tracking app is your new partner in managing projects and employees. TMetric works as an activity timer, which you can view in timeline mode, to better manage and analyze your everyday activities. For a business owner or team manager, it’s the perfect tool to monitor your employees or team members’ productivity and task status. A team leader can view what websites and applications a project member visited during a task using the desktop version of TMetric. It can easily be integrated with popular project management platforms like Jira, RedMine, Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and more. The user friendliness of this time tracking software is its best feature, aside from the fact that it’s totally free. Adding new tasks or breaks is very straightforward. No fancy, complicated buttons or options, just a clean, organized dashboard of your work timeline. Currently, TMetric doesn’t have a paid premium version so you can enjoy its full features at zero cost.

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    tmetric app 02

      Here’s a screenshot of Tmetric’s integration with Jira software:

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      Jira Integration

        2. Taskworld

        Are you an entrepreneur who has a thing for graphs and charts? Then you will definitely like Taskworld. Visualize your task status in a nice, sleek graph, or critical areas in a project highlighted on a neat bar chart. This is a virtual office for your business where people can create personal chat messages, create multiple workspaces, and add an unlimited number of members. Speaking of unlimited, you’ll also get an unlimited file storage to secure data sharing if you get the Enterprise version. Don’t worry, this is still free for a team of five people — perfect for startup owners working on a budget.

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          3. Boomerang

          Are you dealing with hundreds of emails everyday? There are two different kinds of emails: those that you need to drop everything and reply to hastily, and those that you can say, “Nah, maybe later.”

          Boomerang is a little plugin which basically allows you to remove non time-sensitive emails from your inbox until a specific date you set when they will be “boomeranged” back to your inbox. That explains the name. Boomerang can be synced with Gmail, Google Apps for Work, and Microsoft Outlook. It has real-time calendar, email scheduling, follow-up reminders, and inbox pause. Boomerang Basic is free and includes 10 message credits per month, reminders, response tracking, and clicks tracking.

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            4. Tasytt

            Hiring — just hearing this word is already exhausting. Aside from the tedious recruitment and interview process, you have to deal with paperworks and training. That’s where Tasytt enters the picture. It makes team member onboarding streamlined so you have more time managing your business. This app appeals to millennials and, in an age where everything is digital, Tasytt fits in nicely. It’s mobile, so you can fill out forms or access training materials on-the-go. They are launching a “freemium” version so register now.

            tasytt app

              5. ArmorText

              If you’re looking for complete control and privacy of your messages, be it on mobile or desktop, ArmorText is the perfect solution for that. It secures your data like an armor (thus the name) so you alone, or only your team if you’re using group messaging, can access it. The app features an integrated media library and encrypted file storage. It boasts zero provider access, meaning ArmorText never holds keys to decrypt, mine, or turn over your data. This app runs on various platforms so you can switch from your iOS phone to your desktop computer seamlessly.

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                6. EasilyDo

                Wouldn’t it be nice if you could manage everything with just a tap on your phone? Manage every email, shipment, meeting, even travelling with a tiny but powerful app called EasilyDo. It’s your personalized virtual assistant right from your pocket. The free version gives you access to more than 40 features and up to five new contacts every month. If you want a simple, fast, and organized email experience, then EasilyDo is for you.

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                  7. UpKeep

                  Asset management was a pain before UpKeep was introduced. It’s a tool that allows business owners to quickly and efficiently handle work order and task management for technicians who are in the field. OnKeep creates a seamless and smooth transaction between managers and technicians. They are mobile-first app so you can deal with your assets on the go. Who said enterprise software should be complicated? They offer unlimited requesters, vendor users, and work orders on their free version. They also have a built-in messaging and chat system, barcode scanners, and more!

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                    8. VARIDESK Standing Timer

                    Interested in staying active while managing your business? Burn calories while working. Yes, you read that right. The VARIDESK Standing Timer works like a charm in notifying you when it’s time to switch from a sitting to a standing position. Just set the number of minutes you would like to sit and stand and let the app handle the rest. You can monitor your progress each day using its sleek main user interface. To measure how many calories you burned, simply enter your weight and it will calculate how many calories you burned while standing.

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                    varidesk app

                      9. Stringify

                      If you know IFTTT, imagine that on steroids and you’ll have Stringify. As a business owner, you want everything in sync with you. Everything should keep up with you and not the other way around. Stringify redefines “internet of things.”

                      Here’s an example of automation from their site, “When I park my car in the city…Then Yelp me three great restaurants, tweet my location, and send me a notification of where I parked.” This easy drag and drop app can open the lights and play your jam as you walk inside your home. Imagine what else it can do.

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                        10. Skyvia

                        Data integration is inevitable in any company that uses computers. Skyvia Data Integration doesn’t need coding, special training, and it all happens in a cloud. Skyvia can be useful for easy data migration from one premise to cloud apps. It can keep your cloud apps (Salesforce, Quickbooks, Mailchmp, etc.) in sync for business process automation. You can easily import data to cloud applications and databases, then export it into a CSV file anytime, anywhere! If needed, you can make a copy of your cloud data and store it in relational databases for future analysis and reporting. All of these features are completely free for now.

                        skyvia app

                          Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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                          Last Updated on April 17, 2019

                          10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

                          10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

                          What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

                          Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

                          They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

                          1. Communication Skills

                          Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

                          To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

                          Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

                          Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

                          After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

                          2. Flexibility

                          Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

                          Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

                          Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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                          Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

                          3. Being a Team Player

                          Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

                          What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

                          This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

                          Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

                          4. Positive Mental Attitude

                          There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

                          Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

                          Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

                          It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

                          Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

                          5. A Strong Work Ethic

                          People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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                          If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

                          Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

                          • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
                          • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
                          • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
                          • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

                          For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

                          6. Public Speaking

                          Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

                          Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

                          If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

                          For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

                          Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                          7. Integrity

                          From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

                          • Always doing what you say you will do
                          • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

                          …even when no one is around to check up on you.

                          There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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                          Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

                          8. Managing Your Time

                          Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

                          A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

                          Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

                          Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

                          These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

                          9. Assertiveness

                          In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

                          • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
                          • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
                          • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
                          • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

                          Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

                          How do you use this information for yourself?

                          It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

                          Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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                          How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

                          10. Creative Thinking

                          LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

                          Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

                          How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

                          Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

                          These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

                          You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

                          What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                          Final Thoughts

                          The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

                          So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

                          The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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                          Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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