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10 Free Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Have

10 Free Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Have
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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.

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                          Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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                          Published on July 27, 2021

                          15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

                          15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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                          During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

                          But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

                          Put the Pro in Professional

                          After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

                          1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

                          The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

                          Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

                          2. Dress the Part

                          While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

                          Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

                          For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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                          Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

                          3. Stage Your Workspace

                          Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

                          Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

                          4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

                          Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

                          Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

                          Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

                          Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

                          5. Arrive on Time

                          In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

                          Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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                          6. Turn on Your Video

                          Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

                          If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

                          Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

                          7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

                          Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

                          Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

                          Attend to the Pesky Details

                          8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

                          With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

                          Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

                          9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

                          Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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                          Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

                          10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

                          As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

                          Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

                          Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

                          Talking Has a Time and a Place

                          11. Chat Appropriately

                          Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

                          At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

                          12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

                          The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

                          Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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                          13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

                          In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

                          Manage Yourself

                          14. Minimize Distractions

                          While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

                          Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

                          15. Save Snacking for Later

                          Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

                          However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

                          Final Thoughts

                          Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

                          Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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