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14 Must-Have Apps for the Entrepreneur

14 Must-Have Apps for the Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur means high hopes for making an impact—with as low a budget as possible.

Nowadays, entrepreneurs are more and more tech-savvy. Using applications on the web and on mobile phone is becoming increasingly popular, especially when these applications are built to solve the kinds of problems that entrepreneurs face daily.

The entrepreneurs I know personally are all experts in their specialized fields, but they also need to have awareness of many other fields in order to get ahead. It would be difficult for a person to start a company successfully without knowing enough about accounting to keep the books running smoothly, and it would also be difficult for an entrepreneur to find success without having some kind of skill in sales or marketing.

Help solve the entrepreneur’s dilemma

How can a small team be on top of everything all the time when they’re so intent on focusing on their core mission? These apps can help. This new year season, consider gifting the entrepreneur in your life with some great apps to help their business flourish.

1. Evernote Premium

evernote

    While Evernote is a great service that can be used for free, there are various reasons the entrepreneur might need the premium version.

    In my experiences as an entrepreneur, here are the features I found I most needed:

    • Viewing previous versions of each note
    • Sharing and collaborating on notes with colleagues
    With recently updated versions of Evernote for desktop and mobile, there’s no other app I prefer to use to keep things in order. I highly recommend it for any entrepreneur who wants help staying organized.

    2. Basecamp

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    Basecamp

      Keeping track of multiple projects and due dates is mind-boggling, but with a paid service like Basecamp, collaborating on projects is easier than ever.

      What I like about Basecamp (and I’m sure thousands of teams around the world would agree with) is that the user experience is a simplified as it needs to be. Nothing is over-complicated or full of unnecessary features—it’s just what a team needs to get things done.

      3. Things 2

      things 2

        Pro tip: If your entrepreneur friend needs a mobile to-do list, you might want to look into Things by Cultured Code.

        Accounting Software

        Maybe I have a soft spot for accounting software just because I’m so bad at accounting, but I know that this is a sore spot for many entrepreneurs out there. Here are a few services I recommend:

        4. Harvest

        harvest

          With a simple, intuitive interface, getting you and your team on board is fast and easy on Harvest.

          5. Outright

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          Outright-Website

            Outright helps small businesses and those who are self employed with online bookkeeping through their exceptional accounting software

            6. Mint

            mint

              Manage your budget with easy to use personal finance tools and calculators on Mint. Track spending and monitor your online banking account. Free to get started.

              7. Lemon Wallet

              lemon

                Lemon Wallet, it’s a mobile app that allows you to store a digital copy of all of your cards in your wallet so you can access them whenever you need.

                Hiring accounting help is a great luxury for small-time entrepreneurs. By pitching in with accounting software inholiday season, you may just be gifting the one thing the budget hadn’t made room for.

                Mindmaps

                From a creative and organizational perspective, mindmapping can really help put ideas in order. Some mindmaps are free with limited features, but splurging on a great piece of mindmapping software might help. Here are a few options:

                8. Mindmeister

                mindmeister

                  Create, share and collaboratively work on mind maps with MindMeister, the leading online mind mapping software. Includes apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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                  9. Mindnode

                  mindnode

                    MindNode‘s focus and flexibility makes it the perfect brainstorming tool. The clutter-free interface lets you concentrate on generating and connecting your ideas.

                    10. XMind

                    xmind

                       

                      Xmind is intended to assist users in capturing ideas, organizing various charts, and share them with collaboration.

                      Pro tip: Use a mindmap to organize your business (organizational chart), your services (portfolio), ideas, and more.

                      11. QuestionUp

                      questionup

                        Creativity apps are awesome: the human mind is programmed to work through problems in similar ways over time, sticking to comfortable patterns of thought. Sometimes, an insightful question is all we need to get our brains going in a different direction.

                        With QuestionUp, entrepreneurs can browse through a list of questions and brainstorm the answers. The idea behind the app is to get people thinking through difficult questions, and hopefully help them solve sticky problems! (Disclosure: I designed and developed this iOS app.)

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                        12. Reeder

                        reeder

                          I use Reeder to keep up with my favorite blogs and magazines: it syncs up with Google Reader, so I can view my favorite content in a more zen-like interface. What I love about Reeder is that it has both a desktop and mobile app, so I can view articles on the go, too.

                          13. IFTTT

                          ifttt

                            Pro tip: Set IFTTT to send your starred Google Reader items to Twitter. That way, you’re sharing your favorite content with your followers, positioning yourself as knowledgeable in the industry with just one click of the mouse.

                            14. DayOne

                            day one

                              Reflecting on the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is key to growth. With DayOne, entrepreneurs can record what’s going on each day and make plans to iterate on noticeable slumps or achievements.

                              Protip: Set a password for DayOne to keep your thoughts and insights extra private.

                              As an entrepreneur, what other apps would you like to receive as gifts this year?

                              Featured photo credit:  Young Businessman with Computer next to Swimming Pool via Shutterstock

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                              Published on September 25, 2020

                              10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                              10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                              When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

                              VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

                              How to Choose a VPN

                              • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
                              • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
                              • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
                              • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
                              • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

                              Why You Should Trust Us

                              Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

                              Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

                              1. NordVPN

                              The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

                              Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

                              NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

                              In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

                              NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

                              Buy this VPN.

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                              2. ExpressVPN

                              ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

                              Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

                              Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              3. Surf Shark

                              With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

                              Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

                              The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

                              Buy this VPN.

                              4. CyberGhost

                              Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

                              The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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                              What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              5. IPVanish

                              IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

                              IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              6. Private Internet Access

                              Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

                              One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

                              In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

                              These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

                              Buy this VPN.

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                              7. Hotspot Shield

                              Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

                              Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

                              Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              8. TunnelBear

                              As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

                              The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

                              Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              9. Norton

                              Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

                              As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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                              Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              10. StrongVPN

                              The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

                              StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

                              As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

                              Buy this VPN.

                              Bottom Line

                              Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

                              With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

                              We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

                              Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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