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12 Incredible Business Tools No Solopreneur Should Miss

12 Incredible Business Tools No Solopreneur Should Miss

While there are lots of advantages to being a solo entrepreneur, being a one-person company can sometimes be difficult. You do it all yourself: managing appointments, sorting out taxes, following leads and managing social media. However, this is a great time to work for yourself, with hundreds of business tools and apps to help you along the way. Check out 10 different business tools to help you make working for yourself more efficient and easier.

1. Rapportive

Rapportive

    Rapportive is a free add-on business tool for Gmail which shows LinkedIn profiles in Gmail. This means whenever you log onto your Gmail account, you can get information on each of your email contacts, including their social media accounts and where they work – a huge time-saver for solo entrepreneurs. You can also see if they are nearby for convenient meetings.

    2. Shoeboxed

    Shoeboxed

      If you’re tired of keeping a paper trail of receipts, forms and business cards, ShoeBoxed is the perfect app for you. This free business tool lets you scan in all of your important papers, making your information easier to navigate and organize – ideal for taxes!

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      3. TweetDeck

      TweetDeck

        TweetDeck is very useful to any solo entrepreneur who regularly uses Twitter. TweetDeck provides you with a customizable dashboard where you can schedule tweets to be posted, monitor multiple timelines and manage multiple accounts, making your Twitter easier to use and improving your content.

        4. RescueTime

        RescueTime

          If you work from home and struggle to stay motivated, RescueTime could make the time you work much more productive. RescueTime helps you by tracking the activity on your computer to let you know what you waste the most time on while you’re working, making the time you work more efficient. If you really struggle to motivate yourself, you can even use the app to block certain sites while you’re working.

          5. Bitly

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          Bitly

            Bitly is a great business tool for users of Twitter. One of the original apps that shorten links, Bitly is a must for sharing URLs when you have a 140 character limit. Bitly also provides you with a history of the links’ performance, which is a great way to track your reach and influence.

            6. Shake

            Shake

              Shake is a web and mobile app that creates legally binding agreements in seconds, which is an ideal way to create quick contracts for freelance jobs. You can also create loans, leases, sales and non-disclosure agreements, saving you time as you take on new projects.

              7. LikeAlyzer

              LikeAlyzer

                This free Facebook analysis tool shows you stats and insights into your posts and webpage, even showing a list of recommendations for you. It helps you to keep track of competitors and will compare you to other pages, helping you to improve your social media page efficiently.

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                8. RivalIQ

                RivalIQ

                  It is important to be aware of your competition and to improve your social media pages if you are a solo entrepreneur. RivalIQ is a useful business tool that allows you to monitor your competitor’s data and social media, helping you to analyse and improve your own pages.

                  9. Infogr.am

                  Infogr.am

                    Infogr.am is a business tool that help you build beautiful infographics by simply entering information into the provided spreadsheets. You can use Infogr.am to quickly create monthly reports, graphs, charts and progress reports.

                    10. Compfight

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                    Compfight

                      If you run a blog or a website which uses images, Compfight is a great source for creative commons images to go with your content. This business tool is great for making your pages look more attractive and professional – just make sure to provide credit for the image, as each picture comes with an attribution.

                      11. Mention

                      Mention

                        If you are active on social media, Mention is a great business tool that allows you to keep track of all the different places you get mentioned online. Going beyond Google Alerts, Mention tracks everywhere online for your name and company, quickly showing you every time you have been mentioned online.

                        12. News.me

                        News.me

                          If you don’t have time to waste on social media, News.me will show you the top stories from your Facebook and Twitter in a daily summary. If you find social media distracting or time wasting, News.me is a fantastic way to make your use of social media as efficient as possible.

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                          Amy Johnson

                          Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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                          Last Updated on February 11, 2021

                          10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                          10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                          Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

                          You have to work hard to develop the right skills

                          If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

                          1. Make your presentation short and sweet

                          With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

                          JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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                          2. Open up with a good ice breaker

                          At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

                          • Joking
                          • Tugging on their heart strings
                          • Dropping a bombastic statement
                          • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
                          • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

                          You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

                          3. Keep things simple and to the point

                          Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

                          4. Use a healthy dose of humor

                          Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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                          It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

                          5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

                          Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

                          6. Practice your delivery

                          Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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                          7. Move around and use your hands

                          Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

                          8. Engage the audience by making them relate

                          Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

                          9. Use funny images in your slides

                          Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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                          10. End on a more serious note

                          When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

                          As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

                          Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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