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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

                          Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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                          Published on December 18, 2018

                          How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

                          How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

                          You’ve been in business for years and have finally hit your plateau.

                          The tactics you’d implemented for your customers aren’t working as they’ve used to. You feel like your business has fallen out of the spotlight and now you’d have to settle for any business you get. It’s how businesses work, right?

                          The truth is that some brands will fade off the business world–while others will adapt well and continue to grow. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for where your business currently stands. After all, you’d kept applying tactics that provided predictable results.

                          Instead, decide to not settle for average results and spend more time building your brand. To make your business stand out from your competition, you need to be unforgettable. But how can you?

                          In this article, I’ll cover timeless tactics that have worked for other businesses. If you apply these tactics correctly your competition won’t be able to copy them. Here’s how to brand yourself and make your business stand out:

                          1. Win Your Audience’s Hearts with Authenticity

                          The truth has always shined.

                          Even without the technology we have today, people always had a way of finding out if someone was lying. And, with everyone engaging in social media today, it’s hard to hide from the truth. Yet, this seems to be what many businesses fail to do.

                          For example, companies like Listerine have been fined for lying.[1] A quick buck today won’t be worth it in the long run. Instead, practice being authentic to your customers and they’ll eventually rely on you.

                          Allow your customers to buy your products with a money-back guarantee – then deliver on your promise. Be consistent with the content you provide and stay true to your brand.

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                          For example, if you provide coaching services for entrepreneurs, don’t sponsor irrelevant brands. If you stop caring about your brand’s mission, your audience will notice. They’ll question your integrity with your business and stop trusting your brand.

                          But if you gain your customer’s trust, you’ll start standing out from your competition. Your customers will feel safe purchasing from you since they’ll know you’re honest.

                          2. Share a Story No One Will Be Able to Copy

                          A few decades ago, a brand would’ve gotten away without being unique. That’s because back then starting a business was not accessible to most people. You’d either need enough money to launch your business or have the credentials. And even if you had all these qualifications, you needed to get past the gatekeepers.

                          Today, technology has disrupted many of the barriers that were present a few decades ago. For example, today a college student can launch a Podcast within a week. He can create a website in a few hours and record a few Podcast episodes. If he’s persistent, he can build a large following overtime and get paid by sponsors.

                          This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs but there’s more competition than ever. You can only do so much before other businesses begin to copy you. But what no business can copy is your story.

                          That’s why you need to share your story with your audience.

                          For example, if you have a money blog, share how you’ve overcome your financial struggles. If you run a freelance writing business, share how you’ve overcome writer’s block. The more your audience can relate to you the better.

                          Without a story, your business won’t stand out. And if you copy what’s working for other businesses, you’ll experience short-term success.

                          Take some time to share your story with the world, your audience will love you more for it.

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                          3. Stop Reinventing Every Single Thing

                          “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” – Anthony J.D’angelo

                          You may have heard that being original is the way to stand out. While this is true to an extent, you also shouldn’t be original when something is already working.

                          For example, if your competition has a successful Podcast in your field, then so can you. Don’t search for better alternatives to a Podcast if it’s already working.

                          Why?

                          Because this is a waste of time. Instead, copy what’s already working and make it your own.[2] If your competition has a Podcast, figure out which areas you can improve and tailor it around your brand.

                          Knowing this you can now spy on your competition and determine which areas you can improve. But, know that it also works the other way around. Others will view your business and copy what’s working for you.

                          That’s why it’s important to stay true to your brand and be authentic with your audience. When you do, your competition won’t be able to copy your unique traits. Have an abundant mindset and feel confident for what your business has to offer.

                          4. Shine Because of Your Uniqueness

                          Stop trying to help the entire world and focus on helping a specific group of people instead.

                          I get it, you’re willing to help almost everyone because you want to bring in more business. But the truth is that if you resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one.

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                          Take, for example, a marketing agency that helps businesses promote their product. This business doesn’t speak to anyone but gets occasional sales throughout the year.

                          But what if there was a similar marketing agency dedicated to helping real estate agents? If there was a real estate agent looking for help in marketing–who do you think they’ll choose? That’s why niching down is necessary if you hope to stand out from your competition.

                          Determine which customers you enjoy working with the most and determine which customers bring in the most revenue. Once you’ve gathered enough data, focus on servicing your ideal customer.

                          Don’t expect immediate results since this won’t be an easy transition. If you’re currently helping a narrow audience, slowly transition into a niche audience. Niching down is crucial to building raving fans.

                          5. Be the Brand Everyone Can Depend On

                          Being the brand your customers can depend on is important. How many times have you bought a product that’s failed on its promise? Or have settled for an average service?

                          Exceeding your customer’s expectations is a sure way to make your brand stand out. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, studies on human psychology prove that when you give to others, they’ll reciprocate. Offer your customers free consulting, a free ebook, or free quality content. Eventually, they’ll be happy to reciprocate after receiving value from you.

                          View what your competition is doing and surpass their offers. For example, if your competition offers a free 15-minute consulting call, offer 30 minutes. When you focus on helping others more, your customers will notice.

                          Make it your mission to serve your customers first and then worry about making a profit. Other ways for your business to be reliable is by inspiring your customers. That’s right, a business isn’t only about selling, it’s also helping customers achieve their goals.

                          For example, you can write content that will inspire your audience to take action. You can interview guests that will push your audience to break bad habits. Get creative and look for more ways in which your audience can depend on you with.

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                          The Bottom Line

                          Imagine serving fewer customers and getting paid more than ever.

                          Despite the fierce competition, you’ve got fans wanting to buy your products and services. Although this may seem impossible right now, it’s not. If other brands have been able to stand out in a crowded industries, why can’t yours?

                          The truth is that standing out from your competition isn’t easy. There’s no secret formula that’s available to the rest of the world. The trick is to do what most brands are unwilling to do.

                          Many businesses don’t want to niche down because this will mean a loss in sales. But that’s sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Niching down is necessary to build a brand your customers will love.

                          Many businesses will spend a lot of money looking for ways to innovate, but won’t apply what’s working. But, not you.

                          You’ve got what it takes to stand out from your competition. Start slowly and master each principle covered here. Now go and make your business stand out like never before.

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                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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