A curated list of recommended websites and tools/ apps I’ve used or still using that could help you optimize your home business or simply to keep your life organized and more manageable.
Before you go ahead and look into the resources I have here, here’s an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission or reward points. This commission does not cost you anything extra. For certain tools/ apps, you may even get a discount or credit points if you purchase from the links I’ve included. Please note that I do not recommend products that I’ve not personally used before. If you feel you do not need any of the tools below, please do not spend any money on them. Do contact me if you have any questions or need guidance related to the use of the tools listed here.
Cloud storage has become an essential for every businesses. Here are the three most popular online cloud storages you can consider.
You’ll get 5GB free upon signing up. For paid plans, you’ll get 50GB for $2 per month. For subscriber of Office 365 Personal like myself, you’ll get up to 1 TB for $69.99.
You’ll get 2GB when you sign up for free account but unlike OneDrive, you can earn free storages with Dropbox. I practically maxed out my invites and now I have 20.38GB free storage. Dropbox is ideal for collaboration as well so that’s why I’m still using it even though my OneDrive is more than enough to store most of my files. For paid feature, Dropbox offers 1TB for $10 per month.
Google Drive gives you as much as 15GB for free but that’s because this storage is used up for your Gmail as well. I use Google Drive for collaboration as well. It’s easy to create documents and spreadsheets to share among my team members. At the same time, I also like to Forms feature I could use for my business and to conduct survey. For paid plans, Google Drive offers 100GB for $2 per month and 1TB for $10 per month.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Skype before. It’s an online messaging service that lets you chat, voice call and video call people from all over the world.
Zoom is an amazing platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. For free accounts, there’s a 40 minutes limits but you can host up to 100 participants and it’s unlimited meetings. You can choose to subscribe to their premium features for more functions.
Whatsapp is a great alternative to sending messages without having to pay for SMS. Ever since it was acquired by Facebook in 2014, it has evolved tremendously. I’m also thrilled that the communication in Whatsapp is encrypted allowing me peace of mind so I shifted all business communications to Whatsapp. When you’re working on your desktop, you can also use the web version.
Domain, Hosting & eCommerce
I’ve been using Exabytes as my domain and service provider since the very beginning. It’s affordable and for existing users, they’re always offering their services at discounted prices. I use WordPress as my content management system which you can also easily set it up with a few clicks via Exabytes.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin you can install and instantly turn your website to an e-commerce store. If you’re familiar with WordPress as content management system, I would highly recommend this if you don’t have the luxury of having 4-5 figures budget to engage in a web development company.
Finances and Payments
If you’re running business internationally, there’s no way that you don’t use PayPal. I use PayPal to bill my international clients as well as for payment from my Etsy stores, Zazzle, Spreadshirt and all my affiliates. PayPal charges a small fee of 3.9% transaction plus a fixed fee based on the currency received.
Gone are the days of using Word or Excel to prepare invoices for our customers in particular when everything is online these days. I use Wave Accounting to issue invoices to my local and international clients. They can opt to pay me via PayPal, bank transfers or cheques. This is an option to PayPal in particular for my local clients.
Graphics Editing & Images
Although I enjoy creating graphics on my Illustrator, it doesn’t justify spending so much time when we have such an amazing free graphic design tool like Canva. It makes creating beautiful images for your social media posts, graphics for blogs, presentations, posters, flyers and many more so easy you don’t even need any design skills. There are also plenty of premium images and layout you can purchase at a very minimal fee. Canva is definitely my first choice whenever I have a time constraint.
When I was a project manager for a web development company, I use Awesome Screenshot to easily communication changes and feedback on visuals created by the web designer. I also encourage clients to use it to communicate the changes they want to make. This is way easier as compared to writing everything in text.
An amazing place for you to obtain public domain or royalty free images for your blog. Although they allow for commercial use, I usually just use them as featured images for my blog posts.
Etsy is an online marketplace for the creatives. You can sell handmade and vintage items as well as craft supplies. I’ve been selling on Etsy for years and this platform has always been my main income generator. If you’re crafty and would like to share your crafts with the world, I would highly recommend that you start a store on Etsy.
Shopee is the leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia. If you have sold or still selling on Etsy, you can give Shopee a try. For first time user, you can click on the Shopee logo above to my referral link where you’ll get RM7 off on your first time or you can punch in the code CONCE224. Enjoy!
Zazzle is the most popular print-on-demand website I’ve ever come across. They have practically every item you can possibly think of. The best part is that you can personalize the items you want to purchase or you can just select from the existing designs. Apart from my Etsy stores, Zazzle is my consistent income generator as I’ve been selling my designs here for years. Click here and find out how I make money with print-on-demand websites.
I have never looked at OneNote until recently (2016) when I signed up for Office 365 and OneNote comes with it. OneNote is a note-taking app similar to Evernote that I’ve been using for years. After a few tries, I shifted all my notes from Evernote to OneNote simply because of its superiority in organizing notes. Also, the fact that I’m paying for Office 365, I have more space in OneNote.
Evernote is probably the most well-known digital notebook. I’ve been using it for years. It’s ideal for note taking, clipping webpages and organize your digital life. Before OneNote, I had only Evernote for everything from taking notes to organizing all my content. The free basic account was sufficient for me that I didn’t have to go for the Premium edition. However, I’ve also used the Premium account for a short trial period and it was absolutely amazing.
Project Management/ Collaboration
Asana is a great platform for me to collaborate on various projects with different team members. It’s free to use and I like it for its simplicity.
Trello is a free project management and organization tool. I enjoy using Trello because it gives you an overall view of the project and has flexible features that simplify organizing. You have the freedom to edit and move the cards around.
Toggl is an online time tracker/timesheet app that keeps track of how much time you spend working on each particular project. It’s ideal if you’re a freelancer charging your clients by the hours. It’s free to use and you can easily sign in with your Google account. I use this for my social media management projects where I’ll send a time tracking report to my client at the end of every month to bill them for the hours spent.
Scribd brings together the best books, audiobooks, and journalism to help readers become their best selves. Scribd is my daily learning companion. I read ebooks and listen to audiobooks on this platform everyday!
No time to read a full book? Blinkist features key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction and books in text and audio. It’s also helpful if you’re not sure if the books are worth reading. You can always listen to the key insights via Blinkist before diving into the full books. Use my referral link below for free trial.
JacquelineTeo.com contains affiliate links, which means that I will earn commission if you choose to make a purchase. This sales commission comes at no additional cost to you. You could even enjoy a better discount if you use my affiliate links (applicable to certain products only.)
I recommend the products and services mostly because I’ve either used them or have done enough research that I find them useful. Unless you have any needs or feel that they can help you achieve your goals, please do not spend money on them.
If you decide to make a purchase, I would like to thank you for your support. Every little bit helps me in spending more time and resources to come up with useful content. Please let me know if you have have any questions about the products or services you purchase, I’d be glad to answer them.