When an entrepreneur starts a business, the immediate concern is how much it will cost to set up. Cost can sometimes seem like a barrier to entry for those hopeful business owners looking to get started on a budget. Luckily, evolving tech has provided many free alternatives to the paid tools other professionals use.
But with so many of these tools on the market, you could spend months sorting through them to find the ones that work best for you and your business. To help you narrow down the list, 15 leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council offer their best suggestions for free tools that solopreneurs can use to help keep startup costs down.
AnswerThePublic is an excellent resource that business owners can use to come up with content ideas for their blog. Simply type in a few keywords and you’ll get thousands of possible ideas. You may have to sift through and find the ones that fit your specific niche, but we’ve found a ton of our company blog topics with this tool. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
Canva is a great asset when you’re starting a business if you don’t have the budget for creative resources. Whether it’s making a better looking email, a brochure, a presentation deck or making your social channels look better, they have so many templates available on their free plan that you’re sure to find one for you. It’s also designed for those without design experience so it’s super easy to use. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
Buffer is a tool for business owners who want to expand their reach and engage with followers on social media. You can use Buffer to schedule social media posts weeks in advance. The best part about this nifty little tool is the fact that you can schedule a whole month’s worth of posts in one day, which makes your social media marketing strategy both fast and affordable. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
Now that everyone has started posting a lot of video content on social media, it’s become all the more important for solopreneurs to stand out from the other videos in people’s feeds. One tool I’ve been enjoying is Videoleap, a free video editor for iOS that makes it easy to add artistic effects, overlays and stickers to my clips. My video posts definitely grab people’s attention. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
5. Google Analytics
It has to be Google Analytics. If you own a website, you need to know how you are receiving traffic and how it’s flowing through your site. Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool and it’s completely free. Almost anyone can implement its tracking code and they have vast amounts of learning materials available for free. This is essential stuff. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International
6. HubSpot CRM
The democratization of technology has allowed solopreneurs access to tools that make it easy to track buying signals and prospects’ intent to buy. I strongly recommend HubSpot CRM. Connect HubSpot’s free customer relationship management tool to your email and track every contact emailed ever. – Kara Brown, LeadCoverage
Keyword.io allows you to find out what is being searched on all major search engines, from Amazon to YouTube. It provides all of the autocomplete phrases from any seed keyword so you can see exactly what customers are searching for and how to use their words to help them find and buy what they want. – Michael Barnhill, Specialist ID
A free Mailchimp account is a great way to start building your email list. Their forms, landing pages and website builders are easy to use and effective. Building a list early on is invaluable; It’s your ability to directly contact current customers and engage with new ones by skipping the social noise and showing up in their inboxes. This free tool has everything you need to start your list. – Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench
Pixabay is an excellent place to find stock photos for your blog posts. I used it when I first started my business because they have a variety of interesting photos for my industry and there are always new pictures getting added. The best part is you can create a free account and download as many images as you need. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
10. Social Media
Social media is a great tool for any startup. It seems like an obvious idea, but LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are all great places to potentially connect (for free) with potential business prospects or customers. It should be at the top of your consideration list for any go-to-market strategy. – Andy Karuza, LitPic
If you want to be visible online, you need to have a strong social media presence. Hootsuite offers free solutions that are great for a solopreneur. Use it to post content to multiple networks at the same time. You can also schedule your posts and free up more time for other activities. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
One of the most life-changing things I’ve ever done was start a blog. That opened me up to amazing experiences, and I’ve been able to grow multiple successful businesses off it. That being said, my best free tool suggestion is WordPress. You can start for free with a free template and just start writing. It’s the best way you can create something right now. – Sean Ogle, Location Rebel
13. Google Drive
Google Drive is probably the best free tool you could possibly use when starting your business. Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, etc., are all tools that can help you build a business. – Jared Brown, Hubstaff Tasks
Leverage the power of Yelp. You can create a free business profile for your business and begin to grow customer ratings, feedback and a powerful source for reaching customers in your area. Using sites like this helps improve your searchability and your clout and lets you gain feedback on your products and services without paying a dime. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
Zapier is a zero-code tool that automatically sends data from one service to another. An example could be sending a custom email to customers from Mailchimp after they purchased something from your Shopify store, or sending Facebook leads to Customer.io for a drip campaign so you can convert them. There are so many examples that used to require an engineer that no longer do, saving you so much time and money. – Landon Vago-Hughes, YSplit