Below are helpful, recommended tools that make life easier. They’ve all been tested, so there’s nothing on this page that hasn’t been tried. Disclaimer: Some of the links listed may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something via those links, Ctrl+Start will earn a commission, at no additional cost to you.
Payments, Invoicing, Expenses
Freshbooks has a simple, easy to use interface that allows you to send professional-looking invoices to clients, as well as track your time and expenses. It allows you to get paid faster and actually lets you see when your clients have viewed your invoice. Their helpful charts and reports come in handy, especially when it’s time to do your taxes. Try it out for free.
Bluehost is recommended for hosting your website or blog. They have automatic WordPress installation which makes setting up a website quick and easy. Customer service is great and they don’t try to upsell you on everything. And, the best part…it’s affordable.
Newsletter/Email Sign-Up Forms
Mailchimp is straightforward and makes sending beautiful newsletters a breeze. They also have cool tools like sign-up forms (even the pop-up kind) that make it easy to capture email addresses of people coming to your site. And, if you’re at a conference, for example, there’s a Mailchimp app that you can install to your phone or tablet to capture email addresses of people or customers you meet in person–even when you’re not online. It’s free to sign up, and you only start paying once you reach a threshold of 2,000 subscribers on your list.
Canva can be a lifesaver for those of us who aren’t graphic designers. They make it ridiculously simple to create professional-looking graphics for FREE. Seriously…just drag, and drop.
Social Media Management
Hootsuite is a cool tool that allows you to see all of your social media accounts from a bird’s eye view. It also allows you to schedule multiple social media posts in advance, which can be a HUGE time-saver. Best of all, you can get started for free.