If you have spent any time working from home you understand the need to make good use of your time. We are all working with the same 24 hours in a day. Efficiency counts. For me, making good use of my time comes from having reliable and helpful tools that aid in my business running smoothly. For some time I thought free tools were the best tools. Why? Because I didn’t have the monthly budget for all the tools to set up fancy systems. Don’t get me wrong – systems are needed but they do not have to be extremely fancy, cumbersome or costly to get the job done.
So, below are my favorite tools of 2017. They are new(er) tools that I have only started using in the last year or so. If you want to read my full list of tools that I recommend, check out my Must Have Tools list!
Zoom: I really like Zoom. I actually began using this because of my clients, most of them coaches that were already using it. They preferred video calls; so I tried it out. Although, I think I was late this party as Zoom was founded in 2011. Prior to Zoom, I was a Skype girl. I still use Skype on occasion. Zoom offers a lot of more features than the ones listed below but I will share what I use it for. Check out their website for full details. I use Zoom primarily for training, client and consultation calls. Pricing begins with free. The next pricing level is $14.99/month/per host.
- Audio or video calls
- Record video and calls
- Cloud storage
- Set up recurring meetings
Acuity Scheduling: This tool is definitely a time saver. I love the automation that Acuity Scheduling offers for scheduling and coordinating appointments. Once you set up the initial automation system within Acuity Scheduling then it’s good to go. I do periodically update my calendar settings.
Once a potential client clicks Schedule a Discovery Call the entire process is automated and the control is given to them. They get to choose a time in their time zone that is mutually convenient from my calendar. I also have a basic contact form that prospects are required to complete before the meeting. These two systems eliminate the back and forward emails, “what time works best for you?” and the need for an embedded contact web form. Which, in my humble option, most contact forms are an eye sore.
Pricing begins at free but the features are rather limited. Honestly, most of the perks that I am most impressed with come from the paid plans. The next pricing plan is $15/month. Below are just some of their features; check all of them out on their website. Acuity Scheduling has a lot of potential for me to scale up as my business continues to grow and evolve. They offer some great integrations as well!
- Branding customization
- Embed calendar scheduler on your website
- Syncs with Google Calendar
- Accept payments and deposits through PayPal, Square, Stripe, Braintree, or Authorize.net
- QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero integrations
- You can create classes, workshops, or group events
- MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and MadMimi integration
LastPass: Oh my gosh. I completely waited too long to use this tool. Hand-and-hand with efficiency is being organized. I was not good at remembering my passwords. Before using LastPass I wasted too much time trying to remember the right password for certain programs. Enter LastPass! Now I only have to remember my password to LastPass and the others are stored for me. Win! No more clicking “forgot your password?”
LastPass plans also begins with free. The next plan is $2/month. Here are some of their features.
- Stores all your passwords in a secure ‘vault’
- Password autofill
- Generate new password if needed
- Accessible on all devices
These tools have been a blessing to my business this year. So, I wanted to share them with you. What tool has made a difference in your business this year? Let me know in the comments below.
*Programs in this post are ones that I use and like. This post includes affiliate links. *
Hey there! Thanks for reading this post. I am the principal of A Virtual Blessing specializing in social media management for Christian entrepreneurs and coaches. I've been providing virtual business support since 2008. Don't forget to chime in with your comments or share this post if you found it helpful.