Running a business can be tough. It doesn’t matter what sort of business you have, there is so much to think about. Websites, photos, accounting, social media, marketing, SEO. And that’s all before you’ve even got your first sale or client!

We’ve asked a bunch of business people what they use and come up with a great list of business tools that can get you on your way. Whatever you may need for your work at home business, you can find something here.

Remember, what works for someone else, may not suit you, especially when it comes to technology. So research and figure out what YOU need and are comfortable using to make your business run smoothly.

Websites

WordPress – A great platform if you want to create something exactly how you want it and you have a vision in mind. WordPress itself is free, but you will need to host the website somewhere which can vary in cost (see the hosting section for some suggestions)

Shopify – If you want to start an ecommerce store than this is a great option. Very user friendly and is generally pretty easy to muddle around yourself (although you can hire a professional to take your site to the next level). Starts from $29 USD per month.

Neto – Another ecommerce platform designed to be an all in one. They are Australian based and can be used for an online store, physical store point of sale, and can link to eBay and Amazon. Starts at $79 AUD per month.


Squarespace
– Able to be used as a normal website (for blogging etc) or an ecommerce store, Squarespace allows you to pick a template and start designing. Starts from $16 AUD per month for a personal website or $25 AUD per month for a business website.

Wix – Wix can be used as a free platform to get you started if your struggling for cash, but most people find they outrgrow the free limitations pretty quickly. You can then go onto their premium plans which start at $4.50 USD per month however you really need to be on the $12.50 USD per month or above plan before it becomes useful.

Big Commerce – Another website builder designed for ecommerce rather than regular websites. Starting from $29.95 AUD per month.


Clickfunnels
– Designed as a one stop shop for sales funnels. Great for service based businesses or selling single products like ebooks, webinars, courses etc. You can start with a free 14 day trial.

Leadpages – Designed more for creating landing pages, this is probably best suited for people wanting to sell courses, ebooks, special offers or build email lists. Starting from $25 USD per month.

Hosting

Most of the above website makers are Software-as-a-service (SAAS). Which basically means and all in one where you can both build and host your website. However, if you choose to build your website through WordPress, you will need somewhere to host it.

Siteground – Starting at $4.95 AUD per month for hosting a basic website (generally all you need starting out). Their closest datacentre is Singapore which is fine for Australian website speeds, unless you’re planning on building the Taj Mahal of websites.

Ventra IP – An Australian company with their servers in Australia as well. Starts at $6.95 AUD per month for basic hosting.

 

Bluehost – Starting at $2.95 USD per month, although for a business website you would proabably at least need the $5.95 plan unless it’s very simple.

Hostgator – Starting at $2.75 USD per month for the simple stuff.

Website Themes

Theme Forest – This website has themes available to purchase for virtually any website platform. The site has over 11,000 WordPress themes and over 500 for Shopify, with many more platforms supported. Prices vary depending on platform and design.

Elegant Themes – This one’s for the WordPress users. Elegant Themes makes themes and plugins, with the most popular by far being the Divi theme. This is one of the most versatile themes you can buy for WordPress, and in fact, Work At Home Mums uses it so we have complete confidence in its uses.

 

Etsy – Did you know you can buy website themes on Etsy? Just search for ‘website theme’, ‘shopify theme’, ‘wordpress theme’ (you get the idea) and a multitude of listings will come up from designers.

Creative Market – Like Etsy, this site allows users to sell the themes and templates they have created.

Design Tools

Canva – A fabulous graphic tool designed for you to be able to create virtually anything you want, from logos to Facebook banners, website graphics, ebook covers, social media posts. The list could go on for a while. If you are a little bit tech savvy, then it’s super easy to use, and even if you’re not, the drag and drop features make sure that it’s not that hard. Created by Aussies too!

Adobe Photoshop – If you really want to get into photo editing, rather than just using photos in graphic design programs, you’ll need to use something like Photoshop or similar. This will allow you much more ability to edit photos properly. Adobe also has other programs in their creative suite, allowing you to do pretty much anything you can think of in regards to images.

Clipping Magic – Have you ever taken a photo that you would just love to remove the background from? Clipping Magic is and easy to use web based tool that does exactly that. Fabulous for removing the background in product shots for ecommerce stores.

Stencil – Very similar to Canva, with a drag and drop interface to make any design you would like. Use their templates or create your own. Add pictures, icons quotes and more.

Stock Photos

Remeber when choosing photos, check that the licence enables you to use the photo for the purpose you want. The free sites will generally have limited use (website or blog use only) but some of the paid sites will have different options allowing various uses from websites to use on products to sell.

Deposit Photos – One of my personal favourites and where we get a lot of photos from for this website. You do need to pay for the photos, but you have a much better range to choose from than free sites.

Pexels – A free source for photos to use on your website.

 

Unsplash – Another free site for stock photos.

Creative Market – A fabulous site where people sell their photos and designs.

Shutterstock – Another site where you pay for the images but they have a great range of photos, videos and music.

Stocksy – Tends to be a little bit more expensive than some of the other sites, but their licence can sometimes enable you to do more things with the photo.

Storyblocks – Based on a monthly or yearly subscription system, but you have unlimited downloads during that time.

Stock Graphics – A smaller site with a yearly subscription fee but they use their own images so seem to have less restriction for the uses of the graphics on it.

Fonts

Etsy – They also do fonts.

Creative Market – Just like graphics and themes, Creative Market has thousands of fonts to choose from.

Dafont – Sort of a directory of fonts. They will link to where you can find the font you like.

Font Squirrel – A list of free fonts you can download and use.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a great way to free up your time and get some stuff done. Especially if you need something that is not your area of expertise. Here are a few options of websites to post jobs or find some freelancers.

Upwork

Freelancer

Fiverr

 

99Designs – For design and logo work.

Social Media Planning

Hootsuite – Intergrates with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter to schedule social media posts.

Post Planner – This allows you to schedule and post to Facebook and Twitter with your own content, but also find content to share.

 

Plann – Great tool for planning out and organising your Instragram content.

Marketing

Mailchimp – One of the more popular email marketing programs. Allows you to organise and send out emails to your mailing list. Intergrates with many website platforms including WordPress and Shopify.

Active Campaign – Another marketing platform that can create smarten up your email campaigns but can also support text messaging.

 

Optimize Press – This a WordPress plugin designed for creating landing pages, sales and marketing pages, webinar registration pages and more.

Get Response – Another marketing platform that can do emails, webinars, landing pages and autoresponders.

SEO

The Recipe for SEO Success – Kate Toon is your go to lady if you want to learn about SEO yourself. There’s even a free SEO Nibbles course to get you started if you’ve got no idea.

Moz – There’s lots of informative articles and a few free tools to get you started on here.

 

Yoast – Once you get your head around the basics of SEO, if you have a wordpress site then Yoast has a great plugin to let you know if your website copywrtiting is on the right SEO track.

Accounting

Xero – Starting at $25 per month if you don’t need many invoices.

MYOB – Starting from $27 per month for the basics.

 

Wave – Wave is a free accounting tool which is great if your starting out and have a limited budget. One of the drawbacks is it doesn’t seem to have bank feeds which the paid services do.

Quickbooks – Starting from $5 per month for a basic self employed app and $10.50 if you need a bit more.

 

Freshbooks – Basic plan starts at $15 per month.

Books

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