Here’s a list of my favorite platforms and products in a few different categories. If you’ve got suggestions for your own or want to know what I use for a certain function, drop it right in the comments!
MeisterTask: I’ve also used Zoho and BaseCamp, but Meister’s won out. (Dubsado’s got some project tracking features too.)
Customer Relationship Management
Insightly used to top my list, and honestly, it is good. Once I found Dubsado though, it was game over. It has a ridiculous number of features and aesthetically it can go a long way in making your work look a lot more professional…and the branded client portal? Ridiculously nice option for just $25/month. I love Streak too, but mostly for its Gmail integration.
Easy Graphics/Video Creation
Canva: It’s still hard for my non-visual self, but I’m getting the hang of it. If you’re like me and scared of Photoshop, this is the spot for you. Also check out Biteable for video and Piktochart for infographics and presentations.
Aweber: Used to use MailChimp. Switched to Aweber because of the followup campaigns. Never looked back.
Content Management System
WordPress: It’s the standard, my clients use it, and even simpler platforms tend to mimic their setup.
General Business Apps
G Suite: Google wins for sheer ubiquity.
Right Signature: It’s $20 a month, but for someone like me who thinks faxes are a plague upon humanity, it’s completely worth it. (Plus, it keeps clients from dragging their feet signing documents.) Again though, this feature comes along with Dubsado (and maybe even 17hats), so if you’re looking for a CRM, you might not need this. Heads up though: at the time I’m writing this, you can’t upload outside documents in Dubsado, so depending on how you use Right Signature, it might not be a complete replacement.
Grammarly is my go-to for corrections while I write (I love the Word integration, heads up that right now, it doesn’t work with Google Docs), but at around $30/month for pro (there is a free version), it’s outside of some people’s budgets. If you’re looking for something more affordable, I’ve never used it myself, but check out ProWritingAid which comes in at a fraction of the cost. I also use BulletProof when I need fast turnaround and more serious proofing (not editing, that’s a different and more expensive service). You’re looking at prices of around $50+ for even shorter documents, so for content creators, it might only be worth it if your fees reflect that price or you pass the cost on to your clients.
JotNot Pro: I’ve had this for years and it’s never failed. It’s part of the reason I’m able to live without a printer-like-thing in my life.
DropBox: Nothing too special. I think I’ve just gotten used to it, but I like it and it’s well known enough that it integrates into a lot of other platforms and services.
Content Marketing Inspiration
Copyblogger: I’ve been with these guys for years and their blogs, podcasts, and certification programs (affiliate link) have been the foundation of my freelance business and the work I do for my clients.
Business Insider: I don’t spend as much time reading general business news as I used to, but this publication has been a decent staple of non-annoying news and info. Honorable Mention: Harvard Business Review.
Seth Godin: One of the few pop business people I really follow. The man has amazing organizational, marketing, and cultural insight. His daily email is short and he sends it every day.