You could put that new bookcase together with a rusty old screwdriver and the heel of your shoe, but it’s probably a lot easier if you have a power drill and a proper hammer. Having the right tools for the job can significantly reduce the amount of frustration and stress you can feel with just about any task and making money online is no exception.
What’s great is that in this age of cloud computing, mobile apps, and browser-based solutions, many of these tools can be accessed from practically anywhere as long as you have an appropriate device. This is great for the jet-setting dot com lifestyle where you might find yourself on the sunny shores of Costa Rica one day and bustling metropolis of Manhattan the next.
Here are some tools of the trade, presented in no particular order, that you should seriously consider adding to your regular workflow.
If you want to make money online, you’d better have a fairly strong grasp of both your personal and professional finances. Credit cards aren’t evil if you leverage them to your advantage. Positive cashflow is critical for the success of any affiliate marketing campaign. And it’s also reassuring when you get emails in the morning saying you’ve just received a $90,000+ deposit while you were sleeping.
To get a total handle over all your money, get Mint. Use it to create budgets, including suggestions based on your actual spending habits. Track and pay your bills on time to avoid any unnecessary late charges. Keep tabs on your credit score and see where you’re actually spending your money. See everything in one place.
You can’t rely on your brain to remember everything. Your memory is faulty and limited. If you don’t write it down, you’re going to forget. And a far better choice than writing it down is using a note-keeping app like Evernote. This goes far beyond simple text to include images, checklists, doodles and more, with easy access anywhere, plus the ability to share your notes with other users.
Let me preface this by saying that I am generally more of a fan of Google’s offerings in this space. I already rely heavily on Gmail, so turning to Google Docs and Google Drive makes logical sense. That being said, the regular world of business is still very much aligned with Word, Excel and Powerpoint, so if you’re going to be interacting with traditional businesses, Office 365 could be a more prudent choice.
You get ready access to up-to-date applications for all your word processing and spreadsheet needs, plus you get the added benefit of one terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage and 60 monthly minutes of Skype credit included as part of the basic bundle. A personal subscription is just $69.99 a year. If you collaborate with colleagues and employees, one of the business plans may be more appropriate.
When you work for yourself, especially out of a home office, no one is going to hold you accountable but yourself. It’s far too easy to get distracted with Facebook and YouTube. Keep tabs on where you’re actually spending your time with RescueTime. The app will help you focus and be more productive, because you’ll see actual facts and figures that illustrate just how bad your procrastination has become. How much real work are you actually doing?
Yes, you can use PhotoShop for any sort of serious image editing work and you might turn to InDesign to handle your ebook cover and media kit. A more accessible tool that’s much easier to learn and understand by the average person, though, is Canva. There’s a web-based image editor for making quick changes, as well as a multitude of other tools for designing everything from logos to infographics, complete with stylish font choices that’ll really pop on social media.
If you live by the Google, you will die by the Google. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again. Even so, the power and potential of search engines simply cannot be ignored if you want to succeed online. This is true for everyone from bloggers to affiliate marketers, ecommerce people to app developers. If you don’t get noticed, you don’t make money.
Keywords are at the heart of all SEO campaigns, so the aptly-named Keyword Tool is a terrific place to start. In addition to a broad array of geo-specific Google results, you can also research keywords for YouTube, Bing, Amazon and even the App Store. Get ranked, get noticed, and rake in those profits.
You’ve got a lot of usernames and passwords to remember. And these passwords should be complex and unique to every site and service you use. It is just not possible within regular human memory to handle all of that. Stay safe and secure with a password manager like 1Password or LastPass. Manage it all and log into any service you use with just a single click, because you simply cannot rely on yourself to keep it all unique, complex and safe.
Naturally, this list is nowhere near exhaustive. You’ve got social media managers like HootSuite, content management systems like WordPress, collaboration tools like Trello… the list goes on and on. Do you have a favorite online business tool? What is it and why do you love it?