Welcome to the Becoming The B Boss Tools and Resources section. This is a complete list of the tools and resources I have used on my startup journey It includes loads of free tools I still use everyday to run my business remotely.
This is not some exhaustive list of every tool under the sun but rather a list of the things I have tried and loved. Most of the resources listed are things I use everyday and literally could not live without.
Before we get started please take note of this important disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you click through and decide to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Always remember that I would never endorse something if I didn’t 100% believe in the product/ service.
My Tools and Resources List
I literally use every aspect of Google’s G Suite on a daily basis. At only $5 per user per month on the basic package you get business email; video and voice conferencing; smart shared calendars; documents, spreadsheets, and presentations; great security and administration controls and 30GB cloud storage per user. And because the entire suite is cloud-based and mobile-friendly, I can connect with my team wherever I am.
- Gmail: I have custom domains set up in Gmail and use multiple inboxes to funnel communications to relevant people in my business (or just to segment my workload into more manageable chunks). While I am sure there are some die-hard Outlook fans out there that might argue, I feel that Gmail is the simplest yet most powerful tool to manage email. (Gmail Power User Tutorial Coming Soon)
- Docs: I use Google Docs for everything from simple note taking to writing my personal journal (I mean – who still writes a journal by hand?), reviewing and collaborating on blog posts and other content with my team, and even to create proposals that I might save to PDF.
- Sheets: As someone who can get fairly carried away in Microsoft Excel, I have really come to appreciate its simpler cousin, Sheets. For day-to-day use, Google Sheets really covers all the bases and offers both the reliability of cloud storage with the convenience of better collaboration and revision tools. There are some advanced Excel functionality that is missing but it is not everyday I need to work with 1,000’s of lines of data or advanced formulae. Excel’s Charts are still better though.
- Forms: I love the ease with which pretty much anyone can create a Google Form that looks great and contains nested questions. Sure you could use TypeForm to create slightly prettier forms but I much prefer the direct integration to the Google Drive that Google Forms offers. I use these smart forms in my business to easily capture new customer info and have even used it to send updated terms for clients to accept.
- Drive: I am not exaggerating when I say my whole life is in the cloud. After one or two hard drive emergencies in South East Asia I have decided to always back everything of importance up to the cloud. With the ability to get quite specific with your sharing rights and still maintain great structure in your own file system, I find Google Drive to be the best cloud storage for collaboration. (See more below on other cloud storage options).
This instant messaging service has become an integral part of both my team communication and customer service. While other offerings like Slack may be better suited to technical teams – everyone from my cleaning ladies to financial manager are familiar with and comfortable using Whatsapp.
In addition, Whatsapp seems to be the preferred method of communication for most of our customers who like the fact that it is not as intrusive as a call and is easy to respond to on the go.
This smart little service allows leads, customers and my team to schedule time in my diary based on predetermined available time slots. This allows me to plan my day according to a schedule that suits my energy and obligations. It also prevents the back and forth that often ensues when attempting to schedule a meeting. I would recommend making use of the reminder emails as many people schedule calls and forget.
My Calendly (above) by default asks leads, customers and team members to provide their Skype contact details. Most people are familiar with Skype (though it seems loads of people are not sure what their Skype name is). Skype is a great and free option which includes group calls, screen sharing and the sending of files. When the call is a voice discussion only Whatsapp (above) and FaceTime can do the trick too, whereas Screenhero is great if you want to take control of the computer on the other side of the call.
I have tried loads of project management and to-do list apps and have fallen in love with Asana. It has everything I need allowing me to nest lists within lists within lists, whilst making everything easy to find with a great search function and tagging features. With the ability to assign tasks to team members and comment on ongoing projects, it is a really great way to delegate work and check on the progress.
Cloud Storage – For everything from photos to files
Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive and iCloud – I have tried them all and actually use them all for different reasons:
- Dropbox: The original and still the easiest way to share a single file or folder with someone outside your organization (perhaps a customer or contractor). I upgraded to Dropbox Pro at $99 for the year giving me 1TB of storage. I use Dropbox to store big files (like high resolution photos of the listings I manage) which I need to share with customers.
- Google Drive: As mentioned above – I LOVE G SUITE!!! For $5 a month per user, each user gets 30GB of cloud storage. This is more than sufficient for our day-to-day needs. I definitely think Google Drive is the best solution for collaborative work.
- Amazon Cloud Drive: When I initially signed up, this service was offered as unlimited storage for $60 a year (which was amazingly cheap). Of course now that I have invested the time and effort to backup ALL my photos and videos from a year of travel (read: a LOT of data) I have been notified that this unlimited storage offer will be discontinued. While unlimited photo storage is still available as part of Amazon Prime ($10.99 per month), new annual storage plans are priced from $11.99 for 100GB.
- iCloud: Originally a bit more expensive, Apple recently dropped their prices and now offer the following pricing options: 50GB at $0.99 per month, 200GB at $2.99 per month and 2TB at $9.99 per month. While I know my iPhone constantly backs up to the cloud (all those stupid joke messages on Whatsapp mostly), I am not sure about any of the other features.
I have started to include a daily meditation in my morning ritual and have found it is a fantastic way to start the day. It centers me and allows me to quickly get into a reflective zone before I dig into my journalling. Headspace is the perfect introduction to meditation and offers ten introductory meditations for free when you sign up.
I wish I was into reading. I just find that the moment I pick up a book I get the urgent desire to sleep. This has meant that I have a bookshelf full of half read books and an ever-growing list of books to read. That was until I discovered Audible. Since giving up my car and switching to walking / Uber-ing everywhere, I now have lots of time “in-transit” when I listen to audiobooks and I love it.
I have found the Pomodoro Technique very helpful in developing a focussed deep work habit. The idea being that short focussed periods of work (usually 25 minutes) followed by short breaks (usually 5 minutes) combined into three or four repeats, result it optimum productivity. I love that the Focus Keeper App includes productivity reports. It is also quite flexible allowing you to adjust the length of time and number of repeats in your work sessions.
Have you ever wondered where your day went? You know you were at your desk but have nothing to show for it. Enter RescueTime which quietly records the software you are using and the webpages you are visiting in the background to bring you super detailed reports of your productivity. I still need to work on setting goals and alerts but have found using the app to develop an awareness of where I spend my time to be very useful.
I used to have a perfect solution for remembering passwords – only use one. If they required one with a symbol, I would add on a “#”. That was until I realized how easy it was to hack into every aspect of my life. Of course you could save all your passwords in a document on your computer or scribbled down in a notebook. But 1Password is so much better. You only need to remember your master password and all other passwords are conveniently stored in the desktop or mobile app. With a backup to the iCloud and very secure encryption this is definitely a no-brainer.
If (like me) you are obsessed with lists, then Workflowy is just the thing for you. This uncomplicated list-making tool (which works online in the browser, as an offline application or on mobile) is the perfect place to store those long lists we all build up over time. I originally used Workflowy as a project management tool (but have since switched to Asana).
Sales and Marketing
Finance and Accounting
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