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#8 Tools Worth a Solopreneur's Investment Web and mobile app Shake creates legally binding agreements and helps users create quick contracts for jobs, loans and sales

By Varun Aggarwal

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Being a solopreneur has its own perks.

On the downside,

  • You work on multiple projects, including the main and the side projects, thus time management becomes a challenge.
  • You have to constantly motivate yourself to prevent isolation from affecting your productivity.
  • As a one-person company, you are responsible for marketing, selling, being the team leader, the team member and everything in between.
  • Right from getting the client, to creating agreements and meeting the deadlines, everything has to be managed by you.

The #8 tools discussed below will help you stay motivated, focused and on the top of your game. Invest in them, because they help you get more done, quickly.

#1. Tool – Harvest

Function – Online time tracking

Spreadsheets help you track the hours you spend on client projects.

Their limitation being, they do not analyze the time spent on all client projects, side projects, and other time-consuming activities.

That's where Harvest comes to your help.

It is a time-tracking option for solopreneurs to track the number of projects simultaneously – even when they contain different tasks and charge different rates.

You can know how long every task takes to complete and measure the time spent against the return on investment.

Set up automated reminders to remind the client if the invoice is past due. Since the application sends a reminder and not the person, it makes things less awkward.

Harvest is integrated with a number of other apps commonly used for remote work such as Basecamp, Trello, PayPal, Salesforce, and Zendesk.

#2. Tool – Shake

Function - Simplifies legal transactions

The web and mobile app, Shake, creates legally binding agreements in seconds. You can create quick contracts for jobs, non-disclosure agreements, leases, loans, and sales.

The free templates provided by Shake can be filled with specific information and sent to clients to be signed electronically.

The app simplifies legal jargon and creates contracts with a few taps. Shake is targeted at solopreneurs — who cannot afford a pricey lawyer but need sound legal help.

If you're just starting out, the free plan will be more than sufficient.

#3. Tool - Boomerang

Function – Schedules emails to be sent later

Are you working with your client in different time zones?

Are you pitching to become a guest contributor to an editor, who works in a different time zone?

Do you want to send out a variety of emails — promotional webinars, case studies, newsletters to subscribers — over different geographies?

Then you'd know the importance of sending emails at the right time.

Boomerang lets you schedule emails to be sent later. You can also send follow-up emails, track their response. It also reminds you of the no-reply messages.

While sending an outreach mail to an influencer, your mail might get buried in their inbox. Sending follow-up messages gives you better results in outreaching.

Their new feature Respondable uses Artificial Intelligence to help you write more actionable, effective and engaging emails. As you write your email, it predicts how likely you are to get a response and suggests ways to improve the tone.

#4. Tool - Socialert

Function – Keyword and hashtag tracking on Twitter

From brand recognition to improving brand awareness and gaining more leads, the benefits of using social media for your business are numerous.

With Socialert, you can track hashtags, keywords and competitor handles on Twitter which help you to:

  • See the kind of content going viral in your domain.
  • Keep a tab on your competitor's content and see who is interacting with their content. The same audience is your potential customers.
  • Are your competitors marketing on Twitter using hashtag campaigns? If yes, which keywords are they using?
  • Who are the active users on a particular keyword/hashtag? Which relevant tweets are they sharing?
  • Shows the profiles of people sharing your content.

#5. Tool - Rapportive

Function – Shows you LinkedIn profiles in your Gmail

Every time a prospect sends us an email, the first thing we do is check their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The tool Rapportive, a Gmail extension, does this legwork for us. It exports the correspondent's job details, location, interests, company details and mutual network – right in your Gmail inbox.

If you are sending a cold email, you can test different possible email address variations to know the right one.

Additionally, add your own social profiles to the app so that people can view them when they write back.

#6. Tool - Grammarly

Function – Grammar Checker

The many benefits of content marketing include SEO, brand awareness, direct traffic, better conversions and so on.

As a solopreneur, you'd have to handle your own content marketing, write your own emails, sales copy and website pages.

While this is an effective way to keep the overheads low, not everyone has the prerequisite skills to write grammatically correct copy.

Grammarly analyzes your content for adherence to 150+ grammar rules, many of which are overlooked by Microsoft Word processor.

The free version offers grammar, contextual spelling and punctuation checker and is trusted by millions of users.

#7. Tool - The 7-minute Workout

Function – Improves productivity through workouts

The long and short term benefits of regularly exercising are extensively well-documented.

But did you know, numerous studies show the correlation between regular exercise and improvement in the health of your business?

The benefits include:

  • Gets your creative juices flowing – according to a study by Montreal Heart Institute, aerobic exercise increased cognitive function. Workout increases the blood flow to the mind. Meaning, a jog might be all that you need in the morning before you start working on your projects.
  • Reduces stress - physical exercise increases the production of endorphin and reduces the stress hormones – to give you a natural high. A workout before or after work helps you approach work with a calmer mindset.

#8. Tool - Headspace

Function – Meditation

Researches show that practicing mindfulness and meditation regularly have a positive impact on stress, productivity, and creativity.

Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Emma Watson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Wall Street executives and Olympic athletes are among the app's 10 million users.

The free Take10 program introduces you to the practice of meditation for 10 minutes a day for 10 days. The subscription gives access to a wider range of mindfulness exercises that take a couple of minutes and may extend up to an hour.

Varun Aggarwal

Founder, Designhill

Varun Aggarwal is the founder of Designhill, a global graphic design marketplace. 
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