20 No-Cost To Low-Cost Tools For Your Business – Part I

| January 16, 2012 | 0 Comments

Running a professional coaching business does not cost as much as you would think! There are lots of fancy products and services out there on the market – all promising to skyrocket your business and support you in building your coaching empire.

But before you buy them, go and check out these 20 proven and free or low-cost tools that I personally recommend.

Here comes Part I, with 10 basic tools every coach must have on their list.

1. Google Calendar – A completely free tool where you can schedule your appointments and tasks. You can even color code different projects or equip them with a hash tag so that you can find back items related to the same project. Google Calendar works well also if you have other members in your team and would like to have an access to each other’s agenda.

2. TimeTrade – A simple tool that allows self-service scheduling appointments online, previously called TimeDriver. You update your agenda, send over the link to your client or partner and they book themselves in. Possibility to synchronise with Gmail or Outlook (you never get double booked!) or integrate it in your website or blog. Free trial.

3. Aweber – Complete autoresponder solution that you cannot miss from your toolkit. Possibility to set automatic follow-up messages (handy when delivering and following up on your freebie) and write broadcast messages. Handles multiple lists, can create a web form to place on your website. You have access to statistics on people count reading your messages and clicking on the links, or even sales made from the list. You can automatically publish your autoresponder messages to your Facebook account or your Twitter account. The great thing about Aweber is they come up with new features all the time and check out their useful article base that can give you tips on how to really use an autoresponder. The pricing grows progressively with the number of people on the list. Free test.

4. WordPress – If you’ve ever heard of a flexible website platform, then WordPress is one! If you have a host already, you just download WordPress free of charge and choose among hundreds of free layouts (called themese). Easy to create and to maintain (a non-techie person can do that as well). Possibility to use it as a website, a blog or a mix of the two. There are lots of extra functionalities that can be easily resolved by downloading free plugins (like contact forms, search engine optimisation, even affiliate programs!). The best part – you don’t need to marry your chosen layout for a life. You can always give a fresh look to your site, without having to touch the existing content. Don’t believe it? See my rewamped website here.

5. Hostmonster – If you are just thinking of setting up your website, choosing a good host service is one of your first steps to do. Hostmonster provides a reliable service with great 24-hour customer service and tons of tutorials. You can also register domain names with them, so no hassle to transfer these.

6. Google Analytics – A fabulous – and free! – tool to check how your web statistics are doing. You can ask for detailed reports on number of visitors, exit rates, sources that referred these visitors, keywords they used to find you, where they are located, which pages of your site they were interested in etc.

7. FreeConferenceCalling – If you need a bridgeline for your teleclass or coaching call, here is a great – and free! – conference call service with call registration, play-back and MP3 download options. You can set various functions like entry tones etc. There is also an online conference management screen for more visual people where you can mute and unmute people, assign phone lines to names and handle questions. Only a few people think of this – if you are looking for an MP3 recording option, call into your bridgeline and simply record your content, without any audience – and there you have your MP3 recording!

8. Skype – This service is great if you have a global clientele. If both of you are on Skype, calls – and video calls – are completely free. But it is also great for getting cheap long-distance call rates. You can purchase local numbers that ring on your computer and get voicemail services. It is also possible to conduct video calls (even in group format!) so it can replace face-to-face meetings or group coaching or group training events.

9. YouTube – Noone needs to introduce YouTube. If you are about to create a message that you want to go viral (like announcing a new program of yours or getting visibility), YouTube is the perfect tool for you. With your built-in webcam you can easily record yourself and in a few minutes you are already online! You can also embed your video in your website. Only a few people know that you can also create private YouTube videos that are not shown online. This could be an ideal solution if you want to create a paying program content and give out the link to paying customers only.

10. Windows Movie Maker – Another free video making and editing tool that is normally installed in computers using Microsoft system. This is ideal if you hate being in front of the camera (like with YouTube) and want to create a video based on slides. You prepare your slides in PowerPoint, upload them into Windows Movie Maker and narrate it. That is more time-consuming than using Camtasia, but it’s free!

 

You can read the rest of my suggestions in my next blog article.

 

Are you using any of these tools? What’s your experience with them?

Please feel free to add alternatives to these or any other free to low-cost tools you’re using and would like to recommend for our community of coaches.

 

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Category: Lay The Foundations, Productivity & Tools