Your COVID-19 Online Tool Survival Kit

  • Devon 

This whole COVID-19 situation has had us all running around crazy, but we’ve been in it for a while and I wanted to take a moment to share with you the free/low cost solutions that I’ve been referring to ease small businesses at this time.

Calendly

I actually just wrote an article about Calendly here, the short of it is that Calendly helps you by giving you a way to have people easily schedule appointments with you. It takes out a lot of the “how about this time” or “No, this time should do” conversations and just presents a simple calender and people can schedule with you.

It pulls from your calender, so it won’t let people schedule over your existing appointments.

 

Airtable

There has been a spike in interest in setting up a marketing list or simply finding ways for people to make managing their business a bit easier. I’m a big fan of Airtable.

Airtable is a tool that helps you organize your information. Think of it as a spreadsheet, but not as…clunky or risky. As a spreadsheet grows it tends to become big, bulky, and easily corrupted. Airtable on the other hand is web based, and includes the power to create “relationships” between things.

This is important, because you can have your “Contacts” on one sheet, and your “Projects” on another, and not have to keep the contact information on both sheets, essentially doubling your data input. You would simply relate a contact with a project.

You can do basic email marketing from this platform as well as it provides all sorts of templates you can play with. The free plan is very generous, and the paid plan is only $24/month/user at the time of writing this article.

This is a good time to reduce future work, and airtable is a great tool to do that.

Toggl Time Tracker

I’ve used this app for years.

With remote work being so common right now, reporting time entries becomes a fuss of dealing with spreadsheets, scans of notes written on forms, and a whole bunch of other frustrations.

Toggl simplifies the time reporting down to a simple app, and a powerful web interface. From the time entries reports can be generated which can easily be used for payroll purposes.

Their free plan is very generous, and their lower tier is $10/user/month.

Zapier

Zapier is one of those well-kept industry secrets. It’s something that when well utilized can significantly reduce time spent managing your business.

I’ve used this for years, and thanks to it I can operate my business with very little work outside of performing development tasks and maintaining relationships with clients. Which opens up me being able to build and work on Freydom Sites.

What Zapier does is simple: it moves data between other online applications for you.

As an example, what if you wanted to do your time tracking in Airtable? Well you can create a zap that whenever someone creates a time entry in Toggl, it automatically creates a time entry in Airtable.

Want a text notification when someone schedules an appointment on Calendly? Zapier can do that.

The possibilities are endless. It currently connects with over 2000 apps, so odds are you’re using at least something that integrates with it.

Zapier free plan isn’t very generous, but it’s well enough to get you started. Their lowest tier beyond that is $25/month, a price I’ve happily paid for almost 5 years.

Freydom Sites

And here’s the shameless plug!

Seriously though, ever since we’ve been hit by this not only have businesses been getting online left and right, but they need to be able to do so affordably and with much less risk and time spent.

I’ve been having wonderful conversations with people who have been getting started on their own little side hustles, hustles that benefit greatly by having a small website devoted to them.

At $35/month, you can’t go wrong with that. We gotta keep expectations set, these are only simple 1 page websites, but we work hard to make them the most effective, optimized, and search engine friendly one page websites imaginable.

If you’re just getting started, you can play around here to figure out what makes a website useful to you before getting to the big game, such as a Wix or Squarespace site and really sinking in time/money.

 

That about does it. Keep an eye on me on Social Media, because I’ll be reaching out to people I know to add to this list.

 

Update

Rick Dery of rickderydesign.com highly suggests Fanurio Software (fanurio.com), a time management tool for freelancers and teams.