Thanks to technology, living life on your own terms is easier than ever. In fact, technology has contributed to the rise of the solopreneur. Solopreneurs aren't interested in building the next large cap company. Instead, most solopreneurs are interested in creating lifestyles that work for them. It's about building a business -- even a small one -- that funds the freedom and flexibility to live the way you want to.
My freelancing business allows me to live a solopreneur lifestyle, providing me with the freedom to work when and where I want. A solopreneur still has to remain connected to his or her business, though. If you want to more effectively manage your business, giving you more time to do the things you want, consider using the following five essential tools for solopreneurs:
1. Any Task Manager
Do yourself a favor and get a good task manager. For the longest time, I resisted task managers. However, it became difficult to manage my work and my life when I had to try to remember everything. A number of task managers, from Any.do to Things to Wunderlist, can help you manage your projects, meetings, interviews, and important life events.
Even just using iCal or Google's Calendar can help you better manage your life. My life is much better organized since adding a task manager.
I still use a Moleskine notebook for jotting down thoughts, and making notes. However, I am slowly moving over to note-taking apps like Evernote. You can snap pictures, create sticky-notes, highlight, share, and even add audio thoughts. Plus, Evernote makes your thoughts and scribblings searchable so you can easily find what you've been looking for.
Evernote recently announced a partnership with LinkedIn to create the ultimate portable business card organizer. Snap a picture of a business card, and Evernote will bring up the person's LinkedIn information. This makes networking, organizing contacts and creating useful partnerships easy for the solopreneur.
Many solopreneurs rely on the Internet, and on email, to drive sales and revenue. With GetResponse, it's easy to to create and monitor sales materials. One of the things GetResponse does especially well is A/B testing. This allows you to figure out which email messages, setups, and other items are leading to the most conversions.
You can also get access to a landing page creator and to smart autoresponders. For solopreneurs offering courses, ebooks and other useful products, the right landing page and autoresponders can be a boon.
4. Social Media and Analytics
Essential to the solopreneur lifestyle is the ability to get out and enjoy life. You can't really do that if you have to sit at the computer all day posting on social media. While you can outsource some of this, another option is to use a social media scheduler like Hootsuite or TweetDeck.
I like Hootsuite quite a bit because it also allows me to interact via social media. I can check responses, and respond back -- no matter where I am. There are also some valuable analytics when you use social media schedulers as well.
It also makes sense to use analytics tools. If you want to see where your traffic is coming from, and track the effectiveness of a campaign, the right tools can make all the difference. Using your analytics tools can provide you with an easy way to see what the signals are saying -- and then make the necessary adjustments that result in increased profitability.
One of the best analytics tools available is Cyfe, which allows you to monitor business data from multiple sources all in one place, whether it's sales or social media. You can also customize your experience to help you better analyze the data. You can also use tools like Google Analytics and Crazy Egg.
Another great tool is Skype. It allows me to stay connected quickly and easily with clients and business partners all over the world. Any sort of meeting application can be a great help to the solopreneur, whether it's Skype, Google Hangouts, or a full-on collaboration app like Glassboard. All of these apps are available on a mobile device, so you can collaborate no matter where you are.
As a solopreneur, I find these tools essential to the success of my business. The fact that they are easy to use, and that they keep me organized, means that I can be just as profitable without spending all day cooped up in my home office.
Follow Miranda Marquit on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MMarquit