Essential Business Tools for 2024
Freelancing comes with plenty of rewarding perks, from a flexible work-life schedule to the ability to work from practically anywhere and everywhere (see ya, morning office commute). And the best perk? Owning your own business allows you to carve your own career path and work on projects that truly matter to you.
There are gobs of benefits to business ownership, but being your own boss does come with a lot of responsibility. You need to learn how to be a jack of all trades — project management, marketing, strategizing, and bookkeeping are just a few of the hats you’ll wear!
Luckily, there are plenty of nifty tools out there that can help make running your business a whole lot easier (and save you time). We cover some of the best below!
ClickUp is a project management tool that helps keep you organized and on top of your workflow. The simple interface brings all your work projects into one place for easy viewing and management. Larger projects can easily be broken into subtasks and organized based on priority and deadlines. You can even track your hours on each task, helping to manage your time and see where you could improve efficiency.
What’s more, ClickUp’s wide range of collaboration tools keeps you in communication with clients and employees in real-time so you won’t lose crucial details to email spam ever again!
The ClickUp team is attentive to its clients, and if you have any troubleshooting questions you can easily contact experts via email or live chat. You can also learn how to make the most of the tool’s key features by checking out helpful articles on the support page.
You can try ClickUp for free (with a 100MB storage limit), or choose unlimited storage and advanced features like detailed timesheets, task-based mind maps, and an AI-powered writing assistant for $7–$19 per month.
Canva is an online graphic design platform made especially for beginners, so you don’t need to be a Photoshop wizz to create stunning graphics for your business! Anyone can pick up Canva’s simple drag-and-drop tool within minutes, and the editor offers a range of customizable templates for virtually any business design need — from viral-worthy social media posts to eye-catching blog graphics.
Canva offers a free personal plan, or choose the premium plan for exclusive editing tools like the image background remover, magic eraser, and premium templates, graphics, videos, and photos.
The basic premium plan costs $14.99 per month, while the business team plan costs $29.99 per month for the first five people. Both premium plans provide unlimited templates, 1 TB of cloud storage, and 24/7 customer support.
FreshBooks stands out as an all-in-one accounting software solution that effectively streamlines headache-inducing invoicing. The software offers professional, customizable invoice templates, a simple payment reminder system, and automated tax calculations on each invoice to ensure accurate numbers.
Invoicing is even simpler with the FreshBooks mobile app, where you can create and send invoices from anywhere with 4G.
Beyond invoicing, FreshBook’s capabilities extend to a range of essential bookkeeping tasks and financial needs, including expense management and comprehensive proposal creation.
Plans start at $4.25 per month. Although the tool offers fewer customization options than competitors like QuickBooks, our PA team prefers FreshBooks for its user-friendly interface and simple navigation. FreshBooks’ intuitive interfaces are also designed with service-based businesses in mind, making financial management for freelancers easier.
Trello is one of our favorite project management tools for getting everything done in one place. Similar to ClickUp, Trello allows you to easily keep track of projects, prioritize tasks, and easily allocate work between team members — all from the same panel, in real-time.
Trello doesn’t have as many features as ClickUp, but our team prefers Trello’s visual approach, transforming the workspace into virtual boards and cards for separating tasks. It’s a bit like having really organized sticky notes! Trello is super simple to use, too, ideal for those just beginning their self-employed venture.
You can start with the free plan for incredibly generous, unlimited storage and up to 10 boards per workspace. As your business grows and you need to scale up, you can swap to a paid plan at $5–$10 per month.
Google Analytics is a free advanced analytics tool that gives valuable insights to help you make data-driven, informed decisions and create effective marketing strategies — both of which can help grow your business.
How does it work? The tool collects data on how people engage with your business site, makes detailed reports on user actions, tracks which pages receive the most traction, and tells you how people are finding your website.
Google Analytics offers predictive analytics too, so you can prepare for your audience’s future behaviors and prevent drops in sales before they even happen.
Though you should be prepared for a bit of a learning curve if you’re new to marketing, we highly recommend taking advantage of this software to grow your business. For the newbie version of web analytics, and how to use Google Analytics as a tool for your business, check out Stewart Gauld’s video.
Otter is an advanced transcription platform with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities that takes the stress out of any Zoom call. Otter.AI accurately transcribes your meetings and converts them into notes and summaries in real time, taking off the stress of jotting down notes, so you can focus on your discussion.
Meeting notes and summaries are automatically sent to participants, ensuring everyone (not just yourself!) is kept up to speed on the discussion’s key takeaways. Otter also provides a host of other collaboration tools and integrates seamlessly with popular conference apps.
Although Otter is one of the most accurate live AI transcription tools out there, it may still occasionally mistranslate words. That said, we all know a quick proofread will polish the transcripts up nicely. You can try Otter out for free and premium plans start at as little as $10 per month.
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool specifically designed for creators seeking to grow their audience reach. The tool handles all the legwork by providing automated email funnels, subscriber list management features, and ready-to-use email templates to keep your campaign out of your prospect’s spam folder.
The tool also keeps track of email performance data trends like open rates, click rates, and unsubscribes, giving you a detailed overview of what is converting your clients and what you can do to connect with them better.
ConvertKit is free to use for up to 1,000 subscribers but, as you nurture and grow your email list, you’ll need to swap to the Creator plan for $9–$15 per month, or the Pro plan for $25–$29 per month. While pricey, the Pro plan unlocks a range of features like unlimited team members and priority live chat support.
Frase takes the headache out of content creation by researching, identifying keywords, creating data-driven content briefs, and writing SEO content in minutes. This all-in-one AI content creation tool develops content that your audience and search engines will give 5 stars.
Our team at Proofread Anywhere highly recommends Frase as a research tool for freelance content writers, SEO analysts, project managers, or anyone else looking to streamline their content creation process. We especially love the advanced file-sharing system for sending editable documents with users outside the app.
Frase costs $12.66–$114.99 per month, depending on the plan. Overall, Frase shines at creating SEO-optimized content, but if you’re after a tool that can help you produce engaging marketing copy (or overcome writer’s block), then we recommend using another AI writing assistant, like Jasper.
Jasper is the most affordable and top-rated AI writing assistant by our team at Proofread Anywhere. The tool is an AI-powered writing assistant that can generate practically any kind of marketing copy for your business from scratch, including product descriptions, company bios, and social media captions. It also helps you improve your own writing by giving on-the-fly suggestions and inspiration while you write.
To top it off, Jasper offers an extensive library with hundreds of pre-made marketing content templates. The tool is free for a 7-day trial, but after that, you’ll need to fork out at least $39 per month.
Meta Business Suite
Meta Business Suite is any business owner’s best social media management tool for managing multiple accounts. The tool saves you time and hassle by bringing all Meta social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp) into one space.
The tool helps you effortlessly set up social media ad campaigns, gain in-depth insights into how your accounts are performing, and schedule new posts. By keeping your social media management organized, Meta Business Suite helps you regain control and build your online presence.
Best of all, Meta Business Suite is completely free to use! Unfortunately, you can only connect Meta’s social media platforms through Meta Business Suite. Other apps are available that can integrate practically every platform together, like HootSuite, but these typically come with additional costs.
Bluehost makes setting up a website from scratch easy. The tool helps create stunning business websites with its smart drag-and-drop web builder and customizable page templates. Plus, the service doubles as a website host!
Bluehost is perfect for beginners who don’t want to get bogged down in coding or plugins. The tool costs between $9.99 and $28.99 per month depending on which plan you choose.
DailyGreatness Business Planner
The DailyGreatness Business Planner may be “old school,” but it’s by far the best daily planner for entrepreneurs. The web planner’s pages are filled with resources and worksheets to keep you organized, motivated, and on track to meet your business objectives.
You’ll find strategy worksheets, 90-day business challenges, budget worksheets, weekly goal planners, and quarterly check-ins to help you scale your business.
The DailyGreatness Business Planner may be more pricey, at $69.95, but working through the guide can truly put you in the right mindset to make positive (and lucrative) business decisions.
ProWriting Aid is an AI-powered editing tool that can bring out the full potential in your writing and ensure you never miss out on a sale due to an awkward typo or clunky sentence. It provides automated proofreading, real-time rephrasing suggestions, and in-depth readability checks. The tool can also pinpoint weaknesses in your content, like overused words and poor transitions.
ProWriting Aid won’t catch every error and can’t be a replacement for the human eye, but it can help speed up the writing and editing process significantly, allowing you to allocate more time to growing your business.
ProWriting Aid offers a free plan, but it’s restrictive and comes with a 500-word limit and a maximum of 10 rephrases per day. We recommend opting for the premium plan as it removes these limits and also gives you access to additional features like advanced style improvement suggestions and writing analysis reports. You’ll need to pay $10–$36 per month (or up to $699 for lifetime use).
Other Essential Business Tools and Resources
Here are a few more business applications and resources that can help you in your solopreneur venture!
- IncFile: Establishing an LLC can be a daunting process — IncFile will do all the hard work for you and ensure you submit the correct documentation and meet all the necessary state requirements. IncFile also gives you a free Registered Agent for the first year.
- JotForm: Designed for business owners with no coding experience, JotForm is a powerful yet simple form builder that’ll allow you to create, design, and manage professional online forms in minutes. It can even keep track of the data with real-time analytics.
- Proofreading for Profit eBook: Not to toot our own horn, but the FREE ebook written by our PA team is a fantastic resource for proofreaders just starting out in the field! The book gives an in-depth overview of what proofreading professionally involves, how to hone the necessary skills, and what it takes to build a successful business from the comfort of your own home.
- AI Tools to Improve Your Business: We’ve listed plenty more AI tools that can help your business flourish in this blog post written by our PA team.
Check out our Freelancer Resources for more tools and courses for freelancers. You can also join our newsletter for monthly freelancer resources and tools, and stay up to date on any more awesome business tools we discover!