Resources for Building and Running Your Business
If you have done any research about setting up your own business or becoming self-employed, you’ve probably been amazed by the resources out there, free and paid services, just waiting for you to enlist their help.
On one hand, that’s reassuring. Others before you have blazed this trail, and many have documented their journeys on blogs and websites that can help you chart your path and dodge some dead ends.
……On the other hand, you may also be thinking “WHOA! Where do I even begin?”
Hence, this starter list.
It is by no means all-encompassing. It is meant to give you an idea of the kind of resources at your disposal, and a few suggestions for each type.
Note: We do NOT get any compensation from the companies or resources mentioned.
Set and Stick to Goals (worksheet is within article)
Identify Your Outsourcing Needs
What are Your Outsourcing Needs? (worksheet is within article)
Web Hosting and Design
Driven by our own needs to find great web hosting at cheap prices, we conducted extensive research last year to find the best web hosts offering great service at great pricing. The two winners were Host Gator and Blue Host. Both web hosts offer plans starting at less than $4 per month while offering solid support and uptime.
WordPress is known for blogs but has become a full-fledged content management system with numerous themes and plugins (functional features) to boot. For cheap but quality WordPress hosting, we recommend Host Gator and Blue Host. For bigger businesses and hassle-free WordPress hosting, we recommend, WP Engine.
If you are highly technical and want to custom code your content management system, we would recommend:
For PHP developers, Drupal is considered to be a highly customized content management system for businesses of all sizes.
For Python developers, we recommend Django.
Finding and Buying a Domain Name
Fred Wilson wrote a highly informative post on domain names. Some of the best information is in the first couple of comments below the post written by “guest”.
For domain names, most everyone has heard about GoDaddy.com but, as Godaddy has gotten bigger, their customer support has suffered; thus, FreelanceMom recommends using Namecheap for all of your domain buying needs. Namecheap has great customer support plus you buy can a .com domain name for $3.99 per year.
Wufoo is a multi-faceted form-building tool with personality busting out the seams.
Survey Monkey helps you design, collect, and analyze survey information.
Also known as split-testing or A/B testing. Read about why you should split-test your messaging on a website or an email newsletter.
Organizational Tools – apps and online
Errands To-Do List is a popular tool for iPhone users.
Dropbox synchronizes your documents across multiple computers. And it’s free.
See Daily Tekk’s list of the 100 best tools and apps for organization, including project management, mind mapping, to-do and task lists, and journaling/note booking tools.
Bookkeeping and Finance
Intuit offers payroll, credit card acceptance, and financial management services, in addition to website tools.
Simple Studies – offers free accounting lessons.
Bean Counter – offers free bookkeeping tutorials.
Marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tools
MOZ offers a user-friendly approach to optimizing your content for the web.
Wordtracker.com proffers a free keyword research tool and assistance creating Google-friendly content.
Note: If you make it a marketing practice to comment on other blogs and sites so that you can link back to your own (which is fine) make sure you don’t make it obvious you are trying to initiate a sale. That generates a negative impression. If you comment, only do so when you can be relevant and add something new to the conversation. Make the link to your content the last thing you include.
Sites like Digg.com compile “social news” for users in the cyber sphere.
Staffing and Hiring Help
You may already be at the point where you know you’re going to need help, or you may see that as a distant need that comes in to play when your business really takes off. Regardless, read about the ins and outs of hiring a virtual assistant.
International Virtual Assistants Association provides an online directory of assistants.
LegalZoom – a cheap way to get incorporated and get legal advice.
Legal Business Structure – an easy to read comparison of the various types of legal entities.
Communication and Internet Telephony
You can also read Inc.com’s guide to the 11 web analytics they consider to be best.
WordPress again. Aforementioned for its web services, this site is still a leader in the blogging world. Because your focus is ecommerce, here is a compilation of the 10 best blogging platforms for online merchants.
BAM is a community of mom entrepreneurs that support each other through online communities and social and educational events.
Childcare and Domestic Placement
At Globe Nanny, you can find part-time and full-time help, depending on how much childcare you may be looking for. Alicja has been in this business for many years and can find any kind of help you need.