322+

Free Tools & Resources to Start and Grow
Your Business

By Marie Forleo

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Free Tools and Resources

Have you been dreaming of starting your own business? Does the thought of yet another “day at the office” make you want to curl up and cry?

Is your brain overflowing with half-formed ideas, but no concept on how to actually generate money from them? Boy, can I relate.

I honestly questioned my sanity before starting my own business. I had jobs on Wall Street and for Condè Nast. But no matter how lucky I looked on the outside, something felt wrong on the inside. I wanted more. A lot more.

We spend most of our lives working, and I wanted to wake up every day knowing I was using my gifts to do meaningful work. Work I felt called to do and would impact others.

After many years of self-doubt, I realized the only chance I had to live this dream was to create it myself. I had to escape the comfort of my 9-5 and start my own business.

Like most aspiring entrepreneurs, I had no clue where to start. Nor did I have any ‘extra money’ laying around to make it happen.

Sure, I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but if other people could figure out how to start a business with no money, so could I.

That risk—despite no clue and no money—was the best gamble of my life.

Fast forward 18 years…

My name is Marie Forleo and I run a socially-conscious, globally-recognized Inc. 500 company. I’ve been called “a thought leader for the next generation” by Oprah herself (I know, my jaw hit the floor too) and our site was named one of the 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs by Forbes.com.

The path hasn’t been easy. Or fast. It’s still hard as hell. I’ve had plenty of “Oh sh*t” moments and even more priceless ones along the way. Today, I do my best to pass along those lessons on our podcast and award-winning show, MarieTV.

It’s been worth it—100X over! We’ve helped over 44,000 people start and grow meaningful, profitable businesses, too.

Which means I hear would-be business owners ask the same question again and again…

How Do I Start a Business
With No Money?”

Maybe you’re fresh out of school and in debt (like I was).

Maybe you’ve got 10,000 ideas, but no concrete plan on how to turn them into a profitable business.

Or maybe you’ve got little kids, a mortgage and a slew of unpaid medical bills.

There’s good news. There was for me and there is for you…

There has never been an easier—or more affordable—time in human history to start a business.

Thank you @marieforleo for this mega resource vault! 322+ FREE tools & resources to start a business with no money.
via @MarieForleo
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Gone are the days of exorbitant overhead costs. You don’t need a fancy website or expensive office. And for most businesses, you don’t need investors, funding or a year’s worth of savings.

Here’s what you do need:

  • You need to know exactly what business you’re starting, (i.e. your business idea, your revenue model, who your customers are, how you plan to deliver value), and
  • A way to validate your idea to ensure it makes good business sense (before sinking in too much time and energy).

Once you have this, most of the tools you need are available for free, right now. We’ve curated a list of the top technology, tools and resources that will help you start a business with no money today.

(And if you don’t yet have that clarity, we can help—guaranteed! Get your free business video training today.)

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Free Business Plans

With hundreds of free business plans and sample business plans available online, you can have your own plan up and drafted in a single afternoon.

  • Bplans – The largest online collection of free sample business plans. Also provides helpful tools and guides to help you better manage your business.
  • Bplans’s Gallery of Samples – Over 500 examples of business plans.
  • Oprah.com’s One Page Template – Get one-page business plans for a small consulting business, a boutique clothing company and a nonprofit organization.
  • Score’s General Model Startup Template – Business plan template for a startup business, with instructions for each section and fillable worksheet.

Website Building Platforms

Note: With many free website builders, some company branding might be present on your site or in its URL as a subdomain www.yourwebsite.jimdo.com or www.yourwebsite.yola.com. If you’re able, invest in your own domain and inexpensive hosting.

  • Bootstrap – One of the most popular front-end frameworks and open source projects in the world, designed to make front-end web development faster and easier.
  • Freenom – The world’s only free domain provider with a mission to bring people online and help countries develop their digital economy.
  • Jimdo – Create a free website with responsive templates, 500MB of storage, unlimited bandwidth. Free plan comes with a Jimdo subdomain.
  • Strikingly – Set up a beautiful, free website in under 30 minutes.
  • Weebly – Free website builder, e-commerce platform and marketing tools—all in one place.
  • Wix – Free website builder with unlimited pages, 500MB storage, secure hosting, drag ‘n’ drop editor and mobile site.
  • WordPress.org – WordPress is free and powers 27% of the web. You will need to buy your own domain name and pay for hosting—the latter can be found for as little as $3.95 per month.
  • Yola – Free website plan gives you up to 3 pages, 1GB storage and a Yola subdomain.

E-Commerce Solutions

Sell stuff online by joining the most popular online marketplaces or go the DIY route and create your own e-commerce website and collect payments yourself.

  • Big Cartel – Build a free online store, sell in-person and run your creative business from one platform.
  • Etsy – Sell your handmade or vintage products on Etsy and reach millions of buyers around the world.
  • PayPal – A fast, safe way to send and receive money, make online payments and set up a merchant account.
  • Square – Sell online via Square’s website, your own site or with third party e-commerce sites. All options come with next day deposits, accepts all major credit cards and integrates your reporting and inventory with your offline sales.
  • WooCommerce – Customizable e-commerce platform for building your online business. Integrates seamlessly with WordPress.

Teach & Sell Online Courses

Online courses are flexible, customizable and infinitely profitable. These online learning platforms help take all the organizational elements off your plate.

  • OpenLearning – An online learning platform with a focus on community, connectedness, and student engagement.
  • Skillshare – A global learning community. Take one of thousands of online classes or teach one yourself.
  • Teachable – Build a beautiful course website and control your branding, student data, and pricing in one place.
  • Thinkific Starter Plan – Everything you need to easily create, market, and sell your own online courses.
  • Udemy – Udemy helps with distribution, customer service and payment processing.

Website Building Tools and Resources

You don’t need a degree in computer science to customize your website, but it does help to have some semblance of control. These tools make it easy to change things on the fly.

  • Builtwith – Find out what servers, widgets and platforms were used to build any website. Individual site lookups are free forever.
  • Cody House – A free library of HTML, CSS and JS resources. Includes the free course, Learn HTML and CSS: An introduction to front-end design.
  • Loader – Free load testing service that lets you stress test your apps and APIs.
  • Moqups – Mockup, wireframe or collaborate on your website or app in seconds.
  • NameMesh – Brainstorm and explore unique domain names with this free domain name generator.
  • One Page Love – Browse the best single-page websites, templates and design elements.
  • Visual Studio – Agile tools, Git, and continuous integration for any language and any OS.
  • WindowResizer – Emulate different screen sizes and resolutions to test your website layout.

A/B Testing Tools

From headlines to button color, simple A/B tests (where you can compare two versions of the same page and track for performance) can have big impact on your website’s success.

  • A/B Split and Multivariate Test Duration Calculator – How long should you run your A/B test? Input your campaign’s details and this tool will calculate and recommended the total number of days you should run your test.
  • A/B Split Testing Significance Calculator – Are your test results significant? This tool calculates your results with a simple “yes!” or “no” answer.
  • Growth Hackers Network – A community of over 150,000 members who share tips and articles on growth hacking, marketing, user acquisition, engagement, product launches and more.
  • PetitHacks – Free email newsletter that breaks down the tricks other websites use to get more clicks, money, time and attention.

SEO and Website Analytics

When it comes to generating new traffic, you can’t beat good old fashioned SEO. And once those visitors have landed, the key to converting them is to understand how they interact with your website. These tools will help you tackle both.

  • Dead Link Checker – Crawls through your site to identify broken links for you to fix.
  • Google Alerts – Set up alerts to track search terms like your name, business, products, etc.
  • Google Analytics – Web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic, giving you valuable insights on your readers and customers.
  • Google Keyword Planner – Search and analyze keyword ideas for your Google ad campaigns, or just use to help you brainstorm and optimize your content for search.
  • Google Optimize -Test different variations of your website and then tailor it to deliver a personalized experience that works best for each customer and for your business.
  • Google Pagespeed Insights – Speed up your website by entering your URL for a free report, plus suggestions for improvement.
  • HotJar – All-in-one website analytics and feedback tool that shows you heatmaps, recordings, conversion funnels, and form analysis.
  • Keen.io – Developer-friendly APIs that make it easy to collect, explore, and visualize data. Free for usage under $20.
  • Keywordtool.io – Keyword tool that generates up to 750+ free long tail keyword suggestions.
  • Marketgoo Free SEO Report -MarketGoo scans your website and evaluates any technical errors as well as your website marketing and social media presence.
  • Nibbler – Website testing and free report that scores your site based on accessibility, SEO, social media and technology.
  • Pingdom – Website speed test that measures your site’s load time and provides suggestions for improvement.
  • SEO Site Checkup – Comprehensive search engine optimization tools for your site, plus a free diagnostic test.
  • SimilarWeb – Discover your competitors’ website traffic statistics, sources and even their online marketing strategies.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast – Simple WordPress plugin that helps you improve your SEO, write better content and fully optimized your entire WordPress site.
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Graphic Design Resources

From PSD templates to mockups, there are thousands of design resources available for anyone to access.

  • 0 to 255 – Find variations of any color.
  • Canva – Amazingly simple graphic design software that helps even non-designers create stunning layouts and graphics.
  • Color Picker – Chrome extension that lets you identify any color’s hex code on any website.
  • Craft – A free UI design plugin designed to speed up your workflow with Sketch and Photoshop.
  • Designinspiration – Pinterest made exclusively for designers—a resource to help you discover, share and save your favorite designs from around the web.
  • GIPHY – Find, share or create your own gifs.
  • InVision – Web and mobile prototyping tool and UI mockup tool. Perfect for collaborating on web designs and working through feedback.
  • Khroma – Discover, search, and save color combinations you’ll love.
  • Logaster – Online logo maker and generator.
  • Marvel – Mobile and web prototyping for designers.
  • MockFlow – Online wireframe tool and design cloud for software and websites.
  • Mockup.io – Visualize and collaborate on mobile app design.
  • MoodBoard – Build beautiful moodboards for sharing designs, inspiration and ideas.
  • Niice – Private moodboards where you can gather, share and discuss ideas with your team.
  • Optimal Workshop – Improve your user-experience and get quick feedback on designs with this free usability testing software.
  • Placeit – Place your app or website directly into one of these free iPhone, iPad, iMac and Macbook mockups (no Photoshop required!). They offer thousands of photo and video templates.
  • Signature Maker – Create a handwritten digital signature. Great for signing documents, contracts, emails and blog posts.
  • Squarespace Logo – Free logo building tool for Squarespace users.

Design Freebies and Templates

There’s no need to design everything from scratch. From icons to PSD templates to pre-made infographics, even non-designers can create gorgeous designs using free assets from around the web.

  • Copy Paste Character – Amazing variety of free icons you can just copy and paste into your designs or documents. Include emojis, symbols, shapes, characters, arrows and more.
  • Creative Market – Six free design goodies—graphics, vectors, illustrations, etc—available every week.
  • DBF – Download the best freebies (PSD templates, mock-ups, icons, fonts and more) from Dribbble and Behance.
  • Easel.ly – Thousands of infographic templates.
  • Freepik – Free graphic resources including vectors, psds, icons and photos with hundreds of free vectors added every day.
  • GraphicBurger – Beautiful design assets like script bundles and watercolor textures.
  • Piktochart – Easy-to-use infographic maker with over 500 professionally-designed templates.
  • Pixel Buddha – A database of resources and assets for the professional design community.
  • TETHR – $80 worth of free Photoshop and Sketch templates for creating beautiful iOS designs.

Free Fonts and Typography

With so many free fonts available at the click of a button, you can have ultimate flexibility in your designs.

  • 1001 Free Fonts – Massive database of free fonts, sortable by style, popularity and featured fonts.
  • Adobe Edge Fonts – Library of 500+ web fonts made possible by contributions from Adobe, Google, and designers around the world.
  • Canva Font Combinations – Find the perfect font combination for your design.
  • DaFont – Great archive of downloadable fonts in every style.
  • Font Flame – Like Tinder for font pairing.
  • FontFace Ninja – Browser extension to help you discover what fonts were used on a website.
  • Font Squirrel – Collection of hand-selected fonts already licensed for commercial use.
  • Google Fonts – Directory of open source designer web fonts.
  • Modular Scale – Generates a classical type hierarchy from a body text/base font with ability to scale up and down.
  • Typecast – Browser-based design tool that gives you access to over 1000 web fonts, letting you design with a “type-first” mentality.
  • Type Scale – Inspired by Modular Scale, but with the ability to choose the proper scale without a visual reference.
  • WhatTheFont – Seen a font on someone else’s website and want to know what it is? Submit an image to WhatTheFont to find the closest matches in their database.
  • Wordmark.it – Helps you choose the right font by previewing a word of your choice with fonts already installed on your computer.

Social Media Graphics

Creating social media graphics—like blog headers and Instagram quote cards—helps your content get shared.

  • Imagequote – iPhone app for adding text captions to photos for Instagram.
  • Over – An app for adding beautiful text and artwork to your photos.
  • Recite – Type a quote or phrase, then watch it immediately turn into a dozen different graphics you can use on social media.
  • Pablo – Create beautiful social media images in seconds.

Stock Photography

Customize your design without hiring a personal photographer. Our favorite stock photography resources are all free and will help bring your brand to life.

  • Free Nature Stock – Royalty-free nature photos, updated daily.
  • Gratisography – Unique high-resolution photos in a range of categories.
  • Magdeleine – Get one free, hand-picked, high-resolution photo every day.
  • Pixabay – Over 1.4 million royalty free stock photos and videos shared by our generous community.
  • StockSnap – Hundreds of high-res images added weekly.
  • Streetwill – Free high-res vintage photos to use any way you want.
  • The Stocks – A collection of the best “non-stocky” stock photo websites, curated in one place.
  • Unsplash – 10 new free photos added every 10 days, available online or via email subscription.

Photo Editing Software

We can’t all be Photoshop masters, but with these powerful, easy-to-use editing tools we’ll have your photos looking fancy and polished in no time.

  • A Color Story – Instead of filtering your photos so they look all the same, this free app enhances the color you’ve chosen in your composition, making for bright and vibrant imagery.
  • GIMP – The internet’s favorite open source, cross-platform image editor.
  • Paint.NET – Free image and photo editing software for PCs.
  • PicMonkey – Photo editor, collage maker and graphic design tool all rolled into one.
  • Pixlr – Free Photoshop-esque photo editor.
  • SumoPaint– A versatile online image editor that works in your browser.
  • VSCO Cam – A photography app and photo editor with stunning filters (it’s often referred to as “the Instagram for photographers”).

Photo Compression

Before you upload any images to your website, run them through one of these free photo compressors. Smaller file size helps keep your website fast while saving money on bandwidth and storage space.

  • Compressor.io – Drastically reduce the size of your images and photos while maintaining a high quality with almost no difference before and after compression.
  • Kraken.io – Image optimizer and compressor.
  • TinyJPG – JPEG and PNG photo compression.

Help Desk Software and Live Chat

Provide awesome, personal support with simple help desk software and streamlined ticketing systems.

  • Helprace – Personalized help desk and user feedback portal in one simple customer service platform.
  • Groove – Simple help desk software that lets you collaborate on customer emails, social media posts, live chats and calls from one platform.
  • LiveChat 24/7 – Live chat that learns as you engage with customers. Automatically builds your knowledge base and acts as a 24/7 “super-agent.”
  • Spiceworks – A community of IT pros, plus an app with network monitoring, help desk, active directory, and more.
  • Tawk.to – Free messaging app that lets you monitor and chat with visitors on your website.

Customer Service Resources

The customer experience is more than just answering daily support tickets. These resources combine everything from social media to push notifications to best practices to help you provide the best ever experience for your customers.

  • Batch – Send push notifications at scale.
  • Customer Bliss Podcast – Real world, straight talk, and realistic ideas from Customer Experience Leaders around the world.
  • Cyfe – All-in-one business dashboard that lets you monitor all your business data from one place.
  • HelpScout Blog – Articles on customer loyalty best practices, with tons of actionable tips.
  • Social Mention – Real-time social media search and analysis.
  • The Modern Customer Podcast – A podcast featuring counter-intuitive insights on the customer experience.
  • TalkWalker – Free alerting service that sends email updates on any topic you request: your name, brand, competitors, events or even your favorite TV show (#GoT).

Online Surveys

Use surveys to validate your business idea and collect real-time feedback, demographic information or measure customer happiness.

  • Google Forms – Create beautiful online forms and surveys for free.
  • Survey Monkey – Online surveys and questionnaires.
  • SuperSimpleSurvey – Easy-to-use survey creator.
  • Typeform – Beautiful form creator so you can more easily collect registrations, onboard new clients or survey your visitors.
  • Wufoo – Online forms and surveys.
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Email Marketing

Email Marketing Platforms

Get more subscribers, send better emails, and track your results. Most good email marketing solutions will integrate with other programs, letting you unify all the moving pieces of your marketing strategy.

  • Benchmark – Powerful and simple web-based email marketing tools to send, track and manage newsletters, surveys and online polls.
  • MailChimp – Free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Send emails, and track results. Offers the most integrations with other programs.
  • Prefinery – Create a virtual email waiting list by collecting beta sign ups and encouraging referrals.
  • Vertical Response – Email marketing with autoresponder tools, unlimited forms, and integrations with Facebook and Twitter.

Landing Pages and Lead Capture Pages

A single landing page or lead capture page is a simple way to build a beautiful sales page, launch countdown or opt-in offer. The following free landing page creators are designed to highlight your best offers and generate more leads.

  • About.me – A one-page personal website you can set up in just minutes.
  • Digy – A single responsive HTML5, CSS3 landing page template.
  • LeadPages Free Templates Resource – The ultimate list of free landing page templates from LeadPages (one of the most popular paid landing page platforms out there). You’ll need to code them yourself or hire a developer, otherwise you can sign up for LeadPages and not touch a line of code
  • Landy – A simple and clean responsive landing page template. This one’s great for promoting your app, software, physical products or services.
  • Ontrapages – A landing page creator with flexible templates and easy-to-use custom page builder to help you boost conversions for any event, product or launch.
  • Landing Page Analyzer – How effective is your landing page? This free tool will tell you where and how to improve so it performs better.

List Building Tools

List building should be your Number One Priority. The good news is that there are many tools to help you supercharge your efforts–converting more visitors without needing to generate any more traffic.

  • Gleam.io – Suite of marketing apps that help you run competitions, capture emails and showcase user-generated content.
  • Hello Bar – Navigation bar that appears at the top of your site to collect email subscribers.
  • IntroBar – Give your visitors a custom intro or offer based on where they came from.
  • Opinion Stage – Create viral polls, quizzes and surveys to dramatically increase time spent on your website.
  • Qzzr – Create, embed, and share your own quizzes as a way to drive social traffic and generate leads.
  • SumoMe List Builder – A lightbox that helps convert visitors right before they’re about to leave your website.
  • SumoMe Scroll Box – Captures emails through a very polite scroll box.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Tools

You don’t need to be on social media 24/7 to be effective. These tools can help you increase your followers, encourage shares and actually track results, all without the dreaded social media hangover.

  • Bitly – Create, share, and track shortened or custom links.
  • Buffer’s Blog – In-depth tutorials, studies and resources on how to make the most of your social media presence.
  • How Many Shares – Enter any URL and get a total count of how many social media shares it’s received.
  • ManyChat – Create a Facebook Messenger bot for marketing and sales support.
  • SocialRank – Find and analyze your followers on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Soldsie – Instagram captions and photos are not linkable. Soldsie uses your profile link to showcase your content and make your photos link to content your fans are trying to find.
  • Thunderclap – Tool that acts as an “online flash mob” by allowing you and others to share the same message at the same time, amplifying your message across multiple social media platforms.
  • Tunes To Tube – Upload MP3s to YouTube.
  • Tweriod – Get the best times to tweet based on your and your follower’s activity.

Social Media Buttons and Plugins

Encourage social media sharing straight from your blog or website.

  • AddThis – A collection of mobile-friendly share buttons, follow buttons, related posts plugins and targeting tools to help you increase your followers and engage readers on-site.
  • Click To Tweet – Increase social media shares by pre-writing what you want readers to say. Add integrate a simple “click to tweet” button anywhere on your site.
  • Disqus – The world’s most popular comment system for your blog.
  • ShareThis – Free social sharing buttons for your website or blog.
  • SumoMe Share – Smart share buttons optimized to increase social media shares on your website by 20%.

Social Media Publishing Platforms

Schedule, manage, post and plan all from one platform.

  • Buffer – Share what you’re reading and schedule social media posts.
  • EveryPost – All-in-one publishing tool that makes it easy to share multimedia content across multiple social platforms at once.
  • Hootsuite – Manage up to three social media profiles and get basic analytics, content scheduling, lead capture campaigns, RSS feed integrations and free social media courses.
  • Later – Schedule and manage your Instagram posts.
  • MavSocial – Organize all your visual content seamlessly publish it to major social media networks.
  • SocialOomph – Boost your social media productivity by scheduling updates, finding new people to follow and track your activity.
  • TweetDeck – Your personal social media browser where you can create, organize and share a timeline of the tweets you want using “Collections.”

Content Marketing

Content Marketing Resources

Sure, content may be king but only truly great content leads to long-term business growth. These free apps, tools, resources and programs will help you create the best content for your business.

  • Copyscape – Plagiarism checker that searches for duplicates of your content.
  • CoSchedule Headline Analyzer – This free blog post headline analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.
  • CreateSpace – Self publish and distribute your books, DVDs, CDs and video downloads via Amazon.com.
  • Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer – Free tool will analyze your headline to determine the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score.
  • Free PDF Creator – Create PDF documents from any Windows program including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Free Summarizer – Summarizes any text in just a few seconds, then sends you the summary via email.
  • iBooks Author – Create and publish books for iPad and Mac. Features drag-and-drop templates and support for movies, audio and widgets, making it a great option for a multi-sensory and interactive experience.
  • The Most Dangerous Writing App – The perfect cure for writer’s block—this web-based tool will delete your progress if you stop typing for more than five seconds.
  • The Copy Cure – Learn three secrets to copy that connects and converts in this free sample class. Affordable full program available for purchase.
  • Portent’s Content Idea Generator – Enter any keyword and get a catchy blog post headline (plus the resources on SEO, PPC and Content Marketing) to help turn that headline into a killer content strategy.
  • Soovle – Find most-searched phrases from popular search engines (includes Amazon and Wikipedia) to find the most common phrases associated with your topic.

Automatic Editing Tools

Like anything, writing is a skill (and practice makes perfect). Use these online proofreaders and automatic editing tools to improve your writing in a snap.

  • After the Deadline – Uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to find your writing errors and offer smart suggestions.
  • Correctica – Checks emails, documents, PDFs and blog posts and catches what spell checkers, grammar checkers, and human editors miss.
  • Grammarly – Instantly fixes over 250 types of errors in your copy, most of which Microsoft Word can’t find.
  • Hemingway – Web-based app that makes your writing bold and clear. Enter any text to see where you can simplify your prose.
  • Paper Rater – Grammar and plagiarism checker.
  • ProWritingAid – Analyzes your writing and produces reports on overused words, writing style, sentence length, grammar and repeated words and phrases.
  • Writefull – App that provides feedback on your writing by checking your text against databases of correct language usage.

Writing Software

Gone are the days of sending Microsoft Word files back and forth. These writing platforms let you write, collaborate and publish all with one tool.

  • Airstory – Research and write in one place. Drag-and-drop your research, data points, images, graphs and more into a single outline or doc.
  • Draft – Writing collaboration tool with version control, editing assistance and cloud syncing.
  • Penflip – Writing collaboration tool with one-click ebook publishing.
  • ZenPen – Distraction-free writing zone.

Audio and Video Creation

Audio and video content is a the perfect way to provide value while showcasing your personality and expertise.

  • Adobe Spark – Professional looking graphics, web pages, and videos in minutes.
  • Audacity – Multitrack audio recorder and editor.
  • GarageBand – Music creation studio available for Mac and iOS.
  • iMovie – Free video editing software that comes with Mac computers.
  • Mazwai – Free high-quality video clips and footage.
  • Snagit – Create and share images and video of your computer screen.
  • SoundCloud – Upload audio content for direct streaming or embed it on your website.
  • Windows Movie Maker – Free video editing software for PC.
  • YouTube Directr – Create polished video ads right from your phone.

Video Hosting

While YouTube is still the world’s biggest search engine (after plain ole Google, of course), there are some incredible alternatives that host your videos while offering more robust storage and analytics features.

  • Vimeo – High-quality tools for hosting, sharing, and streaming videos in gorgeous HD and 4K with no ads.
  • Wistia – Professional video hosting with viewer analytics, HD video delivery, and marketing tools so you can understand your visitors.
  • YouTube – The world’s largest video sharing website.

Networking

Business Networking Tools

Networking doesn’t need to be that dreaded small talk around the punch bowl at your local rec center. The internet has made networking easier than ever.

  • 4Over4 – 300 free full-color glossy business cards.
  • Accompany – The largest database of senior decision makers in the world.
  • BananaTag – Email tracking that shows when people open your messages.
  • Cold Email Generator – Create a 5-touchpoint campaign using a set of tested cold email templates.
  • LinkedIn – The best social media platform for professionals. Make connections, send messages, join groups and publish content.
  • Meetup – Online networking site that helps you organize or attend local groups that get together for face-to-face events.
  • Norbert – Find anyone’s email address.
  • QR Code Monkey – Generates custom QR codes for your website, virtual business cards and social media.
  • Sales Navigator for Gmail – Gmail tool that shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox.
  • Skilltrade – Meet new people and trade skills.

Teamwork

Productive people put their priorities first and never blow themselves off. Easier said than done of course, but these tools go a long way in helping you identify what’s important, track your time and delegate tasks.

Project Management

  • 17Hats – All-in-one system for project management, client booking and financial tracking.
  • Asana – Organize everything from the most immediate detail to the biggest picture.
  • Todoist – To do list software. Manage tasks and projects from anywhere.
  • Trello – Visual project management that utilises boards, lists, and cards so you can have fun organizing and prioritizing your projects.

Collaboration Tools

Why do something yourself when you can delegate it to software? These tools help you get more done by taking things like contracts, scheduling and to do lists off your plate.

  • Flowdock – Collaboration app with chat and inbox for teams. One place to talk and stay up-to-date.
  • IDoneThis – Daily check ins and progress reports that help you track your own progress and understand what your team’s working on.
  • Join.Me – Free screen sharing, unlimited audio, and video conferencing.
  • RealTimeBoard – Online whiteboard that helps you organize your team’s work in a simple and visual way.
  • Slack – Messaging app for teams.
  • Streak – Manage customers directly inside your email.
  • Stride – Group and private chat, file sharing and integrations.
  • Typetalk – Fun chat app for teams.

Online Conference Tools

Gone are the days of choppy phone calls (“Can you hear me now?”). With these online conference tools you can collaborate with anyone, anywhere. Share your screen, schedule meetings and host group chats.

  • Facebook Live – Live video streaming that’s great for webinars, especially within Facebook groups.
  • Free Conference Call – Free international conference calling.
  • Google Hangouts – Connect with friends across computers, Android, and Apple devices. Have fun with photos, emoji, and even group video calls for free.
  • GoToMeeting – Easy online meetings with HD video conferencing.
  • Skype – Free video calls, voice calls and messaging.
  • UberConference – The stress-free conference call with features like screen sharing and “know who’s talking.”
  • Zoom – Video conferencing, web conferencing, webinars and screen sharing.

Meeting Scheduler Apps

Schedule appointments without all the email back and forth. These tools simplify the process and ultimately save you time, keep track of prospects and keep customers happy.

  • Assistant.to – Continually monitors your availability and works with your recipient to find a commonly available time.
  • Boomerang Calendar – Simple calendar scheduling, built into Gmail.
  • Calendly – Eliminate email and phone tag by allowing anyone to schedule a meeting by picking an available time in your calendar.
  • Doodle – Scheduling app that helps you find a convenient time to meet with several people at once.
  • FreeBusy – An AI assistant that schedules meetings for you.
  • NeedToMeet – Creates a meeting event page to share with invitees, where they can register for any of your open slots. Great for seeing everyone else’s availability.
  • Vyte.in – Hands-off Google Calendar scheduling.

To Do List Software

There’s nothing I love more than tweaking my productivity habits. Whether it’s bulk-scheduling email or tracking personal goals, there are SO many tools that make getting things done actually fun.

  • 24me – A personal assistant in your pocket. Unites your calendar and tasks and uses artificial intelligence to tell you what to do and how to do it.
  • Any.do – Tasks and to do lists synced across all devices.
  • Boomerang – Schedule an email to be sent later.
  • IFTTT – Create chains of simple conditional statements (called “recipes”) which are triggered based on changes to other web services like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Zapier – Automate tasks between web apps (i.e. create Trello cards out of emails or PayPal payments into to do lists).
  • Todoist – To do list software. Manage tasks and projects from anywhere.

Time Tracking

Whether you’re charging by the hour, managing a team or aiming for personal accountability, these free time tracking apps can help you make the most of your working hours.

  • Hubstaff – Time tracking for teams. Takes regular screenshots to measure activity levels and manage your remote team. You can even pay your employees and invoice clients from your account.
  • RescueTime – Software that runs in the background of your computer and provides data to help you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive.
  • Toggl – Simple time tracking via mobile app or Chrome extension. Just hit a button and start tracking.
  • Tomato Timer – An online timer inspired by the popular Pomodoro Technique productivity system.
  • Timeneye – Time tracking software for teams and freelancers.

Focus-Boosting Apps

Eliminate the distractions of technology (yes, with more technology).

  • 1Password – Save your passwords and log in to sites with a single click.
  • aText Typing Accelerator – aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define.
  • Coffitivity – Recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.
  • Doodim – Focus your attention by dimming the background so only the application you’re working on is illuminated.
  • LastPass – LastPass remembers all your passwords, so you don’t have to.
  • Momentum – When you open a new tab in Chrome, this pretty personal dashboard pop-up to help you minimize distractions and increase focus.
  • Noisli – Plays different sounds to calm your nerves and inspire you to write. Comes with a minimalist text editor so you can write while you listen.
  • SelfControl – Free Mac app that lets you block access to distracting websites for a set period of time.
  • Unroll.me – Instantly see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe easily from whatever you don’t want.

Note-Taking Apps

With all the inspiration out there on the web, you want to bookmark your favorite site designs, highlight a headline you love or dictate all those course ideas you had at 2am last night.

  • A5.gg – Web-based notetaking tool that lets you type text on a single webpage, then remembers it for later (until you clear your cache!).
  • Diigo – Bookmark and tag web pages, or highlight any part of a site and attach sticky notes.
  • Evernote – Capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device.
  • Google Keep – Quickly capture what’s on your mind and get a reminder later at the right place or time. Speak a voice memo on the go and have it automatically transcribed.
  • Pocket – Put articles and videos (or pretty much anything) into Pocket. Save directly from your browser or apps like Twitter, Flipboard and Pulse.
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Bookkeeping and Accounting Software

Managing your business’s finances doesn’t have to feel horrible. These free bookkeeping and accounting tools help you manage invoices, scan receipts and track your income goals over time.

  • Expensify – One-click expense reports in real time.
  • Harvest – Time tracking and invoicing.
  • Wave – Send invoices and manage your accounting and bookkeeping.

Online Contracts

Save the paper, but keep your business safe with these legally-binding online contracts and signature tools.

  • DocuSign – Send, sign and approve documents from anywhere.
  • HelloSign – Legally-binding electronic signatures.

File Sharing and Storage

Even with so many online storage options, sharing large files can be a pain. The good news is, the following file sharing and storage tools are simple, reliable and free.

  • Box – Secure file sharing, storage and collaboration.
  • CamScanner – Turn your phone in a scanner.
  • Dropbox – File sharing with up to 2GB of free storage.
  • Google Drive – Cloud storage and file backup for photos, docs and more, plus real-time document and spreadsheet sharing and editing. The first 15GB of storage is free.
  • Hightail – File transfer service. Free plan gives you unlimited spaces with a 250MB file limit.
  • WeTransfer – Transfer files for free up to 2GB.

Inspirational Websites

Online, you can learn how to do anything, meet anyone and be someone. These inspirational websites let you browse gorgeous designs, join a niche community or just be plain ole’ inspired by the world around you.

  • 1 Million Cups – National program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the idea that entrepreneurs network over a million cups of coffee.
  • 99U – Webby Award-winning blog with insights on productivity, organization, and leadership to help creatives push ideas forward.
  • AppSumo – Daily deals for entrepreneurs.
  • Awwwards – Website awards that recognize the best web designers, developers and agencies.
  • Crayon – Ideation and inspiration for marketers. Browse 38,928,809 real examples to help you get great ideas and build better stuff.
  • Google For Entrepreneurs – Provides financial support and Google’s best resources to dozens of coworking spaces and community programs.
  • Great Fucking Startup Advice – Click or swipe for short, sweet, and BS-free startup advice.
  • Litmus – The latest email news, trends, and new ways to improve your subscriber’s experience.
  • Marie Forleo – A blog, podcast and YouTube show chock full of ideas, tools and resources that will help you create anything.
  • Mashable – Multi-platform media and entertainment site that covers the latest in technology, social media, gadgets and more.
  • Medium – Online publishing platform with content spanning entrepreneurship, creativity, productivity and personal growth.
  • Now I Know – Free daily newsletter that teaches you something new every day. (Did you know Abraham Lincoln created the secret service – on the day he was shot?)
  • Project Gutenberg – Over 53,000 free ebooks that were previously published by legitimate publishers. The project digitizes and proofreads them with the help of thousands of volunteers.
  • Seth Godin – Blog featuring daily short posts with riffs on marketing, respect, and how ideas spread.

Books

Check out one (or all) of our all-time favorite books on business, leadership and creativity.

*While new books obviously aren’t free, the links below support past MarieTV guests and open up Amazon Smile, which gives 10% of proceeds to our favorite charity.

Online Magazines

There is so much incredible content available online for burgeoning entrepreneurs, it’s hard to just pick a few (but at least you’ll never have to pay another cent at the magazine stand!).

  • Entrepreneur.com – News for entrepreneur covering how to start, run and grow your business.
  • Fast Company.com – Inspiration for the most innovative and creative thought leaders who are reinventing the future of business.
  • Forbes – Original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing.
  • Forbes Woman – Inspiration and tools for entrepreneurial and ambitious women.
  • Inc.com – Small business ideas and resources for entrepreneurs.

Videos, Podcasts & TV Shows

We’re suckers for anything multimedia, and these shows have been inspiring us for years.

  • Buffer’s CultureLab Podcast – Explores the culture of work and how all of us might make work happier and more human.
  • How To Start A Startup – A series of videos lectures featuring some of the world’s experts on starting a business.
  • MarieTV – Our award-winning weekly show designed to help you create a business and a life you love.
  • Seth Godin’s Startup School – Godin guides 30 entrepreneurs through building and running their dream business.
  • Shark Tank – Aspiring entrepreneur-contestants make business presentations to a panel of “shark” investors, who then choose whether or not to invest.
  • Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner – Around 2,000 free podcasts and videos covering marketing, sales, finance, leadership and social entrepreneurship.
  • StartUp Podcast – The podcast about what it’s really like to start a business.
  • TED – Influential videos from expert speakers covering a range of topics, from parenting to technology to procrastination.
  • The #AskGaryVee Show – Entrepreneur and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk answers questions about marketing, social media, and entrepreneurship.
  • The Pitch – A podcast where early-stage startups pitch their company and three investors give real feedback.

Online Courses & Continuing Education

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, being a lifelong learner is one of the most powerful, motivating, inspiring things you can do with your time. Luckily, everyone from Harvard to internet entrepreneurs provide free courses, no matter your interests.

  • +Acumen – Global learning community for social change leaders with nearly 20 free online courses.
  • Coursera – Online courses from top universities.
  • Harvard – Free online courses from Harvard University.
  • Kauffman Founders School – Lectures aimed at giving entrepreneurs the skills and tools to build their ideas into something big.
  • Khan Academy – Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare – Online courses featuring nearly all MIT course content.
  • Primer – Free app featuring bite-sized marketing lessons you can take wherever and whenever you have 5 minutes.
  • Udacity – Online courses and nanodegree tech programs, including communication, app development, design and more.

Get Your Dream Business Started

Are you finally ready to start a profitable and purposeful business you love?

Let me help you:

  • Leverage your unique strengths
  • Define your business vision
  • Take consistent, strategic action
  • Turn your business dream into a profitable reality
Learn More Get Your Dream Business Started

And there you have it!

There is a lot of information here and while it can feel overwhelming to see everything laid out this way, we recommend downloading a PDF of this guide so you can print it out and keep it at your desk.

Remember: Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’d love to hear from you…

  1. Which of the resources above are you most excited about?
  2. What’s your experience with building a business with no money — where have you spent money before and where can you bootstrap now?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

P.S. If you’re ready to make your dream business a reality, click here to learn about B-School—an 8-week program for big-hearted creatives who want to start and grow a meaningful profitable business online.