Are you an online entrepreneur? If you make your income or part of your income on the Internet, you most definitely are. With more and more people earning an income online,many tools and software have been created to help them with their online business chores.
If you know about these tools, they can make your life as an "online warrior" a lot easier. There's a lot of work involved with running your own Internet business. You need to wear many different hats and be at least slightly skilled in many areas.
Let's take a look at some of the resources you should have in your "Entrepreneur Toolbox."
1) Websites: The structure and design of your site is very important. It needs to look "clean" and professional. You can use software to create your site from scratch, pay someone else, or use an online template.
A) Some resources for learning HTML:
Dave's HTML Guide:
W3 Schools- Online Tutorials
B) For Templates, see:
C) For Software, some free:
The Free Site
A handy tool to check your website for broken
To make sure you haven't created an overblown site
that takes forever to download, use this online tester:
2) Utility Programs: There are a few basic utilities you'll need to have on hand for everyday tasks. These include a good FTP program for uploading your files to your web server and a program to zip and unzip files. You'll need to zip files when they are large, to compress them for Internet downloading.
Zip It Fast: http://www.zipitfast.com/
3) Email: As your business grows you'll come to rely on email as your primary means of communication. The most common email programs are Outlook and Outlook Express which come standard with Windows, and Eudora, which many power users prefer:
Whatever you use for an email client make sure you're
familiar with how it works, and how to create folders and autoresponders. With today's spam problem, you'll have to use a good filtering program, such as: Cloudmark: http://www.cloudmark.com/ or a third party service like: http://www.spamarrest.com/
4) Mailing List Management: Any website owner worth his salt knows the importance of collecting visitors' email addresses. It doesn't matter if you'll be sending out a monthly newsletter or just periodic site updates, you need software that's up for the task. Make sure whatever you use is capable of handling multiple lists, as when your online business grows you may need to keep lists for different things. For example, you might have one for those who like to swap ezine ads with you, one for those who have
expressed an interest in advertising with you, etc.
Here are a few great resources:
Groupmail: (the one I use) http://www.infacta.com/
Subscribe Me: http://www.siteinteractive.com/subpro/
Aweber- Everyone’s Favorite
Here's a list of some others:
With everyone using filters on email these days make sure you download this program that checks your email for "trigger words" and improves your chances of making it through to the inbox. It's called Email Advisor
5) Graphics Program: You'll find you need graphics for many of your online activities. Maybe for your website, a banner for an exchange, a cover for an ebook, etc. The two most popular online today are Photoshop http://www.Adobe.com and Paintshop Pro http://www.jasc.com/products/paintshoppro/
If you don't want to part with your cash, there
is a free one:
6) Autoresponders: An autoresponder works much like Fax on Demand and automatically replies to any email sent to it with a pre-formatted message. For example you might have a "thanks for emailing me" response that replies to all incoming messages or you might want to set one up for "price lists," "product information," "advertising rates," etc. Autoresponders are very powerful and can help to automate many aspects of your daily email chores. You can use a third party service, or install software on your server, or configure them from within your email client itself.
7) Online Payments: If you're going to be doing business online, you'll need to be able to accept online payments. If you don't want the expense of a merchant account there are plenty of other inexpensive third party services you can use.
8) PDF Software: If you want to offer downloadable
documents from your website or create and sell ebooks or reports, you'll need a way to convert Word and text documents to PDF. There are many other options besides Adobe:
9) Ebook Creators: Ebooks are very popular and can be sold or given away for free. If you give them away, they become very powerful viral marketing tools that can generate a consistent traffic flow to your site. If sold, they can produce a nice income for you. Most ebooks come in PDF
(portable document format) or .exe. To create an .exe format you'll need what's called a compiler.
Nice directions on how to create PDF Ebooks:
10) Virus/Firewall Protection: It's a dangerous world online and you need to protect yourself from the "bad guys" who create and send out viruses. You'll need to install a good virus protection program and keep it running constantly in the background in order to steer clear of infections. If you have a "constant on" Net connection like DSL or cable, you'll also need to run a firewall program to keep out hackers. Take a look at:
Spyware Remover: http://lavasoft.de
11) Accounting Software: As an entrepreneur, you'll
need to be able to generate invoices and track your
income and expenses for the "tax man." Three of the
12) Marketing/Promotional: It may have worked for Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams," but online, the saying "build it and they will come" is just not true. You need to be proactive by promoting and marketing your website constantly to bring in the paying customers. Here are some excellent resources:
13) Typing Shortcuts: At the end of the day you may feel
you've typed so much your fingers will fall off. Repetitive typing comes with the territory. You'll find yourself answering the same questions about your products and services, as well as posting your sig line to hundreds of posts in discussion boards...all of which adds up to a lot of repetitive typing. A typing shortcut tool stores short snippets
of text for you so when you need them you just hit a key or a combination of keys, and it will type out your pre-stored text for you. This really saves a lot of valuable time.
14) Misc: Here are some tools that don't categorize easily -- but can be extremely useful to you. As you move around the Net, you'll find many useful tools and software that can help you in your daily entrepreneur life. Make sure you bookmark or download them for later use.
TextPad: A more powerful alternative to Notepad
FeedReader: RSS is becoming very popular online so
you'll need a reader to subscribe and read them.
Music: For your musical enjoyment while doing
your web work I highly suggest..
WebBBS: A shareware discussion board to install
on your website.
The Directory of Ezines: A pay for membership site that will give you access to over 800 newsletters you can purchase ad space in or swap ads or submit articles to. http://www.lifestylespub.com/
ICop: If you'd like to join a group of online professionals you'll want to take a look at this organization: http://www.i-cop.org/
PLR Content: One thing you need a lot of is content. And sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to create it yourself, that’s where PLR content can be your best friend.
TweetBrand: Brand your Tweets.
If you need help, then Outsource.
Being an online entrepreneur involves juggling a lot of balls to keep everything running smoothly. By using the right tools for the job you'll save yourself a lot of time and energy that can be used to grow your business in a very successful direction.