There is a danger out there what we need to be wary of. It’s called the bright shiny object.
You listen to a podcast on your morning run and they mention some cool app, or plug-in, or software that is amazing, super cool, faster, or bakes pies. You have to have it. “That’s it!” you say to yourself as you head to Google, “That will really help me.”
Five hours later you figured out (sort of) how this latest piece of software created by two twenty-somethings in Silicon Valley works. And you are no further ahead.
On the other hand, there are some tools that are brilliant, easy to master, and I swear by. Here are ten of them.
|Dropbox – don’t pass GO, get set up on Dropbox (2GB free) and move all your files into the cloud. You are always backed up and can easily share huge picture or video files with clients, or when client buy your CD or DVD bundles.|
|1Password – never lose a password again, retrieve your passport #, frequent flyer #, put the add-on in your browser and have those annoying (like ours!) shopping cart forms filled in with one click. For PC’s you can use Roboform.|
|MindMeister – perfect for creating that new speech outline or organizing your notes for the next blog. It saves as you go (in the cloud) and is really intuitive. You can even share with a friend and they can insert that perfect quote you need.|
|Evernote – essential for anyone that has a life. Sync with your phone and capture ideas, lists, web pages, handwritten notes (it can read your handwriting!). A quick pic of your hand written scribbles, add a title and a tag and drop the paper in recycling. It’s indispensable. I even store favourite recipes (and look like a hero at dinner time).|
|Mail Chimp – a great way to start to organize your list(s) and get email campaigns going. Super user friendly, it “talks” with WordPress (to collect your opt-ins) and nicely handles auto responder sequences. Have less than 2,000 people on your list? It’s free!|
|ScreenFlow – brilliant! I recorded my first video in about 30 minutes with no training. It’s simple, fast, and intuitive – what’s not to like? Record your voice and slides, add some simple edits after, export and presto you have a training video. Best $100 I’ve spent in a long time! Camtasia is the alternative for PC’s|
|EasyCrop – super simple way to crop or resize your pictures (for Mac’s). Just drag your picture into the left-hand screen, drag over the part you want, resize in the right-hand box, and drag your new picture out to where you want it. I use this great little tool at least once a day (plus it’s free).|
|Hootsuite – the grandaddy of management tools for your social media. At it’s basic level, use it to organize all the incoming news and schedule your outgoing news. I use it when I have blogs and podcasts scheduled and want to send out announcements on exactly that day (whereas Bufferapp sends out my news based on what’s in the hopper.)|
|Bufferapp – the slickest way I know to keep a hopper full of tweets, status updates, and LinkedIn posts. Works like a Pez Dispenser, just keep filling it up and it keeps your news coming out. You set the time your updates come out everyday and then get to work filling it up. It’s free.|
Let me know in the comments what are the tools you can’t live without.
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