Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Ava
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Hello and welcome to The Candid Cashflow Podcast Episode 9! I’m your host, Ava Fails!
This episode is sponsored by Skillshare.
Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, tech, and more.
In keeping with this episode’s theme of “Free”, there are dozens of free courses available on Skillshare as well. Grab the show notes for a link!
Pricing on premium accounts is super affordable, and you have unlimited access to more than 18,000 courses.
Perhaps you are on the other side of the coin and have skills to teach others. Top teachers are making 6 figures a year, so be sure to check out Skillshare!
Overview of Episode 9 of The Candid Cashflow Podcast
Holy goodness, I’ve got a whopper of a show for you this week!
I’ve said it on this show a couple of times before, I LOVE FREE STUFF!!!
The more things I can accomplish without having to pay, the more that adds to my bottom line. An added bonus to that is that free tools allow me to help others even more because free stuff is free! Why not give it a try!?!
I’ve got 23 free tools and services for you, and I’m going to share them in a countdown format from least to most important.
For the sake of brevity, I’m not going into a lot of detail about each one, but I will try to give you enough information so you know if you want to try a particular tool or not.
All of the links and info will be in the show notes, so grab the PDF at HeyYoAva.com/Episode9.
I wanted Episode 9 to be something big and valuable because next week, I’ll be talking about my thoughts on The Candid Cashflow Podcast, 10 episodes in.
I’ll discuss podcasting in general, so if you’ve ever thought about doing a podcast yourself, I’ll share how I got started.
In Episode 11, we’ll talk about 29+ ways you can make money online starting TODAY, so I’ve hugged Episode 10 with two epic shows to keep you coming back for more.
Let’s jump in!
23 Free Tools and Services I Use to Power My Business
Buckle up! Here we go!
With Narro, you can turn articles into audio, so it’s the opposite of speech-to-text. It’s useful because you can convert the stuff you don’t have time to read into audio and listen to it instead.
It lets you create your own personal podcast.
On a free account, you can convert 15 articles per month. You can also extract audio from YouTube videos, but I wouldn’t use it for that. Use mp3ify.com instead. It’s unlimited.
Narro also works great with podcast players like Overcast, Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Player.FM.
This app helps you make your writing clear and easy to understand. The fully-featured app is free to use online. You can paste your copy right into the app, or write it in directly.
Hemingway will color code areas that need improvement. It also displays the word count and reading level according to grade for your copy. This is a great first step if you self-edit your writing.
21. Google Analytics
You can track everything related to your website including ad campaigns, social media, and so much more! If you learn to use Google Analytics properly, you won’t need any other stats tracker.
20. Uptime Robot
This is a free service that will monitor the uptime of up to 50 websites. If your sites are down, Uptime Robot will email you and let you know. There’s no code or anything to install. Just set up your account, type your domain, and that’s it.
Chat bots are all the rage right now. I used Drift with my ecommerce site, and it’s a pretty robust service. It sent me an email when someone engaged with the chat on my website. If I missed them, I could respond to them via email, which it also grabbed for me.
While it’s not something I’m using currently, it was cool to try. You can give it a test run with their free account and see if it’s something you can use effectively in your business.
This is a free service that allows you to add an opt in at the top of your website. It stays in place when your visitors scroll, so your opt in is always visible. You can see it in action on my website at HeyYoAva.com.
You’ll need a Google account to sign up for HelloBar and it integrates with most email marketing services. You can also split test additional bars to see what works the best.
If you want an opt in bar, but you’d also like to test some pop-ups as well, go with SumoMe. You can try all of their tools free up to 500 subscribers.
17. Book Report
If you publish books via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP, this is a must-have. It makes your KDP reports a much more user-friendly place.
This is an RSS feed reader, or to put it more simply, a place where you can read all of the blogs you follow in one place. I use Feedly to quickly and easily find good content to share on Social Media, both for myself and my clients. I’ll have more content coming out on this soon.
Buffer is a Social Media posting tool that allows you to connect Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. You can then post to multiple platforms at once and schedule posts as well. On a free account, you area allowed one account for each network except Pinterest, and you can schedule up to 10 messages at a time.
Hootsuite has a free plan as well where you can connect 3 accounts and schedule up to 30 messages at a time.
You may remember Draft2Digital from Episode 5 when we discussed self-publishing. Draft2Digital makes it easy. Just upload your manuscript in Word doc format and publish it on up to 10 digital storefronts including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.
This is a free browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox that gives you search volume, cost per click or CPC, and competition data on 16 websites and counting like Google, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, YouTube, and more!
You can also analyze a list of keywords from other tools like number 9 on this list. I use this method for my headlines.
If you aren’t setting goals, you aren’t getting as much done. We talked about goal-setting in Episode 3 of The Candid Cashflow Podcast. Increase your potential by setting goals and planning your week in advance with Todoist.
Since I’m just one person, it doesn’t make sense to pay for a CRM, and I’ve found that Todoist helps me stay on track with everything from client work to laundry.
Not only is YouTube a great free learning and entertainment platform, it’s also a good video host. If you make a lot of video, storage can get extremely expensive very quickly. YouTube is a great solution to that problem, and it integrates easily with most website platforms and services. The ability to monetize your video content, although this has become more difficult recently, is just an added bonus.
Cloudflare is a content delivery network or CDN. What they do is cache your website to speed it up. They also protect against denial of service or DDoS attacks. My favorite part of the Cloudflare service is using the free SSL which allows me to use the https protocol and get the SEO boost from Google. I’ll be creating content on this topic soon, so stay tuned!
This is a service that provides you with hundreds of long-tail keywords for up to 12 different websites including Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Bing.
You can then plug your keyword list into Keywords Everywhere to find out which ones are the best to use.
This is HUGE, and I think I’ve failed overall to express the value of this platform. IFTTT allows you to automate limitless processes. I use it mainly for Social Media and link building. If you’d like to know more and see it in action, opt in to my email list and get my free mini course on IFTTT.
This is a professional audio recording and editing program that I use for The Candid Cashflow Podcast. Audacity is an open source application that is powerful and expandable through multiple plugins. I learned to use it through a couple of YouTube tutorials. I spent less than an hour figuring out how to produce a professional-sounding audio file for my show.
I use MailChimp as my email marketing platform. It is free forever for up to 2,000 subscribers and I can send out 12,000 emails to my lists per month.
MailChimp is super user friendly, and while it gets a lot of flak for not having an autoresponder, it actually does!
I’ve used both Aweber and GetResponse, but I’ve found MailChimp to be the most effective for me in helping me build a list. The emails look great and I’m happy with all of the available tools and analytics.
I rank Canva right up there with IFTTT as far as value. Canva is a point and click graphics editor that simplifies creating all kinds of images from Social Media graphics to business cards with easy-to-use templates.
I recently upgraded to Canva for Business, but I used the free version for 3 years without missing much. The free account is extremely feature-rich. This is yet another service that I have on my list to create more content about in the future.
4. Google Drive
If you have a Google account, then you have access to 15GB of cloud storage and a free Office software suite that is compatible with Microsoft Office through Google Drive.
I use Google Docs to write and format all of my published books. I use Google Sheets to save passwords and manage data for my clients.
Everything backs up automatically to the cloud. Google Drive is hands-down one of my favorite tools.
I previously banked with Bank of America. When I came home to work full-time and my direct deposit from my former job stopped coming in, Bank of America started charging me $12 per month to keep and maintain my personal checking account.
This fee, in addition to the resulting overdraft charges were unacceptable. I found a solution in Simple. Simple is an online bank backed by BBVA Compass. They do not charge fees for account maintenance or overdrafts. In fact, they don’t charge fees for anything.
I’ve been with them for more than 2 years and I have ZERO complaints. Their customer service is fantastic, and I can turn my debit card on and off, so if it I were to lose it, I myself, can disable it right away.
If you sign up using my link, HeyYoAva.com/Simple, you’ll get $20 the first time you use your debit card.
I can’t imagine powering my sites with any other platform. WordPress is easy to use and customize. I can build any kind of website I want to run with WordPress including membership sites, forums, blogs, or an online store.
WordPress powered 18.9% of websites in 2014. As of November 2017, it now powers 28.9% of the entire Internet. That’s more than 1/4 of all the websites online!
Nothing else compares in my book. I use WordPress pretty much exclusively.
And….drum roll please…
The number 1 free tool in my arsenal is Google Chrome.
Without it, none of this would be possible. That’s a given, but I use Chrome specifically because of the ability to add and use additional profiles. This is and essential tool for me as a Virtual Assistant because I’m able to create a profile for each client. I can then log into their accounts without having to log out of my own.
This makes doing work for clients a more efficient process. I simply pull up the Chrome profile for that client where I’m already logged in. I can set up each profile to re-open where I last left off and save client passwords just as I do with my own profile.
No other browser currently has this capability, so I’m locked into Chrome.
That’s a Wrap + a Few Honorable Mentions
Whew! That was a whoppin’ list!
I have a few honorable mentions that didn’t make the list for various reasons. Either they are too general, I plan to cover them in a future episode, or both!
- Social Media
- WordPress plugins
As always, if you heard something of interest, be sure to grab the show notes for this episode at HeyYoAva.com/Episode9.
I hope that you will consider subscribing to The Candid Cashflow Podcast at HeyYoAva.com/CandidCashflow. I release a new episode each Wednesday.
The Candid Cashflow Newsletter also comes out each Wednesday showcasing not only my latest content, but also great stuff people just like you in my network.
If you have something worthy to share and/or you’d like to receive the newsletter, visit HeyYoAva.com where you can sign up as well as contact me directly.
Remember, next week, I’ll take a step back and look at how this podcast is progressing after producing 10 episodes — don’t miss it!
Until next time…turning your passion into cashflow!