Starting a new business as an entrepreneur or freelancer often results in more questions than answers. Some of the biggest questions revolve around how to do things that you’ve never really had to deal with before.
Sometimes you don’t realize you need something until it becomes urgent. But instead of waiting until a mission critical moment, use this list of 150+ resources for starting an online business to plan for many of the situations that go hand in hand with being an entrepreneur or freelancer.
I’ve made an effort to include mostly free resources, but for those that aren’t – think of them as a tax deduction (and of course, double check with your accountant).
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150+ Resources for Starting a Business
Regardless of if your business operates primarily offline or online, you’ll benefit from many of these foundational professional materials.
It’s better to have something than nothing, but it’s also worth it to splurge upfront on high-quality tech that won’t slow you down.
Accounting, Legal, and Finance
Receiving payment from clients, and protecting yourself from a legal perspective are two incredibly important things. Though there are many options out there, here are my favorite resources for starting an online business that relate to these topics
If things are going well, you’ll eventually get to the point in your business where you start outsourcing work. These tools will assist with collaboration between teammates, and task management.
Whether or not your business operates online, you’ll likely still benefit from using each of these tools that easily facilitates communication, collaboration – or both!
Whether your hire someone to help you full time, or seek help on a project-by-project basis, these tools can be an immense help:
Web and Smartphone Apps
Sometimes business happens on the go, and I use these Smartphone apps to stay productive.
You don’t have to have an in-depth knowledge of SEO in order to take advantage of these free tools.
I discuss a number of free and paid tools on my article about white label SEO audit tools.
Here are a few blogging tools that will definitely help you find success with content marketing/blogging efforts.
- Content Calendar: Plan all content marketing efforts in an organized fashion. Compare themes and topics for blogs, email newsletters, social media, campaigns, and more, day by day, week by week, or month by month. Hubspot has one of the best content calendar templates.
- National Day Calendar: Plan ahead to take advantage of trends. On that note, sign up for Meltwater’s Social Sidekick, which similarly helps you stay on top of what’s going on in upcoming weeks, including TV shows and holidays.
- Grammarly: An incredibily useful plugin for any type of online wrting (including emails!), which alerts you when you’re spelling or grammar is incorrect. There’s a useful free version, and a feature-rich paid version.
Visuals are your secret weapon for success in today’s online marketplace. You don’t have to be a graphic designer or videographer to create attractive and engaging visuals – these resources for starting an online business will set you on the right path.
Free Stock Photos
There are many different resources for starting an online business that have to do with finding free stock photos, but here are some free options that can usually fit your needs:
I use a number of different tools for managing client and personal social media accounts. These are a few of my favorites.
People to Add to Your Network
Being a freelancer or entrepreneur can sometimes feel like you’re on a lonely desert island. But the most successful people seek out partners (or contractors) that fill the gaps in their knowledge. A good connection should result in referrals – both to you, and from you.
Here are some people you should proactively seek to add to your network if they aren’t there already:
Where to Network
Whether to find other freelancers for mutually beneficial referrals, clients, or subcontractors, networking is an essential activity for the budding freelancer or entrepreneur. Here are some places to seek out connections, both online and offline:
Deskpass is a monthly subscription that allows you access to coworking spaces in major cities, like Chicago, LA, and Denver. It will get you out of your house, and into an environment where business connections are easily made with other independent workers.
As someone who’s been designing websites since age 11 (yes, really), and someone who understands different facets of digital marketing, I feel uniquely qualified to present this specific section of resources for starting an online business.
If you don’t use WordPress, you’re missing out on a lot of functionality, and even SEO benefits! If you do use WordPress, check out my essential launch list for plugins you should be using from day one.
Full explanations of each will be available on an upcoming article to be published on Developer Drive. I’ll update this post when that link goes live!
In the meantime, check out my website launch checklist on Developer Drive if you’re working on a new website, to make sure you have your bases covered!
Most of these take the form of Gmail add-ons or products with Gmail integrations. If you don’t have a Gmail account, I highly recommend it.
Two vague tips to leave you with as far as email management as a freelancer or entrepreneur:
I read about 1 book a week, thanks to the motivation of several years of Goodreads challenges. I have a special affinity for business books, which I consider to be one of the best resources for improving my business. Here are a few of my timeless favorites:
Nobody wants to hear from just you all the time. I promise. To simplify the process of creating social media updates (especially on Twitter!), here are three tools I swear by for content curation:
And if you’re looking for more places to curate content from, here are some of my favorite industry newsletters.
These newsletters/blogs are great resources for staying up to date on digital marketing news, as well as represent great resources from which to curate content:
There are seriously so many amazing podcasts that act as resources for starting an online business, but here are a few of my go-tos:
Courses and certifications allow you to level up digital marketing knowledge, for yourself and clients. Certifications can help you stand out from other freelancers for certain projects.
This article on the topic that I wrote for a client explains everything you need to know about the 4 aforementioned courses and certifications.
Additional courses worth your consideration:
And if you’re looking for additional guidance from experts, consider the following general online learning resources, which compile complete courses from industry experts:
Additional Freelancer Resources
Here are a few blog posts I’ve written specifically to help freelancers:
Feedback & A Request
You made it! I hope that my resource list and personal experiences have helped you solve at least one business issue that has been plaguing you.
If you got something out of this, I’d appreciate if you could share it with someone else who could benefit from it.
I’d love any and all feedback you can give me – especially if you think this guide is missing an essential resource! The more you can help me, the more I can make this a comprehensive guide for those new to this world.
Thanks for reading,