macbookThat’s my office =)

As promised last week in my post You Can Start A Company Today, Really!, here is a list of 10+ free (or almost free) tools to help you test your idea and to keep using for your daily operations.

These are all productivity and admin tools. I’ll post some for marketing soon.
So here is the list:

1.    Skype – When you get to its full potential, it’s a beautiful tool. My friend runs a team of 10 web designers/programmers in 4 different countries in real time. His monthly phone bill: NADA!
2.    Google Docs – No need for MS Office. It has fewer features but it’s good enough for the average user, you can access from anywhere and it is GRATIS.
3.    Google Voice – This baby is new and it can do whatever you want with your calls from routing, answering, screening, voicemails, and it makes you look professional. I have a $50k hard phone system in my garage that I can’t sell, I wonder why…
4.    FreeConference – Schedule voice meeting, get a free number and look good. You can upgrade, but the FREE version is enough.
5.    Freshbooks – Invoicing made easy. You can customize with your logo, you can track your invoices, email them, and it’s web-based. Basic package is ZERO.
6.    Google Calendar – Everybody loves it because of its simplicity, usability and accessibility. I don’t use calendars but if I ever want to, it will be this one. Can also handle tasking. As everything else at Googleland, it’s FREE.
7.    Yugma – Very cool web conferencing, desktop sharing tool. Up to 20 users for FREE, you can also go Pro.
8.    CaféPress – Great way to design and sell your promotional items without the investment, warehouse and distribution headaches. Setup your own 80-Product store for FREE. You can also use zazzle.
9.    YouSendIt – Send files up to 100 MB for FREE. It’s a clean way to do it without annoying the receiver with tons of ads like its competitors. If the file is bigger than that, drive it and have lunch with your client… (Not free).
10.    VoIP – Not new but still beats the phone companies. I still use Vonage because it’s reliable and you can buy accessories anywhere. Not free but I’m paying $25/month (I was paying hundreds with a little company called Verizon… or something like that).

I’ll give you 5 more just in case:

11.    eFax – I cant remember the last time a received a fax, but the other day I was asked to send one, so… eFax has a limited FREE version but to me, that’s enough (way better than paying for an extra line and having that obsolete piece of hardware on your desk).
12.    Firefox – More than a browser, it has a lot of nice tools and you get the pleasure to NOT use Explorer. Cost: CERO.
13.    Thunderbird – From the same family (Mozilla), it’s a cool open source email client. FREE.
14.    AVG Antivirus – Please stop spending money on AV’s (if you use a PC), I used AVG for years, both personally and in company networks and nothing happened. Get the FREE version, you don’t need anything else. My real advice on this one: switch to Mac!
15.    CoffeeCup – If you need an FTP client, there are plenty but I use this and Filezilla for PC and of course, Fetch for Mac (gotta spend the $25…).

Technology moves so fast that you need to always be looking for new and better tools to improve your business, there are a lot of free or close to free resources out there to help keep your cost down. I will be soon testing others like MyCorporation, Harvest, Remember The Milk, Evernote, and Box.net.

What cool tools are you using that we missed on this list?