Tools to consider when bootstrapping a startup

Launching your own startup comes with many challenges. Especially when you choose not to take venture capital from the get-go. Bootstrapping your startup may require only $200 upfront costs, but it will require some flexibility on your part.

Many of the powerful tools and services available to sustain your business come with a cost. And you’ll likely have to invest in them at some later stages to ensure growth. Spend money to earn money right?

But luckily, cutting on costs doesn’t always mean cutting on the quality of service, especially when you’re starting. There are quite a few tools out there available at little to no cost, or with plans that scale in sync with your own rhythm.

We’ve picked out our 20 favorite free and under 10$ online tools you’ll find effective to bootstrap your startup. Although they may not help you make money from day 1, they will help set up your workflow and smooth out the challenges you’re already facing.

Productivity

1) Evernote – all your notes in one place.

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With Evernote, take notes and capture any text or image from the web. Evernote provides effortless note-taking and that’s why we love it! Create notebooks as much as you need and stay organized. Share your notes with other people and work on projects collaboratively. Evernote comes with offline support, so you can take notes anywhere, without the need of an internet connection. You can also access your notes from any platform thanks to its multi-device support.

 

2) Trello – visual organization for all your projects.

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Trello is one of the most loved organization tools out there. That’s thanks to their flexible, easy-to-use interface. Be it for personal or professional projects, create cards and follow up with them through custom made boards and lists. What’s even better is that the free version comes with unlimited boards, lists and cards.

 

3) Asana – track your project and get results.

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Organize your projects from A to Z with Asana. Asana lets you see your project’s progress through your dashboard. Spend no more time on unwanted communications, that decreases productivity. Turn conversations to tasks, and track these tasks easily while collaborating with your team. While you can use the free version up to 15 members, their premium version is also under 10$.

 

4) Solid – the easiest solution for productive meetings.

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And of course, we have to include Solid in the list! 🙂 Solid is your solution for efficient, collaborative meetings. Easily prepare your meeting agenda, assign tasks, and share them with your collaborators. Solid connects with a wide range of native integrations such as Asana, Trello, Evernote, Slack, Wunderlist,… to adapt to your workflow. Signing up to Solid is absolutely free!

Marketing

5) Buffer – manage your social media accounts.

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Buffer is a great tool, with a very easy user interface to manage your company’s social media accounts. The advantage of Buffer is that you don’t have to be a social media expert to use it. Rebuffer and schedule your past tweets to ensure a steady flow for your social media posting. There’s already a free individual offer, but their 10$ Awesome plan will be more than enough to initiate your social media operations.

 

6) TweetDeck – monitor your Twitter profile, for free.

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Speaking of social media, Tweetdeck is a great free tool for Twitter to monitor your company’s Twitter page. Set up your social dashboard along with columns for your timeline, mentions, messages, notifications to keep track of your startup’s Twitter presence. Don’t miss an update from now on.

 

7) Sumo – take control of your website traffic.

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Grow your conversion rate with Sumo! Sumo helps you get more website traffic, signups while allowing you to track your website performance. It also integrates with major email services such as Mailchimp, Hubspot, Mailjet,… so that your website leads go right to your email listings. Sumo is free although there are different paid plans for additional features.

 

8) Mailchimp – powerful email marketing for all.

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Email campaigns are one of the must-haves of digital marketing. Mailchimp provides powerful email campaigns to its users. The good news is that it offers an extensive free plan! With the free plan, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month, build up and customize sign-up forms, collect subscribers from various platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It also comes with free reports and insight on your campaigns’ performance.

 

Sales

9) Vocus.io – sales prospection made easy from your Gmail.

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Vocus is a Chrome extension that brings productivity to your Gmail. Features such as email merges, tracking, templates, automated scheduling and follow ups guarantee you to get the best return from your prospecting activities. It also provides integrations with Salesforce, Pipedrive and other CRMs. Vocus offers a free trial as well as two paid options under 10$.

 

10) Rapportive – find your contacts’ profile inside Gmail.

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Rapportive is useful to find prospects from your Gmail. Through a personal email address, you can access people’s jobs, companies and LinkedIn profiles. For example if you have a free trial program, and you’re receiving signups with personal addresses, you can check them with Rapportive to gather more information. Only thing that remains would be to prospect profiles you find interesting, build “rapports” and create commercial opportunities for your company. There is also, Clearbit Connect, a similar alternative to Rapportive.

 

Support & Community

11) Recordit – instant GIFs from your desktop.

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Recordit is a simple, free tool to capture your screen. It comes with GIF and Twitter support. We find it especially useful for making GIFs and incorporating them in our product announcements or creating articles for our Knowledge Base to educate our users.

 

12) Skitch – annotate your images with style.

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Skitch by Evernote, is a great free tool to easily annotate images. We specifically use it in our support process to respond to user queries, create Knowledge Base articles or user guides. While it’s true that you can use Preview (on Mac) for basic annotations on screenshots, Skitch adds that something extra to make your documentation more professional – for free!

 

13) Typeform – free and beautiful online forms.

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Typeform allows you to create online forms that you can use for all purposes. As team Solid, we find it specifically useful to gather user feedback, for our future product releases. The good news is that with the free version you also have reporting and you can send the collected data to more than 500 apps via Zapier.

 

14) Join.me – host web conferences for user onboarding.

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Free conferences for all! Join.me is a free screen sharing, online meetings and conferencing tool. We’ve found Join.me especially useful for hosting onboarding sessions with the users of our other product Wisembly. It also provides a great way to communicate with our remote colleagues. Other alternatives include appear.in and Talky which require no registration or download.

 

15) Eventbrite – host your events at your own expense.

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Eventbrite helps you post, promote and organize your events. Got a company event in mind? Maybe a seminar, a product launch, or a user gathering? You can use Eventbrite to organize and promote your event. On the bright side, you can use Eventbrite at any time for free for all your free events. Easily track registrations and get the best out of your event easily.

 

Design & Development

16) Invision – collaborative web & mobile prototyping.

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Invision enables fast, device-optimized prototyping for your design projects. You can make clickable image prototypes for you to share with the rest of your team in minutes! In addition, you can communicate with your team through your prototype and get design feedback easily and efficiently. With the free version you can have 1 active prototype as long as you need it. Invision proved to be an essential tool for our UX / UI design processes and we simply can’t do without it!

 

17) Atom – free & open-source text editor.

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This one is for the developers! Atom is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup, and prose. Text editors are important if you’re working in web. Regardless of the language you use, be it frontend or backend languages, you need a text editor. Although there are a lot of options out there for text editors, Atom certainly stands out in the crowd. First of all, it’s free and open-source, and secondly it provides regular updates and support.

 

18) Iconjar – your icon organizer.

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Iconjar stores all your icons in one place. It’s an icon organizer with easy access and great support for SVG’s and icon fonts. You can drag-and-drop your icons into any application without any hassle. Although it’s no longer free, there is a wide range of downloadable collections designed by the community and curated by Iconjar.

 

19) Flux – connect your design tools.

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Flux helps you connect your design tools and share data across applications. As a result, collaboration in design is made easy. Your data is in the cloud which, you can push and pull anytime across your design team. With Flux, get the best out of each design process. Flux’s free plan allows you up to 2 projects with all plug-ins and apps available.

 

20) Sip – organize your colors with simplicity.

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Another design tool that comes in handy! With Sip, you can create, organize and share colors with everyone. Use it to organize anything that has colors, for a design project, or for any other creative process. Your content is synced, thus allowing you to access it from any device. While there’s a free trial for Sip, the whole package is under 10$ for users who need more.

 

Got any other tools on your mind? Give us a shout in the comments section below, and we’d be happy to include it in the list.