Thinking of starting your own business? Here are the tools/services I use

It’s not official ‘til it’s on Facebook!

Practical Stuff

Incorporation

I registered Frameplay Consulting LLC for $199 using IncFile. I wanted to register an LLC for tax purposes, among other reasons. Although I don’t have any employees now, I can see that changing and didn’t want to tie myself to operating under my name.

Business Insurance

A few years ago when I was looking at being a sub-contractor, I was told I needed Professional Liability insurance. My company also should have insurance. I went with HISCOX directly off their website, although I’ve since learned that going through a broker can be cheaper.

Accounting

(Updated Sept 2017)

Mileage Tracking

So this was a little thrill to find out about. Now that I am a consultant, I can track my mileage as I visit clients. I signed up for MileIQ, which is a simple mobile app that detects when you’re driving and lets you classify drives as personal or business (or even more granularity if you need it). It’s free for 40 rides a month, and after a month’s trial, I paid the $60/year fee for unlimited rides. There are other cheaper solutions out there, but again, the UX won me over

Payroll

(Updated Sept 2017)

E-Signature

I’ve pulled together a handful of proposals so far, and a full-fledged system like PandaDoc was too much for me. With DocHub I can share a PDF with a prospect to get them to review and e-sign. They let you do a limited number of docs for free each month, with a path to upgrade. They also integrate with Google drive, so I’ve actually been using them for e-signing my own documents for years!

Online Scheduling

Scheduling calls is a pain! I have a free account through YouCanBook.Me that syncs with my Google calendar so potential clients can see my availability and schedule time to talk. Right now I don’t get a lot of cold calls, but they do have a $10/month premium offer that offers more features and no branding. (My page looks like: https://frameplay-andrea.youcanbook.me/ )

Video Conferencing

I hate to admit this since I worked at ReadyTalk for years, but I signed up for a free account with Zoom. So far the 40 minute limit on calls hasn’t been a problem.

Fun Stuff!

URL and Website Hosting

(Updated Sept 2017)

Logo Design

Business Cards

Moo.com cards aren’t the cheapest, but damn they look good. I dropped $86 on 200 business cards. Ha, and I think I’ve given out 10 of them. I’m not sure people really use business cards anymore :-)

E-Newsletter

I wasn’t sure if an e-newsletter was worth the time and effort, but then I came across Revue. Super simple to pull together resources and send them out. I’m also on the free plan, although they do offer a premium white-labeled service as well. Hey! You should subscribe — https://www.getrevue.co/profile/frameplay

Marketing

I have tried both LinkedIn Premium and Sales Navigator free trials to identify prospects. They’re both pretty expensive, and honestly I’m a one-woman shop, I don’t need to be doing that much prospecting ALL THE TIME. For $50–65/month (when paid annually), this is on my “in the future-maybe” list.

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Andrea F Hill

Andrea F Hill

Sr UX Specialist with Canada Revenue Agency, former web dev and product person. 🔎 Lifelong learner. Unapologetic introvert. Plant-powered marathoner. Cat mom.