We all love free stuff—it’s like a bonus!

Granted, not all free stuff is created equal. A free t-shirt is useful for sleeping in, or for working in the garage on weekends.

But this list? This list has some free stuff that might just change your life (or at least the way you to business).

There are so many businesses today that are a one man/woman show, which is wonderful. Absolutely great.

It can also be a challenge, though, so hopefully, these free and easy-to-use tools will help you. Let’s have at it!

(They’re all free, except those marked with a * which aren’t expensive, and I’m not getting anything for recommending them to you—I only make recommendations based on things we in our own business use, know, and love!)

Blogging Tools

WordPress

Were you to check our site’s URL right now, you’d see that it begins with “jacobthyssen.com”. We have a paid domain. Many people, though, do just fine with the free version, which only has a few limitations, none of which will prevent you from having a beautiful, functional, highly useful blog or website.

The only noticeable difference is in the URL. Were this a free site, visitors would instead visit “jacobthyssen.wordpress.com”—a minute detail that most people will overlook.

WordPress offers an overwhelming variety of free and gorgeous themes that you can customize to your liking. With just a few minutes and zero money down, you can have a beautiful site that’s all your own.

Blogger

The same I just said for WordPress essentially applies to Blogger. It’s a free tool, it’s easy to use, and the only stipulation is the look of your URL.

I personally have a bias toward WordPress, but I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not about functionality at all—it’s just that I’m more accustomed to working with WordPress, so I’m more comfortable working on that platform. Blogger offers the same simply, user-friendly experience, so if you already have a domain there, or if you’re leaning toward Blogger, don’t stress—just pick one and have fun with it!

Writing Tools

Google Drive, OneDrive, & DropBox

Whatever your preference, any of these cloud storage options will give you a safe place to house all your documents. I swear by this, because I have had computers crash, and it can be detrimental to your business.

For Jacob Thÿssen, we store everything in the cloud. It’s not only a great way to back things up, but it helps ensure that we can share all data, documents, and files easily across our team. It makes working on projects far more efficient, and

If you’re an Apple user, you have access to iCloud, which is essentially the same as the aforementioned options. Much like blogging platforms, it all comes down to what you prefer, what your team is using, and what you’re comfortable with.

Evernote

One of my very favorite tools is Evernote. It’s so useful, so simple, and so all-encompassing. I truly utilize this tool virtually every day to help with not only my business, but my personal life, as well as the books we write.

You can do anything with Evernote. You can write your own notes, draw pictures, record things, take photographs and store them with notes, or save websites as bookmarks (or even save the page itself) for future reference.

You can organize everything into notebooks, and utilize tags to make things easier to find.

The best part, though, is how Evernote can sync between all your devices. I have it on my computer, my tablet, and my phone. Anything I type on my phone while I’m on the go, I can later access from my computer when I’m ready to sit down and work on it in earnest.

I swear by Evernote, because I think it’s one of the best tools out there for anyone who’s creating anything.

*Scrivener

While this suggestion isn’t free, Scrivener only goes for about $40, and there are always promotions and sales that can get it to you for up to half off. (If you ever participate in NaNoWriMo, sometimes they give the winners coupon codes for this program.)

For any kind of large writing project—a book, a script, a large report or thesis, screenplay, lengthy research project, or anything else you can think of—Scrivener is an amazing tool for bringing all your research, materials, and notes together in one place. It allows you to see your entire project as a whole, set goals, and provides a structure for your project so you don’t get overwhelmed with formatting.

Graphic Design Tools

GIMP

A great free photo editing tool is GIMP. I use GIMP to make a great deal of our graphics and visual material, and it works great. The best part is that there are tons of instructional videos and tutorials on YouTube, so you can become a skilled graphic artist using free online materials—what’s not to love about that?

Audio Editing Tools

Note: For Mac users, it’s likely you already have at least a basic program for this. What I’ve suggested here works great, too, but check your computer to see what’s already installed!

Audacity

Whether you’re making music or just recording voice tracks for a podcast or some other online material, Audacity is a great choice. This completely free program has a lot of powerful features, and can do almost anything a paid audio editor can do. Create professional-quality recordings with this simple, awesome program!

Video Editing Tools

Note: For Mac users, it’s likely you already have at least a basic program for this. What I’ve suggested here works great, too, but check your computer to see what’s already installed!

VideoPad Video Editor

Like Audacity, VideoPad is a simple, free, easy-to-use program that can get you making videos in no time. While there’s a stipulation about not using it for commercial business, as long as you aren’t charging for the video content, you’re fine. So promotional videos or free videos on YouTube are fine (and highly recommended). Give it a try—it’s a great program!

Stock Photography

FreeImages

If you find yourself in need of stock photography, FreeImages is a great site for finding images for, you guessed it, free!  Some posters will request credit (a simple link to their profile will do), or to be notified of its use (you can use the “comment” feature right on the website to fulfill this requirement). All in all, it’s an easy, simple, elegant solution to all your stock photography needs.

 

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’d be happy to hear from you about your own tools and free resources for creating and building your business! Please leave any additions you’ve got in the comments, and thank you for reading!