I do a TON of research into tools, and have been known to try out and cycle through 10+ tools before finding the one that works best for the situation I'm in - much to the amusement and occasional annoyance of those who work with me (ask me about the one time I got in trouble for having too many accounts open on a company email).
Plus, I have this talent for finding ALLLLLLL of the bugs and issues within software.
So... each of the following tools has been relentless tested and tried, and ruled "good enough" for my toolstack. Which doesn't mean they're perfect - there's no software out there that is. But it does mean that the benefits outweigh the negatives in my (pretty critical) opinion.
I don't settle for crappy tools, even though (like most soloprenuers) I'm extremely mindful of how much my "tools and subscriptions" budget line is costing me each month. These aren't generally the cheapest tools out there, but they live in the solid realm of "reasonable" for soloprenuers and small business owners. In my opinion, the value far exceeds the cost.
BetterProposals is the system I use to send proposals - the system has honestly made a big impact on how clients perceive my business, and it's super simple to send once you've got the proposals set up! It integrates with Capsule CRM, Stripe, Zapier, and a bunch of other tools. I have this set up so that once clients have decide to work with me, they sign the contract, then pay the deposit immediately. Makes it seamless!
I've tried all the frequently recommended ones for solo biz owners (Dubsado, Honeybook, HelloBonsai, etc.), and had issues with each of them for one reason or another. Might be because I worked in marketing previously and have pretty high standards for my CRM haha. I landed on this one, and really love it. Been using it for a year at this point and have no complaints (which says a lot - I always find bugs in software).
Capsule CRM integrates with gmail (which was my #1 need), and has really reliable CRM functionality, as well as a bunch of integrations. I use it with my accounting and proposals systems, and use Zapier to connect it with everything else!
I love project management apps, and have both used and trialed A LOT of them. Asana, Monday, Trello, Basecamp, Toggl Projects, Freedcamp... you get the picture. They've all got their pros and cons, including ClickUp.
But ClickUp is the most flexible one I've tried to date - it truly is an incredible all-in-one tool for organizing the tasks and projects in your business, and once you understand the building blocks, you can set it up to work for you in a way that makes the most sense to you! I use it for all of my day-to-day business tasks, project planning and documentation, and making sure I don't forget any recurring weekly / monthly / quarterly and annual tasks!
$100 Visa Gift Card for Both of Us
Hiring employees and keeping on top of payroll, legal, taxes, etc... is not for the faint of heart. Enter Gusto. It syncs with my accounting software and makes paying employees AND contractors as simple as can be. Highly recommended!
If you want to see where your site visitors are clicking, scrolling, and looking - you need HotJar. Install it on your site, set up what pages you want it to track, and check back in a few days. Together with your Google Analytics or other analytic data, you can put together a really clear picture of what might be confusing your users and causing conversion rate issues.
Receive a 10% discount on your first payment when you use the promo code HOPP
If you have a website, you need to have legal policies put together. But hiring a lawyer to write custom terms of service, privacy policies, and disclaimers every time the law changes isn't always in the cards. Termageddon has been my legal solution for my own website and the one I recommend to clients who don't already have legal policies in place. The policies are autogenerated according to questions that you answer about your website, and then they are updated whenever the law changes, with little or no effort on your part!
You Need a Budget (YNAB) has been the single best tool I've tried for my personal finances! When I started Hopp Creative, I decided that the best way for me to budget in my business would be to use the same software that had done so much good in my personal life. So now, I have an accounting software that acts as an official record of all of my business transactions, but I use YNAB to make sure my business budget is all lined up! Highly recommend trying it out.