When we think of entrepreneurship, more often than not, we focus on teams who are building new SaaS software or crafting other tech advances. But in reality, many entrepreneurs aren’t found in this niche — instead, we find them working solo in food service and other areas that we use on a more day-to-day basis.
These new, up-and-coming businesses can be found all across the country. For example, take my colleague Craig Biddle of Austin Tortilla Company. His company started with a simple experience: his son discovering just how much better tacos tasted in Mexico City than they did in Austin, Texas.
Biddle and his son quickly realized that quality ingredients and the cooking process itself were what made the difference, and so they started sourcing better ingredients and researching different cooking methods to perfect their own tortilla recipe.
The result likely sounds familiar to others who have seen successful restaurants and food brands spring up out of nowhere — friends and neighbors loved the tortillas so much, that Biddle decided to turn his newfound passion into a full-fledged company. To date, Austin Tortilla Company makes some of the best, most mouth-watering tortillas money can buy.
Many solopreneur projects see a similar birthing process.
Of course, whether you’re looking to start your own food truck or develop a killer app, you’re only as good as the tools in your arsenal. Those little pieces of software that automate key tasks or give you extra knowledge to improve your own skills are a key ingredient in your long-term success.
Having an online presence is the first step. Naturally, you can use platforms like Wix or Shopify to sell online and tools like Hootsuite or Mailchimp to automate a few aspects of your business. In this post, however, I’d like to focus on some less-obvious resources that will make solopreneurship that much easier.
1) Traffic Booster
Opening an online store is one thing, but getting targeted traffic to visit the site is quite another. Traffic Booster by StoreYa is an invaluable tool designed to help solopreneurs drive customers to their website.
Rather than hiring unskilled freelancers or poor-performing ad agencies, Traffic Booster allows business owners to fully automate the PPC process. This tool uses real-time machine learning to select the best keywords, optimize ad bidding and adjust ad content to drive relevant visitors to your store so you can grow your business.
Some solopreneurs can set up an Etsy shop to sell handmade products online — but what if your solo endeavor is more service-oriented? WiseIntro allows solopreneurs to create an attractive, professional-looking website in a matter of minutes.
Easy-to-use templates allow professionals to showcase their unique portfolio, share client reviews, create actionable contact forms, and link to their social media accounts.
With no programming needed, this is a great way for anyone from a handyman to a real estate agent to quickly build their web presence.
Social media profiles are essential for solopreneurs looking to spread the word about their business, but it can be challenging to come up with a marketing plan that actually helps you gain customers.
Likealyzer goes beyond looking at your social media metrics and telling you how you’re performing. This platform takes a deeper dive by offering customized content recommendations and providing lists of similar pages for inspiration or competition to help you make more effective social media posts.
4) The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business By Elaine Pofeldt
Okay, so The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt isn’t a software tool — it’s a book. But that doesn’t make it any less valuable for aspiring solopreneurs.
After all, a successful business requires much more than a great idea. The problem, of course, is that many solopreneurs start with a great idea, but they don’t know what needs to be done to launch and grow their own company.
“My goal wasn’t to merely focus on inspirational stories,” Pofeldt explains. “It was to break down the actual tactics successful entrepreneurs use to reach their financial goals without hiring a whole team of employees. Stories are unique, but many of the best strategies are universal.”
For many solopreneurs, generating a profit means providing services to other businesses. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing blog content or performing handyman work — if you want to get paid, you’ll need to send an invoice.
Sighted streamlines the entire invoicing process by helping you track time for clients and projects, create customized invoices and receipts for clients, monitor your own expenses, and even accept online payments. Better invoicing will make it that much easier to get the payment you deserve.
Taxes are an inevitable part of life — and they can be particularly stressful for a solopreneur. It’s never fun to dig through mounds of paper receipts and other business documents when tax season rolls around.
Shoeboxed eases the burden with mobile-friendly tools like paper receipt scanning, email receipt archiving and GPS-based mileage tracking to help you stay on top of your business expenses. Their convenient tax prep features will make it that much easier to stay organized and get through tax season in one piece.
As a solopreneur, most (if not all) of your important business data will be stored on a personal computer. But what happens if your computer is stolen or destroyed? It’s not fun to think about these things, but accidents do happen.
Mozy ensures that you’re prepared for the worst by offering a cloud-based system that automatically backs up your most important files. In addition to providing a failsafe should your computer stop working, Mozy also allows you to access your files while on the go — perfect for when you need to get some work done outside the house.
The Right Tools
It can be exciting to see a small idea blossom into a business of its own.
But just because you’re taking on the world as a solo business owner, this doesn’t mean you should truly do it without any help. Even a homemade tortilla company can get better results when they add best business practices to a quality product.
As you incorporate these helpful resources into your work, you’ll be able to save time, earn more money and find new ways to reach your customers. Ultimately, using these invaluable tools will leave you better equipped to face whatever challenges might come your way as you start and grow your small business.
Lucas Miller is a contributing writer at Grit Daily. He is the founder and CEO of Echelon Copy LLC, a media relations agency based in Provo, Utah that helps brands improve visibility, enhance reputation and generate leads through authentic storytelling.