The 6 Tools I Couldn’t Do Without

Even with all of the right personal tools for business that get and grow your work, some tools are essential for one’s sanity or to just “get it all done.” With the exception of the latest addition to this list, my clients and my income would be seriously hampered by the elimination of just one of these tools and services. Some have analogues close enough in function that I would adjust, but a world without anything like it would be terrible for business at this point.


What in the world did people do before invoicing was made so simple? I used PayPal for over a year with pretty good regularity and quickly tired of the steps it takes to create a new invoice and do any more than just one or two changes to it for repeat work. Then someone led me to FreshBooks in January, right before launching my company.


Undoubtedly the best FTP client available for Mac, in my eyes at least. If you don’t know what FTP is yet, best be Googling that to manage your site better than those crappy host file managers. I’ve written articles on how to use FTP before, but they are other peoples’ property now, so I’d better write a new one, hadn’t I?

Transmit has so many great features:

  • Multiple tabs for being in several clients’ sites at once without taking up extra screen real-estate
  • Upload/Download progress icon in the Dock so I can be doing other things without watching it
  • Drag and drop logins into various folders (I use “quick jobs,” “clients,” and “archives”) to keep it clean


I hate to use the phone for business, I really do. You wouldn’t suspect it once you get to know me (until you get to know me really well), but being on voice unnerves me because I always like to have time to respond to questions and situations, especially with a new client/situation. Here is where Skype comes into play.

I pay something like $30/yr to have a local phone number and unlimited calling in and out (free for US and Canada and all Internet-based calls using Skype IDs) for these advantages:

  • My home and cell phone numbers stay private (e-mails come at 2am, you’d better believe calls would, too)
  • I can literally “unplug” from work at any time by closing the lid on my laptop or closing the Skype client
  • I can call using my iPhone Skype app so long as I’m in a wi-fi area – I can call from campus without giving out my cell number via caller ID
  • If the number gets out to solicitors or whatnot, it’s totally painless to get a new number
  • Free voicemail and caller history logs


My business wouldn’t be where it is today without the existence or use of Twitter. One of my biggest clients and all of his referrals are due to Twitter: a simple tweet about using WordPress for business. My best friends are on Twitter conversing with me and we refer work to each other and it shows those listening in what I’m all about.

Tweetie is my favorite Twitter client for the Mac and iPhone (not paying the full-version price for the Mac just to get rid of the ads), but I use Tweetdeck for Windows when I’m on my desktop for whatever reason. Tweetie keeps my IDs in a column on the left side with dots to announce whether I have replies or DMs without having to watch them all stream. It also has the typical URL shortening, photo uploader, and follower management.


I love to design! I’m no Michelangelo, but I can hold my own and need some brushes and paint, man. I’ve been using Photoshop for years, and despite some friends moving on to some new programs, I use it for 90% of my graphics work, only departing to use Illustrator for my vector art for logos.


Something I just signed up for this week and would not give up this service easily. I’m still using the free version (500 subscribers, 3,000 e-mails per month) for a while longer, but for $10/mo they remove their badge at the bottom of your e-mails and also the monthly message limit for the same 500 subscriber limit.

I created a list from my clients, designed an e-mail campaign layout, wrote my e-mail with styles and social network links, and sent it off in under an hour. Now I’m able to track open rates, clickthroughs, unsubscribes, and even what links in the e-mail were clicked – visually, too. I replicated this e-mail to begin my next newsletter even more efficiently. By the way, you can sign up to receive my news, entertainment, and education by signing up here.

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