If you’re thinking about starting a business from home, congratulations! It’s a great challenge for the new year and could turn into a lucrative venture. You’re brave too, starting out in difficult financial times, which is why we’ve decided to make things a bit easier by gathering together some of the best free, home-business oriented tools around.
First, make sure your clients know you exist. Unfortunately, free business card software is thin on the ground. Luckily it’s easy to order them online cheaply and, in the meantime, you can download a trial version of a program like Business Card Designer Plus or Advanced Business Card Maker and experiment with possible designs and layouts.
Having a website is crucial. If you fancy building your own, take a look at a tool like MoreMotion Web Express. Bear in mind that you can also use a blog as a website; WordPress is a great place to start. It’s easier than making a website and, if you have little or no experience, the finished product is much more likely to look professional.
Now they know you’re there, make sure your public can get in touch! Skype is the first stop – there’s a professional version, but it’s oriented towards multiple-employee situations. It’s good to aim high, but you’ll have to wait a while for that! If you’ve decided to use Outlook (and many don’t) there are some great tools out there to keep your inbox spam-free and under control.
Once your name is out there and the emails and calls start pouring in, you’ll need tight management to make sure everything’s under control. For a start, don’t even think about spending your hard-earned cash on Microsoft Office. OpenOffice will do a perfect job and is completely free, while Open Workbench will help you keep a close eye on your projects. Sooner or later, the money’s sure to start pouring in. Make sure you’re up to the accounting with a suitable program – GNUCash is sure to do a great job!