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imageRunning an online business can get really complicated. We often sign up for way too many programs, our laptops get cluttered & it’s hard to remember passwords.

It can get super complicated.

I wish I could suggest using just a small handful of tools to run your business online – 1 single out of the box solution.  But I can’t.  Instead, I can give you my list of tools that play well together.  And most of them are already on your computer today, so you don’t need to take the time installing extra programs.

I recommend spending a bit of time this week familiarizing yourself with each of these.  It will save you time later this month.

(this is for my PC readers)

Preinstalled on all Vista and Windows 7 computers

  • Windows Live email
  • Windows Live Calendar
  • Windows Live Writer
  • Windows Live Movie Maker
  • Snipping Tool
  • Calculator
  • Paint
  • Sticky Notes
  • Microsoft Office Word Starter
  • Microsoft Office Excel Starter
  • Skype
  • Adobe Reader


  • Mozilla Firefox (syncs your folders if you use more than one computer)
  • Chrome (as a backup plan)

Data Protection & Storage

  • SugarSync to backup & easily share files with your team, clients and your other devices
  • AVG Free  2012 (free antivirus software)  runs efficiently, doesn’t slow your computer down
  • Windows Sky Drive (25 GB storage online)


  • Simpleology – time management tool
  • Evernote– free version to keep track of all of your notes
  • Adobe Reader – up to date version
  • join.me (no membership required, just bookmark it and use it when you when you need help from a friend or to work with a client)
  • Jing by Techsmith (communicate your message quickly – to VA’s tech support, friends or clients)
  • Skydrive – free PowerPoint, Word, Excel and OneNote

Social Media & Customer building tools

  • Facebook (for secret groups, page and profile)
  • Twitter (sign up for a basic account with your full name if you don’t have it already)
  • Hootsuite (to manage your social media) free account is enough for simple social media management


  • PDF995 or CutePDF (have this installed on your computer in advance so you can print any document as a PDF)
  • Fax Zerofor sending faxes anytime
  • Mailchimp (or any other program for collecting emails, and sending group messages)
  • WordPress (installed on your own server, not at WordPress.com)
  • Hostgator for website hosting (use coupon code “ loraleehutton “ for a great discount)

Money from Customers and to Suppliers

  • Accounting software (you choose – Wave Accounting, Mint or QuickBooks)
  • Paypal – upgrade to the Business account (the free version)


  • Meetingburner.com or AnytimeMeeting.com for webinars, or even 1-1 meetings with a client
  • Free Conference Call HD.com (upload music, automatic recordings and people can call in by skype)


Want the checklist version of this? Download it here.

Tool Box Check ListAnd let me know in the comments below if this is helpful for you?  Or if there’s anything I’ve missed from your list of favorites?

Send me a note via twitter, or in the comments below.

p.s. almost all of these resources are completely free. But I’ve included a few affiliate links (I love to track things, including who finds these resources useful), and if you were to buy something from them in the future I may be given a commission. Just want you to know, up front.

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