There is very little stopping most of us now from starting an online business--especially a smaller, MVP-type side hustle. If you're going that route, you're likely to find yourself swamped by the array of free, freemium, and low-cost services you can use to get started.

On Reddit, user fairpixels put together an ongoing list of 17 useful resources you might not have heard of before. Between his (or her) suggestions, a few of my own--and the ongoing contributions of the Reddit community in the comments, there are some good, great, and interesting examples.

1. If you want to build a list of press contacts...

There are several services out there, and one of them is Press.Farm, a subscription service that gives you journalists' email addresses, biographies, and Twitter profiles. (For the record, you can contact me or sign up for my email list here, and you can also find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.)

2. If you want to start an email list...

I'm surprised sometimes that more people don't know about Tiny Letter. Imagine a stripped-down, free version of MailChimp or Constant Contact that lets you send bulk emails and collect signups. The main restriction is that your list can't exceed 5,000 emails.

3. If you want to purge your own email...

I'll be writing about this separately soon, but there's no faster way to kill your business than to fail to reply to customers. When your in-boxes fill to the point where you can't control them anymore, the best solution I've found is Mailstrom.

4. If you want to design a logo...

Sure, you can go on Fiverr for $5 and get a logo, but if you want something a little more original or substantive, you might try Fairpixels, which is a pay-what-you-think-it's-worth logo design service. (Disclosure: the Redditor who began the list is the founder of Fairpixels.)

5. If you want to prototype a mobile app...

My coding skills are admittedly rudimentary, but that doesn't necessarily matter when you're trying to design a prototype to show others what you'd like to build. I've been impressed with Proto.io, which enables anyone who can drag and drop to build a fully interactive prototype mobile app.

6. If you want to generate invoices...

This one is new to me, but Free Invoice Generator does what it sounds like it does. I'm not sure I'd pay for this--you could create your own pretty easily--but since it's free, it's one less headache.

7. If you want to poll your team...

I'm a big user of Google Forms, which had a recent redesign by the way, but there are a lot of other great free options out there. If you're only trying to poll a team on one question, Updwn has a smooth interface.

8. If you want to name your startup...

You could do a lot worse than this tool, which gives you a few options and lets you find simple domain names that haven't yet been taken.

9. If you want to send follow-up emails...

The easiest, free service I've found is Autopest, which lets you schedule and cancel follow up emails simply by adding a bcc recipient.

You can check out the whole thread on Reddit, or else add extra great ideas in the comments below.

 

Published on: Oct 21, 2015
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