About Frugal Business Tools
“economic in the use of resources; not wasteful.”
“activity engaged in as a means of livelihood”
“devices that aids in accomplishing a task”
I’ve been running an online business since 2013, and in that time, I’ve made a lot of expensive mistakes. I’ve invested in plentiful courses, contractors and software that disappoint.
I’ve had years where I made record gross income — the most money I’d ever made in my life! — and still barely broke even, because I’d over-invested in team and tools.
I’m not alone. Part of running a business (whether you’re selling services or products, you’re in-person or online) is about making mistakes, and learning from them. And the most successful business owners have learned not only from their own mistakes, but other people’s mistakes too.
Over my years of trial-and-error, I’ve tried & tested hundreds of different softwares that are built for solopreneurs & small businesses. There have been lots of sales pages that overpromise with lackluster results, and also shining stars that jumped out at me unexpectedly. (Even software I resisted trying because the sales page was ugly, then I got under the hood and went all starry-eyed. 🤩)
That’s why I started Frugal Business Tools — because I want to share the tech tools that are working for me (and invite my business friends that also have recommendations outside of my expertise) — in hopes that we can help you get the right tools for your business, at the right investment level … without eating up all your profits or your time.
Here are my commitments for Frugal Business Tools:
Your tech stack can be frugal
I specifically chose the word FRUGAL, not CHEAP or FREE. Frugal means “economic in the use of resources; not wasteful.”
I’ve seen entrepreneur friends drop wayyyyy too much on “quick fix, all-in-one solutions” that are way more than they need to get started — like hundreds or thousands of dollars on email software before they had a list of people to email, or sales page software for a course they hadn’t created or sold yet. It’s really easy to have a vision about how implementing this one tool can be tech solution that you need; but overcomplicating your tech by using software you don’t need can be an inefficient headache.
On the other hand, I’ve seen businesses be held back by free tools, when a paid tool will do a better job, more efficiently. These businesses are trading time efficiency for money spent, and breaking their backs working extra time manually completing a task that could be automated for $20/mo.
So for most of the categories where I have recommendations, I’ll provide “Premium, Solid, and Starter” levels. Just like you won’t wake up with a million-dollar business, you also shouldn’t have million-dollar expenses, and your tools can grow with you as you make more money and can make that trade of software investment for efficiency.
Your business can run smoothly & efficiently
The tools I use enhance business — providing done-for-you SEO services & online trainings. They make it easier for me to get paid, to communicate with my team, to connect with my students, to run my life. They make it so I can have a 6-figure business (and that’s net profit, not gross) in about 20 hours a week.
The tools I choose for my services & courses business may or may not work for your business; I’ll try to the best of my ability to explain how they work for me, and whenever possible, to share the drawbacks of any given tool (and possibly complimentary products I use to offset them).
Also, and I want to be transparent about it: Frugal Business Tools is also a business: a side hustle to create more passive income with content marketing, specifically through affiliate income and display ads. It’s ok to provide a public service that doesn’t cost anything for your users, and still make money from it. And if & when this site becomes profitable, I’m happy to share a blueprint of how I got it there so you can glean best practices too.
This is also weirdly common for SEO nerds, to create what is known in the industry as “sandbox sites” to test out different SEO practices, especially in different industries, so that our work with clients is based in epxerience, not theory.
So that’s the primary means that I plan to use to drive traffic to this site, primarily through Google and Pinterest but I might also put my YouTube channel to use. Time will tell.
Recommendations for tools, tech & training
I’m a tech nerd at heart, from 3 generations of electrical engineers on my dad’s side (then I married one 😂). I got my first e-mail address in 1994 and built my first website in ’96. (Geocities South Beach neighborhood represent!) Tinkering with tools is in my blood.
So I love the thrill of finding the right tool for a situation — focusing less on shiny packaging and more on outcomes that help with increasing sales, retaining clients, and maximizing my time.
I know that tools are only as good as the hands using them, and that “to a man with hammer, everything looks like a nail,” so my quest here is to help you find software that you can set up quickly and will work seamlessly for you, without you needing to become a product expert to make it work. (And if I know a product expert, I’ll give them a shoutout in the recommendation in case you get stuck.)
These tools should boost your efficiency to help you spend less, work less, and be more profitable.