11 Free or Dirt-Cheap Online Business Tools to Run Your Business from Anywhere

online business tools8 AM.

You wake up to the sound of an alarm, grab your phone to glance at the time, take a quick look at your emails, play Hanging with Friends for just another 5 minutes snuggled in bed, get dressed and do a 3-second commute to your new office desk.

Congratulations! You have quit your job and it’s your first day at your business.

Tweet it! With hot coffee in one hand and a pen and notepad in other, you take a few minutes to schedule your day. You smile at the thought of what’s in store.

. . . Until, after a few minutes of bliss, panic hits.

Holy cow I quit my JOB! What do I do now? How will I pay my bills? Where do I find clients? How much am I going to have to spend on tools to get this business running?

Does this sound familiar?
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Armed and Dangerous: 7 Common Marketing Myths

common marketing mythsReading marketing blogs can give you a pretty twisted idea of what marketing and business are like.

Even if you avoid the most blatantly hype-y make-money-quick sites, you still run into a fair number of myths. Some of them might be obvious to you. But few people recognize them all.

And when you’re distracted – even if just a little – by some myth, you forget to focus on what really makes the difference in your marketing: understanding why people should buy from you, and making sure your marketing conveys those reasons.

So, let’s take a look at seven myths that plague the marketing world. Some of these can take credit for the downfall of thousands of entrepreneurs in recent years. And some of these have riddled the world of business for decades.

When you’re aware of the myths, you can look at marketing advice much more objectively and discard the stuff that doesn’t really help you succeed.
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CEI 065: Getting Better at Business with Mitch Russo

business success Mitch RussoIt doesn’t matter if you’re starting your first business, or growing past the million dollar mark – every entrepreneur dreams of building their business ever upward.

The real question isn’t how far you want to go. It’s what’s holding you back?

Is there a big business problem you’ve been wrestling with for a while, but just haven’t found a way to get past? If so, you’ll love today’s podcast with Mitch Russo. Mitch is the king of moving businesses from the bottom of the heap to the top.

He’s put his consulting wisdom together with Danny’s to provide actionable steps you can use today to identify and tackle your biggest business problems.

So let’s get started! All you have to do is click the play button below.

Podcast runtime: 25 min 30 seconds | Transcript

business success mitch russo

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8 Wickedly Smart Templates From Successful Entrepreneurs For Connecting With Influencers You Admire

successful entrepreneursEver run across an influential person you would love to connect with  – but have no idea how to approach them?

Influencers get dozens of requests every day, so why should they pay attention to yours?

The trick is to get on their radar first, without looking like a crazy fan.

And to do that you might need to use some unconventional tactics…

What if you could go back in time and see how successful people began?

What if you could really see how they approached influencers before they were successful?

Wouldn’t that be cool?

Well, that’s what we are doing today.
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Heating Up Your Business: August Best of the Web

bestI hope it’s been easy living for you this summer. Here at Firepole, it was – but now things are heating up. August is our time to get busy preparing for our big September launch.

We’ve got lots of exciting stuff coming. Our next webinar series for the Audience Business Masterclass is coming in mid-September. Keep an eye out for more news about that. And, as we wrap up our summer Course Builders Bootcamp, we’re already designing the next versions of our Course Builders program.

And that’s just scratching the surface. We’re all doing tons of other stuff for Firepole. But we’re making time to have fun. Danny & Bhoomi are going camping this weekend. Cris, our programmer, is going on vacation, and Sid is going to a secret hideaway with his wife. And Felicity? She’s bouncing coast to coast again, and will bounce all the way across the Atlantic and back before the end of the year.

Life is exciting.

So is growing a business.

Today’s Best of the Web is exciting because it will help you grow your business. We’ve got you covered in marketing and promotion; sales; media coverage and social media; and small business success

So let’s roll!

Marketing and Promotion

We start with the big picture in content marketing (delivered in pictures) and move on to a detailed plan for growing your email list fast.

Sales

These two pieces will take you into the heart and mind of great white-hat sales techniques.

Media Coverage and Social Media

There’s so much said out there about social media. But it’s all too confusing. These three posts cut to the chase and tell you what you need to know.

Small Business Success

Why empowering your team is a must; how to ask useful questions and get great answers; and a great way to leverage your content to lasting success, all right here:

Kind Mentions

We’re really glad that Firepole is part of the growing network of great support for success in online business. We’re grateful to the sites that post our ideas and help us reach a wider audience.

As always, if you think we’ve missed anything truly awesome out there on the web, be sure to say so in the comments!

CEI 063: Virtual Freedom with Chris Ducker

Chris DuckerThere’s no question that we entrepreneurs work hard. I mean, really hard – building and growing a business isn’t easy!

Tweet it! But working harder doesn’t always mean we’re working smarter . Often, we could be spending some of our time to train others to help us with our business, so that we can devote more time to doing what we love.

This is exactly why Danny’s invited Chris Ducker, author of Virtual Freedom and founder of Virtual Staff Finder onto today’s podcast. Over the course of one year, Chris went from being an absolute corporate workaholic to enjoying a four-day work week.

Sounds nice, right?

Today, Chris is going teach you how to take the plunge into working on more reasonable terms. That way you’ll have more time and energy for what really matters like growing your business and enjoying your life. And if you stick around until end, you’ll be able to win a free gift.

So let’s get started! All you have to do is click the play button below.

Podcast runtime: 35 min 18 seconds | Transcript

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Why You Can’t Create Epic Content Every Single Time and What to Do About It

brand nameAlmost every day you are bombarded with this or some variety of this message: “Create Epic Content.”

But, what is epic content?

Well…anything that is inspirational, valuable, and useful to the audience can qualify as epic content.

Which means anybody can create it, anytime. Every time.

Right?

Wrong.

Tweet it! Every piece of content you create will NOT be epic.

It can’t happen. You can’t do that.

Even greats like Shakespeare, Dante, Hemingway, and Joyce couldn’t. If they couldn’t create epic stories every time they sat down to write, how can you?
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Ask the Readers: Are You In It Alone?

questions-cardI left my day job and opened up shop as an entrepreneur 21 years ago. And, though I didn’t know it then, that was the day my father stopped understanding me.

My dad was a professor. His dad was an entrepreneur. He didn’t like his dad.

So, when I became an entrepreneur, it was the beginning of a great divide, though we didn’t see it at the time.

Sometimes, this great divide is more clear. A young woman signed up for the Audience Business Masterclass recently. She’s a very bright college student, and her parents had supported her in everything she tried to do – right up to the day she started the Audience Business Masterclass. Her parents got incredibly angry, and she was scared and hurt.

It can be a lot better than that, too.

Sometimes, being an entrepreneur runs in the family. In fact, we have three ABM students – a father, a daughter, and her husband – all in the Audience Business Masterclass, each one running his or her own business. And there are couples and partners making their businesses work, too, of course.

Is It Important to Be In It With Someone?

It matters. It hurts when we are not understood. And collaboration feels wonderful.

But it also matters for our success in business. I once asked a top expert in franchising what the key to success in managing a franchise was. With franchises, we are talking about a system where a person buys a business with location, content, marketing, and business plan all in place. And he told me, quite simply, that the number one predictor of success is whether or not one’s husband or wife really supports the effort.

So, today’s blog post is to share your experience of being in the business of starting a business – alone, or not alone.

You may be the only one running the business. Or you may be working with a friend or family member.

If You’re In It Alone:

  • Does your family or spouse (personal partner) understand?
  • Are they supportive?
  • Are they resentful or contentious about time or money?
  • Are they afraid of the uncertainty?
  • Do they just not get it?
  • Do they think you’re nuts?

If You Are With a Partner Who’s Also In It With You:

  • When is it loving and fun?
  • Do you hate each other sometimes? Do you need to get away from each other?
  • Can you separate business from personal life? How do you do that?

So, whether you’re in it alone or together, what’s that like? What works? What doesn’t? What hurts? What’s wonderful?

What’s what? ;-)

Please share your experience – your pains and pleasures of being an entrepreneur in, around, and maybe in spite of family – in the comments below. It’s a chance to vent, feel the sympathy of folks who will understand, and help one another be a bit less alone on the journey.