Running Zimventures there are several tools which I used to manage and run the business. Below is a collection of the websites and tools which I use that are valuable enough to actually pay for. Some of the sites and tools offer a free version as an introductory tier, which is perfect for you to use as a trial.
Social media management – $10 / month
Every day I spend time to create, curate, and interact on social media. Part of my daily routine includes queuing up content for posting at a later time. Buffer allows me to easily queue my own content as well as the content of others into a publishing calendar. Buffer works with every major social media platform:
To the right, you can see an example of the publishing calendar for my Twitter account from last week. The Buffer website is incredibly intuitive and allows for quick and easy publishing across multiple social channels.
In addition to their web interface, there are iOS and Android apps which make managing your publishing calendar even easier. One of my favorite integrations is the TweetDeck and Chrome integration which allows me to queue re-tweets for a later time.
In addition to managing your publishing calendar, Buffer conveniently offers statistics on your content which provides fantastic feedback on what your audience enjoys.
RSS Reader – $5.41 / month
I asked followers last week about their usage of RSS.
Do you use an RSS reader to consume news and other content?
— Zimventures (@Zimventures) January 4, 2018
Not surprisingly, a lot of users aren’t using or aware of RSS. In 2013 Google deprecated their free RSS reader, citing a steady decline in usage. While RSS usage is certainly on the decline, most major websites still employ the technology. RSS still has value! Rather than spend time visiting websites at random, RSS readers allow you to scan headlines and click on the ones which are of interest. In addition, they allow you to aggregate and manage multiple news feeds in a continent way to best maximize your reading time. My RSS reader of choice, is Feedly. Feedly has a 100% free version.
Image Editing $9.99 / month
Photography has been an incredibly enjoyable pastime as well as something which I’ve employed in various ventures. For the last 4 years I’ve been a subscriber to the Adobe Creative Cloud and their photography package. I know a lot of folks don’t like the subscription model for software such as Photoshop. Personally, I believe the amount of updates and new features that Adobe offers more than makes up for the long-term price increase.
Business Finances $9 / month
Being a single person LLC, once in a while there are some bills to pay, invoices to write, and money to collect. Xero makes all of this fairly easy. Xero will connect to your checking account to make for easier reconciliation and tracking of various expenses. I also really like their invoice platform. It connects with Stripe to offer your clients and customers an easy solution to pay you online using a credit card. No more chasing down and cashing checks!
The only drawback to their lowest tier plan is the severe limitation on account transactions. Importing of transactions to the ledger (from say, your checking account) is limited to 20 per month. Most months, this isn’t a problem for me, but once in a while there are more transactions and you have no choice but to upgrade for that month.
Newsletter & Mailing List $20 / month
Fans of this site know that I’ve got a “monthly” (not really monthly) newsletter – The Shag Bag¹. I actually have received some wonderful feedback from readers on The Shag Bag regarding its content and layout. Mailerlite is the perfect tool for the job. The drag-and-drop interface allows me to quickly and elegantly create newsletters which are visually appealing. They also provide website integrations which allow users to easily sign up using embedded forms or pop-ups. Keeping true to any content marketers heart – the stats and reporting which are offered are absolutely invaluable. With each mailing, I can see which content my readers enjoy over others.
(shameless plug) Sign up for The Shag Bag!
Source Control Management $7 / month
It’s no secret: I dig coding. Only the most rookie of coders skips the necessary habit of software version control. For every software project embarked upon, it’s important to make backups and use a system which allows multiple developers to work on the same code base in tandem. GitHub is a great platform for doing just that. For Dungeon Rustlers, we used GitHub for keeping track of our code changes during development as well as filing bugs and tracking goals.
¹ There will be more regular mailings in 2018!