Best Apps for the Entrepreneur: Time & Money Management, Publicity & More

I’m back in school for a business degree and just took a course where students run a very small venture using only $20 in startup capital. I chose 3D printing because it was already a hobby of mine, and a bottle of resin was only twenty bucks. I named my company Jax 3D Prints, and it’s done pretty well so far for a side hustle conducted for school. We sell miniatures for things like Dungeons and Dragons and custom parts that are usually more expensive, like washing machine knobs, at reasonable prices.

While I can’t tell you how to start a business from scratch and maximize profits, I can tell you about productivity apps, finance apps, social media apps, and more that I use to power my own small business. I’ll cover how to manage various parts of your business through your phone, as well as your sanity. (As it turns out, running a small business is a drain on your mental well-being.) I hope the apps I’ve included will help you as much as they’ve helped me. Every single app I’ve used has made my life and business much easier to run than anything else I’ve done.

Related: Top Tips from Professionals for Your Most Productive Year Ever

Money Management: Get Paid

I love making money, and I love it when people buy things from me that I’ve made. But how do you handle the exchange online? I tried two apps, PayPal Business and Wave Invoicing, both free and very easy to use.

PayPal Business has been reliable, up-to-date, and professional in every regard. It makes it effortless to build an invoice, and it’s fully integrated within the PayPal ecosystem. This level of integration means that when you send an invoice, you get paid via PayPal, and you can then quickly and easily transfer that money to the bank if you have it set up.

To build a quick invoice, just tap the lightning arrow and select Create Invoice. Then, fill out the contact info for the client’s PayPal, click Add Item or Service, and fill in the details, including price. Then click Next and select Send Invoice. It’s quick and efficient.

The second app I tried, Wave Invoicing, is what you use for a more professional and official-looking invoice. It’s just as easy to use as PayPal, with almost the exact same steps.

It gives you three customization options and offers the clients multiple ways to pay, including credit cards. I think this is an excellent option for businesses that are more service based than product based, but it works great for either.

Publicity & Social Media: Make It Look Professional

When you start a business, one of the minimum steps you need to take is to create a logo. There are a lot of apps that can do that, but Canva (free, $12.99/month for premium) is my favorite. It is the easiest way to design graphics on your phone, hands down. You can design it on the fly, using professionally designed templates created by Canva’s in-house team of designers.

To do this, just click New, then click the logo. You’ll have a bunch of templates to choose from (I chose a very simple one because I’m not a very fancy dude), and then just tap to edit. It’s as simple as that.

Once you’ve made your logo, you’re ready to make a business card. Follow the same steps, except choose Business Card, and use the logo you just created or pick from the pre-designed templates.

You can also create specific things for your Facebook page, manage your Facebook stories and Instagram posts, and other useful assets. Canva’s Stories section for your social media is a wonder to behold. This app is at the forefront of what’s stylish and trendy to maximize your social media engagement. Those Aussies really know what they’re doing over there.

Social Media-Savvy Apps

Canva ties in very well with my social media management app of choice, Buffer (free, $15–$99/month for premium). Buffer’s raison d’être is to schedule social media posts to multiple accounts at predetermined times. Why does that matter? It’s been proven that your reach is much better at certain times of the day when more people are online. Buffer has preselected times available for you to post, which makes the process easy.

To schedule posts, all you have to do is hit the plus sign, type out a post, include a picture or flyer or other items, then hit the plus sign at the top to add additional social media accounts to publish under. Finally, hit Add to Queue at the bottom. I always include a picture of the product, a flyer, or some other graphic that I made in Canva (y’all seriously need to get on that Canva train).

I found the free version of Buffer to be all that was necessary. Still, if my business were more social media focused, I would recommend the $15/month upgrade just for the Instagram features.

To ensure that we cover all our bases, don’t forget the basic social media and professional accounts for a small business: Facebook and LinkedIn. Most small businesses will also want an Instagram account and a Twitter handle in order to maximize their online presence. It seems overwhelming to use all of those, but don’t worry: Canva and Buffer will be the best help you could ask for in that regard. They’ve made it very easy to manage any online presence.

Time Management Apps

I have a terrible problem with time management. I think a lot of us do. That’s OK, though, because there’s a lot of options out there to help. My personal favorite is Fantastical (free, $4.99/ month for premium). I’ve written about it before when it was completely free, but Fantastical recently updated to a subscription-based model, which is disappointing. However, the free version is still fantastic(al), and it’s still my number one pick over the Apple Calendar app.

You can manage your calendars (my record is eleven different calendars) all in one app, quickly add events, delete events, be reminded of birthdays, and so much more. To add an event, click the plus sign and fill out the details. It couldn’t be simpler.

I also have a terrible problem with remembering stuff. That’s why I turn to Simplenote (free, $1.99/month for premium). This is one of the best note apps I’ve ever used. It also acts as a reminder app and to-do list manager, consolidating three separate iOS apps into one lightweight, fast application. I love how streamlined it is, too. It comes with tag management, making sorting and organizing all your notes quick and easy. It’s saved me several times by helping me to figure out my priorities and tasks through correct tag management. You can’t beat that level of detail while still having as lightweight an app as Simplenote.

Another thing you need when operating a small business is a healthy mind. Running a business can be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. When I started, even as a small business, the chaos it brought was terrible for my well-being. Enter Headspace (free, $12.99/month for premium). A legit ex-Buddhist Monk founded this company (go hear his story on How I Built This with Guy Raz). The Basics course is free for anyone to use, but all their other stuff is locked behind the subscription. It’s all extremely high quality, and I’ve found it to be critical to helping me fall asleep and develop a sense of well-being.

Use Apps to Create Calm from Chaos

Someone once told me that starting a small business is a bit like raising a toddler who never matures and is always running around naked hyped on sugar. I think that’s relatively appropriate and accurate. It’s critical that you be able to deal with the chaos that a small business can bring, and these apps will help you on that path.

Top image credit: mavo / Shutterstock.com

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Author Details

Kenneth Boshell's picture

Author Details

Kenneth Boshell

Kenneth Boshell is a freelance writer who lives in Florida.  He considers Doctor Who to be one of the best shows in creation, and Firefly a close second.  His favorite things are tacos, books, cats, and giving Starbucks baristas a false name when he orders hot chocolate during frosty winter mornings in Florida.  Sometimes they get down to sixty degrees, you know.