8 Tools to Help You Build, Nurture, And Scale An Online Business

Your complete tech stack to side hustle and transition to an online entrepreneur.

Photo by Ewan Robertson on Unsplash

Six years ago, I started writing as a side hustle. It was my passion, but I wanted to figure out a way to earn good money with it.

Today, I own a thriving writing business that pays the bills, lets me afford luxuries, and allows me to employ a bunch of talented freelancers on payscales way above the market rate.

I’ve used technology several times during this journey. In this post, I’ve curated a list of some apps and tools that can help you start, nurture, and scale an online business from scratch.

Read on, and don’t forget to let us know your favorite tool in the comments.

1. Simplified

What it does: An AI tool that creates stunning designs and videos, manages social media and writes content for you.

Cost: Free trial available. ($18/month on the annual subscription of the Small Team plan.)

As a freelance writer, you might be generating amazing content.

But how your content reads is equally crucial to how it looks.

If your post designs don’t appeal to the audience, they will probably not read your content.

But as a one-person-army, you can’t be great with designs, videos, and content simultaneously. Hiring a professional designer is expensive.

That’s where Simplified comes in.

It’s an all-in-one content marketing tool that helps you create attractive designs and videos to nurture your personal brand on social media. You can also animate images in seconds using a simple drag-and-drop editor.

It has 1000s of premium social templates you can choose from. You can customize these with free stock photos, videos, fonts, icons, etc.

I love its one-click video editing feature that helps you create professional-looking videos in a few minutes. You never have to use any complicated tools again. Simplified gives you the same level of appeal with 100% control over your designs.

(Source: Simplified)

Another cool feature of Simplified is its social media scheduler which comes free with the subscription. You can publish and schedule your posts on different platforms — saving you the hassle of exporting media files only to upload them again on another scheduler.

Simplified tool makes your life like a breeze. If you’re struggling to attract eyeballs on your designs, Simplified is your pick.

Try it out for free.

2. TextSniper

What it does: A tool for Mac users to extract text from anything on-screen — text in images, websites, videos, zoom calls, etc. — ready to be used on other platforms.

Cost: One-time purchase of $7.99 for a one-Mac license. (Also available at the Mac App Store for $11.99 for six member license.)

Did you ever wish to copy notes from a video or an on-call presentation but had to write them out manually? Then meet TextSniper.

It’s a potent tool that allows you to copy any non-selectable text while keeping its original formatting. You can easily use the text right into your content.

To use TextSniper,

  • click on its icon in your menu bar or press a keyboard shortcut Shift+Command+2.
  • screenshot the area containing the text. It will copy all the text within the area.
  • You can also extract multiple pieces of text and append them to the clipboard, ready to be pasted together.

(Source: TextSniper)

TextSniper supports multiple languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese. Moreover, the latest version even supports Japanese, Korean, Ukrainian, and Russian (under macOS Ventura). You can also learn these languages with this tool using its amazing text-to-speech feature.

TextSniper can also scan QR codes and barcodes. It takes care of your privacy and does all the text recognition locally on your Mac without an internet connection.

With TextSniper, you’ll never have to worry about copying non-selectable text again.

Get it here.

3. QuillBot

What it does: An AI-powered writing platform that helps you:

  • paraphrase sentences,
  • correct grammatical issues,
  • find plagiarism,
  • summarize content,
  • research about any topic online, and
  • write high-quality articles,

all in one place without switching tabs.

Cost: Free (The premium version costs $4.17 per month billed annually, where you get extra writing modes and infinite words in the paraphraser.)

To uplift the creativity of your articles without spending hours writing content, QuillBot is a powerful tool.

Trusted by over 60 million freelance writers and content creators worldwide, QuillBot assists you in writing great content using AI. It comes with a suite of six amazing writing tools, including a paraphraser, grammar checker, co-writer, and plagiarism checker.

I love using its paraphrase. It allows you to rephrase any sentence or paragraph under 125 words for free. Unlike other rewriters, its AI recognizes the underlying role of each term and provides relevant synonyms.

Combined with your original idea, the rewrites can be a unique spin on your words. You can use the insights to make your writing sound original. You can also switch between the writing modes to get a variety of rewrites.

(Source: Screenshot by the author)

Its Co-Writer is a much more delightful and powerful writing space than Google Docs, where you can use all of QuillBot’s tools in one place, which speeds up your writing.

It’s an all-in-one AI writing assistant that fetches all available information from the web to help you research without browsing the internet. You can pull research data from the same tab in your document.

QuillBot also has a “Suggest Text” feature that comes in handy when you’re stuck for words. Its AI analyzes your pre-written text and suggests relevant sentences to be followed.

If you frequently face writer’s block while crafting your masterpiece, you’d fall in love with this little feature.

(Source: Screenshot by the author)

QuillBot is simple, intuitive, and a productive space to write creative content.

Start using it today. It’s free.

4. Paymo

What it does: A project management tool that helps you plan, measure work time, send invoices, track your payments, and much more.

Cost: Free ($4.95/month on an annual subscription on the Starter plan to access the complete suite.)

When you run a one-person business, you have to do all the admin tasks alone. They’re tedious, time-consuming, and distract you from what you love working on.

That’s where Paymo comes in.

It’s a project management tool for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Paymo helps you stay organized and on top of your work.

With Paymo, you’re able to manage projects from start to finish:

  • Project planning,
  • Project estimate,
  • Time tracking,
  • Collaboration with clients,
  • Creating and sending invoices,
  • Accepting online payments, etc.

Its built-in timer tracks your day, saving you the struggle to manually start/stop the timer during work hours. It sheds clarity on how much time you’re spending daily on each task.

The best part is Paymo allows you to create unlimited invoices in the free account. You can create and send invoices to your clients directly from the dashboard.

Choose a template, select a language (23 languages supported), integrate your payment gateway, and send it to your client. You can also set up recurring payments to ensure you get paid on time without losing sleep over sending monthly invoices.

Screenshot by author.

With Paymo, you can calculate your project costs and profit margins. You’ll get insights into which clients and projects are most profitable so you can double down on them.

Its interface is customizable to fit your work preferences. You can manage your projects through one of these task views:

  • List,
  • Table,
  • Board,
  • Calendar, and
  • Gantt Chart.

This will show you the bigger picture of how you’re doing the work. Get your free freelancer account here.

5. WordHero

What it does: Helps you generate long-form articles, emails, marketing copy, and even poetry and song lyrics with just one click.

Cost: One-time purchase of $89 (60 days money-back guarantee).

In 2022, the market has many AI writing tools that can write content for you. You probably might’ve tried a bunch of them as well. However, you stopped using those AI tools because the output quality didn’t meet your expectations or the monthly price was too high.

With WordHero, you get a solution to both of these issues.

It’s an AI writing tool that writes on your behalf and generates original, human-like content with the click of a button.

What I love the most about this tool is that it’s not a one-off writing tool but offers an entire suite of 70+ (and growing) tools that cater to every use case a writer might need.

Its interface is intuitive, easy to use, and beautifully designed. It can write in over 100 languages. WordHero also has a long-form content editor that generates detailed blog posts with high-quality research citations with just a heading and subheading.

In a few seconds, you can use the other tools within the editor to write an introduction, blog outline, and much more. It also has a keyword assistant to help you add targeted keywords to your content.https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2F2D9aLTyBYBk%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2D9aLTyBYBk&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F2D9aLTyBYBk%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube(Source: WordHero)

If you want an unfair advantage over other freelance writers on the internet, add WordHero to your writing arsenal today (60-days money-back guarantee).

6. ContextMinds

What it does: Generates keywords and organizes content ideas on a digital whiteboard.

Cost: Free (Get unlimited private maps and 6000 topic ideas/month in the Pro plan: $19/month. Exclusive offer: Buy a Lifetime deal at $69 to get everything in the Pro plan without paying monthly.)

Content planning is the most time-consuming yet crucial task ensuring your content’s success.

You need to do:

  • keyword research,
  • organize topic ideas,
  • understand the search intent, and
  • make sense of all the technical data SEO tools provide,

so you can plan a kickass content strategy.

But it’s difficult to organize everything in your head or a Google Doc. That’s where ContextMinds comes in. It helps you make a visual brain dump to see and finally organize ideas clouding your brain.

The tool is simple. All you need to do is open your whiteboard and sketch your ideas as mind maps, boards, or outlines.

The best part about this tool is that it generates keyword ideas in real time based on the topics you add to your whiteboard. You’ll find keyword metrics, SERP results, and short AI-generated paragraphs. You can pin these resources as notes to do further research and flesh out your mindmap.

(Source: Screenshot by the author)

Once you’ve organized everything and are good to go, share it with your clients. The tool allows you to share direct links, so people don’t need an account to open them. You can also export it in PDFs, PNGs, SVGs, or text format.

If you have difficulty researching keywords, organizing your thoughts, and planning a visual content strategy, add ContextMinds to your toolbox.

It’ll make you more creative and help you ideate and research faster.

Get lifetime access to ContextMinds today!

(Source: ContextMinds)

7. Candor

What it does: Create a visual and insightful profile that shows clients how you work.

Cost: No cost. It’s free.

Resumes are boring, wordy, and don’t depict your true working style or how you’ve developed over time.

Candor profiles let you share how you work, not just where you work. Your profile will help you express your workstyle, build an instant rapport, stand out from the crowd and build meaningful relationships with your clients faster.

Creating a Candor profile only takes a few minutes. You’ll get the opportunity to answer a deck of engaging and powerful card prompts designed by L&D professionals. It’ll help you get to know the real you at work.

You’ll fall in love with its interactive design that lets your clients grasp how you work, your values, strengths, and weaknesses. They can get an idea of how you’d vibe together at one glance.

(Source: Candor)

You can also invite your clients so you can share advice on how to work better together. This will make giving and receiving feedback enjoyable in addition to helping you gather more insights into your work style and superpowers.

Candor lets you explore your creative self and build an accurate online persona over time. Don’t miss out on all the fun you can have with a Candor profile.

Create your profile today. It’s easy and free.

8. Paced Email

What it does: It helps you declutter your inbox by bundling inbound emails into a single digest that hits your inbox when you choose.

Cost: Free (Starter plan — $12/month: Get 50 email addresses and 5 recipients per inbox. Premium plan — $20/month: All unlimited access.)

Managing your inbox is a crucial task for a freelancer. You have to send cold emails, keep track of replies, and ensure you don’t miss any critical updates. But cluttered inboxes make it challenging to stay focused on tasks that matter.

That’s where Paced Email comes in.

Intuitively, its AI helps you regain control over your inbox and decide which emails will land in and when. You can schedule a daily, weekly, or monthly digest to enjoy a quiet inbox.

(Source: Paced Email)

Paced Email lets you create multiple email aliases on the go to keep your online activity anonymous. You can use them to subscribe to newsletters, get free ebooks, shop online, etc., without sacrificing your identity. The emails sent to your aliases can be forwarded to your primary email at the pace you want.

You can choose between two digest formats — full or summary, and respond in bulk using your respective aliases. This minimizes distractions throughout the day.

If you’ve been struggling with taming your inbox for a long time, Paced Email is the way to go. Get your free email addresses here.

Final Words

Summarizing, here are the eight incredible tools for freelancers to build a thriving business:

  • Simplified: Create stunning designs and videos in seconds.
  • TextSniper: Extract any on-screen text on Mac.
  • QuillBot: Write and research on the same document without switching tabs.
  • Paymo: Automate tedious admin tasks.
  • WordHero: Create content with one click.
  • ContextMinds: Brainstorm and visually organize your ideas.
  • Candor: Create a fun and unique profile to show your clients how you work.
  • Paced Email: Bundle inbound emails into a single digest.

I hope you found some fantastic tools to write faster, organize your ideas, and build your thriving business without hitting major roadblocks. Which of these tools did you like the most? Let me know in the comments.

Author’s note: Some of the links mentioned in this article are sponsored. But I love these tools so much, I would never have shared them with you if I didn’t think they can add amazing value to your life and journey as an entrepreneur.

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