7 Must-Have Tools for Creative Entrepreneurs on a Budget

7 Must-Have Tools for Creative Entrepreneurs on a Budget
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Leverage budget-friendly technology to automate your business and supercharge your growth.

As an online creator and entrepreneur, I spent countless hours manually performing every aspect of my business.

From managing social media to creating graphics and content, there was never enough time in the day.

But when technology comes to the rescue, everything can change.

Now, with the help of some cool tools, I can focus on what matters most to me and let the rest be taken care of. In this article, I’ll share with you seven tools under $10 that have inspired my creativity and boosted my productivity as a business owner.

Whether you’re just starting or have been in the online entrepreneurship game for a while, I’m confident this article will be a treasure trove of information. It’s especially suited for digital creators and entrepreneurs looking to automate some aspects of their business. So let’s dive in!

1. Project.co

What it does: A platform to effectively communicate with your team and clients and manage creative projects.

Cost: Free to create 10 projects ($8/creator/month billed annually to manage unlimited projects.)

As a lucrative perk of posting your work online, you attract clients who value your work. Initially, you can manage client projects via Google Docs, Slack messages, Trello, email threads, etc.

But as your business grows, internal operations become complicated. You can lose track of projects when you don’t have everything in one place. Checking up infrequently on the team’s progress might make you forget who’s doing what. This is where essential deadlines are missed, and you start losing clients.

To avoid this business nightmare, start using Project.co.

It’s an all-in-one project management tool that keeps track of every aspect of your business, including:

  • client communications,
  • accessing important files,
  • measuring payable hours,
  • generating invoice,
  • real-time messaging,

And more without using multiple tools.

It has a beautiful interface you can get the hang of quickly. It’s easy to use, and even non-tech-savvy clients can learn it quickly.

Project.co has a built-in chat tool that lets you ditch long email threads. If someone sends an important message via email, the tool automatically adds it to your dashboard.

With Project.co, there’s no more missing important messages.

(Source: Project.co)

I love its ability to give a bird’s eye view of what’s happening inside my business. You can check the progress in multiple views, including list, calendar, kanban, and scheduler. It gives you a fair idea of your business's performance and where it needs improvements.

(Source: Project.co)

If you already use multiple tools, embed them inside Project.co. It supports Google Docs, Airtable, Figma files, and many more popular tools, so you don’t move around multiple tabs to complete a task.

When it comes to business, simple things scale.

Project.co simplifies your business so you can scale to new heights without losing calm over operation headaches.

Try it for free today.

2. xTiles

What it does: Provides a visual thinking board to organize your creative ideas faster.

xTiles is a gem for freelancers, self-employed people, and those looking for an easy way to organize their life, work, and study.

Cost: Free to get 1,000 blocks that can contain text or media (Get unlimited blocks at $8/month on an annual plan of Personal Pro.

In addition, xTiles offers a 5-year Subscription free of charge for students and non-profit organizations).

As a creator, you have to do multiple tasks, including organizing your schedule, developing creative content strategies, researching, and writing articles, sometimes all at once.

You need a way to dump all the ideas and organize them to make sense of them all.

That’s where xTiles comes in. It helps you create a personalized dashboard that contains all your digital content.

Rated 4.96 stars on Product Hunt, this tool is loved by creators worldwide for its flexibility. It’s a combination of Notion and Miro, where you can store and organize ideas.

Using it is as simple as choosing a template that suits your current goal. You can create multiple tabs within a file and embed images, videos, links, and sub-pages to unload your thoughts. Having freed your brain from these ideas, you can now think of the next steps to bring them to life.

(Gif by the author)

You don't have to scramble around if you forget where you saved a particular idea. With xTiles’ advanced visual search, you can quickly find notes, docs, and other relevant content.

Here’s a quick walkthrough:

Once you’re done, share your idea map as an xTiles document or export it in PDF, PNG, etc. This gets validation for your vision before starting the actual work.

You can plan various aspects of your life and business inside xTiles. Start using it for free.

3. Motion

What it does: Creates a single schedule with all your tasks and meetings arranged in the priority order.

Cost: 63 cents a day (7-day free trial available.)

Now that you’ve brainstormed ideas and know your next steps, it’s time to implement them. But the challenge is — which task should you do first?

According to Pareto principle, only 20% of the tasks bring 80% of the results. They are the big needle movers. But it’s also easy to ignore them and focus energy on shallow work that doesn’t contribute much to your goal.

That’s where Motion comes in.

As mentioned in Forbes and Business Insider, this tool automates your task planning using AI.

All you need to do is enter your tasks and sync them with Google calendars. It’ll bring your meetings, calendar, and schedule in one view to prioritize your time for the needle-movers.

Motion is designed to help you win the day. Its AI time-blocks your tasks so you can focus on one thing at a time. Simply follow its schedule, and you won’t believe how much you’ll get done in the same 24 hours.

In case something unexpected arises and you can’t meet your deadlines, Motion replans your calendar for you. It saves you the headache of manually rescheduling everything.

(Source: Motion)

Using this tool, you can review your week or month’s performance. Motion is like having a visual report that shows how you spend most of your time. It helps you cut down on unnecessary meetings and automate unimportant tasks so you can optimally utilize every minute of your day.

Start its 7-day free trial here.

4. Animoto

What it does: Creates professional videos in minutes that win your audience's attention and hearts.

Cost: Free to create unlimited videos (upgrade at $8/month billed annually to remove branding).

After planning your day, you have to start creating engaging content. And what’s better than videos? According to a survey, videos get shared 1200% more than text and images. If you use the power of videos, it’ll change your life as a content creator.

But the biggest challenge is editing videos. Adobe tools are super complex to use, and hiring a professional editor is not always in the budget. So how would you create engaging videos without wasting precious hours?

By using Animoto.

It’s a DIY video editor where you can create attention-grabbing videos in a few minutes. It has a vast library of proven-to-work templates that kickstarts your video creation journey.

To get started, choose your favorite template. You can preview templates by hovering over them to decide on one quickly. Then upload media files, change colors, add text, change the layout, and you’re done. Animoto will make your video “publish-ready” in a few minutes. You can download it in multiple-size formats to upload on your socials.

(Screenshot by the author)

The interface is intuitive and lets you create videos without training or prior experience. You can give it the vibe you want and effectively communicate your message.

Animoto lets you save brand settings to keep synchronous designs throughout the videos instead of starting from scratch.

I’ve created an intro video using Animoto here. It barely took 5–10 minutes.

If you want to create professional-looking videos that your audience loves to watch, start using Animoto. It’s free.

5. Melodie

What it does: Provides an extensive library of royalty-free music for your videos, podcasts, TikToks, etc.

Cost: — Unlimited music downloads for $9.99/month billed annually in the Creator plan.

Music is the heart of your videos. The audio conveys the vibe and emotions no matter how great your visual elements are. Moreover, the right music strengthens your brand and differentiates you from the crowd.

But if you have searched for tracks before, you know there isn’t enough good music available.

Most of the audio tracks are filled with the same cliched fillers. Some even come with copyright headaches. You don’t want to spend hours selecting the perfect tune only to find search engines flagging it for plagiarism.

That’s where Melodie helps you.

It’s an independent music library with a huge catalog of high-quality music for every mood.

Melodie is just like how Medium is for writers.

On Medium, writers get paid for readership. Likewise, artists upload their music on this platform, and when you download a track, you directly support the artist.

Melodie is highly trusted and used by National Geographic, Fox Sports, and ITV. It’s also used in famous productions like Ninja Warrior, Love Island, and The Amazing Race. You get to use the same level of music these top production houses use for only 33 cents a day!

(Screenshot by the author)

Their licensing covers all online and social platforms, podcasts, and live streaming.

It’s safe to be uploaded on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and other platforms where copyright strikes are a constant risk. With Melodie, you can use your favorite music without strikes, content muting, takedowns, or demonetization headaches.

The tool has an advanced flexible search to help you select music faster. Their AI ‘reverse-audio’ search is the game changer. You can now paste a YouTube link or an MP3 reference track on the search bar and find similar music.

(Screenshot by the author)

If you’re looking for good music for your social content, the search ends with Melodie.

Start using it here.

6. Planable

What it does: Allows you to plan, collaborate and schedule social media content 6x faster.

Cost: Free to create up to 50 posts ($11/user/month on an annual plan to create unlimited posts.)

After getting your content ready, it’s time to get feedback from your team or clients to post them on socials. But gaining approval isn’t fast. A lot of back and forth happens with idea exchanges and feedback comments. This delays the post.

If your content is time-sensitive, like for Christmas or the new year, the last thing you want is to miss the dates and see your hard work going down the drain.

To avoid this, use Planable.

It’s a content marketing hub for your team where everyone can exchange ideas and plan content faster. Its UI is specifically designed to promote collaboration.

You can plan social posts and visualize your Instagram grid from within its dashboard. The content looks exactly as it will when it goes live. This eliminates all the possibilities of design errors and size issues.

(Source: Planable)

Planable brings seven popular channels (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Google My Business) into one place so you can plan content for all of them together. This helps you immediately repurpose content ideas across socials to attract more eyeballs.

The speed this brings in getting through your content creation process is insane. You have to try it to understand its brilliance.

(Screenshot by the author)

Gaining approval via Planable feels like a breeze. You can set up multiple layers of approval when several people need to approve content. They can add specific comments to each post so you can make quick revisions instead of going back and forth with screenshots.

When they’re satisfied, they can click the tick mark on the top left to approve.

(Screenshot by the author)

After people on every layer have approved, your content is ready to go live. You can use Planable’s beautiful scheduler to post content across all platforms.

If you want to win social media in 2023, this tool is your pick.

Start collaborating on Planable for free.

7. Ajelix

What it does: Translates text into Excel and Google Sheets formulas in seconds using AI.

Cost: Free to generate up to 10 formulas ($9.99 per month billed annually on the Standard plan to generate unlimited formulas)

As an entrepreneur, Excel and Google Sheets are essential in running your business. They help you track monthly expenses, taxes, payments, do accounting, and a lot more. According to a 2019 market research, Excel powers over 54% of businesses in the USA. You need to understand Excel to understand how your business is performing.

But the challenge is — remembering Excel formulas is complicated. You could do so many things with Excel but can’t because you don’t know all the formulas. This limits your scope of using this fantastic tool and making use of its full potential.

That’s where Ajelix comes in.

It’s the world’s only AI Excel assistant that helps you write and explain formulas, translate spreadsheets and write scripts in 5 seconds. You don’t have to remember formulas and their meaning anymore, nor do you need a certification to understand Excel. This tool does it all for you.

Here’s a quick walkthrough

Step 1: Open Ajelix’s Excel formula generator.

Step 2: Enter text describing what you want to do in Excel.

(Screenshot by the author)

Step 3: Hit submit, and its AI will generate the formula for you in seconds.

(Screenshot by the author)

Step 4: Copy-paste it directly into your sheets to get the result.

It has a Formula library where you can save important formulas for quick access and share them with your team.

This tool also helps you learn the meaning behind Excel formulas. Enter the formula in its explainer, and it’ll provide an in-detail explanation of how to effectively use it. Here’s an example:

(Screenshot by the author)

You can use Ajelix to translate your spreadsheets into 28 languages. This makes it super easy to work with International clients.

The interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Anyone can use it to unlock Excel’s hidden potential.

With Ajelix, you never have to struggle with spreadsheets again.

Try it out for free here.

Final Words

Summarizing, here are the seven tools under $11 to insanely boost the productivity of creators and solopreneurs:

  • Project.co: All-in-one project management tool to manage clients and admin tasks.
  • xTiles: Organize, systematize and give shape to your ideas.
  • Motion: Creates a productive schedule to get more done in less time.
  • Animoto: Create professional-looking videos in minutes.
  • Melodie: Provides high-quality music without copyright headaches while directly supporting artists.
  • Planable: Plan, approve, and schedule content 6x faster.
  • Ajelix: Translate text into formulas to unlock Excel’s potential.

I hope you found some fantastic tools to boost your creative productivity. Which of them are you going to use first? Let me know in the comments.

Author’s note: The links mentioned in this article are sponsored. I love these tools so much and only shared them with you because I think they can add fantastic value to your journey as an online entrepreneur.

Intrigued about how writing online can turbocharge your entrepreneurial ventures? Grab The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide and start building your business on LinkedIn today.

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