How to Manage Your Entire Business for Less Than $6 a Month

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There are so many apps and services that help entrepreneurs manage their businesses. But as amazing as some of them are, they can sometimes come with a hefty price tag that’s not always practical (or necessary), especially when you’re just starting out.

While we definitely encourage you to do everything with your future business in mind, you don't necessarily need #allthethings right away.

Your business will be built in stages, so leverage the early months to test things out, explore what you do/don’t need, and save some cash as you establish your processes.

Luckily for us bootstrapping entrepreneurs, most apps and services offer free versions. Below is the exact combination of apps that we used during the early months of CAKE to manage all of our business ops for less than $6 a month.


Project Management: Asana

No matter what kind of business you have, you. need. project. management.

The two most popular options for creative entrepreneurs are Asana and Trello. While the latter is fine, we prefer Asana because it offers multiple project views to suit any type of project and the free version offers much more upfront.

For $0 you get:

  • Lifetime free access to the Basic plan (you can upgrade or downgrade anytime)

  • List, board (kanban), and calendar views (Bonus: You can drag + drop tasks to reschedule!)

  • Unlimited projects and tasks

  • The ability to add assignees and due dates

  • Collaboration for up to 15 teammates

  • Integrations with tons of apps, like Slack and Harvest


Time Tracking and Invoicing: Harvest

Even if you haven’t booked your first client yet, you should still be tracking your time. It’s limited to two projects but that’s enough for those just starting out.  

As a workaround, if you’re primarily tracking your time for your own knowledge or simply total hours worked, you can create a project for your business tasks and another called “Client Work.” Then you can create a task for each client. Voila.

For $0 you get:

  • Desktop and mobile apps that allow you track time seamlessly between devices

  • Browser extensions and integrations including Asana and Slack

  • Professional-looking invoices that are easy to create and track

  • Robust reporting to track project hours and progress


Contracts: HelloSign

Pen + Paper+ Printers = Delays. Make it easy for clients to electronically review, sign, and return those important documents.

For $0 you get:

  • The ability to send up to 3 documents a month

  • Flexible signer order

  • Google Drive integration

  • Audit trail + progress notifications


Communication: Slack

Keep all of your business communication in one place so you’re not scattered across emails, Facebook messages, and Whatsapp group texts. 

For $0 you get:

  • Unlimited private and public channels for whatever projects or topics you’re working on

  • The ability to share files that are conveniently stored in one place

  • Video and voice calls

  • Up to 10 app connections, including Asana and Gmail


Meetings: Uberconference

This is a clean-cut conference call tool (with a beautiful UI) that makes it easy to set up calls with numerous people, even across different time zones.

For $0 you get:

  • Calls with up to 10 participants

  • The option to record calls

  • Screen and document sharing

  • HD quality audio + video

  • Limitation: They recently updated their free plan to limit calls to 45 minutes. We’re looking at this as a way to make meetings more efficient, but if you do need more time, you can just call back in and start a new call.


Videoconferences: Whereby (prevoiusly Appear.in)

This is a great tool for those times when your meeting needs a more human touch. Instantly start face-to-face video meetings with clients or team members.

For $0 you get:

  • A virtual meeting room with up to 4 participants

  • A custom URL

  • Screen sharing

  • Desktop and mobile access

  • Lock rooms + secure conversations

  • Bonus: Create meeting rooms directly in Slack with the /Appearin shortcut!


Scheduling: Calendly

No more “let me check my schedule.” Stop pinging emails back and forth and just share your meeting link. The Basic plan is free forever and as a bonus, you can unlock the full features (which are awesome) for the first 14 days.

For $0 you get:

  • The ability to set and customize your availability

  • The option to share your Calendly link via email or embed it in your website

  • Calendar integration to avoid any double bookings or conflicts


Social Media: Later

We all know that maintaining a social media presence can be critical for business, but it can get overwhelming trying to manage various platforms. A scheduling app like Later can help lighten the load.

For $0 you get:

  • One profile per platform (which includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest)

  • The ability to schedule anywhere from 30-50 posts a month per platform

  • Basic Instagram analytics to help you analyze and track your growth


Email + Files: G Suite
While not completely free, the nominal monthly expense for a custom email address/domain is totally worth it. It makes you look infinitely more professional than newbie@yahoo.com and also comes with other perks.

For $6 a month you get: 

  • A custom, professional email address/domain

  • 30GB Cloud storage (upgrade to the $12/mo Business plan for unlimited)

  • Access to G Suite apps - Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and more

  • Shared calendars

  • 24/7 support by phone, email and online

Remember, as your business evolves, so will the tools that you use to manage it. So start experimenting and figuring out where your money is best spent.

Have you discovered any apps or services you couldn’t run your business without? We’re always looking for recs, so tag us on Instagram!

Jessica Zepeda