Jacob Hill | Essential tools for building a start up
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Essential tools for building a start up

24 Sep Essential tools for building a start up

Running a business is no small task and along my journey I have found a few great apps which have helped me work smarter and more effectively.

Full Disclosure – I am sharing these amazing applications with you because they have genuinely made my life a lot easier, soon I will share what companies I have built on the back of these. I have signed up to their referrals in order to get free discounts/memberships for my readers. However, I do get perks for doing this. Regardless of this fact, Any benefit to me has not made me promote the applications any more or any less. I genuinely love using them, they’re great!

I am always looking for ingenious apps to add to the list so please do let me know if you have anything to add.

Kashflow has found it’s way to the top of my list. I can not share the usefulness of this product enough. Not only does it allow my business to complete up to date accounts, it automatically synchronises with my bank for all my transactions, it links with my e-commerce website to record sales and it even enables me to call customers and take payments right from their invoice in the form of Credit card and even Direct Debit. Kashflow also offers stock management as a part of their basic package, stock levels are automatically changed with Purchase or Sale invoices – Perfect. Its very clean and simple to use and most accountants would even recommend it! Have a look at their site here, there’s a 30 day free trial and then 10% discount for 6 months. Visit Kashflow here.

Dashlane – How many of your passwords are the same? I know I used to have one or two main passwords for EVERY log in. I also know that I would often forget older passwords and be forever resetting them. Dashlane has changed all of that for me. Whilst logging me in to websites automatically, I also love Dashlane because it allows me to share passwords with my team and even has an ’emergency contact’ setting. This means that certain contacts can request access to passwords and if I don’t deny their permission within X days (mine is set to 2) then they will be granted access, as cynical as this sounds it’s a bit like a secure e-will that gives me peace of mind that in the event I am unable to access a computer for any reason, someone will still be able to continue running and accessing my accounts from banking to Facebook. Finally, I hold ALL my secure documents and bank cards on Dashlane, Personal information, NI card, Passport, Credit cards, the lot! When I enter my master password this information is automatically input in to any forms I see fit, perfect for online shoppers and jet setters! You can get six months free premium Dashlane here.

 Podio – I outsource A LOT of the work in my business and I have a core team of people who support and work for my start up ideas. An office manager, a marketing manager and an administrative assistant, you can find out where to source great team members through Elance below. So, I have specific tasks someone of which are repeated, others which are unique but essential to the business and I can’t remember them all or even see where the team are up to on their projects via email. Thankfully Podio exists and I have used a heck of a lot of Team and Customer Resource management software, Podio by far is the best in terms of customisation – and what do I pay for this excellent service….?  ….£0!!! Check Podio out for yourself here.

Elance – Outsourcing and finding reliable contractors is a scary and daunting task. Wether I am looking to develop an app, find a personal assistant or even someone to write all my content (except this blog 😉 ) Elance is great to find people from all over the world, you can see their reviews, their earnings and their hourly rate. All of this is dependant on their work ethic and what their customers say about them. It’s perfect. As an example, my calendar management, travel bookings, book keeping and even bill payments are handled by a wonderful company in India who charge me as little as $4 (£2.65!!) an hour. If you’re a little nervous about outsourcing read Tim Ferriss’s blog first or even better, his book below. Try Elance and see the benefits of outsourcing your life here.

Evernote – Quickly capture important information whilst searching. I use it to capture website links, quickly record notes and memos. You can even add voice memos to it. Log in from anywhere or download the app to have all your notes in one easy to read notebook. You can get a month premium free here.

Fiverr – I have only recently started using Fiverr and it has changed my life for the better. Now, any logos, blogs, product descriptions, designs, anything that I need doing online can be done starting at $5. I have recently got a logo designed for just $55, a 2000 word blog for $25 and an SEO optimised product description for $20. I have used Fiverr for a good few months now and you can get your first Gig free on me 🙂

Docusign – Imagine if you never had to print your important documents only to sign, scan and send back again? Well now you don’t, I use Docusign for all my contracts and documents that need me to input all sorts of information and it even stores my signature! It’s free up to a limit (I’ve never gone over) and there’s 14 free days here.

Scanbot – I have a scanner at home but instead I use Scanbot. The quality and speed of taking a picture of documents and having high quality scans is the future. It can be used with Evernote and Docusign as well. It costs $1.99 but well worth it and much cheaper than a scanner/printer! – You can find out more here.

Shopify – See the benefits of starting a business online. I have used so many different web platforms, I even paid £15,000 for a website and still I prefer Shopify. I only spend about £20 a month and have thousands of products online. I’m in love and you can get a free trial here.

Invoiceable – This software is brilliant for creating online invoices and having them automatically chase late payments. Client’s information is safely stored and producing invoices is done in a few clicks, its quick and simple, I strongly recommend it – here.


Survey Monkey  An awesome tool which will let you construct and send out 100 surveys completely free, brilliant for asking people on social media for their responses to your new idea. You can find out more here.


Dropbox – The front runner in online storage. With ample free room for start ups, you can access your files anywhere that has internet. It has a brilliant desktop feature which means you can open files on your devices in offline mode too. For 500MB of free space on top of your initial 2GB visit here.

My must read list

 Whilst this isn’t necessarily an app, I would say it’s an extremely important tool. The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris is a book I have read over and over again. Not only does it provide inspiration it offers great ideas on how to start any business on a shoe string. Don’t be fooled by the title either, I am strongly again rubbish self-help books and this certainly is not one of them. Give it a read and if it doesn’t help you in anyway – I will pay for it for you!


Keep your eyes peeled for more products and apps – follow me on twitter @thelazyjacob

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