16 Must-Have Tools To Run Your Internet Business From Anywhere

One of the biggest benefits of an Internet business is the ability to run it regardless of where you are. That’s one of the reasons why you’re in this business, right?

The problem is most people starting out aren’t doing it right. What I mean is, they’re creating jobs for themselves instead of creating a business. I won’t lie to you though — I was in the same position.

A few years ago, I read a book called ‘The E-Myth: Revisited‘ by Michael E. Gerber, and in his book he emphasizes that most small business owners are working IN their business instead of ON their business.

To elaborate further, Gerber says that most business owners are doing too much of the “technical” work — they’re wearing all the hats in their business. They’re doing all the research, writing, creating, designing, fixing, maintaining, emailing, customer support, and it doesn’t end there.

Does this sound familiar to you?

It’s a position you didn’t expect but feel obligated to do because you want to make sure your business runs smoothly. What first was meant to give you more time, money and freedom is now something you can’t let go of and feel responsible for.

You’ve heard of the concept of outsourcing to leverage your time and effort, and that’s what any business owner should do, especially an Internet business. The truth of the matter is, you only have 24 hours in a day, and there’s only so much you can do until you get burned out.

This post won’t teach you how to outsource, but instead you’ll learn the exact tools, sites and techniques you can use to build a proper Internet business without slaving away. These are tools my team and I use ourselves to work more effectively and efficiently. I won’t be listing every single tool and gadget, only those which in my opinion would greatly benefit your business and productivity.

And just to note, this post is not intended to be biased in any way. I’m simply listing the tools I use in my business.

Let’s start…

1. Market Samurai

Market Samurai is a great market research tool that’s helped my staff and I research new niches to approach and more keywords to expand on. As you might know, research is crucial before anything else. You simply type in a keyword and within an instant, this software will uncover related keywords, the number of searches, competition, commercial intent and more valuable data. In essence, this software will determine whether to go for it, or not.

I’ve tested other research tools, but this one’s got to be on top of the list. You can try it out for free, here.

2. AWeber

Whether you’re selling marbles or air conditioning services; every business needs to collect details of their prospects and customers. You’ve already made the effort to get people to your site, so why not collect their name and email so you can send them free tips, updates, offers and more.

I’ve been using AWeber since 2005 and I’ve generated over 30,000 subscribers as a result. If you don’t have an autoresponder yet, get AWeber today.  It’s the smartest investment you’ll ever make.

3. Skype

Most of us have this already, but I’m listing it down here since it’s an everyday tool. I use Skype everyday to keep in direct contact with my staff, business associates, and of course friends and family. I also use it to make conference calls which lead to lots of great ideas.

4. Dropbox

Dropbox is a handy file storage service which enables you to sync files in one location. It’s free to download and you get 2GB of storage.

It acts like another storage drive on your computer, so it’s really easy to use. I use Dropbox as a quick & easy way to share documents, presentations, website files, and ebooks with my staff and associates.

I upgraded to the ‘Pro 50′ account which gives me 50GB of storage for just $9.99 a month because I also like to keep backup and sync files from my computer, too.

You probably don’t need that much space if you’re starting out. When you download it using this link, you’ll get a bonus 250MB of space added to your account, giving you a total of 2.25GB of space. You can also refer your friends to earn more Dropbox space, just like what I’m doing.

5. Xmarks

When you want to sync and backup all your browser bookmarks, Xmarks does it for you. You can sync bookmarks from one computer to another using this handy browser plug-in. It does it automatically for you.

The best part is, it’s free. However I heard that they’re stopping their service from 2011, but you can continue using it for a very small fee. This tool proves to be invaluable if you use more than one computer but want have the same bookmarks on all. You can still get it for free – www.xmarks.com

6. Jing

Select an area, choose whether you want a screen shot or recording, and out pops your screen shot/video. It’s a useful tool when trying to illustrate your point to someone, instead of typing step-by-step how to do it. I use it everyday in my business to explain a new concept, share an idea or an update with my staff. It’s hassle-free, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Get it at www.techsmith.com/jing

7. Screenflow

Screenflow is a software I use to record professional screen recordings. This is a Mac software, so if you’re using Windows, I’d recommend Camtasia Studio. It’s really easy to use and produce screen recordings. You can record tutorials and presentations of anything so you can get demonstrate your idea, educate your customers, create promotional videos and more.

Once you’re done recording your tutorial, you can upload it straight to YouTube using their built-in tool. You can get Screenflow here.

8. Basecamp

We use Basecamp as our main project management tool. Creating, assigning, and tracking projects is easy with Basecamp. The guys at 37Signals (the creators) like keeping things simple, and that’s what Basecamp is — simple to use.

Whenever I have a new product to create, I login to Basecamp, create a new project, create some “To do’s”, and then assign tasks to the appropriate staff. So if one of the to-do’s requires website design, I assign that particular to-do to the designer. The designer will then get notified via email that there’s a new task to fulfill.

As an administrator, you can control who sees what. John may see Project X but can’t see Project Y. You can set it all in the control panel. Ever since I’ve used it, productivity in our company has increased dramatically. No emails going back and forth, no miscommunication… everything’s in one central hub — the scope of the project, milestones, tasks, and messages are in one place. You can try it out free for 30 days – www.basecamphq.com

9. Gmail

Outlook is the old way of managing email. It’s now easier and faster to handle email using Gmail. You can create “labels” which works like folders. I personally have somewhere around 200+ labels to organize different types of emails.

You can set filters to filter emails from different senders. You can add more functions using Google “Labs”. One of the most powerful features is it’s spam filter.

It filters out spam so you don’t have to see it in your inbox. I’ve tweaked my Gmail account to the point that by the end of the day, there’ll be zero emails in my inbox.

10. LastPass

This product is what the name suggest. You’ll no longer need to remember passwords. If you’re still remembering passwords or using one password for everything (bad idea), then it’s time to let go and let LastPass handle all your passwords. I’ve tried many password managers and nothing comes close to this.

I used to be a long time fan of RoboForm but I shifted to LastPass a few months ago and never looked back. Unlike traditional password managers where you actually need to be on that computer where it’s installed, LastPass stores all your passwords on their secure server. So it doesn’t matter if you’re away from the office, overseas or a friend’s place. You can still access all your logins using LastPass. Download LastPass — it’s free.

11. WordPress

WordPress isn’t just a blogging platform, it can be used to create sales pages, landing pages, membership sites, and any site you can think of.

This blog you’re on right now is powered by WordPress. I also use WordPress to centralize staff documentation and training because it’s easy to post, comment and share information.

With the amount of Wordpres plug-ins and themes out there already, you can control how you want your site to function, as well as how it looks. You can install it quickly & easily using Fantastico Deluxe in your cPanel account or download it from WordPress.org.

12. Storm On Demand

I use a special kind of web hosting service called “cloud servers”. For the typical webmaster, this would probably be out of the range. However, if you’re planning a big launch or generating lots of traffic then this would be of value.

You get the same or better performance as a dedicated server. The major difference is that you can scale up or down real easy, to accommodate the traffic. For instance, if you’re planning a big launch next month, you can upgrade to a more powerful server without transferring files from your old server to the new server. That’s why they call it cloud servers. And you only pay for what you use.

At the time of writing, I’m on the Bare Metal Intel Dual Xeon E5506 plan with a fast SAS drive for better performance. Yea, geek talk, I know.

You can learn more about Storm On Demand by clicking here.

13. MacBook Pro

Yes, that’s me on my 17″ MacBook Pro, working outside, enjoying the weather and fresh air.

That way, I can take it around anywhere and not feel restricted to sitting in my home office.

It took a while to adapt to a Mac. I hated it the first week, but then got used to it. I love it so much now!

I use this laptop as my main computer after retiring from a Windows PC. I don’t think I’ll ever return to a Windows system.

It’s probably one of the best investments I had made to date.

It’s saved me lots of time and hassle because it doesn’t crash, even when I have dozens of programs running.

14. iPhone

Send me away from the office and I bet I’d still be able to run my business using my iPhone. With the vast amount of apps for iPhone, you can pretty much do anything. I’ve got apps for to-do lists, managing finances like Paypal, checking emails, keeping track of projects, communicating with staff, checking the currency rate, and more.

15. Rescue Time

Ever thought to yourself at the end of the day, “Where did all that time go?”. Well, here’s the tool which tracks exactly where time’s spent, which sites you spent most on, which applications you used, and more. It’s an application that runs in the background, so you don’t need to touch anything.

At the end of each day you’ll receive an email which gives you a detailed report of your productivity. Using the data given, you can manage your time better. It’s free to use for personal use. Just head to www.rescuetime.com to download it. It works on both Windows and Mac.

16. OptimizePress

Who ever said creating sales pages is difficult? Not anymore. My good friend, James Dyson, created a genius piece of software called OptimizePress.

OptimizePress is a WordPress theme which enables you to create stunning sales pages, squeeze pages, launch pages and more — all without design and programming knowledge.

It has built-in templates you can easily customize so you can simply pick and choose the one you like. You can easily add web page elements like order buttons, arrows and testimonial boxes using OptimizePress. It’s all built-in. Check it out OptimizePress here.

Well, that just about wraps it up. There are dozens of other tools I wanted to share with you, but these are the important ones which I think you should add to your toolbox.

I’m sure they will save you all that pain when trying to find the best solution. I’m confident these tools will increase your productivity and in turn, your business growth.

Now it’s your turn. What tools and gadgets do you use to run your Internet business?

Let us know by posting your comment below. I’d love to know!

If you enjoyed this post, click the “Like” button :)

Comments

{ 44 comments… add one }

  • JT November 10, 2010, 12:01 am

    Really helpful information — I’ve been able to travel a lot and do my work wherever I am (loved working in the jungle of Central America with monkeys playing around me!). Thanks for the recommendations on programs and apps — seems like cloud hosting and any cloud-based services are the wave of the future.

    Reply
  • Sally Neill November 10, 2010, 12:34 am

    Hey Aurelius,

    I was nodding my head until I got down to mac book pro and iphone, better ask Santa for them ha ha.

    I also love snagit, nifty lil tool that I use all the time.

    Can’t really add anything else, think you got it covered.

    Fab list, Sally :)

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 10, 2010, 9:49 am

      Yes, I used to use Snagit with my Windows PC and was waiting for it to come out for the Mac. I just went here http://www.techsmith.com/snagit/default.asp and long and behold, it’s available for the Mac now!

      Thanks for reminding me about it. Now I can purchase it.

      Reply
  • Matt Parmaks November 10, 2010, 12:44 am

    Thank you for this helpful post. Much appreciated.

    Reply
  • Thomas Fouts November 10, 2010, 1:05 am

    Great post, thanks Aurelius. You give good info.

    Reply
  • Dave Hale November 10, 2010, 1:13 am

    Fantastic!!! As a frequent entrepreneurial road warrior, time is money. I am always on the lookout for how to better manage my time and employees when at a weekly conference or meeting.

    Thanks so much for sharing this priceless list.

    Dave Hale

    Reply
  • Angelique November 10, 2010, 1:45 am

    I had never heard of some of these! Thanks for the helpful post!

    Reply
  • Carl November 10, 2010, 3:39 am

    Excellent post – I guess one question that comes to mind as I am reading your post. Most newbies don’t realize the amount of financial investment required to start an online business and while it is not as expensive as a brick and mortar you still need to put some cash out. Whether that be monthly subscription fees or fees for some of the above software – since this is one of the biggest challenges for most can you comment on where someone should start when cash is limited. The way I did it was as I made a bit of money I would reinvest into some of the tools you mention.

    It was best said to me a few years back – if you have money you can save alot of time with this online business however if you have little money then intially you need to spend alot of time on your business until it pays for itself at some point.

    I would be interested on your thoughts – thanks Aurelius excellent post.

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 10, 2010, 9:44 am

      Yes, you’re right now that. There are free alternatives to some of the software, like instead of Basecamp, you can just use Google Apps or simply email instead. These are just tools I personally like to use myself.

      Reply
  • David Farr November 10, 2010, 4:13 am

    I agree with most of these for the most part. I would have added Android or just kept it more general i.e. “smartphone” There are many advantages to android over Iphone…

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 10, 2010, 9:45 am

      Yes, a smartphone in general. I only pointed out the iPhone because just wanted to share what I use.

      Reply
  • Andre2 November 10, 2010, 6:21 am

    Thank a lot for sharing. I use a lot of those tools too. LastPass is great! Regarding xMarks, I can confirm what Aurelius said; I recently got an email stating that xMarks will stop working (for free) by the end of this year.

    I also share articles on Internet Marketing/Business for free on my site. You may want to have a look, specifically on the resources page

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 13, 2010, 1:11 am

      Yea, it’s a pity they’re not keeping it free. There are alternatives though.

      Reply
      • Andre2 May 30, 2011, 4:40 am

        Correction. Xmarks has been acquired (I think by Laspass) and are free again.
        Andre

        Reply
  • Yvie November 10, 2010, 10:27 am

    Love the list always great to work from a list easy enough to adapt to own preferences later. thanks

    Reply
  • Doug November 10, 2010, 2:26 pm

    Top class info and classy (W/p) presentation, Aurelius.
    Whilst I’m familiar with many of those on your list, Optimise Press comes along at just the right time for me!…. thank you Teacher!!
    Cheers …. Doug ….

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 13, 2010, 1:12 am

      Thanks Doug. Yes, OptimizePress is an excellent tool. I’ve created great looking sites with it.

      Reply
  • Sophie, aka NetDame November 11, 2010, 9:36 pm

    Hi Aurelius,

    And thanks for sharing the tools you use.
    I use, or at least know most of them, but also learnt from your post about:
    . Jing,
    . LastPass: I still use RoboForm,
    . Storm On Demand,
    . Rescue Time: I use Action Enforcer for my productivity follow-up
    . Xmarks
    . and Basecamp.

    I will definitely check what you recommend and use.
    Thanks again, Aurelius, for this useful post.

    With my best regards from France,
    Sophie, aka NetDame

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 13, 2010, 1:12 am

      Good to see you’re making use of more than half of it :)

      Reply
  • Laura Wilson November 26, 2010, 12:12 pm

    I use 12 of these already and would pretty much agree with you on this. I have just signed up for 2 that you suggest that I didn’t know about – Rescue Time and Last Pass. Cheers :-)
    Laura

    Reply
  • Drew H. November 26, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Thanks This Is A Very Thorough Article on Needed Tools That Optimize Press Looks Interesting!! Drew H.

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin November 29, 2010, 2:03 am

      Yes, it is. I’m actually creating my next product launch using it :) Makes your site look awesome.

      Reply
    • Jared December 3, 2010, 6:42 am

      Just need to add my thumbs up to Optimize Press as well. Great tool!

      Reply
  • Simon Dodd December 2, 2010, 11:04 am

    Hey Aurelius,

    Great post, I am using most of your tools you list here already but there are a few extra ones I need to add to my arsenal. Thanks for those. I love Last Pass and my macbook! So many marketers say you can’t do internet marketing on a mac but there are a lot of us out there proving them wrong! Maybe you could do a follow up post on the apps that we should all be using on our iPhones as well, if you want some help I would be more than happy to give you my 2c!

    Thanks again

    Simon

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin December 3, 2010, 2:19 pm

      oh, don’t get me started with iPhone apps :)

      Reply
  • Dita December 5, 2010, 5:39 pm

    Hi Aurelius,
    Happy Birthday,
    Loved this post, especially the last part on “optimize press”… quite impressive

    Reply
    • Aurelius Tjin December 9, 2010, 1:06 am

      Thanks Dita! yes, OptimizePress is awesome!

      Reply
  • Hanna Claire December 13, 2010, 11:10 am

    Some great tools here. I have to admit, I’m addicted to my IPhone. It’s my favorite tool even though the battery life is really poor. I’m going to look into Basecamp. I’ve been needing a good project management tool to help me get better organized. Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  • liz gordon December 22, 2010, 11:42 pm

    Some really helpful ideas 5that I have not come across up to now. many thanks. Liz

    Reply
  • Deepthi February 7, 2011, 9:01 pm

    Hi,
    I loved the post! Thank You for this wonderful information Tjin!!

    Reply
  • jang March 23, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I am very interested in OptimizePress what you recommended,It sounds like very nice and I will try it.Thanks for your sharing.

    Reply
  • Hanafi Wawi March 25, 2011, 2:30 am

    Thanks for the great post, i learn alot from you and some of that tools i just know and it give me the value added in my business

    Reply
  • Donald May 8, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Hey Aurelius,

    Thanks for the free quality information. I checked out lastpass and downloaded it to my PC;). I will definitely mention it on my site along with the other tools. Great work.

    Reply
  • Roslyn Rajasingam | Working Mom Blogger May 11, 2011, 2:45 pm

    Hi Aurelius!
    Thanks for sharing your tools. I am using a few of them already but will check out the rest on your list.

    Reply
  • Trish Mullen September 24, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Loved this post Aurelius and thanks for sharing. I too love snagit and also igoogle where I can keep everything tight there under one roof. Great job though, thanks again. Trish

    Reply
  • Leonard Evenson October 25, 2011, 11:31 pm

    Outsourcing is the best solution for these technical issues that take up a lot of your time and, actually, someone else could do it for you, and now it is safe, too. I have been outsourcing for years, and in the meantime I’ve found a great employee monitor software. So now I know whether they are doing their task during the working hours we agree on or not. It really shifts a lot of weight off your shoulders.

    Reply
  • Glen Palo November 2, 2011, 9:02 am

    This is an outstanding list of resources for those serious about business. Definitely worth passing this on to my blog subscribers.

    Reply
  • Pete Miller January 29, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Hi Aurelius,

    Nice list. Apart from Brian Tracy telling me I MUST learn touch-typing (which I did) I found that the MacBook AIR 13″ is so light and so quick is has been my best most valuable resource.

    Reply
  • Stu Sensei January 30, 2012, 11:40 pm

    nice list again Aurelius! quite a few that I haven’t heard of before.

    I use Roboform and wouldn’t be without it. Last pass looks good.. but roboform
    has the ‘everywhere’ feature which I use to get my passwords anywhere.

    But good to know there are alternatives. Also I’ve seen rescue time but never
    looked at it in detail. I could definitely use some time management help.

    Stuart

    Reply
  • ALFRED February 6, 2012, 7:09 pm

    This is very good. I never use some of those.

    Thanks

    Alfred

    Reply
  • Trieu Sung Hop February 7, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Thank you very about all informations That you give me after I have downloaded from your links
    It is great for mu searching about internet maketing

    Reply
  • Ron Westrupp April 11, 2012, 4:21 pm

    Hi Aurelius!!
    I am so impressed with this specific teaching on your recommended tools. I t has helped me immensely to get a total overview and broad-base perspective on how I can now build a truly accountable online internet business. I have read all your articles and reviews and found your teaching extremely professional and easy to follow.
    Do you have a inner circle group at all.
    Much appreciated.

    Reply
  • Aurelius Tjin April 12, 2012, 1:52 pm

    Thanks guys!

    My list has updated of course, but I’ll probably save it for a new post. I’ve got some great time-saving tools you all would love!

    Reply
  • John April 7, 2013, 2:27 am

    Hi Aurelius, I have just down loaded your checklist and read this post. My ‘note to self’ from both these is get organized! I know I go about thing in a ad hoc manner you have pointed me in a different and better direction.
    Thanks
    John

    Reply

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