At InsideSelling.org we believe in investing in software that will increase productivity.
Being bootstrapped also means that we don’t have a tonne to spend on tools. We abhor piracy so our next best option: to look for freemium software. Having spent countless hours in client interactions, exchanging emails and so on, we finally nailed down on tools that can help us increase productivity and were free at the same time.
Before we start recommending these tools, we have a short disclaimer. We have no affiliation with any of the software mentioned. In addition, we did not get a single dollar for this review.
Zoom.us is our champion here. Zoom.us allows unlimited one on one meetings with the option to locally record the meetings for future reference. Additional benefits of the free plan include effortless screen sharing, inbuilt chat, dial-in numbers, mobile apps and even the option to do conferencing. The free plan only allows you to carry out conference calls for 40 minutes, but we find that a small hurdle in an otherwise awesome experience.
Zoom.us also integrates with Gmail seamlessly. This mean you can share calendar invites and make them Zoom meetings in a single click.
Runner up: Skype is our second favourite tool for online meetings and screen-sharing. However, the lack of being able to record meetings/trainings is a downer. In addition, it is not good for scheduling meetings and dial-in numbers.
Can’t afford MS Office, don’t worry. There is an alternative that will do most of what you need to do on a day to day basis: LibreOffice.
First up, LibreOffice does not have the fancy ribbons interface that MS Office has, but looks are not everything! Under the hood, LibreOffice is powerful.
LibreOffice comes with the Calc- Spreadsheets, Impress – Presentations, Writer- Word Processor and Base – Database management. Want more? There is Draw and Math that allows you make diagrams and math formulas.
If you don’t care too much for a fancy UI, you will find that LibreOffice does all you need. LibreOffice is well maintained and frequently updated, so don’t worry about not getting bug fixes in a timely manner.
LibreOffice now handles almost all office formats seamlessly, so you don’t have to worry about being left in the dark if you are dealing with an MS Office user.
Gmail is the undisputed king of free email. There is a well-established ecosystem of apps that work with Gmail and you can’t go wrong with Gmail.
Gmail is also light weight and has an extremely clean and easy to use interface. You can build your own themes and backgrounds on the fly. In a nutshell, you can truly make Gmail your own.
You do have to pay extra if you want your own domain with Gmail. However, if you are okay with an email address like email@example.com, you should go for it!
Desktop email client
Thunderbird is hands down the most competent solution we found. It is truly freeware and does not come with a freemium model. With recent updates, Thunderbird now allows you to chat within the same interface. Like Outlook it comes with calendar management, task management. However, we loved that you can install themes to personalize Thunderbird.
Thunderbird also comes with an impressive add-ons catalogue which allows you to manage multiple tasks from within Thunderbird.
We have no recommendations on the browser front as all major browsers are truly free, so we have no personal favourite or recommendation.