The best apps for business can suddenly make you feel like the world’s most organized person. But when you’re running a remote business, it’s easy for us as entrepreneurs to get overwhelmed by tech and tell ourselves we don’t know what to use or where to start. However, that’s not an excuse to ignore that low-grade panic and refuse to figure it out. You’ll end up holding onto the mindset that you’re not capable of doing it, even though the best apps for entrepreneurs like us are designed to simplify your life.
Getting on top of your tech is empowering and creates the systems and processes you need to succeed. Some essential apps that successful online entrepreneurs use daily will help you build and manage your business and your lifestyle.
Here are some of my favorite apps that help me run two successful businesses (and my household!) in just 40 hours a week.
These are the best apps for business management online
ClickUp is a top-notch project management and collaboration tool. It’s a great way to get yourself and your team on the same page about everything that needs to be done. You can comment, share files, create due dates and reminders, integrate ClickUp with other apps, and more. This is my go-to tool for project management inside both my companies on the client-side and internally within the team.
I’m very detail-oriented and love to break down projects into multiple tasks and assign tasks to team members for easy collaboration. It’s an efficient way for my team to get projects done, and ClickUp works very well for this. My team divides every project into ClickUp lists and tasks so we can manage the project thoroughly without missing any details. Keeping everything organized in ClickUp also allows us to nearly eliminate the need for email, saving everyone tons of time.
There are other tools and apps similar to ClickUp. I used to use Trello, which is also a good tool. But I switched to ClickUp because not only is it less expensive, it’s more powerful. It’s highly customizable with many ways to view and filter tasks, and it has a convenient docs feature built right in to make document creation fast and easy. I plan to stick with ClickUp for now, but you can choose whichever project management tool best fits your business.
Instead of obsessively checking email all day, Slack is our go-to for team communication. Despite Slack being one of the best apps for business, you can stick with the freemium version. That’s what my team uses and the free version will even integrate with ClickUp. I can easily send reminders to team members via Slack about a ClickUp task without needing to hop on email. I hate email with a passion, and Slack keeps our team connected and focused without the stress.
Slack is really just a chat app but allows our fully remote team to send each other quick notes and get one another’s attention quickly. We can also start chats within a thread or launch a voice call to resolve time-sensitive situations.
Upwork connects businesses to freelancers and agencies for hiring needs. You can be a solopreneur and bid on the jobs you want, or apply to be a full-fledged agency with a team of people working on projects with you. On the freelancer side, I’ve used the free version of Upwork to find new clients. And on the business side, I use the paid version of Upwork to find great freelancers to hire.
I know everyone’s experience is different, but I love Upwork. I’m an expert-vetted member and have long-term relationships on both the client and the freelancer side. It’s true it can be challenging to find the right clients and hires via Upwork, but they absolutely exist. Without a doubt, the most wonderful thing about Upwork has been the ability to quickly and easily find quality global talent to join my team. My right-hand woman is based in Venezuela and I absolutely couldn’t run my business without her (virtual hugs to you, Eliana!).
LastPass is a freemium password manager that encrypts your passwords online. As one of the best apps for entrepreneurs, it allows me to add team members to different logins they need. When they launch a site from LastPass, the app securely logs a team member without disclosing the password to them. You can also add or revoke access anytime you need.
I use a paid version of LastPass for my business, and although it’s not perfect, it hasn’t let us down so far and simplifies our processes. I will say, if I were starting over, I might choose another app like OnePassword. But instead of debating the merits of one app vs. another, I’ll say: Pick a well-reviewed one and master it (and don’t waste time migrating from one app similar to another unless it’s absolutely necessary).
5) Google Workspace
Formerly known as G Suite, Google Workspace is a treasure trove of productivity and collaboration apps. It also helps store files in the cloud so my team members can easily access everything they need. Every member of my team has a paid Google account associated with my company’s domain. We do everything within Google – Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Photos, and more. It’s all easily accessible, searchable, and intuitive to use. It also keeps my business secure because when a team member leaves for whatever reason, their documents stay with us.
Using Google for everything is definitely a by-product of having worked for Google for years. But I love their products, and they make collaboration easy and seamless, whether it’s with team members or clients. So it’s safe to say that Google Workspace will remain on my list of the best apps for business in the years to come.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a personal budgeting program that’s based on a virtual envelope method. It’s an addictively powerful budgeting app that makes sure you give every single dollar a job. At $84 per year, YNAB is worth every single penny. I check YNAB every morning to reconcile my accounts and see how I’m tracking against my budget. I’m now completely addicted to saving and am always looking forward to achieving my next financial goal.
After having accrued a lot of credit card debt in my early 20s and had to live on rice and beans and beans and rice for several years while paying it down, I’m allergic to debt. I’ll never go back there again. I literally had holes in my shoes and remember having to decline friend dates at Starbucks because I didn’t have $5 in my checking account. Kanye West may say a lot of wacky things, but one thing he got right is this: “having money’s not everything / not having it, is.”
I can’t say enough about YNAB as one of the best apps for business and personal budgeting. However, it won’t replace the need for a bookkeeper for your business. My personal net worth has also increased more than 172% since I started to use YNAB in 2017. And keep in mind we bought two homes during that period of time – we own one house in the U.S. and another in Europe.
Audible is an online audiobook and podcast service owned by Amazon with monthly subscription plans. It’s simple why I use it: I love audiobooks! There’s nothing like consuming fiction in good old book form, but for things like non-fiction, I love listening to Audible while I’m out for a walk, doing chores or cooking, or running errands.
The Audible subscription is also affordable and allows me to “read” at least one new book each month, if not more. And if you don’t like what you’re reading, it’s so easy to return a book, too, if you realize it’s not for you.
One of the best apps you can invest in as a business is bookkeeping software. Bench offers professional bookkeeping services at a reasonable price point for your business. It takes a ton off of my plate and simplifies my record-keeping processes. Even if you’re a pro at crunching numbers, you need a bookkeeper to take this off your plate. Finances are time-consuming to manage, especially as your business scales.
You can also upgrade your plan and add on tax filing and advisory with Bench Tax (but you can also just share your Bench account with your current accountant if you’re happy with them). If the idea of filing quarterly taxes makes you sweat, you need Bench. It will also work on unlimited state filings and your federal income tax filings so you can focus on running your business.
BONUS APP: Paprika Recipe Manager
Bonus app! Paprika Recipe Manager helps you organize recipes, create meal plans, and make grocery lists. You can also save recipes you find while surfing online, so you never have to spend money on another cookbook. It helps keep our family organized and fed and has proven a critical part of my meal planning life since one of my brothers introduced me to it years ago.
This app is also a one-and-done payment. I bought it something like 5 or 6 years ago and am still using the original version, though they’ve come out with newer versions since then. The OG version still works like a charm.
Why It Matters
How does it relate to the best apps for business? Batching all our cooking on the weekend allows my husband and me to make work (and our daughter!) our primary focus during the week. We both love our work, and taking away the mealtime stress during the week just makes life easier, especially if one of us has a crazy day.
Here’s how Paprika Recipe Manager works: You install a ‘Save Recipe’ button on your Chrome browser, and then you can save recipes into your Paprika recipe library super easily. You can also import them via the browser directly within the Paprika app.
Every week I select the recipes we’ll meal prep and upload the shopping list to a shared ClickUp board. Of course, my husband gets a vote, but he doesn’t care what we eat. I just have to make sure I balance my spicy palette with his not-quite-as-spice-tolerant Spanish palette 😉 If I have one dish per week that contains potatoes, I’m guaranteed to be a hero!
We usually prepare 2-3 recipes, so we can alternate what we eat for lunch and dinner (and we pull some leftovers from the freezer, too). We also try to vary the method of cooking, so meal prep goes faster. One recipe might be in the oven or Air Fryer, one on the stovetop, and one in the Instant Pot – so all dishes can be prepped simultaneously. Meals out are saved for the weekends.
We also have a system where my husband does the grocery shopping and I make a ‘chopping list’ for him. He preps my mise-en-place for me, so everything is ready to go when I start cooking while blasting one of my favorite podcasts. He jokes that I’m like Bobby Flay with my own cooking show (yes, I know I’m spoiled!). Happily, our daughter loves the papa-and-mama cooking show and it can keep her entertained for a solid hour.
We spend a few hours on Sunday cooking all our meals for the entire workweek. We get everything done and packed away into airtight, glass containers to quickly reheat lunch and dinner for each weekday. On Friday nights, we either go out to dinner together or get delivery as a treat. We also clean up together (though it’s true that my husband does more than his fair share… love you, babe).
The Bottom Line
This process saves us a ton of time and money, lets us focus on what matters most, and we eat healthier, too. It’s also helped us work better together as a team.
Using the best apps for business is a cost-effective way to create the systems and processes you need. They can also revolutionize the way you structure your time so you’re never wallowing in a sea of email and nightly cooking again.
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