The Very Best Resources for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely choice. You leave your work friends behind, you might borrow start up cash from friends and family, which can lead to some tension (One of Legalzoom‘s founders later mentioned that he was asked not to come to family functions until he payed back the money he borrowed.
But there are tens of thousands of us out there. And there are actually tons of resources out there (in addition this website) that can help you learn about your business, mistakes to avoid, and people to connect with. A simple one is to have a few good sites on hand that will get you discounts on stuff you need to purchase, for example use a flight promo code when you need to travel to a conference or to meet with clients.
Curious about how to get media coverage for your startup? Onstartups.com is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs. You’ll probably find yourself coming back to it again and again.
Legal Resources for Startups:
Most entrepreneurs are averse to legalese, and would rather focus on growing the business. But if you don’t set yourself up right, your start up dream might a legal snag and before you know it, the dream is over. Startuplawyer.com takes you through the financial aspects of a startup in a simple and easy to understand way. It’s U.S. based, but the advice still translates very well.
More Resources To Help You:
500.co – This company released a set of free legal documents for startups to use and protect their companies. The set of documents are called ‘KISS’ (keep it simple security) and they are designed to make raising capital and other common startup practices simple and easy. There are different versions based on what you want to accomplish.
Docracy.com – This site has nearly every kind of legal document you can think of: provided free of charge. So if you want to set up a lease agreement for a parking spot, this is the site to visit.
Shake by Legal Shield – Download free law documents here.
Canadian Bar Association – This is the Canadian equivalent of Startuplawyer, although it’s all told in a much more formal manner. If you want to start a business, this is a simple guide that lays out your options for owning/incorporating your business. It’s a bit dry, but it’s not long and has all the information you need.
startup.deals – This site curates lots of useful products and services for startups and offers them for up to 100% off. Software includes useful things like Typeform, Atomic, and more.
Userinput – This is a service where real people will try your product/service and give you useful feedback. This is a great way to test out early versions of things and work out the kinks before going after customers.
Free Invoicing Services:
There are actually quite a few free invoicing services you can use to create an invoice and send to your clients. We’ve arranged them by how easy to use they are:
Invoicely: Generate a free invoice from a template. Fill in the information on this template and then you can generate a PDF that you can then print or email to your client. We wish there was a way to save information, so if you have multiple invoices you didn’t have to add your address/other info over and over again. But it is free!
Free Invoice Generator – The name kind of says it all? One benefit of this one is that you can upload your logo to make your invoice look a little fancier. There’s a little more of a learning curve with working their interface. Also there’s a lot of website suggestions on upgrading (we get it, but no).
Slimvoice – A quick, free and easy invoice generator. It’s free forever, so there’s no upgrade notifications bugging you. You can also set up an account and track which ones have been paid and not been paid. The service is a gateway for their product, Tapwater, which is a project management tool that’s also free (but has a paid upgrade option). We haven’t tried Tapwater yet, but it looks like it could be useful.
Waveapps.com – A collection of apps for accounting, invoicing and more.
Free Branding and Logo Services:
Logaster – This is a quick logo maker that’s actually free and lets you try out lots of different ideas for your logo. We tried it out and are pretty impressed with this fancy logo:
Hipster Logo Generator – Just like the name implies: a very minimalist logo generator. You can download a PNG file for free, or pay $10 for an SVG.
Squarespace Logo Maker – This generator lets you download a low-res version for free. It’s very limited in what it can do. Basically it’s a gateway to get you into creating a Squarespace website. But if you need a quick logo, and fast, this’ll work.
Signature Maker – Create a digital signature on this website. How good are you at making a digital siganture with your mouse? Or even worse: a laptop trackpad? Our was pretty terrible. But it’s free!
Free Email Services:
Mailchimp – The classical email management service. It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers.
ManyContactsBar – This is a strip at the top of your website that will collect email addresses from your visitors.
Sumome List Builder – a lightbox pop-over that’ll collect email addresses from your website’s visitors.
Mandrill – It’s a transactional email service from Mailchimp. You can track ecommerce purchases and customize messages for your customers.
Really Good Emails – Really good email templates that are totally free and for nearly every kind of situation: cart abandonment, Loyalty/rewards programs, and you can search by industry (i.e. travel, marketing, etc.).
Art of Emails – Unique email templates you can use for reaching out to influencers, follow-ups, cold emails, etc.
Canned Emails – This is as straightforward a site as it gets. These are pre-written emails for nearly every situation…not just startups. Click on one and it’ll open your email client with a pre-written email. You can customize it and send it away. It’s Really simple, and really direct.