I’m HUGELY passionate about bootstrap business building, so much so, that we DIYed pretty much everything in our business for nearly the first one-and-half years.

From graphic design to tech troubleshooting to learning from free resources and through trial-and-error, I’ve done it all.

Even today, we’re very, very careful about where and how we spend our money. From choosing courses that really fill our needs to finding tools that help us be more productive with our time while building our business… on a budget.

In this new series of posts {as part of the Chef’s Corner}, every month, I’ll be sharing with you some of the awesome tools we use to make bootstrap business building effortless!

Click here to check out all the other tools I use on a regular basis!

This month, I want you to meet the 3 monkeys who make smallbiz building easy-peasy:

The 3 Monkeys Who Build My Smallbiz On a Budget

1. Survey Monkey

So, y’all know how important customer research is, right? Survey Monkey makes it super easy for you to not only send out surveys to your customers but also, make sense of all the data you collect.

PLUS, they have a cool free account, which, ahem, is the one I use most of the times. It only allows 10 questions and 100 responses but it’s still pretty awesome. I sometimes upgrade to the next level, when I’m expecting more responses or need to add more questions to the survey but go back to the free version, the next month, because yes, you can downgrade, anytime!!

Wondering when to send out surveys? Here are some instances:

1. To find out how satisfied your existing customers are

2. To find out what problems or challenges your target audience is facing.

3. To discover whether a new product you’re thinking of will work with your audience or not.

4. To learn about customer preferences and build your target customer persona.

2. PicMonkey

Oh, PicMonkey, how I love thee? Let me count the ways!! I am a HUGE {xgazillion times!} fan of this cute monkey that helps me create gorgeous images that look like a million bucks without spending that much. Hah!

Here’s a peek at some of the images I’ve created using PicMonkey’s handy, no-fuss, photo editing tools:

photo quotes created with Picmonkey, a cool business building tool

 

the frugal rich life

I’ve since upgraded to the Royale version, which costs … hold your breath… a whopping $5 a month! Seriously!! It’s immense value for money and gives you access to Royale fonts, textures and more.

I love this tool and you can create not just photos for your blog and social media, but also, to include in your eCourses, on your sales page, in your sidebar and MORE!!

LOVE it. LOVE it. LOVE it.

3. Mailchimp

Finally, the 3rd monkey that I rely on for building my business smartly and without any stress, is Mailchimp, my email marketing tool!

For starters, I fell in love with their free plan that offered me, 2000 subscribers or 12,000 emails.

But I’ve since upgraded to the Growing Business plan which, hey, is what we are! It’s pretty awesome because you can calculate your cost by your estimated monthly subscribers. PLUS, you can send autoresponders to your list, unlimited emails and get some pretty cool features, like segmenting, TimeWarp {where you can send an email based on where your subscriber is} and lots more!

Oh, and the branding is so fun that it makes this task a delight to do! I literally high-five my computer screen each time I send out an email. You’ll know what I’m referring to when you sign up and send out your first campaign. Click here to check Mailchimp out!

Why you need a paid email marketing service:

1. You want to stay connected with your existing customers or readers. No, sending them email from your Gmail account is NOT a solution.

2. You want to send automated emails aka autoresponders, each time someone performs a certain action on your site, say, buy a product.

3. You want to make sure that people who’re reaching your website aren’t bouncing away to be lost forever. An email capture form helps you get their details and stay in touch.

Oh, and I couldn’t wrap up this post, without sharing the 2 monkeys who not only help me build my business but also, light up my life.

2014-06-05 23.41.19

So, which one of the monkeys are you going to try first? Oh, and do YOU have a bootstrapper business tool you love? Let me know!

P.S. Content Cookbook is COMING Soon!!!! Make sure you’re on the Exclusive Access list  {powered by Mailchimp}to get all the details REALLLY early and some fun {secret!} bonuses too!!