Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

If you'd like to get more ideas like these sent to you each day, it's easy: sign up here.


Tools of the Trade

Grace Boyle recently wrote about what tools she uses or has had recommended to her to better manage her work or life. Read her post for a full list of new, cool apps and online tools. I thought I'd follow suit and make a list of the stuff I use regularly to do what I do (write, speak, travel, and help run two companies and advise a handful of others). Click around and who knows? You may find something that saves you time, money, or both!

  • Evernote - I tried it a year ago and it didn't catch on. Then, I read an article about the company and was intrigued by the possibilities. Now, I use Evernote to keep track of everything from blog post ideas, articles and stats for speeches, and even gift lists for family and friends. Most useful is the iPhone app for notes on the go.
  • Gmail and Google Apps - I still use and love Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Reader. Both of my companies (Cool People Care and Proof Branding) use the Google suite, including Google Voice.
  • TripIt - No better travel app exists to keep track of all my plans. It's as easy to organize as forwarding an email.
  • Wordpress - My personal blog, CoolPeopleCare.org, and ProofBranding.com all use Wordpress.
  • Wufoo - Contact forms are easy (and cheap) to build and maintain. The days of contact pages just listing email addresses are over.
  • Rafflecopter - Thanks to Grace, I found this beauty and have suggested it to many people. If you run contests on your site, use Rafflecopter. Setting up, running, and picking a winner for a contest has never been easier, especially if you want an easy way to include entry options like tweets or people who follow you.
  • HootSuite - This is how I manage two Twitter accounts and three Facebook pages. I plan out tweets and posts sometimes up to 30 days out. I still use the free version.
  • Shopify - Cool People Care's store is built on Shopify, which keeps improving. It's an easy and efficient way to set up your own online store.
  • Dropbox - Hands down, the best way to store files in the cloud. I put my large presentation files here so I can get to them no matter where I am or what machine I'm using.
  • Flipboard - If you have an iPad or iPhone, get Flipboard and you'll marvel at how fun it is to read nearly anything online, including your Facebook news feed.
  • Alice - You can skip trips to the store because Alice delivers home goods to your door. Best of all, they keep track of the brands you use and can send you reminders when they think you're nearly out.
  • OpenTable - Want to make sure you have reservations to your favorite restaurant? OpenTable can handle it.
  • Kayak - The easiest way to search flights, especially if you have tight travel windows like I do and takeoff/landing times are important.
  • Uber - It's not available in all cities, but if you're in a city with Uber and you use it, you will immediately wish that all taxis were the same.
  • Pandora - Because when I write, sometimes it's a Jay-Z kind of day, and sometimes it's a Taylor Swift kind of day. Seriously.
  • MailChimp - The easiest, most affordable, most foolproof way to send emails. Cool People Care uses it to send over 125,000 emails a month, and at Proof, we recommend them to nearly every client.
  • QuickBooks - I started using it because my accountant prefers it. I keep using it because it's a fantastic web-based way to track all financial records and invoicing.
  • Square - Selling books at a conference is super easy (and sometimes fun) with Square. It's also easy to take a credit card payment over the phone.

What about you?

What tools do you use in your personal or professional life to be more productive and keep track of stuff? Share in the comments below and let's get a good list going together.

Photo credit