Entrepreneurs wear many ‘hats.’ And with many hats - or roles - comes a need for many tools.

 

Entrepreneurs wear the designer hat. The dreamer hat. The marketer hat. They wear the boss hat. The logistics hat. The bootstrapper hat. In some cases, they even wear the ‘budding legal expert’ hat, forsaking hiring lawyers or attorneys, opting instead to forge headlong into the forest of legal paperwork.

Women and mother entrepreneurs, in particular, wear many, many hats. In the 2009 book Entrepreneurship in Urban and Rural Switzerland : Similar or Worlds Apart?, authors Heiko Bergmann and Daniel Baumgartner argue that, “Women’s working lives include more interruptions and part-time work, which is why women have less opportunity than men do to build up the professional expertise and experience necessary for launching a start-up. The employment behaviour of women differs from that of men, and there are clear gender-specific differences in entrepreneurial activities.” My own research not only confirms this claim, but also suggests that these interruptions and part-time work opportunities shape how and why women pursue entrepreneurship as an alternative to salaried work or employment.

Indeed my data suggest that, whereas Swiss men more often engage in entrepreneurship to exploit business opportunities and grow their venture in terms of size and output, Swiss women more often engage in entrepreneurship to gain flexibility over their sometimes already demanding schedules. In addition, Swiss women seem to find significantly more satisfaction and fulfillment in the product or service they are selling than are Swiss men. Lastly, Swiss women entrepreneurs work in relatively smaller teams than Swiss men entrepreneurs, preferring to surround themselves with fewer co-founders and employees who specialize in one or multiple areas of business. If this is true, Swiss women entrepreneurs seem to take it upon themselves to play the roles that men-founded entrepreneurial ventures employ workers or other entrepreneurs to fill.

But what does all of this mean for multi-tasking, multi-hat-wearing women entrepreneurs? For one it means that, in the digital age of global competition, entrepreneurs now more than ever must sharpen their skills or loosen their purse strings to hire help if they wish to fill the growing number of roles that their business calls for. And because entrepreneurs are by definition thrifty bootstrappers, sharp skills and free resources are critical for getting ahead and growing a business.

The best website I have found for free skill sharpening and resource aquisition for entrepreneurs is Ali Mese’s growth.supply/free. It aggregates over 400 free tools from across the internet and files them under five main entrepreneurial categories: business, marketing, design/code, productivity, and skill learning.

What follows is a small taste of the vast collection of free tools available on growth.supply/free. I hope you take advantage of this treasure trove of resources to grow your business. Descriptions for each tool borrowed from Ali Mese.

Business:

●      Logaster: Professional online logo maker & generator.

●      Invoice to me: Free Invoice Generator.

●      Kiss: Free legal docs for startup founders and investor.

●      Experiment Board: Test your startup idea without wasting time or money.

●      The Name App: Find an available name for your brilliant idea.

Marketing:

●      Hemingway: Hemingway App makes your writing bold and clear.

●      Buzzsumo: Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor.

●      Open Site Explorer: A comprehensive tool for link analysis.

●      Kraken: Optimize your images & accelerate your websites.

●      Pablo: Design engaging images for your social media posts in under 30 seconds.

●      Contact form 7: Famous WordPress plugin to collect email addresses.

●      Primer: No-nonsense, jargon-free marketing lessons (by Google).

●      WriteRack: The best way to tweetstorm.

●      Spruce: Make Twitter ready images in seconds.

●      Typeform: Free beautiful online survey & form builder.

●      Tally: Create polls in no time.

●      Petit Hacks: Acquisition, retention, & revenue hacks used by companies.

Design/Code:

●      Freebbble: High-quality design freebies from Dribbble.

●      Material Palette: Generate & export your Material Design color palette.

●      New Flat UI Color Picker: Best flat colors for UI design.

●      MaterialUp: Daily material design inspiration.

●      FLTDSGN: Daily showcase of the best flat UI design websites and apps.

●      Stock Up: Best free stock photo websites in one place.

●      Pexels: Best free photos in one place.

●      Free Nature Stock: Royalty-free Nature Stock Photos.

●      TypeGenius: Find the perfect font combo for your next project.

●      Font Squirrel: 100% free commercial fonts.

●      Fontello: Icon fonts generator.

●      Flat Icon: A search engine for 16000+ glyph vector icons.

●      Material Design Icons: 750 Free open-source glyphs by Google.

●      UI Names: Generate random names for use in designs and mockups.

●      UI Faces: Find and generate sample avatars for user interfaces.

●      Hive: First free unlimited cloud service in the world.

Productivity:

●      Noisli: Background noise & color generator.

●      Self Control: Mac: free application to help you avoid distracting websites.

●      Cold Turkey: Windows: temporarily block yourself off of distracting websites.

●      Trello: Keeps track of everything.

●      RealTimeBoard: Your regular whiteboard, re-thought for the best online experience.

●      GoToMeeting: Online meetings without the hassle.

●      Teleport: Startup Cities: Discover and budget your next move to 100+ startup cities.

Skill Learning:

●      Product Hunt: Curation of the best new products, every day.

●      Assembly: Co-create new ideas no matter where they are.

●      Coursera: Free online classes from 80+ top universities & organizations.

●      Email1K: A free 30 day course to double your email list.

●      Ad Spend Calculator: Calculate whether or not your startup should pay to advertise.

Browse the full list of the internet’s best free resources for entrepreneurs here. And good luck to you on your entrepreneurial journey.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PETE FREEMAN IS A STUDENT-RESEARCHER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME IN THE UNITED STATES. MR FREEMAN IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN A RESEARCH PROJECT MEASURING GENDER DISPARITIES IN SWISS ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND POLICIES AFFECTING THESE DISPARITIES. HIS RESEARCH WILL BE USED TO SUGGEST INITIATIVES FOR GREATER GENDER PARITY IN THE SWISS ENTREPRENEURSHIP SPACE. SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS MR FREEMAN CAN BE REACHED AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS PETEFREEMAN14@GMAIL.COM.

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