3 Free Web Apps That Helped Me Kickstart My Business


 Have you just started to build your new side hustle and are currently looking for tools that make your life easier?

Or do you search for new ways to increase your productivity as an entrepreneur?

Well, let me tell you: you are not alone. As soon as I wanted to go all-in with my side hustle, I struggled with finding the right online tools to structure my ideas. Although there is an overwhelmingly high number of web apps available, I often found them restricting customization and creative freedom.

However, with the use of the right tools, an idea can not only be turned into reality, but productivity can also be fun. And it is even more convenient if you don’t have to pay a dime of it.

1. Milanote — the idea machine

I came across this tool for the first time when watching a video of designer Karin Bohn on her youtube channel. She praised the platform for working efficiently with her team during the design and implementation process. Although I don’t manage a team, Milanote was the right place for me when I started conceptualizing my ideas.

Milanote can be seen as a large whiteboard for ideas, inspiration, but also the development process. It is the number one place for creativity and individual expression. All creators can use it; no matter whether you are a marketer, writer, or designer. While writers can plan their storytelling and illustrate character relationships, content creators can upload their social media briefings or check off their tasks on the to-do list. Everyone who would like to sort their ideas and inspiration aesthetically pleasing has made the right choice with this tool.

screenshot from milanote.com

Thomas de Monaco, a photographer for Chanel, describes Milanote as the “visual extension of (his) brain.” It is due to endless options: The insertion of links, photos, videos, and text is all possible, in every formation imageable with whatever color you like. If there is one thing that most creatives don’t like, it’s the limitation.

Milanote ensures full flexibility when visually organizing your work. You can categorize tasks with icons that bring you to subboards or solve problems through brainstorming. And if you are all done, you can export your boards as pdfs and print them out.

As a visual person, Milanote helped me stay productive by constantly giving me motivation through the power of images. Every time I was second-guessing my idea, I had a look at my convincing vision board and regained focus. There are also multiple templates to guide you through your creative concept to avoid getting too overwhelmed by the endless options.

Overall theme: Think outside the box.

2. Miro — the all-rounder

Miro is the right approach when it comes to collecting information. Their website states that Miro is a “simple-to-use online whiteboard built to help you collaborate with others any time, anywhere.”

It can be especially beneficial in the coaching business when it comes to working remotely with clients. Even group units with more than 20 people working in the tool are no problem and offer many options, especially for group workshops. Everyone can share their notes, texts, images, and graphics.

screenshot from miro.com

While Milanote allows more visual and creative work opportunities, Miro particularly impressed me in project planning and implementation. With the help of templates, you can quickly create timelines and roadmaps. As a diagram and flowchart software, you can even build easy-to-understand customer journey maps without losing the overview.

So, if you want to use a simpler and basic tool for straightforward display methods, you should look at Miro. You will have enough options to bring an idea onto the whiteboard without having to overthink.

Overall theme: pragmatism is key.

3. Mural — the intuitive hidden gem

Mural is widely known for its intuitive handling. Even users who have never experienced the tool before are usually amazed at how easy it is to use. Images can be dragged and dropped onto the whiteboard, which offers a high degree of text and shape usage flexibility.

Similar to Miro, several users can be active at the same time. Therefore, Mural can significantly increase group involvement in training sessions and facilitate physical distance by offering features such as GIFs and fun activities.

screenshot of template provided by mural.com

I mainly used the web app for its function as a virtual brainstorming tool. However, with the help of over 200 templates, you can even break down complex issues such as customer categorization. From SWOT analysis to project and workshop planning to video storyboarding, creators and entrepreneurs have many helpful options to keep things organized.

Overall, Mural is the perfect symbiosis of Miro and Milanote. While Miro is more pragmatic and Milanote particularly suitable for creatives, Mural is the perfect compromise: a practical and easy tool that still supports creativity if wished.

If you are someone who remembers information primarily through visual impressions, you should try Mural. Through different colored templates and icons, it is easy to remember details and further information. And in addition to that, it makes organization more fun.

Overall theme: you’ve got all you need.

It doesn’t matter whether you are starting a new side hustle or recently became the entrepreneur you have always wanted to be: Having your own business can be overwhelming. Maybe you have new ideas but can’t really visualize them on paper, or perhaps this whole process seems to be too complex.

Online tools such as Miro, Milanote, or Mural are here to assist you. And if you need more features, you can even upgrade to pro versions. Just have in mind: You don’t need to have the perfect plan right from the beginning. Why don’t you start collecting images that speak to you and save them on a blank whiteboard? The great thing about web apps is that you can come back to them whenever you want to.

So, if you are ready, give them a try. They helped me start my own business. Maybe they are the starting point for you, too.

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