As a Virtual Assistant focusing on business software, I easily get drawn in by Shiny Object Syndrome. I often see this common problem in my clients’ businesses, too, and you’ve probably had some form of it yourself! There are so many genuinely amazing tools, and we want them all!
We’ve all noticed that this can get expensive, fast. Thankfully, plenty of high-quality, free resources are available for newly budget-conscious business owners like us. Here are my favourite places for free business resources.
The Public Library
- An oldie but a goodie, and one of the last public places where you’re not expected to spend money to exist. Visit in person for physical books and movies, and check out their online catalogues for eBooks and audiobooks, among other things. Many libraries also offer free workshops. I recommend checking out Atomic Habits (audio or written format), Profit First (audio is better), and The E-Myth Revisited (written is better).
Podcasts, Blogs, and Newsletters
- Build your business from the ground up with Rebel Business School’s 100% free courses. They teach you how to start a business with no debt and no business plan.
- Rebel Business School co-founder Alan Donegan gives away tons of top-quality material through his podcast, The Rebel Entrepreneur, and the blog he runs with his wife, Katie, at AlanDonegan.com. This podcast taught me a lot of what’s making Dactylus successful!
- If you want to take control of your finances, their annual 10-week Rebel Finance School course is also fantastic (and free), though not business-focused.
- Large software companies often have educational portals and tons of blog posts. Much of the content focuses on their products, but some include general education on their industry! I highly recommend Zapier’s blog and newsletter.
Business Support Organisations
- Your region’s business support organisations may offer free webinars. I’ve learned a lot from free webinars by Small Business BC and WeBC.
Alacrity Canada and Spring Activator are offering (temporarily) free digital marketing courses. I haven’t taken them myself but have heard great reviews.
Meet Other Business Owners
- If you’re looking for free marketing, consider local networking events. Most events have entry costs of varying amounts, but free ones exist in the virtual and physical worlds! Watch for events hosted by coworking spaces, chambers of commerce, and business associations. Visiting an online Business Networking International (BNI) meeting is free, and your area probably also has various groups on Meetup.
Create Your Own!
- You can even build your own resource by setting up Google Alerts. This free service sends you emails when new results for a topic show up in Google Search. One way you can use this is to keep on top of your competitive landscape; simply set up alerts for mentions of your competitors.
Next time you’re surprised by your balance sheet or receive an annual renewal notice, consider trying out a free resource! These just might lessen the impact of a slow month or the pinch of inflation. Or, you know, allow for more fancy cheeses in your life.