Keeping the Trains Running. Or, How I Manage This Business

So today is my one month anniversary of becoming a full-time independent business owner! I’m loving every second of it and I’m constantly inspired by the supportiveness of my friends, family, and the NY small business community. Beyond my immediate circle, I’ve been so impressed with the quality of the tools available to entrepreneurs. Starting a business 10 years ago and starting one today are completely different prospects.

Here are some of the great tools I use to keep the trains running on time for me and my clients:

Freshbooks helps me balance the books at this place. I do a variety of work (user experience consulting, writing, etc), so having one place for all my business financial activity is incredibly important. I do all of my invoicing, expense reporting, etc. from Freshbooks. I can’t recommend them enough.

Mint is where I manage my personal finances. I’m a little worried now that Intuit bought them (not a fan of Intuit’s user experiences usually), but for now, Mint helps me budget and stay balanced each month.

Movable Type runs all of my websites. I know I’m in some sort of minority here because WordPress is a huge favorite among independent bloggers, but I find Movable Type’s templating system to be very elegant and usable. I’ve tried the competition, but the ease of modifying and customizing MT is unmatched.

Seesmic is my social media control panel. I used to use Tweetie, which I still recommend if you’re a casual Twitter user. But if you need something more robust, Seesmic is a great client that lets you post multiple accounts, access and comment on Facebook posts, and way more. It’s really the best social media dashboard I’ve found.

LaLa keeps me energized with great music mixes. It’s free to listen to a song once, and after that you pay 10 cents to add the song to your collection if you like it. You can also get MP3s, but who needs them? The cloud makes great mixes. Greg S. of Hapnin turned me on to this.

Java Girl Coffee is around the corner from my house, and she’s a much needed break during the day. Great blends and a fun (if sometimes lovably gruff) crew working behind the counter. Plus some simple but nice chairs outside on the shady side of quiet 66th St. 

The NYC Parks Department might be an odd choice, but I really take advantage of the City’s parks. I run on their East River path a few times a week and I’m just a few blocks from Central Park. Not every city has such great, accessible parks. New York rocks.  

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