Essential Tools for Bootstrappers: Julia’s 10 Favorites

My daughter Julia is a bootstrapping millennial entrepreneur. She is carrying on the family tradition of starting her own business, a tradition that goes back to my grandfather, and my father.

She happens to be visiting now – Maine in August is awesome – and is managing three different ventures from our deck. Julia is an educated consumer of digital (and other) tools to maximize efficiency and output with minimal cost. Bootstrappers need high efficiency and output!

At my request she threw together the following list of essential tools and services, and what she uses them for. I’ve commented on a few.

  • Evernote – take and organize notes across devices [this has been on my mental “I need to check this out” list for several years.]
  • QuickBooks Self Employed– tracks miles driven, upload receipts, calculates quarterly taxes due [I’m also a QuickBooks user but I know there are other options out there now]
  • Trello – great free collaborative or solo project tracker/to-do list maker, very versatile and free
  • Canva – creates great graphics for social media, blog posts [I recently started using Canva to make infographics]
  • WeWork –  co-working space [global footprint in major cities]
  • Upwork – outsource work [I have an ongoing video intro/outro job in process on Upwork, just the most recent]
  • Grammarly – Especially chrome extension to double check spelling and grammar for email
  • Boomerang – Schedule emails so it looks like you work all the time [for Gmail – also on my “I need to check this out” list for a while]
  • StayFocusd – Chrome extension to block or limit distracting or social media websites so you.. Stay Focused
  • Pexels – download app on computer for free searchable database of high quality stock photos that don’t need attribution

What are your essential tools? Please comment and let others know!


Don Gooding


    • Thanks for the tip on Wave. It’s one of the emerging options for smaller companies that’s giving QuickBooks a run for its money.

  • Great list. I use a few, but will look into the others.

    Warning on this one “Boomerang – Schedule emails so it looks like you work all the time”. If they are your customers, they will also assume you will reply to emails at all hours. For some people I will schedule emails to go out only within business hours, you know which ones they are.

    • Thanks Troy. That’s a VERY useful insight on Boomerang! Sounds like one of the uses is also “makes customers think you’re only available during business hours” when in fact you are burning the midnight oil.

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