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Reality Blog: The Business Software I Use

Reality Blog: The Business Software I Use

July 19, 2017 | By Steve Maurer | 4 Comments

Reality Blog: The Business Software I Use in My Freelance BusinessRecently, I described some of the computer hardware I use to run my B2B copywriting business. I’ve always enjoyed that part of computing, even before I used computers to make money.

Of course, to make money with your computer, you also need the software to run a successful business.

Here are the programs I use.

Writing and productivity software

It’s kind of a no-brainer that if you’re going to make a living as a B2B copywriter, you know you’re going to need some kind of word processor. There are a lot of choices out there, both free programs and commercially available software.

I’ve always used Microsoft Word. I’ve tested out other software, but have always come back to this one. Some people love it… some people hate it. It’s a matter of personal preference.

But, there are features in Microsoft Word that I’ve discovered increase my productivity. For example, the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Statistics are built into the program. And, it has a feature that reads your work to you.

Some people use the read aloud feature for listening to documents sent them. I use it as one of the main techniques for editing my own work. You can hear errors you might gloss over when reading it silently.

And, unlike a human reader, it never misses a word when reading aloud.

Actually, I use the Microsoft Office suite of programs. In the past, I’ve bought the latest version every few years. But, I currently use Office 365 Business. It’s a subscription-based program and I pay by the year.

The fee is around $100 annually. You get both the downloadable version and the online programs. Right now, it’s the current Office 2016 version. But, here’s the most valuable part. It’s continuously updated to new improvements and the newest version of Office.

That means that if Office 2017 comes out anytime during the year, I’m automatically updated to it.

Additionally, I can install it on five computers, as well as options for my mobile devices. That means I have it installed on my two laptops, my tablet, and my phone… all for one fee.

The suite of programs include:

  • Word (word processor)
  • PowerPoint (slide show production)
  • Excel (spreadsheet)
  • Access (a database program)
  • Publisher (desktop publishing)
  • OneNote (note keeping)
  • Outlook (email)

Since all are Microsoft products, there is no trouble with compatibility.

One other huge benefit is that it comes with actual phone support. I can schedule an appointment, and a live person walks me through any problem I might have.

While there are other programs out there — many of them free — consider this. Most, if not all of my clients use Microsoft products.

Shouldn’t I be using software that’s guaranteed to be compatible with theirs?

Communication options

Of course, I’ve already mentioned that I use Outlook for email. But, that’s not all I use to talk with my clients.

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About the Author

Steve Maurer

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  • Thanks for this Steve. It’s always nice to hear what others use for their business. Thanks for the tip on SpiderOak as well. I’m always on the hunt for good backup companies that don’t cost a fortune and this one looks good. When my current provider is up for renewal, I’ll definitely be looking at this one.

  • Hi Steve, helpful post. I also use MS Office 365 Business. For backup, I have an external hard drive, plus I have a subscription with CrashPlan. CrashPlan backs up all my files in the cloud, is easy to use, and good price. I have Evernote also. I’ve used both Evernote and OneNote. I’m not expert at using either. I also use Scrivener for my longer projects, like the online environmental courses that I write. It’s a great program, would like to learn more ways to use it. I have Adobe Acrobat Pro, because I do some work with engineers and have to modify pdf documents sometimes. I’m using a time tracker to help keep track of how long my projects take (to estimate how much I make per hour, and how many hours I work each week). It’s called TopTracker. It works great–except you actually have to remember to turn it on and off (bummer). A few other helpful things are Mind Maple (mind map software), which I believe was $10, and The Outliner of Giants for outlining.

  • Do you have any recommendations for tracking projects (due dates, revision dates, etc?) I was using Freedcamp, but found it too cumbersome. For now, I set up another calendar in MS Outlook called Projects, and have the deadlines, phone calls, appts. all entered as appointments. Seems to be OK, but let me know if you have a suggestion.

    • Hi Donna,
      A friend of mine uses Asana and loves it. AWAI uses Trello which I like as well.


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