When we were starting our business, we were using a massively outdated Adobe Creative Suite 2. We couldn’t afford the $2500 it would have cost us to upgrade to Creative Suite 6 Master Collection, so we began looking at our options. Much to our shock and surprise we stumbled upon Adobe’s Creative Cloud and fell in love. The $75 per month membership is a price we can afford. It’s like finding a brand new, mint condition Porsche for under $5000!
One of the MOST impressive features about the Creative Cloud subscription though is the fact that unlike when you buy their normal suite of products, you get every update as its released. No more buying the suite only to find that they upgrade it six months later and you have to outlay another $500 bucks just to keep up. Now you get the updates as soon as they are released.
I cringed when I thought I was going to have to outlay $450 to buy the latest version of Microsoft Office Professional. I was still using Microsoft Office 2000, if you can believe it. We run a pretty tight ship economically speaking and that just wasn’t in the budget anytime soon, but I needed the tools to keep up with my client’s needs. So, I did some more research.
That’s when I found Office 365 – Microsoft’s subscription service that allows me to pay a small monthly subscription for using the Office suite rather than coughing up everything all at once. Similar to Creative Cloud, I get the best of everything without having to pay for updates, and the fees are less than $20 a month for me and up to 5 devices. Plus, with Office 365 I can store my documents in their cloud hosting and access them from anywhere at any time.
Imagine having 24 hour 7 day a week access to the latest books, videos, and cd’s a small business professional needs for less than it costs to fill a 10 gallon tank with gasoline. I found Creative Edge and couldn’t believe the kind of books I was able to access. If you were to buy just 10 of these books, you’d probably end up paying $600 at your local Barnes and Nobles. However, for just $20 a month you can have access to everything they have – and there are hundreds of titles covering a whole range of subjects that would interest a business person.
When you’re a small business owner counting every penny, there is no sweeter word to your ears than the word, “Free”, especially when the words “for commercial use” accompany that word. Font Squirrel is a collection of free for commercial use fonts covering a range of styles and good for a variety of uses.
Similar to FontSquirrel, Google WebFonts offers free for commercial use fonts. Insert a bit of code into your website, and you’re ready to go crazy with a wide range of fonts for your web designing dreams.
6. Type Kit
This one isn’t quite free, but it’s close. For only $100 a year you can use access their full font library, use an unlimited number of fonts on an unlimited number of websites, up to a million pageviews a month. That’s just $8 a month. There are less expensive packages, including a personal use package and a portfolio package, but this is the best deal for someone who does a lot of web designing. The other advantage to this is that because Adobe actually creates these fonts, they are just about guaranteed to work on any browser – something that Google web fonts and even Font Squirrel can’t offer.
Deliver magazine is produced by the United States Postal service for designers and marketers. While it naturally focuses on direct mail campaigns, there’s plenty of useful information on ways to create powerful and compelling marketing campaigns designed to drive people to a website or simply get their attention. Best of all, it’s free.
Designers always struggle with getting large files over to their customers, and DropBox provides a solution that works. Just upload those bad boys to drop box, share the link, and you’re good to go. Never again worry about emails that get lost because one person’s email box couldn’t handle the file size, or compress a file and lose the quality just to make sure it fits within the email limitations. Keep those files big and beautiful. You can get up to 2 GB of storage space free, or up to 500 GB for only $500 per year. It’s a pretty good deal especially if you need to transfer a lot of really large files.
Tagul is a free site for creating attractive custom word clouds. You can adjust the colors, choose a shape, plug in your text, and you’re ready to go. It’s a very helpful thing to have when you’re trying to come up with images for that blog you keep J
Imagine if you could make your own Facebook page catering specifically to the type of clients you serve. For example, creating a social media site for coffee lovers, or pet lovers. Now imagine if you had complete control and the ability to make money off of that site. That’s the power of Ning. Ning allows you to create and monetize a social media networking site, deciding on color schemes and selling advertising space, gaining email lists, and benefitting from it all at a very reasonable price. In fact, for about $60 a month you can have your own social media site with up to 50,000 users. And, best of all, ning can scale your social media site up as you need additional space due to the tremendous growth you’ve experienced.
The best feature of TutsPlus, in my opinion, is the step-by-step tutorials they offer which include source files for premium members. You can get free tutorials just by joining, but the best tutorials are reserved for premium members. The cost for premium is only $20 per month, and they offer new content regularly so you’re never out of things to learn.
Ever wanted to create your own Favicon but didn’t know how? This little plugin, which is available for a suggested donation of $5, can help you. Install the plugin, spend a little time tweaking it in Photoshop, and you can have your very own favicon in minutes.
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