As health & wellness entrepreneurs, we all know how difficult it can be to stay organized and on top of everything that needs to get done when building and growing our businesses online, especially in the first few years.
There is going to be a significant investment of time and some money needed to get started, but there’s no reason it has to be super expensive or overwhelming.
Personally, I’ve built 3 separate businesses in the health & wellness industry over the last 11 years. First, a fitness training & bootcamp company in 2006, then a nutrition consulting practice in 2012, and now a business coaching & copywriting company just this past year.
So I’ve definitely learned a few things along the way — my ideas and goals grew bigger, my business systems got more complex (yet more refined), and new technology and online resources have become increasingly available. All of this spells “up your game” with each new turn.
There are some inevitable costs for starting up your business, because no business can be started for free, even if it is online. You’ll need to invest in things like website domain registration & hosting, securing an email marketing platform, and using a payment processor (gotta get paid!), but there are also many tools that are either free or low-cost that can really save you time, energy and money.
For advice on where you should invest your money during your first year in business check out this past blog post.
But now for the free stuff!
(More Than 50) Free* Tools for Health & Wellness Entrepreneurs
Here’s a list of online tools that I think every wellness business owner should explore and implement IF it aligns with your business, and oh yeah – they’re totally FREE**!
**To be clear about what is truly a free tool, I’ll denote when a listing is simply a ‘free trial’, which would then upgrade to a paid option, otherwise your subscription or use of the tool will end after the trial period, usually 7-30 days.
I have NOT tested (or subscribed) to all of these personally so I cannot attest to the overall functionality of some of the apps or tools listed. On the other hand, free is often worth a shot if you see value in it for time management, better productivity or growth of your business.
Some form of accounting or bookkeeping is absolutely essential for any business, but if you can get it fo’ free…even better! This is the one I use for my current business – Making Lemonade, and loved how easy it was to set up.
However, like anything else that’s totally free – there are many more features that you may need in your business, so you might want to use their add-ons like payment processing (I still use PayPal), bank/bill payments and payroll services.
- Wave – free app for invoicing, accounting and receipt scanning; low fees for credit card processing and bank payments.
Audio: Webinars & Tutorials
- SoundCloud – an audio platform that enables sound creators to upload, record, promote and share their originally-created sounds. Use it to host your audio files and embed or share the link with your community and clients. Millions of people use SoundCloud to listen to online music and audio for free.
Content: Blog Creation & Promotion
- Grammarly – spelling & grammar checking app so you put out your most polished written work, even emails!
- Click To Tweet – get more shares from your fans & followers; this plugin is one of the easiest ways to promote, share & track your content on Twitter.
- WordPress.org Pin It – On-Image Hover & Post Button for Pinterest
Client Management & Scheduling
- BETTER Client Management – your first 3 clients free with their Sprout membership; practice better!
- Schedulicity – has all the tools you need for scheduling your classes and workshops. Now partnered with Square payment processor. Free up to 20 appointments/month.
- Calendly – online scheduling platform. It’s so helpful to send your clients a link to your online schedule to have them book their own appointments. It also syncs with your personal online calendar to keep you organized and looking professional. Clients can book and reschedule at any time. Not a whole lot of features in the free version.
- Acuity Scheduling – similar to Calendly; free for their Solo account, but you will likely want to upgrade to at least the Emerging Entrepreneur option.
- DocuSign – unlimited document signing
- Hello Sign – allows you to have 3 documents signed per month, and is integrated with Google Drive.
Document Storage – cloud-based
- Dropbox – cloud-based, automatic, file-syncing service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. It works great for swapping files and creating backups. Everything you keep in Dropbox is synced automatically to all your devices. The basic plan is free up to 2GB. Dropbox for Business free for 30 days.
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) – since this online storage facility is provided by e-commerce giant Amazon, you can be rest-assured whatever you store at S3 is secured. The AWS Free Tier enables you to gain free, hands-on experience with the AWS platform, products, and services and includes up to 5GB of data storage.
- Google Drive – cloud-based storage system that is accessible to anyone with a Gmail email address from anywhere. You can create spreadsheets, documents, online forms, images and pretty much anything else. You can also host documents and share them with whoever you’d like. Up to 15GB of free storage.
Email Marketing, Communication & Newsletters
- Active Campaign – a robust platform built for email marketing. Try it free for 14 days, then plans start at $9/month.
- AWeber – create and send modern, professional email newsletters to your audience with their email marketing tools. First 30 days free.
- Mailer Lite – Forever Free Plan for up to 1000 subscribers; small business plans start at $10/month
- MailChimp – free up to 2000 subscribers and now automation is included in the free plan; this is what I currently use (the paid version), but I will admit that I’m not in love with it, free or paid 😉
- Boomerang for Gmail – a plugin for the Firefox & Chrome web browsers that lets you schedule sending/receiving emails, helping you reach “zero inbox”. It also lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages.
Note from The WBH: As your business grows you will quickly need a robust platform with many more features than the free programs can offer. We recommend starting with a platform like Active Campaign to save yourself the enormous headache of moving everything over later.
Images & Visual Content Creation
- Canva – editing app with many free images & design elements, plus $1 each for premium elements. You can create beautiful images, social media graphics, banners and even design pdf’s and presentation slides. It’s equivalent to using photoshop and it’s my go-to for DIY graphic design creation. I even know several professional designers who use it. Shhh, don’t let their secret out!
- Easel.ly – Infographic Creator
- Healthinomics – beautiful bundles of ready-made visual content for health and wellness business owners to share on social media with little to no effort.
Online Courses: Creating & Hosting
- Teachable – create and sell beautiful online courses, hosted by Teachable
- Thinkific – create, market and sell courses from your own website
Online Meetings & Webinars
- Zoom – unlimited number of meetings, each can be up to 40 mins in duration and can host up to 100 participants.
- GoTo Webinar – 7-day free trial
FreeConferenceCalling.com – host or join conference calls with up to 1,000 callers via phone or VoIP with in-country dial-in numbers; audio and video/online meeting options.
Productivity, Organization & Project/Team Scheduling
I cannot underscore the importance of having business systems in place – this will look different for each person and each business, just so long as they are in place!
Apps and tools like these ones listed are crucial in getting – and staying organized. No more little pieces of paper and Post-It notes scattered all over your work space!
- Google docs – a free Web-based application in which documents and spreadsheets can be created, edited and stored online.
- Trello – Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects (solo or team) in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.
- Asana – with tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish; free up to 15 team members
- Evernote – capture, organize and share notes from anywhere. Your best ideas are always with you and always in sync.
- Slack – when your team needs to kick off a project, hire a new employee, deploy some code, review a sales contract, finalize next year’s budget, measure an A/B test, plan your next office opening, and more. Very few features in the free version.
- Zapier – online automation tool that connects your favorite apps, such as Gmail, Slack, MailChimp, and over 750 more. You can connect two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without coding or relying on developers to build the integration.
Quizzes, Surveys & Polls
Who doesn’t love a good quiz? Cosmo does – we all know that 😉
- Headspace – meditation made simple
- Noizio App – ambient sound for productivity & a calm workspace
- Focus for Mac – fight device addiction (and FOMO), and reclaim your productivity; social media timeout & website blocking app; can be used as a pomodoro timer to increase your productivity in short blocks of time; free trial only
- Blue light dimming app – try F.lux or Twilight
Social Media Scheduling & Management
If you are still creating and scheduling out your social media post-by-painful-post – I must implore you to please stop! One word: AUTOMATE.
- SmarterQueue – this has provided me so much joy because I feel like I’ve gained at least 5 hours in my week! It allows you to create a schedule for evergreen content (like past blogs, engagement questions, recipes, etc.) to be “recycled” for you without having to constantly repost. Free one month trial
- BoardBooster for Pinterest – first 100 pins free, then $5 a month
- Hootsuite – limited free plan allows 1 user with 3 social profiles and up to 30 scheduled messages
- Buffer – limited free plan allows 1 user with 1 social profiles and up to 10 scheduled messages; free 14-day trial of Buffer for Business
- Meet Edgar – free 14-day trial
- Plann – Instagram Planning, Scheduling & Analytics App
- CoSchedule – free 14-day trial
Video: Creation & Hosting
Besides the awesome livestreaming options on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories & YouTube…
- Promo by Slidely – for short intro or promotional & social media engagement videos
- Screencast-o-Matic – screen and webcam recorder for webinars & tutorials
- Vimeo – video hosting and sharing platform which users can upload, share & view videos, and showcase their work. Vimeo is quickly becoming both a popular video share site as well as a social networking site for entrepreneurs and other professionals.
Website Software & Plugins
Although you don’t technically need a website when you’re first starting out, I would recommend you get one in due time. Then, when you are ready to get on board with one, it’s NOT going to be free, but there are certainly some free or low-cost ways to make it better!
- WordPress.org – this is the only software I’ve personally used and strongly recommend it to all of my clients who are just getting a website up and running.
- Google Analytics – yep, you need it, and yep, you’ll have to learn how to read your stats. Sigh.
- Broken Link Checker – no one likes landing on a broken link.
- Copyscape – ensure you’re using best content creation practices and not just clipping out and using other people’s written work PLUS check that other’s are following the same practices and not using your work. This has happened to me more than once, and Copyscape was how I proved it!
- SEO Site Checkup – plug in your website URL and see what your “SEO-friendly” score is.
- Yoast SEO Plugin – the only plugin I’ve used for all of my websites (I’ve had 6 in 11 years!) and helps me to stay current on SEO strategies.
So, there you have it — 50+ tools for growing your wellness business… that won’t break the bank!
– This symbol denotes the platforms we are currently using and loving at The WBH headquarters
Comment below and let us know what your favourite tech tools for your business are.
About the Author
Krista Goncalves is a Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Business Copywriter who lives in Kelowna BC with her husband and two young kids. When she’s not writing, she’s outdoors hiking, paddleboarding or doing bootcamp in the park or on a beach!
While Krista enjoyed her combined 10 years as a Fitness Trainer/Bootcamp company owner & Women’s Health Expert, she’s now incredibly passionate about helping other Health & Wellness Pro’s to “juice up their online businesses” with her web content writing and coaching resources at Making Lemonade
Feel free to connect with Krista on her Facebook page: @MakingLemonadeHealth