Open source tools, web apps, free personal plans on professional software, things that come gratis with your operating system (which, ok, the operating system cost something along with your device purchase, but that's close enough), tiny utilities and mobile apps that don't have a price tag—what are some free tools you love so much, you'd pay for them if they charged?
VSCode definitely no. 1 in my book.
Insomnia with a free plan close second.
As a non-native English speaker, I've found Grammarly tremendously helpful with sentence construction, spelling and simpler writing. I upgraded to a paid plan and don't regret it.
Figma, Notion, Calendly, and Zoom all come to mind as products that have been incredibly valuable to me in the free tier. Though, I currently pay for all of them!
If it has to be something I've NEVER paid for, I'd probably go with Sublime Text. Though I really should start paying the after all these years...
Libby - it's great being able to check out e-books and audiobooks from my local library. I've gotten a ton of value out of using the app.
The Moz chrome extension! It’s really handy for quickly checking SEO stats on the fly and doing a deep dive on things like page structure.
I love WallCat. For some reason a beautiful background picture helps my productivity, and WallCat changes your background every day!
I also like Amphetamine to manage my Mac going to sleep, Jumpshare to easily share files, Loom for screen recordings, etc.
It would have to be the one that I use all day every day, Google Chrome
Spark, Loom, and Bit.ly are all pretty much essential to my working day and are the sort of apps I'd buy if they suddenly took away their free tiers. Honorable shout-out to Click-Up too - I loved that but unfortunately our team went with Teams. Oh and Airtable give away a huge amount of functionality.
I'd also pay for Zoom integration with Calend.ly if it was cheaper. It's the only bit of their non-free tier I need but isn't worth paying for Pro.
Google Apps, Trello, Discord - all have both free and paid options (I actually pay for all three now) but even in 'free mode' each is an incredibly valuable tool for managing information, organizing it, and sharing it with others.
It seems like most of my apps these days are licensed or subscriptions. But the two free ones I use every day are Apple Photos and Apple Mail. Photos just has the right amount of features (organization, editing) that I often prefer it to Lightroom, and Mail might simply be the old pair of jeans. I have all the other Mac and iOS based mail apps but always come back to Apple's version.
VS Code, Jumpshare on their free plan (although we pay for it), Airtable, Hyper3, OBS
With business accounts, I've been moving into the paid tier for most products these days (Slack, Loom, Notion, Sublime Text, Asana, Balsamiq ... would have once made the list for FREE). I'm still riding free on Miro though. It's the best digital white-boarding and mind mapping tool I've found.
Getferdi sounds interesting. I mainly subsist on Skype, Whatsapp both of which I planned to mention. Chrome of course and gmail. For shopping, honey, wikibuy and retailmenot browser extensions, free versions of crunchbase and owler and occasionally free up to limit searches for company info using rocketreach or zoom. Builtwith free version for seeing what sites are using tool-wise is another great one.
Have been using draw.io a lot lately. It's a great lucid chart alternative — and if you can figure out the whole save to google drive bit (which I admit is not a great UX) then it functions like any other google slide/doc/drive/document etc.
Otter.ai - we transcribe hundreds of hours of meetings and podcasts a month. When I started working with audio, that would been $9-12,000 to get transcribed. Now it’s $80/year
IFTTT is extremely powerful and is free-free-free. I love using it to move data from Evernote to google drive, automatically create calendar events from email, and slack alerts from a handful of tools. In fact, my superpower is IFTTT+Slack, combined with Slack "highlight" words, which can alert me when a twitter list is about something I'm interested in, and I can jump into a Twitter fight with a VC in near real-time. Zapier has a lot more functionality that covers this as well but is freemium.
So many great ones listed here that I use on a daily basis. I'll throw in Cyberduck as well. A tool that I consistently come back to for fast/easy FTP.
Also ItsyCal a tiny, but complete calendar that sits in the Mac menu bar. It gets a lot of oohs and aahs when people realize it's not the default time & date widget.
Pocket is definitely one free tool that I use frequently as part of my daily workflows (getpocket.com)
Spark. Hands down. If like me you hate web based email, Spark is the best free email client going. Simple, clean, powerful and when you realise the tiny touches the team have inbuilt it’s super elegant - signatures that are cloud based, 1 account login which carries all settings, not just for Gmail, powerful templates, ability to snooze and send later, copy and paste across features. I could go on...
Trello is great for free project management. I make it my default private kanban. I use the project calendar view as my one free powerup and that is really all I need!
Two suggestions specifically aimed at B2B Marketers looking to learn more about their target audiences or amplify their content beyond the footprint of their existing properties/channels. Both are completely free with zero requirements nor provide a CC#.
Audience Explorer - real-time interactive buyer engagement tool that helps B2B content marketers to discover the content consumption behavior being generated by their in-market buyers. http://www.netline.com/audienceexplorer.html
ContentFlow - Allows content marketers the ability to amplify their content to over 125M+ professionals actively consuming content and researching their various business/technical challenges. Gain free insights on the types of professionals engaging with your content. Create your account and select "ContentFlow" once inside the Portal. https://portal.netline.com/portal0000/
Full Disclosure, I head-up Product, Marketing, and Audience here at NetLine.
I find myself using Loom a lot to make client training videos for how to use new software / give presentations.
Slack. We will definitely upgrade when we get there but still fit into a free plan and would pay now even below the free message limit.
- if you don't have a graphic design team and have little design experience, Canva's free plan gives you hundreds of free templates and designs.*Bonus - Canva is now natively integrated into Hubspot's design manager.
Some of my favorites:
LeadLeaper - find any email
SimilarWeb - site traffic and sources
BuiltWith - 3rd party technologies used on a given website
Trello for sure. The generosity of the free plan is amazing. It allows me to keep track of projects and tasks. I even use it just to store snippets and references when I'm planning a talk and need a safe place to easily organize the support materials.
A hidden gem that I rediscovered recently is Automator which comes bundled with macOS.
I did not realize how powerful it could be until I stumbled on this Medium article: https://medium.com/@miloszfalinski/laser-mode-on-your-mac-make-your-workspace-distraction-free-with-a-simple-keystroke-65938680cfac.
I adjusted one of the created apps in the article and now use it to quickly set up for product demos. With one app launch - I can hide the dock, hide the menu bar, enable Do Not Disturb mode to disable all notifications, launch URLs of the web application that I will be demoing, open any necessary applications (e.g. Reflector to AirPlay an iOS screen) and quit any applications that do not need to be opened.
Hallway! A slack app that automatically schedules video rooms (no conferencing needed) on a schedule
Figma ♥️ (free)
Notion for collaborating on docs (paid)
Airtable + Zapier for some nocode goodness (free + paid)
Loom for sharing quick videos (paid)
Tandem for video chat (part of early access program)
* These are freemium tools that I pay for because they rock.
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