When you’re self-employed, you wear a lot of hats. Some might contract out for various services, but likely just as many — if not more — handle most aspects of their businesses themselves. That means that they need to equip the right tools to keep their businesses running, efficiently and profitably.
Software is one key tool that can help a self-employed business accomplish just that. Fortunately, there is a host of software to solve about any problem and accomplish about any task the self-employed are likely to face. Here, we’re going to look at five business software suites to keep things humming along.
Office productivity suite
The most basic of all software suites is the office productivity suite. Typically combining word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and email functions, at the very least, such suites serve as the linchpin around which a self-employed business can function.
By far the most popular office productivity suite is Microsoft 365, once known as Office 365. This suite is sold on a subscription basis, and the Business Standard version includes the following individual software applications:
- Microsoft Word: word processing
- Microsoft Excel: spreadsheet
- Microsoft PowerPoint: presentation
- Microsoft Outlook: email, calendar, and tasks
- Microsoft Access: database
- Microsoft Publisher: page layout
- Microsoft Teams: collaboration
- Exchange Online: email account with up to 50GB mailbox and custom email domain
- SharePoint Online: document storage and communications tool
With Microsoft 365, you also get 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage with ransomware detection and file recovery functionality. The 12-month subscription allows the software to be installed on up to five PCs, five phones, and five tablets.
You can also buy Office Home and Business 2019 as a standalone license for one PC, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. This license would be attractive to anyone who wants to own the applications rather than paying an annual subscription fee.
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Intuit QuickBooks is the most often used accounting program among businesses large and small. The company offers the QuickBooks Desktop Pro that expands beyond basic accounting to provide the following functionality:
- Organize financial information in one place, including invoices and expenses
- Import information from a variety of sources, including Microsoft Excel
- Export reports for tax reporting
- Customized payment receipts
- Automated recurring statement emails
- Rule-based customer groups
- Desktop Manager to administer all QuickBooks Desktop products
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Antivirus and internet security suite
Being self-employed doesn’t inoculate you against online threats. Quite the opposite — while you may not present as enticing a target as a larger organization, you’re also on your own should an attack occur. That’s why you need reliable antivirus and internet security software, preferably all from the same software vendor and integrated for easy administration.
That’s where Norton 360 Deluxe comes in. Norton is one of the most recognizable names in security software, and for good reason. Their products invariably lead the pack in terms of the depth and breadth of protection provided, and they offer one of the most complete security suites around.
Included in Norton 360 Deluxe is:
- Antivirus software with real-time threat protection against both existing and emerging malware
- Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) to allow you browse anonymously and securely when using public wireless connections
- Dark Web Monitoring by Lifelock to let you know if and when your personal information is available on the dark web
- 50GB of secure PC cloud backup storage space
- Password manager to create and store secure passwords
- PC SafeCam that will alert you if your webcam is being used by a nefarious party
The suite allows the software to be installed on up to five PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices. The suite is sold as an annual subscription that can automatically renew, ensuring that you remain protected without having to worry about missing your renewal date.
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Data backup and security
Data is the lifeblood of every organization, including the self-employed. Utilizing tools to protect, backup, and restore your data can make the difference between failure and survival should disaster strike. Acronis True Image Premium Protection provide a host of utilities that can help keep your data safe and secure.
Some of the suite’s functionality is duplicated in Norton 360, and so you’ll want to pick and choose which ones to implement from which suite:
- Flexible backups: full image to file-level
- Active disk cloning
- Quick recovery / Universal restore
- Ransomware protection
- New! Antimalware protecting both your device and backup data
- Cloud backup and features
- Automatic replication of data in the cloud
- Microsoft 365 backups
- Blockchain certification of files
- Electronic signatures on files
- Ability to add up to 5TB of cloud storage
- Tech support: priority phone, email, and online chat
- Includes 1 TB of cloud storage
Choose from dozens of Backup and Utility software solutions
If your business involves any creative work, or if you design your own advertisements and web pages, then you’ll want a full-featured creative suite. As with the other suites listed so far, there’s one dominant company in the creative applications market, and that’s Adobe.
The Adobe Creative Cloud is the most feature-complete creative suite you’ll find, and it’s available on an annual subscription basis.
The applications included with Creative Cloud include:
- Photoshop: image editing and compositing
- Lightroom: cloud-based photo service with 1TB of cloud storage
- Illustrator: vector graphics and illustration
- InDesign: page design and layout for print and digital publishing
- Premiere Pro: video and film editing
- Premiere Rush: for creating and sharing videos online
- After Effects: cinematic visual effects and motion graphics
- Adobe Spark: for creating video stories
- Adobe Audition: audio recording, mixing, and restoration
- Character Animation: animate your 2D characters in real time
- Capture: turn images into color themes, vector graphics, patterns, etc.
- Adobe XD: design, prototype, and share user experiences
- Dreamweaver: design and develop websites
- Adobe Stock: millions of high-quality graphical assets
- Adobe Fonts: thousands of fonts available within the Adobe applications
- Adobe Portfolio: create and customize an online portfolio
- Behance: discover and showcase creative work
Choosing the right software tools is as important as signing new customers and doing quality work.
In fact, the suites outlined in this article can go a long way to accomplishing both vital tasks and ensure that the customers gained are satisfied by the work being provided. And by selecting a software suite rather than individual applications, you can be sure that all functionalities will be integrated and well-supported by the same software vendor.
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