We all know that using the right tool for the right job can be the difference between getting something done smoothly or taking a pain stakingly long time. The tools and services that you use are critical to maximizing a successful workflow and thus producing high-quality results in a short amount of time.
Sometimes you just have to use certain tools in order to perform the job. For example you wouldn't try to cut a thick piece of i-beam steel without a torch. The torch is THE tool to use. You don't shop around and see if there is something else, you just get a torch and make the cut. You could maybe try and use a hack saw but you might be there for days, maybe weeks and look quite silly and most likely not even make much progress.
The sad thing is that many people do the same thing in their online businesses. They will try to use a piece of software or service that is not designed to perform the task they are trying to achieve; yet to save a few bucks they will spend hours if not days wasting precious time only to end up buying the software they needed in the first place.
Use What The Pros Use or Hire One
If you're getting ready to use a piece of software or a service, first find out what professionals use. For example, DO NOT just Google something like “Free video editing software” and download the first product you find or even the first 10. If so, you will be wasting countless hours playing with software that will not get the job done. Remember this is your business, not a hobby. So if you are not outsourcing the work then get the tools to make it happen.
How do I know this? I've done it myself and learned the hard way. I even tried to be cheap about the process and buy the first $50 video editing product that I thought could do the job. In the end, I just spent more time frustrated with software that just did not deliver the results I needed.
Using the right tools can make the difference between a graphic or a video that looks like it was done by a professional or by your neighbors second-grader. In fact, sometimes you need a service instead of software.
For example, if you have absolutely no graphic skills at all, then it may just be better to outsource this piece of work through a service like 99designs or oDesk. From small projects to large websites these services can get you looking professional.
Don't Re-invent The Wheel
It's important to note that in today's e-commerce world a template for almost everything has already been made and can be relatively inexpensive. With just a little bit of learning you can purchase templates that get you to where you need to be and you really need NO artistic skills at all, just the ability to move items around and some basic knowledge of editing. The law of 80/20 plays very heavy in today's template market place you just have to learn how to tap into it.
Its not just human resources that are outsourced, but its software and media from great services like Graphic River, Themeforest, iStock and many others. These sites are great examples of resources that already get you 80-90% complete.
Over the past few weeks I've been spending a serious amount of time gathering a list of tools that I use personally and tools that I have seen work well in the online industry. So check out the finalized list here:
Check back regularly with the tools page because this list will continue to grow…
What do you think?