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Kacharagadla Featured Article

5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

5 Productivity Tools for Self-Employed Internet Entrepreneurs

Technology can offer you many helping hands.
For many, working for themselves online is a dream come true. Not only are they able to choose clients, manage responsibilities and work how, when and where they want, but the overall sense of empowerment that comes through being their own boss is a feeling that’s second to none.
In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, however, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So, while working from the comforts of a home office in pajamas might seem like an irresistible offer, taking to the internet to make a living has its downsides, too. Chalk it up to the frustrations of client management, being solely responsible for the success or demise of your digital business or struggling to focus while working alone from a personal computer, being self-employed is one of those things that’s easier said than done.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to lend a helping hand. Nowadays, as far as keeping yourself as productive as possible is concerned, there are more than enough high-quality resources to keep you on task. Care to check ‘em out? Below, you’ll find five of the best:

1. GetResponse.

If you’re looking to boost your inbound marketing efforts, GetResponse is for you. This marketing automation software makes it extremely easy to create online sales funnels that convert.
Whether you’re looking to create an email marketing drip campaign or a robust webinar, GetResponse has a full suite of software that can automate your funnel. When it comes to being an internet entrepreneur, this type of tool can make the difference between a high grossing month and a loss.
It makes sense. No matter your money-making niche or area of expertise, countless emails are constantly being sent and received. As such, why not make email a more effective marketing tool with a top-notch, first-rate automation platform? With one in place, your business stands to benefit.

2. Slack.

While there are bound to be a number of Skype, Fleep and HipChat proponents who read this post, Slack is hands down the best messaging software available to self-employed entrepreneurs. When used correctly, it acts as the key component of your team’s internal communication.
And don’t go thinking it’s just another messaging program. The beauty of Slack is that it’s able to integrate with other productivity tools like Trello (see below) or Jira. Furthermore, with Slack, file-sharing is a drag-and-drop activity. Afterwards, everything is organized and searchable.

3. WorkFlowMax.

Real-time communication is nice and all, but for a more robust means of enhanced productivity, project management plays the most important role. Yup, you guessed it -- this is where WorkFlowMax stakes its claim as the simplest, most straightforward job management software on the market.
Getting beyond the unnecessary bells and whistles of most job management platforms, what distances WorkFlowMax from the rest of its competitors is its unique, cloud-based interface. Representing vital tasks, team members can send instant quotes and easily track time spent working on projects. This enables an internet entrepreneur to streamline the process of invoicing through trackable time. The platform also integrates with world class software solutions like Xero for accounting and Hubspot for marketing.

4. Evernote.

If you’ve taken the entrepreneurial plunge and are now working for yourself, you’ve likely heard of Evernote. And with good reason -- it's a game-changing resource. For example, have you ever read or seen something online you felt could greatly change your business for the better? Of course you have. But bound by an endless to-do list, you’re likely to either forget where you found the top-tier tidbit, the message it transmitted or the impact you originally felt it could have on your business. Needless to say, none of these options will work.
Luckily, as a cross-platform, note-taking program, Evernote makes remembering important information a breeze. Whether it be formatted text, a full webpage, voice memo or photograph, Evernote takes jotting down notes to a whole new level. Don’t bypass this one-of-a-kind tool.

5. If This, Then That (IFTTT)

Time is a businessperson’s most valuable asset. Think about it. No amount of entrepreneurial brilliance can recoup the precious hours and minutes that’ve been lost. Simply put, once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. No time-saving tool understands this better than IFTTT.
IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” Basically, IFTTT is a web-based service that allows self-employed entrepreneurs to create chains of simple, task-oriented statements that incorporate a host of popular tools. The result? Automation kicks into high gear, saving you some serious time.
For example, let’s say that yours is a business that relies heavily on Facebook for marketing means. Using IFTTT, the moment someone likes a photo your business posted, you can set things up to receive an email notification and automatically download said photo to DropBox.
Twitter, Instagram, MailChimp, Spotify and even Alexa -- if there’s a tool you’re routinely using during the workday, there’s an incredibly high chance that IFTTT is able to use it to help you build out a more meaningful, streamlined working experience.
This list doesn’t contain many surprises. Time and time again, each of the above tools has proven themselves invaluable for the self-employed. If you work for yourself, you owe it to your business to give them a try. You’ll be glad you did.

-Nathan Resnick