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10 Free Productivity Apps to Make Your Life Easier

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Now more than ever, we can all use help keeping ourselves organized and on track.

October 6, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The one thing that we all have in common is the number of hours in the day. As a busy (or aspiring entrepreneur), you likely have to make tough decisions all day long about the most important tasks to spend your time on. With the current global pandemic limiting all of our direct interactions with people, our digital lives have gone into overdrive. I reached out to some other entrepreneurs to get an idea about what apps they believe are boosting their productivity, even during a pandemic. Here’s the top 10 list (in alphabetical order) with commentary from the feedback I received.

  1. Evernote: Rachel Johnson Burns, founder of RLJ Public Relations relies heavily on Evernote. She says “Evernote is my daily lifesaver. Because it syncs on all of my devices: computer, phone and iPad, I can take notes, jot down to-dos, and keep organized with any device. I can even share notebooks with team members and clients. It saves me a ton of time.” 
  2. FollowUpThen: Rick Barrera of RBA Associates uses this free app to make sure he stays on top of reaching back out to people and says “It’s quite simple and I love that I can just bcc 1pm@followupthen.com (for example) and at 1 pm that day, I’ll get an email reminder to take the appropriate action. I use it for remembering my client’s birthdays, upcoming events that I want to make sure I get tickets for, etc. I can also use it to send my associates reminders. It’s such a time saver and makes me so much more productive.”
  3. Hugo: Christinnah Oyedeji of Calendly shared that for meetings, she has moved off of Evernote where she had lots of stacks and notebooks. Hugo is much simpler because the calendar connection organizes everything for her. Hugo provides one place to collaboratively prepare, take notes, assign tasks and share, and integrates with more than 20+ work apps.
  4. Loom: I personally love this app because it allows me to make quick video or voice recordings to show a teammate or client how to do something, record demonstrations that I can reference later, or even just take notes for myself. Loom also has a handy Chrome extension so you can quickly start recording a video of your screen without additional set up. 
  5. Notion: Matt Bowman of Thrive Agency described why he thinks this app is incredible. “Being the person who spearheads most of the company’s functions, Notion is my go-to free app that keeps my workflow well-organized. What I like about Notion is that it is very collaborative! Anyone can see what others are doing that week at any time. My favorite feature of this app is probably the to-do list; it may be basic for others, but it helps me keep track of what I do for that particular day. As I tick off the tasks that I completed, it makes me feel that the day has been productive.”
  6. Otter: Sam Lessin of Fin says, “Otter.ai helps me remember things I need to get done. I frequently will just speak rather than type and then share these thoughts with a few friends, partners or colleagues. It used to be that speaking is faster than writing for most people, but listening is much slower than reading. Otter takes excellent notes, but with a hybrid approach of having the text plus the audio to refer to, so it is actually faster for the person generating content and faster for the person receiving the content to get to the key ideas and go and get things done. With remote work and hours spent on web-conference calls, it’s an essential tool to support collaboration and increase productivity.”
  7. PartnerHere: Stephanie Burns of Chic CEO uses Partner Here because she believes, “nothing wastes more time than doing something you’re not good at. I love PartnerHere. It’s a platform for entrepreneurs to connect and create no-cash deals like bartering or equity exchange. It’s super fast to find someone who can swap tasks with me so we can both move our businesses forward by doing what we’re good at.” 
  8. Streak: Chris Kaiser of Click A Tree has saved a ton of time by using this free plug-in with Gmail. Chris says “It’s a CRM built right into G Suite and comes with snippets (reusable templates for phrases or paragraphs you often use) and mail merge to contact many people at once — but each of them with a personalized touch. It has saved me tons of time compared to having a CRM in a different window and a mass mail system in yet another app, then trying to sync all these apps. Streak is a huge time-saver for everyone working with G Suite or Gmail.”
  9. Trello: Michelle Knight of Brandmerry shared one of her favorite productivity apps that has helped her achieve her personal goals. She shared “as a business owner who is RVing around the world with my family, it’s important to maximize my working time so I can stay focused and productive. I’m a lover of all things Trello. It has boards, lists, and cards that allow entrepreneurs to organize and prioritize projects. You can use Trello to organize your content, workflows, weekly schedule and daily tasks. It makes planning and executing blog posts, podcasts, and social media content super easy — especially when you live a life like mine where planning far in advance is a necessity.”
  10. Vibe: Vibe’s co-founder, Zach McMahon shared some background on how the app increases productivity. He said “it helps listeners get into the zone faster by building a custom and personalized playlist for each experience. Our AI learns what music boosts focus and productivity, and what music is distracting and shouldn’t be played. Each person’s experience with music is unique and personal, it’s crazy to think that there are millions of people all listening to the same study playlist!”

Hopefully, these tools help you be more productive during a time when life may seem even more out of control than we could have imagined. Be safe out there, now get back to work!

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Pakistan Rescinds TikTok Ban

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Just 10 days after introducing a ban on TikTok, the Pakistani authorities said on Monday that they were reversing the decision after receiving assurance from the Chinese-owned social media platform that it would moderate content according to local laws.

“TikTok is being unlocked after assurance from management that they will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality,” the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the national regulator, said in a statement.

Pakistan banned the app on Oct. 9 after officials said they had received a slew of complaints about indecent content. The app was functioning again on Monday.

TikTok, with its lip-syncing teenagers and meme-heavy videos, has faced problems in several countries for varying reasons. The Trump administration has attempted to block the app over privacy fears, India has prohibited the service as part of rising tensions between New Delhi and Beijing, and public decency concerns have led to occasional bans in places like Bangladesh and Indonesia.

TikTok has 20 million users in Pakistan, but conservatives in the country say that the app has been overtaken by vulgar song-and-dance numbers and memes. Officials said that a big reason behind the ban was the sexualization of underage girls and that TikTok was given several warnings to regulate its content before the ban was imposed.

But others said the Pakistani authorities’ move to lock the app was also intended to limit criticism of the government, which is struggling with a sagging economy and facing growing opposition. In recent months, the app has had a substantial increase in content that caricatured or mocked the policies of the governing party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Officials have denied any political undertones to the ban.

ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, said in a statement on Monday that it welcomed the decision: “At TikTok, we’re committed to enforcing our community guidelines and complying with local laws in all markets in which we operate, as these are pillars of our work to promote a safe and positive community online.”

The decision to allow TikTok to resume operations in Pakistan was widely welcomed by the app’s users, too, and finance analysts said it would increase investor confidence.

“The expedited reversal of the ban also goes to show that ByteDance is very much invested in the Pakistan market,” said Saif Ali, a marketing executive.

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Meet the Pro-Wrestling Pair That’s Building a Small-Business Empire

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October 19, 2020 11 min read

Investors, take note: Current and former pro wrestlers are making moves across media and commerce. No, not just The Rock (though he’s certainly doing fine for himself). Whether it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin’s successful segue into craft brewing and reality TV, Cody Rhodes and Frankie Kazarian’s boutique line of cigars or Brie and Nikki Bella’s femme-centric clothing line, there is money to be made buoying the branding efforts of sports entertainers. 

That’s what veteran grapplers Karl Anderson (real name: Chad Allegra) and Doc Gallows (real name: Drew Hankinson) are banking on. After they were released by industry powerhouse WWE amid Covid-related cuts earlier this year, they made two immediate calculations: Sign with a competing company that has their backs, and create a small empire of media and merchandising leveraging their personalities (think blue-collar prankster) and decades-long rapport with fans across the world. 

Image credit: Impact Wrestling

In the five months since parting ways with WWE, the duo made waves by joining the ranks of rival Impact Wrestling (which airs its namesake, flagship show on AXS TV every Tuesday at 8 p.m.), in addition to re-launching their popular Talk ‘N’Shop podcast with co-host (and fellow wrestler) Rocky Romero. They aired a successful, satirical PPV event called Talk ‘N Shop A Mania (a sequel is already confirned for November 13). They collaborated on Talk ‘N Shop beer with Kentucky-based craft brewer Jarfly and a Talk ‘N Shop bourbon with Tennessee-based Leatherwood Distillery and a line of red and white wines with Wine Savage. And finally, they’re cooking up an animated series and a variety special titled Talk ‘N Shop: Full Keg that’s airing on AXS this Tuesday at 10 p.m. 

Related: All Elite Wrestling’s Brandi Rhodes Flexes Her Entrepreneurial Muscle

So, how did this duo of career combatants make the quick switch to becoming serial entrepreneurs? We caught up with them over a recent Zoom chat  — Anderson (we’ll stick with their onscreen surnames for the duration) from his home studio in Tampa and Gallows from his residence outside Atlanta — to get answers, along with a bit of insight into what any aspiring self-made maven can learn from their refusal to say, “I quit.” 

If there’s one thing wrestlers understand, it’s reinvention. Was this more broadly applicable to branching out in business?

Anderson: I don’t know how much of it was reinvention or how much of it was becoming more true to our personal selves.

Gallows: The day of that [WWE] release, I was sitting in my sauna, and I hung up the phone and I went, “Well, being bitter is what everybody expects, and I don’t feel bitterness in my heart.” You have to find the humor, and you have to express it through entertainment and through art. And that’s where Talk ‘N Shop A Mania came from, because we lost this amazing multimillion-dollar deal, so why not turn it into something that’s positive for our brand? Why not make it brand-building and generate some revenue for ourselves and our company? And I’m damn proud that we were able to do that.

Anderson: That call was probably the greatest call I ever got in my life, because [we were] able to reinvent and create Talk ‘N Shop A Mania and and go to Impact. And we’ve got Talk ‘N Shop: Full Keg about to come out, and that’s something that we’d been pitching to the WWE network since we started there, and they just would go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Now the businessman stuff is really coming out because we got Talk ‘N Shop LLC, and we’re getting big checks coming in for this and that, and we’ve got to figure out the taxes from this stuff. That’s all some real shit that we’ve got to learn, but the business side of these last six months has been a lot of fun.

There’s something to be said for not resting on one’s laurels, but do you worry about pacing yourself given the learning curve?

Gallows: I don’t believe you pace yourself. I believe you run at it head-on. I’ve watched my dad. When I was born, he was a hot-tar roofer making $8 an hour, and he’s the most self-made man I’ve ever seen. Now he owns five businesses. And that’s what they always say: “I don’t know how we got here, but we’ll figure out how to get out of it” when something shows up that you don’t understand. We like to have a drink, but now we’re in the alcohol business, and we’re figuring all this out. We’re figuring out liquor laws and, you know, can we ship this stuff here? And how does this work? We knew nothing about any of this. We just went, “Well, we want to have a whiskey, and we have a cool brand, and we know we’re great.” So there’s a lot of flying by the seat of your pants. It’s not always gonna be perfect, but you can’t take no for an answer. No’s just another question.

What made Impact the obvious choice for your “day job,” as it were?

Gallows: They put together a beautiful deal for us. To sit there as performers on a show with no script when we go to the ring, and then watch a commercial for a pay-per-view that we thought up out of the blue and shot in my backyard, and they’re running television commercials for us for that — that’s a team I’ll hitch my wagon to all day.

To your point, they’ve given you wide latitude to work on outside projects. How do you know when you have that kind of negotiating leverage?

Gallows: I don’t think it was a leverage play. It was pretty open-ended on both sides because I think they saw that we’re go-getters. We want to be Impact stars Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson doing all this stuff. Let’s co-brand, let’s see how big and badass we can get Impact. It’s an exciting time for us wrestling-wise, but it’s such an exciting time business-wise as well.

Anderson: We always were confident in our abilities over in WWE, and that was with the rug constantly being fucking pulled out. We knew that we could do what we’re doing now, and Impact put trust in us. We like when people put trust in us, cause we know that we can deliver.

Wrestling also takes a hell of a cumulative toll on your body. Is a lot of this brand-building with an eye toward retiring from the ring?

Gallows: We are not counting down the days until then. We want to be out there when we’re 50 if we can be. There’s a chance our bodies don’t hold up, so we want this brand that we’re creating now to be the thing that carries us into the next thing. I have a ton of respect for guys who had to leave the business before there was social media. With all the platforms we have today, if you can really get out there and express yourself, you can build a brand. Without any internet or anything like that, a guy would get let go or he’d get hurt and drift out of the business, and there was no way to see who he was or what he was doing or for them to build a brand. These poor guys, there was no more wrestling money coming in. So you go work in a car lot or do whatever you have to do to get by, to feed your family. But I think we have a real opportunity in this generation, and for all the guys younger than us, to build your brand while you’re hot, and we’re going to keep pushing, keep grinding. 

Anderson: We’re more than wrestlers. If you walk into the Impact locker room, you’d think that we just were there to hang out with the boys and try to make them laugh. We like to entertain. We want to have a radio show, like Howard Stern-esque. That’s the ultimate goal. You can do that until you’re 80, right? Fuck it.

People point to The Rock or John Cena as a model for crossing over from wrestling, but in your case I think of Steve Austin, who specifically legitimized himself in the beverage space and has a robust podcast presence.

Gallows: We had a great time when we did his podcast when we were in WWE, but it would be a much different conversation now. I bet he went through what we’re going through. We’re on the road less than we’ve ever been on the road in our 18 years, but my day is full of Zoom calls and meetings with everybody from the government to liquor distributors to cartoon creators to merchandise creators, to movie producers — whatever we can come up with to push this brand further. We went from bumping and feeding four days a week to being businessmen. I just get to do it from my own house and I don’t have to wear a tie, but I feel like I’ve got the schedule of my dad now. [Laughs.]  

Anderson: I’m like a stay-at-home dad that makes pretty fucking good money.

Related: How a Mid-Size Wrestling Company Made Major Adjustments in the Empty-Arena Era

Is there nuance to the business side of wrestling that the layperson may not appreciate?
Anderson: When we recorded Talk ‘N Shop A Mania 2, you’ve gotta book all these flights, you’ve gotta produce every single segment. Gallows knows about all this.

Gallows: Well, it’s negotiation. [We’re] on the other side of the negotiation, because now you play the role of the promoter. It’s how do we market this? It’s OK, this budget is growing, so how do we offset that with a [PPV] buy rate? Part of my Impact deal was I have an independent promotion here in Georgia, and we put shows on [digital-subscription service] Impact Plus. And we’ve been running these socially distance shows around here through the pandemic. We follow CDC guidelines, and there’s temperature checks and the questionnaire, so you have to manage all that, but then you have a full talent budget. There a lot of things that are different on the level of pretty much every other company in wrestling other than WWE, because WWE’s not a live-event company anymore. They’re a media company. But anybody who’s not reached that level, the live-event portion is a lot of it. If I don’t have a gate here, then I’m probably not gonna run the show. I love our sponsors and they help out, but that’s the other end of it. So it’s managing a budget more than anything and figuring out how to market that with what you have to yield the biggest return. It’s not like you can go to wrestling-promoter college, so it’s been a lot of fun figuring that stuff out.

You mentioned before that nothing’s perfect. Are you prepared for the fact that one or more of your ideas may not sustain?

Gallows: It’s inevitable that’s going to happen. All you do is you adapt and move on and find the next thing. I think the good thing about us is we have so many irons in the fire. If something falls off, the rest of it’s gonna pick it right back up. 

Anderson: I’m not gonna lie: I was kind of ready to rest on my laurels and just collect that massive check from WWE. And so when we finally did leave it gave me a nice slap in the face and got me ready to jump back into this business world. 

Gallows: There’s a lot to what we’ve got going on, and hopefully those of you who aren’t wrestling fans will know of us sooner rather than later.

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Effectively Market Your Product or Service With These 11 Digital Copywriting Courses

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How to sell more online.

Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses.

October 19, 2020 2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

There are literally billions of potential customers for your business on the Internet. But connecting with as many of them as possible is exceedingly difficult. There’s a lot of competition from other businesses, which is why it’s so crucial to write compelling copy. Whether you’re sending emails, social ads, newsletters, or anything else, great copy can help turn potential customers into buyers. In The 2020 Complete Digital Copywriting Master Class Bundle, you’ll learn how to do just that.

This 11-course bundle will teach you how to effectively scale your brand through engaging, sellable content. The bundle is led by veteran copywriter Alan Sharpe and digital product creator Danny Liu. Sharpe has 30 years of copywriting experience and has helped thousands of copywriters on four continents master the craft of copywriting. Liu is an Agile Release Manager and a CSPO/CSM and Digital Product Creator with 15 years of experience in technology infrastructure engineering design.

Between the two of them, they’ll show you how to use one of today’s top web hosting platforms, WordPress, and how to reach new audiences with your content. Not only that, but Sharpe will break down copywriting into a few vital steps.

You’ll learn how to ask seven important questions every time you write, how to craft awesome headlines and openers, and how to persuade audiences. Whether you’re writing sales pitches to businesses, product pages, landing pages, or anything else, Sharpe will show you what you need to do to get as many conversions as possible.

Become an effective digital copywriter and make more sales online. Right now, The 2020 Complete Digital Copywriting Master Class Bundle is on sale for just $38.99.

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