Free Online Tools For Small Businesses (and nonprofits too)

Most of my clients have been affected in some way or another by the pandemic, cancelling their programs, shutting down events, delays in the book launches, and sometimes complete inability to work with their clients.

Right now we have an obligation to step up and help each other.

Honestly, I feel like this obligation already existed considering the massive inequality and other related issues…

But with a pandemic that affects everyone across economic lines, we can’t ignore this opportunity to demonstrate the value of mutual aid and business models that are built around generosity and social impact.

I’m fortunate in that my business has been operating remotely since the very beginning – so if there was a time for us online business owners to be extra-generous it’s now.

Some of the top companies in the online business space are thinking along the same lines and changing their pricing models or just giving stuff away.

My favorite Email marketing service is now free, the invoicing system I use (which people ask about constantly) is now pay-what-you-can, and many of the courses and online communities I’ve learned from are now free or sliding scale.

Here’s the list of tools I use for running a remote business that are currently offering special rates to help you through this moment, organized in 3 areas; connecting, growing, and online business.

Connecting with people

ConvertKit, the email marketing software I rave about, is now free up to 500 subscribers. It’s usually $360 a year, so this is a super helpful change.

​Loom is an amazing tool that lets you record quick videos. When you finish recording you get a link you can send to someone. It’s always been free, but now their paid plan is half-off.

Mighty Networks has changed their pricing, so it’s easier now to host online conferences and build a private social network.

Accepting Payments or Donations

Donorbox allows you to accept recurring donations. It’s quick to setup and is free for up to $1,000 a month.

Harpoon is invoicing for designers and agencies, but would work for any service provider based business.

Courses To Adapt Your Business

Smart From Scratch, a $249 course about starting an online business is now free. This is one of Pat Flynn’s signature courses. He’s a rockstar in teaching these things so I highly recommend it.

The Real Skills Conference is coming up. This brings in amazing teachers from around the world on topics like leadership, resilience, problem solving, curriculum design, etc… and is organized by Seth Godin. I’m going to be there. I can’t wait to talk about it.

Website Care Plans

And I decided to make some changes to my own website care plan service, which is usually $55 a month. This is already a stretch for us as a small business but we realize some clients aren’t using their websites as actively as others.

So why not choose for yourself? The Sapling Care Plan will be announcing a sliding scale rate of $18 – $55 per month.

You’d get access to the support, tutorials, hosting, and software at the rate you think is fair. If you’re a client, I’ll send another reminder, but you can just reply and let me know what you’d like to pay.

Also, my quick website launch service Build Your Website Essentials, which starts by giving you a full configured website to work with is half-off for the month of April. You won’t see changes on the sales page yet, but fill out the application anyways if you’re interested.

Okay, that’s all for now.

Let me know how you’re doing.


Ryan Clover

Designer and founder of Maple Creative, providing technical wizardry for activists, educators, and small business owners who are out to change the world.