5 terrific tools for bootstrap mode

Being productive on a budget is difficult, but very doable with the right tools.

We’ve campaigned #bootstrap around the office corridors the last few months. I got to say that we’re fairly good at it, but aim to get out of the hole as soon as we can. To do that, we’re constantly trying new tools to make our days more productive. Here are 5 (almost) free tools that we love.

1. Slack

Like they say, there are two types of people: Those who like Slack, and those who have never tried it. Slack is a messaging app that makes everything else look like dog shit. We’re only a team of two at the moment, but nothing beats the speed and effectiveness of communicating through Slack. It’s also a great tool to share images and video, and it keeps things organised through channels and hashtags. Best of all, it’s free for the stage we’re at. Thank you from our bootstrapped souls Slack, we love you.

2. Trello

For those who have been living under a rock the last few years, Trello is a project management application that helps you organise everything but your sock drawer. I remember fighting with my classmates last semester when I couldn’t sell the idea of using Trello for our project. I was probably out of order, but the truth is that I’m almost over attached to this tool. I use it for almost everything:

  • Organising our weekly company tasks
  • Organising and planning our editorial calendar
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Dinner plans and recipes
  • Training plans
  • Ideas and brainstorming

Not only can I structure my tasks and ideas, I can share it seamlessly with my co-founder Andreas —and it works like a charm, everything syncs within millisecs. Oh, and it’s got Google Drive integration and its own bot for Slack. Great. At this moment, it’s got all the functionality we need for free. We bow to thee (rhyme intended).

3. Google Drive

I almost forgot about Drive when making my list. Why? Because it’s more integrated in my life than my head. My computer has crashed twice the last 2 years, and without Google backing up my most important docs, I can safely say that I would be fucked, proper fucked. I’ve got it installed on my Mac so it syncs whatever changes I do in Finder (#hackerman). We’re on the free plan at the moment, but will soon have to upgrade. From what I can tell, we’ll get 100GB for for $1.99 a month. I think I can live with that.

4. Appear.in

Highly recommended by friends, this one is the latest addition to my list. FaceTime and Skype are great, but Appear.in makes video chat easier and more convenient. You simply go to appear.in and create a chatroom through a customised link, and then share it with up to eight people you want to video chat with. No logins, no restrictions and great quality. I had a video chat with my mom on Saturday (Hey mom, how’s the back?) and she got it from the first second. She just clicked on a link, easy peasy. 
Will it stay free? I don’t know, but as of today it works like a charm.

5. Aeropress

I love my Aeropress. Without a doubt the best portable coffee maker you can get. It makes coffee from Lidl taste like black gold served on a tray of diamonds. It makes my mornings go from grey and dull to colourful and promising. When Leif Erikson discovered ‘Murica, I bet he was standing in the front on the longship, sipping on a freshly brewed Aeropress coffee. 
This is not a “free” tool of course, but seeing that I drink 5 cups a day, it’s an absolute necessity to keep costs down whilst feeding my caffeine addiction. One bag of coffee (€3 at Aldi) keeps me going for a about three days, which is the cost of two cups of rat poison on campus. When my press wears out, I swear on Odin, Thor and Zlatan that I’ll send it burning out on the fjord, ready for eternal use in Valhall.

That’s all she wrote

Honorable mentions go to

  • Zoho Mail (#bootstrap — it’s free and good, but we’ll move everything over to Google as soon as we have a bit of cash)
  • Stocksnap for free stock photos
  • Canva for great looking banners and designs
  • Buffer for scheduling our posts on social
  • Mobirise who has enabled us to create our MVP for free.
  • The staircases, trails and rails (rhyme intended again, on a roll) at UL campus that serve as my personal gym at the moment

Before I let you go, I would also like to mention a tool (or, more correctly, a platform) that I’ve started to hate a bit, which is LinkedIn. The interface looks messier than my room (and I live in a shed), my feed looks worse than what my rectum feeds my toilet with on a Sunday morning, and it also comes across as slow. LinkedIn Pulse? Nah, no pulse there at the moment. I’ve moved to Medium, and unfortunately, I’ll only post on LinkedIn now because I feel I have to. Not a good sign.

That’s definitely all she wrote.

Have a productive day!

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