by Guest Author on September 16, 2013
As the CKO of a startup digital marketing & website development firm we have to save money and time wherever we can. We barter for services, attract interns and watch every penny. We shop for deals, look for promo coupons online and browse Craigslist often but the 5 options I’ll share with you here came from a bit of good luck and a lot of trial and error.
Get More Reach With Repeaters
Routers can be inexpensive but you will suffer with weaker signal. To get more boost you can either tack on $100 or so for a more powerful router or you can simply invest anywhere from $15 to $30 for a Wi-Fi repeater. In our office, the walls are brick and the building is well over 100 years old; signals do not travel far here. We simply bought an inexpensive repeater online and now enjoy access anywhere.
Repeaters amplify your Wi-Fi signal to extend the range and power of your Wi-Fi so that you can grab signal through older walls, upstairs, downstairs and anywhere else your signal seems weak. If you want to go more frugal and you have an older router hanging around you can modify it to become a repeater too!
Whiteboards Are Overpriced
I have always thought whiteboards are overpriced. I used to get around this by buying whiteboard sheets at Walmart and tacking a bunch to the wall. When Walmart stopped carrying them I went a bit insane. I looked into whiteboard paint and coatings but it was all just way too expensive for what it was, so I went without for a long time.
Recently, a friend gave me a great tip about Home Depot and Lowe’s. Would you believe it has been sitting there the whole time for $10 per 4ft sheet? It’s called Markerboard by Wainscot and it’s usually near the plumbing section. I can’t tell you how happy I am and how many whiteboards I have on my wall now. #whiteboardheavan
Never Ending Free Edition of Online Project Management Software
When we needed project management software to facilitate communication between global team members and our few employees, I spent months researching software. This one was too big, that one too small, too expensive, doesn’t have a Gantt chart, on and on went the problems. Then I stumbled across Viewpath.
Viewpath is simple, clean and powerful. It has a Gantt chart and the starter version never expires. It also has an export function which is necessary if you ever want to change services or move your data. Never choose a program that won’t export. I learned that the hard way recently and had a migration nightmare on my hands.
When I saw the starter edition did almost everything I wanted and would not boot me out after a certain number of days passed I jumped right in. About 3 months later I upgraded to get my hands on the time tracking option and I have never looked back. Talk about affordable, this program is about $12 per user if you want to go paid and guests are free, meaning you can invite unlimited amounts of guests to track their task list and progress with you. They even get their own logins!
Frugal Office Furniture
I picked up this goodie from one of our clients in the furniture repair service business. Most people have never heard of it but beyond fixing damaged furniture that you own, what about buying damaged furniture from the get go?
Most furniture stores have scratch and dent sections with furniture 50% to 70% off. Many times it’s under $100 to fix the problem and most furniture repair specialists come to your house or office. My advice is to call a specialist, tell them your plan, listen to their advice and go shopping! Just type “furniture repair service” into Google Maps and start calling.
Here is a small list of thing they can usually fix fairly easily:
- Chipped edges or wood
- Torn leather or upholstery
- Water marks and heat damage
- Bad springs
- Cracked frames
- Chair parts to fix leaning back, swivel or raising and lowering action
Phone Service Solutions
When you’re bootstrapped or just strapped for cash, Skype is my first choice for inexpensive phone service. Sometimes you need a different number than your cellphone and Skype costs about the same as Google voice (about $5 per month) but Google voice has been running out of area code numbers lately and does not have the robust features Skype has for contact database, texting, computer to computer calling and more.
It’s only $2.99 per month to call any cellphone in the US from your computer as well, and you can attach your cell number to your account so that you show up on the client’s caller ID. If your minutes are running low on your cell or you have a lower plan than you actually need, opt for Skype rather than upping the minutes on your cell phone and enjoy much clearer conversation.
Stephanie Monty is CKO of the Maine digital marketing firm MainelySEO. She started freelance writing 4 years ago and has since written for Emmy winners and has been featured in & published in Rolling Stone Magazine.