Next question. What software should I pay for and what software can I get away with using free versions? Common things like Google Docs, Spreadsheets, things from the Google Chrome App store come free with a Google Account. Free Google Accounts end in @gmail.com. Things like Quickbooks, ticketing systems, creative suites such as Adobe Creative Suites cannot be replicated in the free department. I say if you’re a one man show on a shoe string budget use whatever free software you can. The one thing I would pay for is Quickbooks. You can’t go wrong on your accounting because you need to know where your money’s going. You have to keep good books and Accountants need access to those book. Quickbooks is the standard.
Use that Gmail account. Use that Google Docs. Office is expensive. If you can get away with using Google Docs use it. You can always forward your gmail account to your professional (@xyz.com) account when you’re ready to upgrade. When you grow and you have two, three, four people pay that $5 a month to Google to get the upgraded subscription. If you need Microsoft Office, you can always jump to the Office 365. Its not too expensive and priced competitively. The Office 365 subscriptions are between $5 and $12.50 a month for their business plans, per person per month. If you’re getting away with three people for under $50 a month for a full office suite (that’s their licensed Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote products), business class email where you can put it on all your devices, and it’s redundant in the cloud across all their data centers …that’s pretty awesome. 50 gigabytes of email in the cloud, and Office. It’s amazing. They really broke the mold when they offered Exchange email in the cloud with Office 365. Before Office 365 it was thousands of dollars to have an onsite Exchange email server.
I would say pay for Quickbooks, use free stuff if you’re on a shoe string budget and a one man show. Anti-virus, if you can swing it, pay for a good anti-virus. The paid ones are almost always better. If you just want to save a couple bucks get Free AVG. Use it for a year or two and when you grow a little bit, get the paid ones then.