When you are the one writing the checks (or using the debit card) you get very particular about what you spend your money on for software and IT related services. Some programs offer 14 day free trials that are long enough to learn the software and then it won't work anymore. Some services are touted as just 49.99 a month but get a bunch of those going and it takes a big bite out of the bottom line.
I do a bunch of different tasks with my various businesses: podcasts, screencasts, webinars, videos, blogging, websites, e-commerce, graphics, and CAD. I'm a PC so there may or may not be Mac version available.
- Blog platform: I started my first business with Blogger.com It's free so when I was just getting started, the price was right. Later I "graduated" to WordPress.com it is much getter for customization but for more options and themes you need to self host a WordPress.org site.
- Wix.com is a free website that enables you to create and host a flash based websites. Flash sites are great for multimedia content (pictures, videos, music, and animations).
- DimDim.com is a free video conferencing service that's a great alternative to GoToMeeting or WebEx.
- Skype.com is free and great if you make a lot of overseas calls but the service can be sporadic.
- Need to create a pdf file? Get Primopdf.com for free rather than shelling out $350 for Adobe Professional.
- Windows Movie Maker is loaded with Windows so it is also free. You can edit movie clips; add titles, captions and music. I record a separate audio track so I can just shoot the video and focus on one thing at a time.
- If you are running Vista or older you probably don't have a built in screen capture tool. I use Howe's Quick Screen Capture tool (http://www.howiesfunware.com/). You can choose what format to save the file in.
- Audacity let's you record MP3 files. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
- BlogTalkRadio.com let's you create and host podcasts
- CamStudio.org is free alternative to $299 Camtasia
- Fax service try FaxZero.com
- PayPal.com free payments and invoicing
- If you have a self hosted WordPress site, you can get all sorts of shopping cart plug-ins as an alternative to e-junkie
- Photoshop Elements is free when you purchase the Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablet from Wacom.
- Inkscape.org is a free alternative to Adobe llustrator.
- DraftSight.com for 2-D computer aided drafting is free for a full version.
Not Free but Lower Cost Alternatives
- Webhosting with GoDaddy.com will allow you to bill in three month increments as opposed to 12 months in one shot.
- If you are a student or have a student at home you can get a number of programs at a discount for the student version. Try Academic Super Store.
Get to Work
If that's not enough to get you motivated I don't know what to tell you. The tools are there for the taking, now go make something. Remember, have fun doing it.