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Essential Tools – Working Solo Style

By Char

Essential ToolsThis week’s Essential Tools post is going “Down Under” as we catch up with Australian entrepreneur and blogger, Leah Maclean of Working Solo. Leah calls herself a “business-technology integrator” and has a fantastic diagram at her site today on the Basic Structures of a Functional and Useful Small Business Website.

Leah’s Tools for Success

  • WordPress – An outstanding platform as CMS for both dynamic blogs and static websites.
  • SiteVista – Leah can’t have all browsers and operating systems so SiteVista provides that capability for her. SiteVista is a paid service that allows you to test web sites and e-newsletters across browsers and platforms efficiently.
  • Adobe Creative Suite (including Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Fireworks) – There isn’t a day where Leah doesn’t use one of them.
  • NetAccounts – an outstanding online accounting software-as-service provider. Integrates with Salesforce CRM and is currently alpha testing an in-built interface between the inventory feature and a payment gateway that will allow you to have integration between your accounts system, inventory, payments and even into your CRM.
  • iTunes– is loaded on Leah’s laptop so that she can have music playing as she works and also if she is on the road. There has to be music to get the creative juices flowing.
  • Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard – Leah spends so much time at the computer that ergonomics is essential.
  • iStockphoto – what’s not to say! iStockphoto is such a great resource for getting high quality photos and illustrations without breaking the bank.
  • And the next tool on Leah’s wish list – Wacom Intuos3 Pen Tablet

What is in your toolbox for success? Do you use any of the tools Leah does? Please join in the conversation and let us know!

I’m still working on the big master list of Essential Tools – don’t worry – it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, feel free to browse the Essential Tools category and find out what some of my other features consider essential.



I have the small Waoom tablet and I love it- it’s one of my favorite toys.


I saw the new Wacom Cintinq Pen Display ( at the recent CeBIT expo here in Sydney and seriously feel in love. With Wacom having a display like that and Microsoft bringing out Surface I think that the future of displays may be more interactive and touch-based. I will restrict myself to a tablet for now though.


SiteVista’s good, but for a free option I use Browsershots on a regular basis!


That’s in case that doesn’t work… ;)


Randa and Leah – that Wacom tablet sounds neat – I have never played with one.

Paul – I was using Browsershots last night – it is pretty useful.


I love lists like this – but I am starting to lean towards free and open source alternatives to some of the more expensive stuff. (dreamweaver etc can really break the bank!)


My favorite ones are Dreamweaver and Fireworks
I am lost without these tools :D


I use a lot Photoshop and Dreamweaver too

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