10 Free Tools for Your Product Creation Toolkit

As a product creator you have a number of tasks to perform: product ideas and brainstorming, project management and organization and collaboration (you do have someone proofreading and editing your work, don’t you?) I want to share with you my personal toolkit of products that I use to create products and complete other projects for myself or others.

It’s important to have a set of tools and a system to keep you organized and creative when developing your product. There are so many great FREE tools available. I know we all are focused on business and selling – but where would any of us be without those wonderful people who give us so many USEFUL tools for free? (And there are so many paid tools that are not worth a penny!) I did happen to sneak in one paid tool below, but there is a free trial :)

1. Celtx

http://celtx.com

While this software is popular for screenwriters, there is no reason you can’t use it to plot out your video or audio product. I’m currently using it to write a screenplay, but I will soon be using it to plan out my videos, podcasts and other products that use video an audio or need any type of storyboarding. It’s available for both Mac and PC, it’s free and it’s fun to use. Celtx also has collaborative features for a small fee.

2. Scribblar.com

http://scribblar.com

If you need to collaborate with someone on your product, you can use this free online service to create a “room” which includes a whiteboard and a number of graphical tools and chat to plot out your product or sales page. I recently used this site to work with a client to plot out the layout and business model for his new website.

3. Curio

http://www.zengobi.com

This is for Mac only as far as I know, and it’s not free. But…well, you just have to see it to understand it. It allows you to capture all types of ideas, mind maps, sketches, diagrams – all in one place. I’ve used this one to outline and brainstorm one of my own products. With Curio you get tables, index cards, stencils, drawing tools, recording tools, you name it! If you know of anything similar for the PC please tell me! Like I said, it’s not free, but the folks at Zengobi are so nice, they will extend your free trial if you need it.

4. FreeMind

http://freemind.sourceforge.net

Of course there is FreeMind which was recently reviewed by a guest on my site. FreeMind is a popular, free mind mapping software that is available for both Mac and PC. This is great tool to keep track of your product research because you can include links to articles and websites that you find related to your product. It’s also a great tool to use to keep track of your competition or plot out your marketing strategy.

5. XMind

http://www.xmind.net

This is the one I’m currently using for mind mapping and brainstorming. Available for both Mac and PC and it’s free. I just love the look and feel of it mostly. You can make a number of tabbed sheets for each map, similar to creating an Excel workbook. You can also create a number of different types of diagrams (fishbone, org charts, etc). What I like about it is that you can create an online account and upload and share your maps. A plus for Xmind is that its compatible with FreeMind!

6. bubbl.us

http://bubbl.us

I used this one for a while. It’s quick, online and free. You can get started mind mapping without even creating an account. I used this to plot out a linking strategy for one of my websites. I’ve discussed bubbl.us a while back on the blog. As someone commented on that post bubbl.us is a good alternative to FreeMind (or other installable mind mapping software) because you don’t have to install it on your computer – and that means your maps are available anytime, anyplace.

7. Evernote

http://www.evernote.com

Evernote is the perfect (free) companion for researching and storing notes about your product. You can easily synchronize between the downloadable (Mac or PC) and web versions to keep track of your notes from your mobile phone. This is a great tool to capture web clippings, articles and images for your product.

8. DropBox

http://getdropbox.com

One thing that’s important to me is that all my product information (plans, ebook, video files, graphics, sales page, affiliate materials) are always available to me wherever I am. DropBox allows this to happen. I save all my product files in my DropBox folders on my computers (and iPad) and they are stored in the ‘cloud’ where DropBox automatically makes sure that the latest version is available on all my computers. It goes one step further by saving them in my online DropBox account as well. With the free version I get a revision history of about 30 days (in case I delete something by accident!) DropBox also allows you to share your folder with others, which is perfect for collaboration.

9. Google Docs

http://docs.google.com

I’ve written about Google Docs on the blog before: discussing it as a project management tool and explaining how to use it to create your ebook . Anyone who has worked on a project (or product) with me knows that I set up our projects in Google Docs! You can create folders and use the different applications to manage your projects as well as store your product related files and share them with others. It’s much easier than emailing numerous documents back and forth. And it’s free, of course, and available right in your Gmail account.

10. Remember the Milk

http://www.rememberthemilk.com

When you create a product, you will always have a list of tasks: create the product, edit it, create your sales page, get Clickbank approval, etc. The list goes on and on. Remember the Milk is a cool way to manage the tasks. And if you have a Gmail account (and use Google Docs!) your task list will integrate right into your email. You can create a Task List for each of your products, and have RTM email you reminders to complete them.

I’ve hopefully provided you a nice list of a variety of tools that you will use in your own product creation kit! Do you have any special favorite tools you use to manage your projects or keep organized? Please let me know!

Have a look at 10 MORE tools for your product creation toolkit!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Kristin White
Twitter:
August 27, 2010, 12:25 am

Hi Gwen,

I am also taking the 31DBBB Challenge.

I have used several of the tools on this page with positive experiences and have to say XMIND is one of my favorites.

Thanks for the list!

~Kristin
Kristin White´s last post ..Twitter Updates for 2010-08-25

Lisbeth Tanz
Twitter:
August 27, 2010, 9:28 pm

This is a fantastic list – I’ve bookmarked it for later. I love free – especially when the programs work well and come recommended by people I trust. Thank you!
Lisbeth Tanz´s last post ..Is Twitter Worth the Twouble- er- Trouble

Piotr Krzyzek
Twitter:
August 28, 2010, 11:23 am

SWEET tips Gwen!

You’re always a treasure trove of information and resources. Bookmarked the article :) I’ll for sure use a lot of this to help improve me one product out and help create my 2nd product!

I’ve only used freemind and dropbox. Though I’ve never ‘really’ used dropbox. I just keep it around …. just cause. Guess it really does have some awesome uses :)

Thanks again,
–PK
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Stephanie Krishnan
Twitter:
August 30, 2010, 2:08 am

Gewn, I’m visiting from 31DBBB and I’m loving these! I’ll be checking some of them out (freemind really grabs me), and I love how you look at these being available on different OS. Keep it up!

Oh – and I love dropbox for integration with iPhone – I can take a photo and have it synced with all my computers!
Stephanie Krishnan´s last post ..5 ways to use OpenOffice for Students Research- Study &amp Student Life

Steve from bookmarking
Twitter:
August 30, 2010, 11:19 am

Hi Gwen, This is an excellent review of some great resources. I’ve used FreeMind to but I really liked The Brain for mind mapping, that is until the free trial ran out :-( Now I do my own mind mapping by using and including shortcuts to everything that’s related to a project, i.e., photos, graphics and videos all stored in the same project folder. It’s like mind mapping without the map part but using windows alone to keep things together. I can’t wait to try Celtx and Scribblar. Thanks for sharing Gwen, be well, Steve D.
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Alex from niche site marketing
Twitter:
August 30, 2010, 7:02 pm

I love free tools, and this is a great resource you are sharing here Gwen!

Thanks so much for putting it together – tweeted (0f course)

Thanks for coming over and commenting on my blog today so that I may find this great list :)
Alex@niche site marketing´s last post ..Automate your Social Bookmarking…Free!

Ed from The Ed Files September 1, 2010, 2:25 pm

Hey Gwen,

Just when you think you have all the tools you will ever need, for maintaining and inproving your online business, more and more appear to improve it even more!

Gwen you have delivered some great internet resources here, none of which I have to say i have even heard off but for sure they are pencilled in for a visit, great input….Ed.
Ed@The Ed Files´s last post ..Selling on eBay- and Having a passion for chicken Nuggets Relates to Your eBay Success

adrian from I-COM SEO September 14, 2010, 7:56 am

Great list – worth remembering that http://www.editgrid.com is also a very useful free web-based online spreadsheet.
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Ian from Project Management Software
Twitter:
September 14, 2010, 8:02 am

Springpad is a free Android app that helps you remember stuff — places, websites, books, recipes, ideas, anything – well worth taking a look at

Dan from pharoah costumes September 18, 2010, 2:49 am

Hi Gwen,

This is an excellent review of some great resources. This list of resources sounds interesting and helpful. Now i know a lot of things with the drop box. It amazes me to know that it can be integrated with iPhone – I can take a photo and have it synced with all my computers! Thanks with this brilliant information.

Yvonne A Jones
Twitter:
September 27, 2010, 8:32 pm

Gwen, I may be in the minority, but other than Google docs, which I’ve used several times, I’ve never heard of the others. Once again you’ve provided valuable resources that are worth checking out and I definitely will be doing so. Thank you!
Yvonne A Jones´s last post ..Your Blog- Use Your Blog to Establish Your Credibility Online

Deb Augur
Twitter:
January 13, 2011, 12:11 pm

Hi Gwen,

Spectacular list of free tools! I’m definitely going to check out Dropbox and Remember the Milk (LOL – cool domain name!)

I don’t travel much but having access such as dropbox offers sounds fantastic. Scribblar is also something I would use.

Much appreciated sources!
Deb Augur´s last post ..4 -Video Scripting

Gwen Tanner
Twitter:
January 13, 2011, 10:16 pm

In response to Deb’s comment:

Hi Deb,

So nice to see you. I was thinking about you not to long ago!! I hope things are going well. With you, I’m sure they are LOL

Thanks for visiting,
Gwen

Mandy Allen
Twitter:
January 18, 2011, 7:24 am

Hi Gwen, I use Remember the Milk, great resource. Hope you are ok and Happy New Year to you!

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy
Mandy Allen´s last post ..A New Year Begins

Alan Ashwood
Twitter:
February 2, 2011, 5:52 am

Hi Gwen, my first visit here.

This is a great list of very useful tools. I would never have tracked them down alone, so you’ve saved me a lot of work. From reading your post, I gather you’re a very well organised individual. What’s it like?
Also, I’m so so so grateful that you mention when tools are OK for the Mac. As a (rare in the UK) Mac devotee, I often find many products (programs) for Internet Marketing are for PC only. I usually discover this AFTER I’ve bought them.
I’ll bookmark your site, fro my return visit.
Best wishes
Alan
From The Magic Forest, England
Alan Ashwood´s last post ..9 Point Plan to Make Money Online In One Day

Gwen Tanner
Twitter:
February 2, 2011, 9:14 am

In response to Alan’s comment:

Hi Alan,

Mac users seem to be forgotten in the Internet Marketing world LOL! I try to stick with online tools as much as possible these days just for that reason. I enjoy using my Mac too much!

Thanks for visiting,
Gwen

Melanie Kissell
Twitter:
February 9, 2011, 3:14 am

First off, I love list posts … and this is an outstanding list of product creation tools.

I’m most anxious to take a peek a “Remember the Milk” and I’m definitely going to bookmark this page. :)

Thank you, Gwen!
Melanie Kissell´s last post ..Social Media- Express More Vulnerability

Gwen Tanner
Twitter:
February 9, 2011, 7:04 am

In response to Melanie’s comment:

Hi Melanie,

Thanks so much Melanie. It’s amazing how many FREE tools you can find online that you can use to help with your product creation. Remember the Milk easily integrates into your gmail account as well to help you track your tasks. Many tools integrate with one another, giving you a customized product creation product management system!

Thanks for visiting,
Gwen

Cindy Murphy
Twitter:
February 9, 2011, 5:47 am

Hi Gwen,

Thank you so much for sharing this list. I love learning about new tools and since I am in the middle of some product creations myself, these tools will come in handy.

I bookmarked them for future use and will certainly share your tools with others.

Have a wonderful day,

Cindy
Cindy Murphy´s last post ..Are You Making Excuses l How About Finding Solutions

Gwen Tanner
Twitter:
February 9, 2011, 7:05 am

In response to Cindy’s comment:

Hi Cindy,

I love learning new tools too! Please share anything else you find useful and I’ll be sure to post it here to share with everyone!

Thanks for visiting,
Gwen

Lynn Brown
Twitter:
February 9, 2011, 8:36 pm

This is an awesome list of tools Gwen -thank you so much – I have added your post to my favorites! And I have to agree with Melanie, I love list posts too. I am already using some of the tools you have listed, but there are others I am certainly going to try out very soon!
Lynn Brown´s last post ..What Are the 3 C’s of Effective Facebook Marketing

Gwen Tanner
Twitter:
February 12, 2011, 12:14 am

In response to Lynn’s comment:

Hi Lynn,

I appreciate your comments and I hope you find some very useful tools in this list to keep in your stash!!

Thanks for visiting,
Gwen

Matt
Twitter:
May 10, 2011, 2:42 pm

Glad you mentioned dropbox – I love it. It’s pretty much central to what I do. I use a laptop and netbook when travelling and used to email documents before I realized I could just sync them with Dropbox!
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Andrei from DPF Delete Kits
Twitter:
June 18, 2012, 12:41 pm

Out of the 10 mentioned, I use two of those. These are Google Docs and dropbox, and so far so good. The two are really useful. If I have time, I’m gonna try the other 8. Thanks for the tools.
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