5 Free Apps To Help Turn Your Passion Into Profit

Create a business plan, build a website, protect your business, and more.


Many a personal pursuit has the potential to be the basis of a successful company. (Just ask Steve Wozniak, who designed computers for fun before Apple started mass-producing his creations.) If you’ve got a pastime, these tools can help you bootstrap it into a profession.


1. For getting your act together

Try Centro Business Planning Tool (Android, iOS) if you’re looking for some guidance when cobbling together a business plan. The app walks you through a series of questions that cover finances, operations, your value proposition, target markets, and more. The app is structured as a string of activities; once you complete them all, you’ll have yourself a nice little business plan to work with.

2. For setting your sights on a site

Weebly (Android, iOS) offers an easy way to quickly set up a website. Features include drag-and-drop elements such as photos and blocks of text, and there are more than 100 preset themes for you to choose from. Updating your site is dead simple. It can be done from any connected device, and there are relatively robust reporting features so you can keep an eye on your traffic. The most basic level of service is free, but after you get going, you’ll want to spring for extras such as your own custom domain name.

3. For sealing deals

If you need to make sure your bases are covered, use Shake (Android, iOS). This app helps you whip up contracts that you and another party can sign on the spot. There are preselectable templates available that you can customize to your liking. Contracts can be routed electronically for signatures as well.

4. For selling locally

If you’re looking to sell your handmade items around your neighborhood, take VarageSale (Android, iOS) for a spin. You start by virtually joining your local community, which features a local administrator to make sure things stay civil. People use their real-name Facebook accounts so that there’s no anonymity, and product listings sport photos and the ability to ask questions.

5. For collecting your moolah

Zoho (Android, iOS) pulls double duty as a fully featured invoicing and easy-to-use time-tracking app. Billing clients takes a few quick taps, and payments can be received electronically via several payment processors–PayPal and being two of the bigger names. There are prebuilt invoice templates, and you can even track expenses by taking photos of your receipts.