Given that I will be attempting to run this little project while in school, keeping on-going costs as low as possible is key. I will have no physical inventory and will be working almost exclusively online or on the phone. So my goal was to pull together a powerful set of software tools for next to nothing. Given the recent explosion of online tools and software as a service — and of course Google — it wasn’t that difficult. Most of this stuff is free.
Email, calendar, spreadsheets, docs: Google Apps (Up to 50 accounts free on my domain! And it supports Blackberry! Now I just need a Blackberry…)
Scheduling: Time To Meet
Domain/Hosting: GoDaddy (Okay, this isn’t free but it’s cheap enough for now.)
Project mangement: Basecamp
Contact management: Highrise
Blog: WordPress, Feedburner
Conference calls: freeconferencecall.com
Payment: Google Checkout, Paypal, Yahoo Merchant Services.
Fax: (Who faxes!?! But it’s free so, what the hell.) eFax
That’s not to say I don’t have a few programs up my sleeve that are just ridiculously expensive, but nice to have considering: Microsoft Office, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Quickbooks.
As for outsourcing of web development and other technical stuff out of my reach, I will be looking to elance.com, scriptlance.com, or rentacoder.com. At each of these sites you post your needs and coders/designers bid for the job.