Do you know exactly what apps you’re paying for and what they amount to each year? An “app sweep” is a great way to get clear on what apps you actually NEED in your business and then cancel the ones you don’t.
“Oh, it’s just $5 a month? Yeah, I could really use this app.”
If the above sounds familiar, you are definitely not alone. For business owners these days, a steady stream of advertised paid apps promising to make our lives easier has become standard fare.
And hey, don’t get me wrong, some of these apps are well worth our money because they DO save us a lot of time and energy. They give back much more than they cost.
But, that being said, an annual “sweep” of all the apps we pay for is a fantastic way to keep our subscriptions in check and make sure we’re continuing to be mindful of our business expenses.
After all, every app we pay for means less money going into our pocket, am I right?
Use the following 3-step “App Sweep” to get your app subscriptions in check and back under control.
If you’re ready to get clear on what apps you’re paying for and decide which ones are essential, you’re ready for the sweep. Let’s go!
Step 1: Make an inventory list
Our first step is to take stock of the apps we’re using. Make a complete list of all the apps you pay for either monthly or annually (leave the free ones out).
To make sure you don’t miss any, I recommend not doing this for memory but rather looking over your credit card statements over the past year. Everything you’re paying for will have shown up there at least once.
If you like, organize your apps into categories i.e. Marketing, Finances, Productivity, Communications, etc.
I’ve listed some of the most popular paid business apps below to get you started:
PandaDoc (or your proposal app)
FreshBooks (or your invoicing app)
Trello (or your project management app)
MailChimp (or your email marketing app)
Step 2: Get introspective
Go over your entire inventory list of apps and for each one, ask yourself the following questions:
Is there a free alternative to this app that can meet my needs?
A Google search will always yield lots of options for free apps. For example, for my email signature, I recently replaced the paid Wisestamp app with the free Hubspot Email Signature Generator. And I canceled my paid Boomerang email scheduling app when I realized that Gmail now has a built-in scheduling feature.
Is there a free/basic version of this app that can meet my needs?
Apps will often offer tiered plans with varying degrees of features. If you’re signed up for one of the paid plans, make sure you’ve checked out their free/basic plan (if they have one) and determined whether that one will do. For example, I recently downgraded from a paid Calendly plan to their free version when I realized I could make it work just fine.
Is this app making my life or workflow easier in a significant and meaningful way?
I love Cal Newport’s notion of the “any-benefit mindset.” He claims that in these modern times, people are often inclined to sign up for a new app if it offers ANY benefit – even if that benefit is minuscule in size or will actually cause detriment to us in other areas, such as stealing a massive amount of our attention and robbing us of our capacity for deep work. Only you can know when an app is truly worth adding to your mental load and financial statements, and when it isn’t.
Step 3: Do the sweep!
Which apps didn’t make the cut? For any apps that you either found free alternatives for or decided aren’t worth your money, cancel them (right now – don’t wait!). And for any that you discovered the free/basic plans work just fine, go ahead and downgrade your subscriptions (right now – don’t wait!).
Congratulations, you’ve done the app sweep.
Feels good, doesn’t it? To know that you’re only paying for apps that are making a real difference in your professional life?
Now, for extra credit, set a reminder on your calendar to do this again one year from today. New apps will have a way of sneaking in 😉
You also might enjoy…
For more from Janelle (that’s me!) at Ellanyze, check out these other quick reads: