When you start your own business, people usually overlook one thing, the software they need to run it. Especially when you come from a corporate background, having the software installed on your PC or laptop was something the IT department would take care of, perhaps after filling in some forms. When you are on your own, this is something you need to do yourself now. And yes, you could get the industry-leading professional software illegally from torrent sites. A solution that is quite tempting, especially if you have learned your trade on those programs. But the risk of illegal software lies in malicious modifications being made to it and always the looming danger of being found out and getting fined. Despair not, there are free and cheap alternatives to make sure your business isn’t held back by the lack of digital tools.
There is no denying that Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard concerning photo editing. Making a brochure that requires using images and extensive masking is still done best on Photoshop, but there is a free, completely open source contender: Gimp. And if you are worried about support and resources, don’t worry! Gimp is reliable and has a large community supporting it.
If photo editing and pixel resolution is not your thing and you prefer the cleanliness of vectors, you probably have learned your skills on Adobe Illustrator. Also, AI has a free alternative in Inkscape. Available for Windows and Mac (and even Linux for those who go entirely open source) and experienced AI users should be able to find their way around quite quickly.
If you’re not an illustrator but more into movie editing, then the professional packages will be a substantial investment. Avid’s Media Composer costs $1,299 for a license, Adobe Premiere Pro goes for around $240 a year and Apple’s Final Cut Pro is priced at $299. Let’s not forget Final Cut used to be a cool grand to purchase, so the $299 price tag is really a bargain, but if that is still too much there is an alternative! Blackmagic offers DaVinci Resolve, a free version of its paid-for version (Studio) that, unless you are creating state-of-the-art large video productions for the cinema, will be fine for most.
Also, for the standard, bread-and-butter productivity software there are alternatives to the Microsoft Office Suite. LibreOffice is a good alternative for all those word-processing needs, spreadsheet calculation, and flashy presentations.
There are plenty of alternatives around for pretty much anything you might need. Be it 3d sculpting, online cloud storage, website analytics, antivirus software, music and sampling software, and even operating systems. Be sure to do research and ensure that there are no nasty usage limits, export limitations or watermarks for using the software. However, some platforms are so perfect as they are, much like Algo Trading, they are worth the money, and you’d be hard pushed to find an investment software that will give you better services. So, shop smart and only pay for software that will benefit you in the long run.