As a small business we believe in simplicity and systems so that we can run our business effectively while maximizing the time we spend with clients and creating content. We believe in doing to the most with what you have or with as little resources as possible when you are just beginning. Today we are discussing 5 tools that changed our business and helped us become more efficient and consistent. Today we’re discussing 5 tools that we use to run our business, that make our lives easier, saves us time, and wouldn’t want to do business without.
Notion.so is our favorite tool that we use to organize our business. We use Notion for all administration and project management tasks. Notion has a mixture of Lists with Sub-Tasks and Board Style so you get the best of both worlds and it is very visual. We have boards for our Business docs to Client processes, to our Content Planner. I am able to organize all of our information so I know exactly what tasks need to be done. The great thing about Notion is that it lets you organize your workspace the way that you want or the way that makes the most sense to you. I have my to do lists setup, my quarterly goals, yearly goals for planning. I also have boards for fitness and finance tracking and so much more. We are also able to manage client work, so we can invite our clients to their own board so they can see which tasks need to be done. The basic account is free up to 1000 boards/cards but sign up through this link and get a $10 credit (2 months free) towards a paid plan.
Edit: In the video we mention Asana but we recently made the switch to Notion.so and absolutely love it. While we still like Asana, Notion works better for us.
We know there is forever an ongoing debate on which website platform to use and while we have experience with all of them, we think that the easiest and most efficient platform is Squarespace. Out of all the platforms, it is the easiest to get started but also still look visually appealing. Due to the fact that Squarespace has grown so much, they have all the functionality that we need. If you are looking to get started quickly, we suggest Squarespace. Pricing plans have a good range so you can most likely find a plan that is in your budget. There are also a huge amount of Squarespace resources if you are struggling with something and need help. If you grow out of the functionality that Squarespace offers or you need something really custom, then you can always upgrade to a platform like WordPress later on.
I think the aspect of business that most creatives don’t like is keeping track of the accounting. We know we don’t want to add even more numbers to our plate, we want something that can run itself throughout the year with very minimal effort. Therefore, we suggest Wave Accounting. Wave lets me connect bank accounts and PayPal accounts and keeps track of all spending. We definitely recommend having a bank account specifically for your business only so you can keep track of just your business income and expenses. If you keep track of expenses every two weeks or once a month, then taxes at the end of the year are very easy.
We all know how important it is to be growing your email list right? (If you don’t, we definitely recommend you start). I’ve always loved how easy it was to use MailChimp but also didn’t want to pay for ConvertKit when I wasn’t making any money from my business yet, so I found MailerLite which allows you to have 1000 subscribers for free and you even get automation, segmenting, and signup forms. The drag and drop email builder makes it easy to create emails quickly. You can also schedule emails so you can plan ahead. I also like that when you do have to start using a paid plan, the least expensive one is only $9.99.
If there is one thing we have learned in our business it is that; Consistency is Key. For awhile, we were not consistent with our social media mosts especially on Instagram. Or we would be rushing to find any picture to post just to get something up. We never took the time to curate a pretty feed, until we started using Planoly. We’re obsessed. You can upload your media, arrange it so that you can see how it will look in your feed and then drag and drop onto a calendar to schedule. You can create your comments, add your hashtags, and more! I think the best part is auto-posting is now allowed so you don’t even have to open your phone to post to Instagram. Planoly does send a notification when it does post and then you can go in and engage with those commenting or with the hashtags. Planoly has saved us so much time and effort and has given us a better looking feed.
Want even more resources?
Some of these tools have helped us automate or structure our business so we didn’t have to hire more help. You do not have to go overboard with using too many tools and we suggest keeping it as simple as possible. We just thought we would let you know what we use.
We have included all of the resources, tools, and apps that we use in our creative online business. As a branding studio, there might be a few more design apps that we use more than other businesses but we thought we would give you a glimpse into what we use. We hope you find it useful and hope that you can give some of these a try!