From scheduling and organizing to billing and publishing, it takes an army of hacks, apps and productivity tools to keep your business running smoothly.
Even before I legit started my blogging business, I knew it would take a few business productivity tools to not only get it up and running but to keep it operating efficiently.
When you are working in a corporate office setting — there are probably already systems in place before you even got there. But when you’re establishing your own solo business and working from home, it’s easy to forget that creating systems is now your sole responsibility along with everything else.
When you’re establishing yourself as a business owner, whether you’re doing it solo or not, attention to every little detail is paramount.
From the look of my invoices to my social media posts and from my client onboarding to my blog, these are the business productivity tools that I use every day.
1. Google Calendar keeps my schedule organized. Between coffee dates, client reviews, phone interviews, Skype meetings and networking events, it’s hard to keep it all straight in my head without having an online tool that keeps it all in sync.
As soon as I confirm a meeting, event or interview via email — I turn that email into an event that plugs into the calendar. I set notification reminders a month, a week, a day or an hour in advance. It’s that simple!
2. Google Drive is for keeping my files organized. Especially because I stock up on a lot of images, graphics and logos that I want to use either on our social feeds or on the blogs. For my clients, I advise them to upload and send me their creative assets either via a Google Drive link.
3. Evernote helps me keep all of my content ideas, topics, research, lists and notes organized. I keep unique notebooks for all of my projects and collect notes, images, and reminders within that notebook. Plus it syncs from desktop to laptop to phone. Whether
When I’m working with a freelance client, I keep all their info that I need to access on a daily basis in their own project notebook. For See Girl Work, I keep a running list of blog post topic ideas.
4. Content Calendar is a super-simple excel doc that helps me create, organize and manage our blog content. Once a post topic is confirmed, it goes from Evernote into my content calendar. I use this excel doc to help me plan out its publishing date for the blog and our newsletter as well.
Client and Customer Management
5. FreshBooks is the cloud accounting software that I use to track my billable hours, client tasks and expenses. But what I love about Freshbooks is that once I create the invoice, I never have to think about it again.
Everything becomes automated so it does all the follow ups and reminders for me. Plus with Freshbooks, I can accept Paypal, direct bank deposit and even credit cards.
With Freshbooks, I can also brand my invoices so everything looks professional. I downloaded the app on my iPhone to track expenses and working hours on the go.
6. Eventbrite is something new that I just started using this year for See Girl Work. I’ve been loving doing workshops and planning for our upcoming Speaker Series event, and Eventbrite has made it easy to deal with all the ticketing transactions.
I’ve integrated Eventbrite with Mailchimp, so that attendees are synced into our mailing list once they RSVP to an event or workshop. I’ve integrated it with my Google Analytics to track traffic and I’ve added my Facebook pixel to track those conversions as well.
I also really love reading their blog and downloading all the resources they share for planning, marketing and hosting a great event. It’s really been a helpful business tool as we plan out a year of marketing workshops and networking events.
7. Paypal is an easy and trusted online business tool that allows me to receive payments and pay out invoices. I link it to my FreshBooks account to receive payments from clients and I link it to my Eventbrite account so that attendees can easily pay for the events and workshops that I facilitate.
I also use Paypal to pay for recurring monthly transactions like Facebook ads, Photoshop CC and Mailchimp.
8. Canva is the online image tool that I use just about every day. It’s kind of a “cheat” for days I don’t feel like running Photoshop CC. But it does the trick at no extra cost.
Canva has all the social media size templates so I do most of my social media image re-sizing using this platform. I also like having all my brand colours and font styles easily accessible as well.
9. Mailchimp is the world’s leading email marketing platform. Mailchimp allows me to send marketing emails, automated messages, and send targeted campaigns. Plus detailed reports help me keep improving our email marketing strategy.
10. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling service. Easily organize, manage and schedule your content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Once a post is published, it goes into Hoosuite.
I no longer use a social media calendar on a regular basis for See Girl Work, but I couldn’t operate the blog successfully without using Hootsuite to help me automate our social media marketing.
11. Later helps me manage content for our Instagram feed. I upload images from my computer, copy in my post caption and create the hashtags. But the main reason I use Later is to help me plan out the visual grid.
What Business Tools Can’t You Live Without?
These are the 11 business productivity tools that I can’t live out. My business will be different from yours, so perhaps your list looks a lot different. But I’d love to know, what business tools can’t you live without?