As a creative business owner, there comes a point when you have to put in the work and get yourself organised. For some of us, this comes more easily than others. I know that I bumbled along for many years, holding information in my head and scribbling ideas on scraps of paper. I have always loved the feel and look of handwritten notebooks but the reality was, it wasn't working for me.
Earlier this year, I bought myself a new laptop. The first computer I have ever had, all of my own. With my shiny new laptop in hand, I began a switch that would later on become a force of power in my creative business.
I switched over to online organisation.
And you know what. I haven’t looked back. In fact, I have become somewhat of a productivity tool junkie and today I am counting down my favourites …
Oh Trello! I would be lost without you. At it’s simplest it can manage your To Do list but it really comes into it’s own when you use it to capture ideas, plan projects, document workflows and collaborate with others. Intuitive, easy to use and visually appealing. Trello is the ultimate hub for planning and managing your creative business.
Momentum is a Google Chrome Extension. With this app you can make your browser more inspiring and focused on productivity. The interface is gorgeous and clean. Each day you are greeted with an inspiring photo, an uplifting quote and your main focus of the day. You can also link it to your Trello account, a feature that I love!
If you want to create beautifully designed graphics and documents for your business, look no further than Canva. The free version of Canva is brilliant but if you want to streamline your processes even more, the paid version enables you to set up branded templates and save time.
Managing multiple social media accounts can be tedious and time consuming. That’s where Later comes in. Later enables you to schedule and plan your posts for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest ahead of time. You can create one post and push it out to multiple platforms, visually plan your feed, schedule posts while you are on holiday, save groups of hashtags and easily respond to comments.
One of the challenges of Instagram is the inability to include links within posts, leaving you reliant on the link in your bio. Linktree makes that bio link work harder by enabling you to include multiple links so you can direct your audience to your blog, online shop, podcast etc.
This clever little application is like having a fairy in your inbox. It sorts your inbox for you. Identifying what is important and neatly putting less pressing items such as newsletters and receipts into folders for you to look at later. It also has a folder called the Black Hole, where you can drag any thing that you want to unsubscribe from and you will never see emails like it again. Magic. It is a paid application but the time it saves you makes it worth it.
I am a Google Girl! So much goodness in one place. The main applications I use are Gmail for email, Google Drive and Google Photos to back up and share work, Google Forms to create surveys and Google Calendar for scheduling.
If you haven't started building your email list, it is time to start. I use Mail Chimp to store email addresses and send out newsletters to my subscribers. It is easy to use and integrates easily with your website.
For website creation, Squarespace provides clean, intuitive templates and is easy for beginners to get started with. It does take a bit of time to set up but once you have your website up and running, Squarespace makes it easy for you to manage and make changes.
When I first started thinking about offering online classes, I looked into building my own platform and I quickly became overwhelmed. Fortunately, I discovered Teachable. A wonderful platform for building and selling online classes. Teachable has an easy drag and drop interface, excellent online support and integrated eCommerce capabilities.
PayPal is a well respected and powerful tool for invoicing and receiving payments from your customers. With excellent reporting and mobile options for receiving payments, its a great way to get started selling your work.
I get asked which photo editing apps I use all the time, but the truth is that I don't tend to use them. I put my energy into taking it right in my smart phone camera and only make small adjustments to brightness, contrast and saturation. When I want professional photographs for my website, my husband uses his DSLR and edits the photos in Adobe LightRoom.
If you decide to go down the podcasting route, Anchor is a great tool for getting your podcast out to all the different platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher. With one click of a button your podcast will be well on it’s way to the ears of many.
So that’s it, with all these tools, isn’t it a great time to be a creative business owner! I’ve shared my favourites, let me know yours in the comments!