There is a lot that goes into running a small business.
You're responsible for creating content, analyzing blog growth, responding to emails, playing tech support, designing your brand... the list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are a team of one, like me.
To help my business run a little smoother, I have relied on a few tools that have made all the difference.
That's why I wanted to share this blog post today. I absolutely love these tools and couldn't run my business without them and I think you will love them, too. But, I also want to hear what your favorite resources are, so be sure to let me know in the comments.
Now, let's dive in!
1 | Asana
Asana is a digital management platform aimed at small business owners and teams. It took me a while to discover how Asana could be useful for my business, as a solo-preneur, but now that I have officially jumped on the bandwagon I am kicking myself for how long it took me.
A few of my favorite things about Asana are: simple categorization and organization, intuitive design, amazing branding and of course.. because it's free.
Pre-Asana my organization was a notebook filled with to-do's, ideas and game-plans. Unfortunately, most of those big ideas never led anywhere because I had no accountability. Asana provides accountability with simple deadlines, email reminders and app notifications. I also love that each project can align with different facets of my business.
Personally, I use Asana to track and manage my content queue and business tasks. I'm currently working on adding client tasks and work flows to my Asana dashboard.
Asana is incredibly easy to use, especially for a project management system. But, with a quick read through a few blog posts I was able to get it up and running in no time.
Plus, I love the design and functionality of the platform. And being a designer, I take design and functionality pretty seriously.
Again, as a designer, branding goes a long way with me and Asana's creative approach to their branding makes me loyal.
I mean, who doesn't want flying unicorns?
For those of you who have never used Asana, yes, they have flying unicorns to motivate your daily accomplishments with a unicorn, narwhal, yeti or phoenix (to name a few) leaping across your screen.
It may not mean too much to most people, but a little creative encouragement and branding goes a long way with me.
2 | And.Co
And.Co from Fiver is a free resource I use to handle client contracts, invoices, expenses and much more.
With each new client or client project, I create a new contract. A contract ensures my client's and I know what to expect from one another during the design process and keeps us both accountable. And.Co makes it really simple to send contracts that my clients and I can both sign. Plus, they offer templates for people who haven't created their own custom contracts.
And.Co is a one-stop-shop for all my client paperwork and files. Immediately after the contract is signed, the invoice can be sent to my client. Their invoices provide a lot of customization with how payments are structured and easy to adjust if unexpected expenses occur.
Expenses + Additional Perks
And.Co also offers a few additional perks that I love. I can track all of my expenses, track my hours and set-up automatic payments.
I exclusively offer retainer hours to past branding clients and being able to set-up a subscription is a really simple way to structure the payments.As you can see below, their subscription service allows you to auto-charge your clients without having to create a new invoice.
3 | GSuite
I use Google for errythang. A few of my favorites being: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and Google Calendar.
A professional email address goes a long way in legitimizing your business. I relate it to having a professional web address. People take you more seriously when you are willing to invest in your business. Plus, Google for business only costs $5/month. It's very reasonable and definitely solidifies your brand and business.
I use the Google docs for all of my client homework, JPD Shop how-to's and blog post drafts. They are really simple to use, you can access them from anywhere (hello, mobile app) and easily create copies of documents or templates you use frequently (i.e., client homework).
For Google sheets, I use them to track web and social media analytics and expenses. Google Sheets are also really simple to use and access from anywhere.
Google Drive is where I house all of my content and files. This is honestly just for simplicity reasons. It's so much easier to track down a file when you house them all in one location. Below, you can see how I have my Pinterest graphics organized in my Google Drive.
Lastly, I use the Google Calendar to track my client schedule.
I decided to try something new for Q3, where I utilize a booking period. For example, my booking period is currently open until July 1st and I am booking clients for July, August and September. Once July 1st hits, my booking period will close and remain closed until September 1st.
This allows me to schedule clients in my Google Calendar and organize them easily and efficiently.
What are a few tools and resources that are must-have's for your business? Let me know in the comments!