I'm the owner and creative mind behind One6Creative – a conversion-led creative studio that is passionate about helping creative businesses and inspiring entrepreneurs elevate their business through the power of brand & strategy. Through our blog and resources, we aim to educate fellow creative entrepreneurs on how to grow their business with purpose and intention. Welcome!
If you would like to schedule things in advance and automate more processes in your business on a shoestring budget, you’re going to love this post, friend!
In case you didn’t know this about me already, I loooove me some tools that help me to do just that and to generally make my business routine so much easier. But don’t get me wrong, I was the DIY queeeeeeen when I was just starting out and wore it like a badge of honour. After all, as a starting entrepreneur it’s really hard to part with your hard-earned money (heck, it still is for me sometimes) – especially to pay for something (or someone) to do the things that you could do yourself.
But pretty soon, I started realising that the time I was spending on trying to do something myself was actually more expensive than it was to oursource. For example, I would spend hoursssss putting together contracts, proposals, and invoices for my clients, but now all is done with just a couple of clicks and saves me so much time and energy.
However, there’s a “dark” side to all of this too.
I fell so in love with these tools and apps that when I was reviewing my numbers at the end of the year, I realised just how much money I was spending on them (Like $350+…)! And what’s worse… I actually forgot I subscribed to some of them!
So, I sat down to write a list of all my current tools which truly make an impact on my business, and I’ve narrowed them down to the top 5 to share with you today, friend!
Before we dive in, I want to be completely transparent with you and let you know that some of these recommendations do have affiliate links.
Meaning that if you do decide to sign up through me (at no extra cost to you, of course), I’ll get a little bonus on the backend. But I want to assure you that these recommendations are tried and tested in my own business first and they’re the ones that I personally still use today.
So, without further ado, here are my 5 short, sweet and ultimate everyday business saving tools:
If I had to choose just one app that makes the most difference in my business, it would be Dubsado!
It’s a client management software that takes care of all my clients with minimal effort. For example, on my website, if you’re interested in working with me, you will:
and so much more.
Personally, I’m still scratching the surface with this software, but it’s a pure power machine and really helped me to automate and simplify my client onboarding process and makes me look super profesh!
Pssst, if that’s not enough, Dubsado recently also launched their Scheduler, which means that I no longer need to use Calendly to book my client consultations. Everything is in one place and integrates perfectly with my personal calendar!
Probably a tool that many people know, but it deserves to be on this list because I use it daily!
From managing my emails through GMail (which I really prefer to Outlook!) to having the whole Google Suite available via Google Drive, it’s a steal for its monthly price.
Just as an example of how I use it:
Investment: $6/user/month for Basic Plan
You can grab a 20% off your first year with my code F63TTT393TTX9XR for a Basic account or UDETYD7AJEQRERX for a Business account! Score!
I don’t know how I would survive without this amazing project-management program!
I use it to store all my projects, as well as to run my agency with the help of my assistant. You can set deadlines, delegate tasks to someone, write comments, attach files and so.much.more!
Besides storing everything agency-related there (notes, ideas, tasks, content ideas, etc), every time a new client comes on board, they receive their very own Asana board with all the steps we will be taking from start to finish.
In the paid version, you also have the timeline feature, which my clients find incredibly useful and I find that it helps with client delays (as they can visually see that a delay from their side will cause a delay on all other things in the project).
I’ve used the free ASANA plan for over 2 years in my business and only recently switched to a paid version because I wanted to play around with the extra features as my business grows. But considering how much stress and time it saves me… it certainly is worth the investment!
Investment: $9.99/user/month, but they also have a FREE plan available
There are many social media management tools out there and, trust me, I’ve tried them ALL!
When I was choosing the one that would suit our agency best, it was important for me that:
And Later ticked ALL the boxes!
I think when choosing the right platform for you, you need to give all of them a try. Usually, they all come with a trial or with a free plan that offers limited services. Give each of them a go and see what works best for you!
Investment: From $0/month to $49/month (what my agency uses)
Overview: As a designer, I never actually thought I would use Canva, which is a simple online design tool, but as my team grew, I realised… girl, not everyone is a designer! 🙂
My assistant, for example, doesn’t have access to the Adobe programs I use and there’s no real need for me to spend time training her because… we have Canva! Woop woop!
I spent an afternoon creative graphic templates that she can easily change for each blog post, social media post, Pinterest pin etc. And it’s soooo easy! I honestly can see why people love it!
If you’re not a designer or simply need some graphic inspiration, Canva has some beautiful templates that you can use, brand, edit as you like. It made our workflow with my assistant much easier and faster too. Oh… the cherry on top? FREE!
Investment: $0/month (which we use) or $12.95/month for a Business Plan (but we don’t have the need for it at the moment)
And there we have it! Not bad for a shoestring budget list of tools, right?
Remember, when you’re just starting out, it’s important to note which tools are absolutely necessary for you to run your business more efficiently. There’s a time and place to invest in more tools later down the line as your business grows.
But, the 5 tools about are my absolute favourite and when things get chaotic (ummm… which is like, every day)!
Of course, there are still other tools that I use in my business and I’m always on the hunt for other tools to try. But these will definitely give you a head start to get things up and running much more smoothly than DIY-ing all of the everyday tasks.
Aaaaaaand there we have it, my friend! Now it’s your turn! Which tools are you using (and luuuuvin’) in your business to keep your boat afloat?
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