Updated: Mar 25, 2020
The 5 tools I use in my business the most are all virtual. These are my personal opinion and each service has many others just like it. I suggest trying a couple out before settling with just one.
First and foremost Google! I use Google drive to hold all my client files (I do also keep backups on a USB) but I keep them all on drive so that I can easily send files to contracted help, or the clients themselves. I am also able to set up files and folders so that the clients can feed me information and I can return it the form they need. It works on my phone, iPad and computer and because it’s all cloud based I can work from any device and have all the files I need right there. This is great for when I make social media posts on my iPad, but then need the same image to put on there website or blog post.
Google also has Google docs which is a word processor, spreadsheet, slideshow producer etc. They all work much like the Microsoft brand and can be opened in Microsoft brand softwares. But they are also cloud bases which for me makes them so much more convenient. I can start a note with a team member and then can then go in and fill in the blanks. Or with clients we can have a spreadsheet going, we can all see who added what and when, and we can all get notifications if someone updates something. These tools are often overwhelming for my clients when I first explain how simple and great they are. ( I think it is the simplicity that actually scares them, as in “that sounds too simple, it must not be that easy”) once I get them into them they are hooked and often integrate them into their daily lives.
There is also Google calendar, google assistant, and googles gmail all of which everything syncs and you can manage and control so much all from multiple devices.
Next is QuickBooks online. This is the most user friendly bookkeeping tool I have found. Yes there is a monthly fee and it depends what you are looking for as to how much you pay. But even on the basic package you are able to see graphs and charts of how your business is doing as soon as you login. (Which could be good or bad, I know I avoided this when things get mucky but it is always best to where you are at good or bad) If you upgrade you are able to accept credit cards and invoice is done through emails and take secure payments. You can even set it to send out overdue notices and estimates.
Later.com is my third most suggested tool. There are many online social media scheduling tools out there and I again suggest trying out a few that seem to speak to you. But I like Later the best because it can be free to start and I love that you have all your uploads right and you can just drag and drop them into your calendar. I am a visual person so this really helps me from doing a bunch of back and forth with dates and images. One downfall is that it doesn’t link to LinkedIn yet but Buffer or Hootsuite does if you are a big LinkedIn person. Another one on the raise for top referrals is tailwind. I have an account but I haven’t conquered how to use it yet. I will update on that another day.
Next is Trello. Trello is an online tool for organizing and teams, I am not working with a team as much anymore but when I was growing the All Jacked Up design and had a few contract designers and an assistant I was on my Trello board daily diggin into what was done, what need to be next, who needed followed up with etc.
In Trello you can create cards, then categories for the cards, and they can be moved from one to the next and you can add all the details to the project in the card and your team is able to add comments, files etc. To the card as the project moves across the board. I’m still using it now for some clients to keep organized with what needs to be done and where.
And last but not least, because really these are in no particular order other then I do use Google products the most next to this one. Wix.com, Wix is where I host my website. I used to use WordPress (and still have clients that are on WordPress sites) but I always found it would get out dated very quickly and the site would need major updates that would cost my clients lots of money. It was also hard to train them on using their own site. With Wix I don’t have these issues, and instead of having multiple plugs in and always having to manually update things. A lot of basic websites users' needs are readily available on the dashboard and the dashboard is very user friendly.
So there you have it, my top 5, let me know below what programs, apps or software you are trying out and what your top 5 are.
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