A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how I stay relatively organized in my personal life, but I wanted to share some tools that majorly help me run by business. Like, I for sure wouldn't be able to run Magnolia Ink without...most of these. Everything from social media to contracts to to do lists is covered with my personal favorites. Whether you're a photographer or you run a Young Living business or you are full time self-employed, these tools are sure to help streamline your life and your business.
So without further ado: My Biz Toolbox
(I've divided them into sections so you can find what's going to be the most help to you.)
+ Social Media
Planoly - Instagram is a treasure trove of opportunity and marketing and is easily my favorite place to meet new friends & new clients alike. But it can be stressful to keep up. Enter planoly → this app allows you to plan out your feed / see how a new photo will work with your current grid, and then schedule it out (they recently added auto-posting! Praise hands!) You can even save sets of hashtags if you use the same ones regularly (for example, I have a set for mom life, Magnolia Ink, mental health, etc.)
Planoly is free and also offers a desktop app which is nice for batch uploads and also for when you're just tired of working on your phone.
Linktree - if you've been on Instagram for any amount of time, you know that the ability to link is lifeblood. Linktree makes it possible to have as many links as you want in your IG bio. The free plan is pretty standard but honestly should meet any needs you have.
I actually just recently upgraded to the Pro Linktree plan which allows me to track link clicks and other metrics, customize the color palette, schedule links to go live at certain times, and even retarget previous visitors! But like I said, the free plan is 👌
+ General Biz Stuff
Hello Bonsai - I just recently transferred over from Honeybook to Hello Bonsai for my contracts, project management, & invoicing. Don't get me wrong, Honeybook is the shiz, but it was just a little pricey considering this is technically a side hustle for me (mom tends to be my full time title). I found Hello Bonsai in my search for something cheaper and l-o-v-e it.
Its interface is super clean & easy to navigate, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Honeybook, but I honestly wasn't using many of them. It comes with contract templates written and approved by lawyers (thank you!) and just all around makes my life much easier.
Quickbooks Self Employed - Because is there anything more stressful about being a business owner / side hustler than dealing with your finances / taxes? The answer is no. It helps you take care of quarterly taxes (my biggest stressor), maximizes deductions, lets you pay online, and a bunch of other super helpful things.
It's $12 a month to save you from a whole bunch of headache. Go get it right now.
Adobe Creative Cloud - I do almost all of my design work in Adobe Illustrator, and that's because it's pretty much the only name is the design software game, ha! But really, it's so great. I'm not crazy about the fact that they've switched to a "cloud" format, requiring you to pay a monthly fee (where are my designers that had the student Adobe Suite CD - wasn't that the best??), but the prices are fair.
I have the photography + single app plan, which gives me access to Photoshop, Lightroom, & Illustrator. (PS if you've ever wanted to jump into the world of design but don't know where to start, Skillshare has some of my favorite courses that allow you to move at your own page.)
Google Suite - And then the heavens opened and angels sang and gave us the G-Suite. I'm sure most of you are using Gmail as your email provider, but there's a good possibilty you're not utilizing it to it's full capacity.
Google Docs: I use this for everything. I use it to send client homework, recieve feedback, make website blueprints and sitemaps, gather content for website builds, share photos with clients - literally just all the things. My business would fall apart if Google Docs went offline.
Google Calender: Even I am probably not utilizing Google Cal to it's potential, but I'm still it's #1 fan. You can sync, you can share events, you can color code (this is a game changer for me), you can block of unavailable times, you can use it across all your devices. I mean - that's enough, right?
Acuity - Speaking of calenders! Acuity is the only way I keep my new client consults straight. The free version is pretty basic, allowing your clients to schedule appointments through a link, but the upgraded version (which is free if your website is hosted through Squarespace, by the way! Just insert an Acuity block and sign up through the pop up!) does so much.
It syncs to my personal calender so it blocks of times I'm unavailable for consultations and also puts my Magnolia Ink appointments on my personal calender. It also integrates into my website so when someone inquires, they can schedule their first call right there. Seriously, if you book appointments of any kind: photo shoots, meetings, phone calls, etc - you need Acuity in your life.
Evernote - It's possible that I'm one of the only people on the planet who hasn't jumped on the Asana bandwagon, but y'all - I just don't get it. Like I literally do not understand how it works. But Evernote? Evernote I get. And I love. I have templates of all of my workflows made, and I just create a new checklist for each client. Heck, I even have them color coded for the part of the building process.
Evernote has a an iOS app AND a desktop app that sync to one another, thankyouverymuch. I also have a personal running to do list in there too.
I'm about 99% sure there are things that I use all the time that I'm missing, but for now - that's my biz toolbox, what keeps Magnolia Ink (& most of my life) running smoothly and effectively. And you know I had to make you a little pinable image so you can save this for later perusing: