Edited 3/19: Some things have been updated, added, and taken out of this post since it was written, as I have changed platforms as my business has grown.
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
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 offers a desktop app which is nice for batch uploads and also for when you're just tired of working on your phone.
Creating a landing page on your site for insta-links: You may remember that the old faithful linking app LinkTree went down sometime last year. Instagram started penalizing people who had link tree in their bio, it was a whole debacle. One of the biggest takeaways for people was that you don’t want to be dependent on a third party to direct followers to links.
The best way to take back that control is to create a simple landing page on your own website and add buttons as needed for links. If you’re hosted on SquareSpace this is especially easy with their new app for site editing!
Unsplash: Ding, dong, Shutterstock is dead. PTL. Unsplash is beautiful, professional, FREE stock photos. You are guaranteed to find photos that will fit your brand and no one will know it’s stock. Just be smart about how you use it, be sure to use your own photos to create a feed people can relate to!
Creative Market: This is kind of a one stop shop. It’s also probably one of my most visited websites. Everything from fonts to mockups to social media templates. It’s all super reasonably priced and your supporting super creative artists!
Canva: Hi, I would like to introduce you to my dear friend Canva. Yes, I’m a graphic designer who uses a graphic design cheat tool. I use it for my own business, for my podcast, and I set every single branding client I work with up on it as well. They have pre-designed templates to make it easy for even the least design savvy of us. Seriously, if you’re not using Canva to promote your business, get on it.
GENERAL BIZ STUFF
Dubsado: I’m 90% sure I’ve used every CRM out there. Honeybook, Hello Bonsai, and now Dubsado. Dubsado wins. Its client management really is seamless, it has beautifully triggered workflows, it’s accounting is super helpful, & I love all of the options for gaining info from your clients.
Full disclosure, I am a Dubsado affiliate now because I love it so much and think it’s the best tool for small business owners. So if you decide to jump on the DubTrain, feel free to use my link.
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 receive 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.
I’m also an Acuity affiliate, so if you decide to add it to your toolbox, use my link!
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: