From marketing, to book keeping, to client experience, and all. the. things. Being a business owner basically means…. you do everything. I’m a one woman show over here trying to do my best at running a successful business, and though I feel I do a decent job most of the time, I certainly could not do it without the numerous incredible platforms that help make my job and life so much easier. In no particular order, here are five of my favorite tools I utilize most often in my business!
ONE | HoneyBook
Oh HoneyBook, how I love you.
HoneyBook is a client management solution that is just that – a solution. I’m talking invoices, contracts, messages, questionnaires, timelines, payments, expenses, and book-keeping ALL in one place. It’s a GAME CHANGER for my business! When I first heard of HoneyBook I was pretty hesitant because, to be honest, it is quite the investment. A fellow photog and friend told me to give the free trial a try so I did. It was overwhelming at first and I really didn’t know if it would be worth the money. But then I saw Hope Taylor offer a 50% off discount code and I thought “fine, I’ll give it a try.” Boy I am glad I did! It has become my #1 business tool and y’all, I have not even been using it to the fullest potential! HoneyBook integrates with all kinds of other things like: Quickbooks, Calendly, Google Calendar, Gmail, Zapier, and much more and also allows you to embed a HB contact form directly to your website. You can set up different workflows and automate many of your tasks so that you don’t actually have to spend any of the time doing it. There are SO many templates and tools to help you get started, as well as a free account setup and training and INCREDIBLE customer service. Oh, and there’s a handy little app that allows you to keep up with all your notifications from your phone.
I know HoneyBook was a hard financial investment for me to make, but it has proven itself 100% worth it! The good news is, HoneyBook allows members, like me, to offer referral links that give friends, like YOU, 50% off your first year!! Follow the link below to learn more about HoneyBook, start a free trial, and use this link to get 50% off your first year subscription!
TWO | Planoly
Although there are many other social media planning platforms out there, Planoly has become my favorite. Available for both Instagram and Pinterest, Planoly claims to be simple, clean, and easy to use and that’s exactly what it is! I love that it is not only an app available on my iPhone, but also has a desktop version keeping all of my images, captions, and hashtags easy to access at all times. For a photographer like myself, it’s great that I can export images from Lightroom to my desktop and upload directly to Planoly through the desktop version. When it comes time to post, all my images are already carefully crafted in my planning feed! Planoly allows you to curate and plan your feed, write captions and create hashtag groupings, discover content from your community, manage and reply to comments, and even track analytics to better understand your audience. I personally don’t tend to automate my posts as I would much rather post in real time (Insta tends to frown upon third-party posting apps), but if that is your kind of thing then Planoly has that option for you. The pricing of Planoly depends entirely on your needs. For instance, I am able to use the free version because I am the only user utilizing the account and I don’t tend to have more than 30 uploads a month. But honestly, even the paid plans won’t hurt your wallet! If you don’t already use a planning app, I highly recommend looking into something. I promise, it will take loads of stress off your shoulders and help you out tremendously!!
THREE | Canva
To put it simply, Canva is for all the dummies, including myself! Ha! I personally get stressed out using programs like Photoshop and Illustrator to create things like PDF’s, pricing guides, logos, magazines, insta-stories, etc. With TONS of templates available for all kinds of projects, Canva makes creating something SO simple. And guess what… it’s basically FREE!! I know, it really is too good to be true! I personally prefer working on my desktop, but they also have a free phone app for those times you need to create something on the fly. I love that you can download your project in numerous different formats, or even have it printed through Canva with a quick turnaround time. It also allows you to publish graphics straight to Pinterest, Facebook, Dropbox, and so many more. As a matter of fact, I even used Canva to create the Pinterest graphics for this very blog post! For years I have wanted to put together so many resources for my clients, but never wanted to fork out the $$$ for Adobe programs to do it. When I found Canva, I may have shed a tear. Ok, not really, but I was that happy! Hop on over to their site and play around!
FOUR | Flodesk
To be totally honest with you, I am VERY new to Flodesk. However, from what I have seen and utilized thus far, I am LOVING IT! Email marketing has always been something that I have wanted to incorporate into my business, but it was just too overwhelming. The pressure, the designs, the platforms, were just all too much. Originally I had an account with MailChimp and sent out maybe a handful of emails to my little bitty mailing list. I was never pleased with how they looked and found myself getting so frustrated with how their system works. Enter, Flodesk. The most simple, on brand, well designed and easy to use and understand email builder. When I say I got frustrated with other email marketing platforms, I mean I ended up in tears trying to use it – and I’m not a crier! Completely customize your account with your brand colors and logos. Use one of their stunning templates or create something from scratch if thats more your thing! You can create popup, inline, or full page opt-ins that look like they belong on your site. Unlike other EM platforms, Flodesk doesn’t make you pay for growing your list. For just $38/mo, small businesses get unlimited subscribers and access to all features. BUT OF COURSE, Flodesk provides members with a referral link to share with friends so you can get 50% off your subscription making it only $19/mo!! That’s an investment I’m willing to make to save me time and frustration! If you’re in the same boat I was with wanting to grow your business by investing more in your email list, take a look at Flodesk! Click the link below to get more information, start a free trial, or jump in the deep-end with starting a subscription to Flodesk! It’s worth a shot!
FIVE | Instagram
Now I know this little app isn’t necessarily something that makes my job and life easier, but it certainly is a major tool in my business. When used intentionally, social media (primarily Instagram for my personal business) can be a huge asset in marketing your business! I know how overwhelming the social world can be because I’ve been there. But listen up – my husband said it best when he said, “we have to go where the people are.” If you want your business to grow, you have to go where the people are. Look around you. There are people all around you with screens in front of their faces. Social media is where the people are, and quite frankly, social media is FREE marketing! Why wouldn’t we utilize it for growing our businesses?? Jasmine Star is a photographer and business strategist that I like to refer to as the Instagram genius. Give her a follow over on the gram and pay attention to the knowledge she so freely pours out to business owners like us. Her knowledge and strategies, combined with my intentional planning (thank you, Planoly) have changed my engagement on Instagram and helped my business grow! Now I am receiving inquiries and gaining sweet clients all because they found me on Instagram. So break out of your shy little bubble (don’t worry, I’m still breaking out of my own), show up on social media, and watch your business grow!
*shameless plug: if you need content to post on your social media platforms, hit me up for a Personal Branding Session and we’ll create TONS of great content for you to get your business growing faster!
A FEW EXTRA BONUS TOOLS I LOVE – because honestly, these are worth sharing too!
ShowIt is my website company that I have used since 2018 and I loooooove them! Showit provides creative businesses with custom design websites without limits. Their drag-and-drop approach is amazing and what sold me on hosting my website through them. But what is really amazing is their team. Their costumer support is incredible and their team is so encouraging and quick to respond. They have TONS of resources and answers to all your questions, and their design templates are top-notch! If you’re not feeling any of their designs, don’t worry, there are plenty of web designers out their with beautiful templates to choose from! My customized website and blog template was purchased by Tonic Site Shop and easily edited by me. I loved how easy it was to import the design into my ShowIt account and customize however I wanted! I have a feeling ShowIt will have my loyalty for quite a while!
How I provide my clients with their galleries. Through Cloudspot I am able to save contacts, create collections and folders, sell prints to clients, and so much more. I love that not only are my clients able to view their gallery on desktop, but Cloudspot has made it easy to send client galleries through SMS and my clients are even able to download images straight to their phones. I love the variety of gallery styles as well as the ease of creating and sending my client galleries through Cloudspot.
P.S. If you are a photographer like myself, Cloudspot was generous enough to provide me with a referral link to share with you! Click the link below to take advantage of the savings!
If you’ve never utilized a money saving app before, go download Qapital RIGHT NOW! It is safe to connect to your bank account, easy to set goals, and makes saving money happen in your sleep. Literally. The whole point is to set your goals and let Qapital do the saving for you! I personally love utilizing this tool as a way to save money for tax season. Setting a rule to take 30% of all income into my bank account allows me to rest assured that I will be financially covered when the dreaded season arrives. I also like to use this savings app as a way to save money for future gear purchases. I love that Qapital automatically withdrawals from my connected bank account so that I don’t have to think about saving money – because that’s not fun. But somehow, Qapital makes it fun! This tool has been great for not only my business, but our personal lives as well. With it, we are able to do fun things, support our friends in Haiti, get rid of debt, and save towards future goals! It’s a win-win in our
book bank account!
I don’t know about you, but I am a pen and paper kind of girl. Digital calendars are great and all, but they are not for me. As soon as I saw Golden Coil’s ad on Instagram (see y’all, Instagram works!), I knew I had to order my 2020 planner from their site. There are pages available to add for home cleaning, health tracking, social media planning, you name it! I was completely blown away by all of the options available to customize your planner for you very specific needs and was able to create the planner I have been looking to find for years! Their quality is amazing and their shipping was incredibly fast. Plus you can choose your planner’s start/end dates making it perfect to create at any time during the year! If you’re a planner person like me, go check out Golden Coil and I promise your pen and paper loving heart will be so happy!
If this post was helpful to you, would you leave a comment and let me know so that I can continue creating more helpful resources for you!
Sharing is caring – This post is not sponsored because I’m definitely not cool enough for that, but it does include some affiliate links to a few of these resources and I would love if you decided to use them! It’s no extra cost to you – just saves you some extra $$ while giving me a bonus too! It’s a win-win for the both of us!