I was in a meeting last week and got this question: How do you accomplish so much each month: branding work for clients + email newsletters + Twitter + building an online course + training for a half marathon + a busy 3 year old and a husband who also works full time? My answer? Lots of videos! I’m kidding 🙂
I’m lucky enough to have a team of helpers and a great preschool, so I can work full time. Do my days sometimes look unconventional than the normal 9-5? Yes! While I do work every day during the week, the hours I am in my office change with school pick up times, piano or swim lessons. Do I sometimes work at night? Yes.
But the good news is there are now tools that help streamline my business. I want to share them with you, so you can do the same.
Let’s be honest, technology is moving so fast, that it is hard to keep up with the latest tools that can help save you time. In other words, give you more time to do what you love the most – friends, family and other activities.
Here are my top five favorite tools:
This is my favorite invoicing tool. When I first started my business I kept track of all of my accounting with a very old school way – Excel. I would create PDF invoices and have people pay via check or Paypal. Once clients paid I would then enter it into Excel. As my company grew this became way too many steps and a huge time sucker. Plus, I was worried an invoice might slip through the cracks. I researched Quickbooks and a few online invoicing services until I found WaveApps.com. This invoicing service allows me to invoice clients and accept credit card payments. Plus, they even have a smartphone app that allows me to take photos of all my receipts.
I love Twitter. When it comes to blogging and social media, I work best by blocking out a few hours and sitting down to do all of my writing at once. This includes writing Tweets. I often plan out my tweets for the week or month with Hootsuite. I still check Twitter through out the week to Retweet, comment, etc but scheduling my tweets out in advance helps me stay consistent with my messaging each month.
My website is built in the WordPress.org platform and one of the best features is WordPress also has an app for your smartphone and iPad. This allows me to quickly write down blog post ideas and even write blog posts while away from my computer. In fact this blog post right now is written on my iPad while my daughter is at swim lessons. Have a question about WordPress? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I strongly believe in the power of email newsletters. Someone who subscribes to your email newsletter is 16 times more likely to buy your product or services. Plus, email newsletters remind people you are still in business. One of my clients said people thought they were closed and went out of business when they stopped sending out email newsletters! MailChimp.com is free (no monthly fee) if you have fewer then 2,000 subscribers. MailChimp allows you to see which articles in your email newsletters get the most clicks, handles subscribes and unsubscribes, and you can A/B test email subject lines.
As my business grows and I hire more contractors, the more I use Dropbox. Dropbox allows you to share folders and large files with other people. I also frequently ask new website design clients to use Dropbox to share their photos. Plus, I use Dropbox to back up the pictures and videos on my phone; I take a pic with my iPhone and it shows up on my desktop computer within a few minutes! Want to try it? Use my referral link here.
What are your favorite apps?