Essential creative business tools to bring order to chaos

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This is a of all the tools I use to run my business. Some of them you might know already and some may even seem obvious!

All of them save me lots of time and many of them keep me connected to my clients in wonderful ways.

Many of these tools are free but also offer paid versions. More than often I will use the free versions as much as I can because every penny counts. However if a tool is going to streamline a process and save me time I’ll get my card out and sign up!

Illustration fo woman meditating

Business Development & Bookkeeping

Wave

I’ve found Wave to be a great bookkeeping starter option for a small business.

A big win with Wave is how easy it is to use, the dashboard is intuitive and a breeze to figure out. It also has apps that allow you to scan receipts and send invoices from your phone. Plus they’ll notify you when someone has viewed your invoice. You can generate branded invoices and estimates and track your expenses. It’s completely free to use however if you want to accept credit card payments there are fees, which vary on what country you are in.

You can use a service like Zapier to connect it to other cloud based services.

I’ve been using it for 18 months now and they only thing that I found missing (so far) is the face that I can’t create credit notes.

Create a Mastermind Group

Having a mentor or coach is so important when you run a business. If you’re a solopreneur or even managing a small team it can be lonely and stressful.

I have some friendships with fellow entrepreneurs and we enjoyed talking shop when we see each other. Then we formalised it a bit more and organise regular meet-ups to bounce ideas, problems and solutions off each other. We also organised a retreat to Bali to spend three focused days taking about our business plans for the next year.

Project & Systems Management

Spreadsheets with the power of a database

You can connect this to your Google Calendar using Zapier. 

Manage projects, tasks and goals

Asana is a great project management tool that you can use to keep your work and a team’s work on schedule. 

Pen & Paper

Analogue! I like the clarity of putting pen to paper and I have a super simple way of indexing my notes so I can find them really easily.

Book Appointments

If you juggling lots of meetings online or IRL. Calendly is an awesome free tool that eliminates the back and forth of emails to book appointments or meetings. It also integrates with Google Calendar!

Screen Recording & Training Videos

I find this screen recording tool indispensable. I use it all the time to explain how things work and to create tutorials. If you need to explain something on screen to someone this is your guy

Notes & Lists

This is iCloud Notes on your iPhone. Super simple but I use this every single day for jotting down ideas, storing hashtags or writing captions. Love the sync with my iPad, iPhone and desktop.

Connecting Cloud-based Tools

So many of the tools that we use are cloud based and all seperate applications. Zapier allows you to connect these apps and automate your workflow.

Keep track of your time

I’ve used so many time tracking applications over the years and this wins because of it’s simplicity, friendly reminders and app (desktop and iPhone).

Design & Marketing

I use Adobe Creative Suite and I have done since forever but I know it’s an investment in time and money and Canva is a good place to start if you are completely new to editing.

Canva

If you need to do some image editing but can’t get your head around Photoshop give this a go. It’s specifically designed for people who have no experience with image editing or creation and has a simple drag and drop interface.

If you want to crop or resize an image use the Photo editor.

If you want to create graphics use.

Visual Search Engine 

If you’re looking for inspiration or a place to organise your ideas Pinterest is the place. I use it almost everyday. Pinterest is actually a search engine and you can use it, with a little training, to drive traffic to your website.

Have a look at how I organise mine:

Schedule Instagram Posts

Later is a scheduling tool for Instagram and other social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest. I primarily use it for Instagram as it allows me to plan and schedule posts in advance. You can use the desktop or phone app to plan and schedule posts. 

Perfect Instagram Captions

You may have noticed it’s tricky to get nicely formatted line breaks into an Instagram post with lots of text. Sometimes they don’t work sometimes they do. This was driving me bonkers so I created a tool to give you perfect line breaks every time.

Learn Some Code!

If you have a Squarespace or WordPress website you might want to take that first step towards learning how to make changes to the code.

I know this is pretty full on but just in case you want to take the plunge here’s here’s a few starter options.

Website Hosting & Email

Hosting – Siteground*

I’ve used many hosting companies over the years and Siteground are hands down my favourite and I use them all the time. A big reason why I use these guys is their support, it’s excellent and you can get help in minutes. Their Start-up WordPress hosting plan is perfect for most small businesses and officially recommended by WordPress.

Email*

Gmail is a big favourite of mine. As you can imagine the search feature is amazing you can find any email in seconds. Another new feature as of last year is Smart Compose that uses machine learning to offer suggestions as you type. 

I currently use the Basic Plan which allows me to have email with my domain name and 30GB of space for Google Drive and Gmail.

Below are some coupon codes that give you 20% off the first year!

G Suite Basic Plan
66VUWQAUDUWMHWV

G Suite Business Plan
D3TKXWR47LHLGCY

* The items that I’ve marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. I get a small kickback if you use them but they’re only on this because they are truly awesome I use them everyday and I 100% recommend them.
Essential creative business tools to bring order to chaos