As a side hustler myself I know I wear quite a few hats. I single handed handle all areas of my freelance business and its crazy how many things I have open at any one given time. The problem is I need to keep on top of all my tasks and the only way I can do that is by using a handful of tools that help me stay on track. The best thing about it is they even help me streamline my process so I can be uber efficient!
So today I wanted to share my top 10 tools I use to run my creative business.
1 | Dropbox
Ok so it may seem like an old hat, but they are the best arent they? - Dropbox is awesome. It's a cloud-based storage service that I use ALL the time. It's great because you can use it on multiple devices and it's like carrying your files everywhere you go. I only keep my most recent and needed files on Dropbox so only use the free account, but I've heard great things about the Pro Plan, which is only £7.99 per month, and you get a whole terabyte of space!
2 | Google Drive
Google Drive is another cloud-based storage service. The reason I have two is because I like to keep my client communication and files separate to my business ones. So, for client communications I use Google Drive. I think its awesome because it works brilliantly with Gmail, which is another service I can not live without! With Go Drive, you get 15GB of free space which is perfect when I'm handing over big files or sharing them with my clients.
3 | Gmail
So, you know I'm a side hustler, but that doesn't mean my business is unprofessional. With Gmail, I have created a professional email - firstname.lastname@example.org. Although I set that up when I created my Squarespace business website, it literally took minutes. Gmail is probably one of my favourite tools as it integrates so well with Google Drive, I can use it on my iPhone and iPad because the app is so perfect and easy to use. It's cheap as well so for a small business owner it's not breaking the bank balance either.
4 | Squarespace
I mentioned Squarespace above. Quite frankly, it's probably my favourite tool. Without it, my head is more likely to explode at the thought of having to maintain my website (I've been there so can vouch it's true!). I've used Wordpress in the past for my website and blog and although I enjoyed using it, it was tiring and tedious. The smallest jobs were complicated and I got bored of it very quickly. I wrote about Why I Choose Squarespace and Why You Should too - so If you are thinking about that I say definitely read that article!
I also use Squarespace to create my clients websites. It's such an easy, user-friendly, CMS that I don't know what I would do without it.
5 | Grammarly
Since starting my business I also started blogging again. It's a great way to establish myself as an expert in my field, AND it helps me keep on top of learning new things because I document them in my blog. Squarespace is great for setting up a blog but when it comes to writing the actual articles, I'm so BAD at checking my spelling and grammar. That's why I use Grammarly.
Once I have written my articles I check them over using Grammarly. It's fab and so easy to sign up too. It's also reassuring that my articles are sanity checked!
6| Adobe Creative Suite
I can't believe this is actually number 6 on my list! Let me just say, this list is in no particular order!hah.... Without Adobe Creative Suite I wouldn't even have a business to develop, flourish and maintain. My creative business relies on this. There are alternatives out there but everything is so well synced that the simplicity of designing is easy. I use Photoshop for all website designs, iPhone app designs, iPhone icon designs and social media banners and graphics. I use Illustrator for logo and brand design, and I use InDesign for print design - so for PDFs, invites designs, and flyers. I literally couldn't live without these tools! If you are interested in learning more about these products, let me know (email me or leave a message in the comments box).
7 | Mailchimp
I recently started sending out a newsletter to my email subscribers, and I use Mailchimp for this. It took a few hours to get my head around it all but once I did that it was so easy to directly communicate with my audience. I currently use the free account but that's only until my subscriptions increase! After that, this will probably be up for review.
8 | Wave
In the past, I used to create my invoices and send them to my clients. It took time! Time I didn't have or want to waste on doing something so laborious but essential! Wave is a free accounting tool that helps me invoice my clients easily.
9 | Asana
Since I am juggling so many things I needed a simple, straightforward way of reminding myself of all the tasks I need to do and complete. That's long term, short term, for my portfolio, my blog, my articles...everything. I used to write down lists and lists, but I started losing them! That's when I found Asana. Asana is the easiest way for me to currently keep track of things I need and want to do. It's an online app and mobile app so I can "tick things off my list" as I get them done.
It helps me keep organised and one of the best things about it is that it looks so beautiful and modern that I'm attracted to using it! (That could be the designer in me getting carried away, but it's true).
10 | Buffer
Buffer is fab, it's helped me schedule all my social media posts on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. I'm going to be totally honest here, though, although I use it, and it's so straight forward to use, I have currently fallen out of love with it. It's not the Buffer, it's me. It's a great tool, I just need to utilise it more to its full capability.
So there you have it, my top 10 tools I use for my creative business.
What do you use to keep your business going? Or what helps you stay sain and keep balance when juggling the different aspects of work and life?