Over the years, I have used many different tools to make my creative business run. I’ve tested out different software programs and settled on the ones that work for me. And believe me when I tell you that I’ve tried out many and then canceled and switched.
I know how difficult it can be to figure out just what you need to make your business run, so I hope the list below will help to cut out some of the work for you.
Disclaimer- Some of the items listed below contain affiliate links. I only share links to tools that I have used in my own business and only for tools that I absolutely love. If the link is an affiliate link, it will be indicated with an asterisk.
Tools For Organization and Admin:
Trello– I love to use Trello to help organize anything and everything for my business. I’ll add ideas for blog content, video content, and content to go inside of my membership website. I’ll keep track of my daily to-dos and I’ll even keep track of the money that I have going in and out of my business each month right inside of Trello.
Dubsado*– Dubsado is a client management system. This online software has all the things you need to help your clients, whether you take commissions or work with clients regularly. I have several web maintenance retainer clients that I still use Dubsado for. This software allows me to send contracts, invoices, and forms to my clients. It also tracks the time that I spend doing specific tasks, and I can even use it as a lead generation system to capture possible client leads from my website.
Google Email for Work– With Google Email for Work, you can sign up for an email that uses your custom website domain. This will help you to create a professional email, and it’s pretty affordable at $5/month. I like to also create aliases so that I can have more than one email for different products and services. For instance, you can have an email for admin purposes by creating an alias something like this: email@example.com. Totally worth the price in my opinion!
Dropbox– I’ve used Dropbox for years and years. It’s simply a place where you can store files for free. I’ve actually upgraded to the paid version to be able to store even more files since I have lots of video files that I like to back up every month.
Google Drive– You can also use Google Drive to store files but I tend to use it more for drafting up blog posts and other written content. Some of my clients prefer Google Drive to store their files, so I’ll use it to work with clients too. My favorite thing about Google Drive is that I can write and edit documents on any device that I own, including on my iPhone. If I’m bored while waiting in line, I can open up a Google Doc and start writing out some thoughts for my next blog post.
Tools For Social Media Scheduling:
Plannoly– You can use Plannoly to schedule out your Instagram Feed and your Instagram stories. I love that Plannoly gives you 30 free uploads every month so you can add 30 new photos or stories. Then you can schedule out your posts with your Instagram captions and have your content ready ahead of time.
RecurPost– RecurPosts allows you to schedule out Facebook and Twitter posts ahead of time. I mostly use RecurPost for Facebook posting. I currently use the lowest plan so that I can post to all of my Facebook groups, as well as my Facebook Page. I like to batch my content for months at a time, so that I don’t have to worry about it each and every day. All I have to do is go in occasionally to add new content so I can keep it fresh.
Tailwind*– Tailwind is my absolute favorite software of 2018. You can use Tailwind to schedule your pins for Pinterest, to loop pins from your website so they are constantly going out into the world, and to join different tribes so you can have others share your new content for you. Since joining Tailwind, my reach has skyrocketed. And that’s only with using Tailwind for about six months!
Tools To Create Your Website:
Flywheel Hosting*– I used Bluehost for my hosting company when I was just starting out but my website was never fast enough and I had issues with my website going down and getting hacked. Since moving to Flywheel almost two years ago, I haven’t had a problem since. This is the hosting company that I suggest to all of my clients! I love their customer service and the fact that I can backup/restore my website with just a click of a button. They also offer free SSL certificates to keep your website secure. Win, win!
Namecheap– Namecheap is what I use to purchase domain names. It’s easy to search, sign up, and pay for domain names! And I find it very easy to add my domain names to Flywheel with Namecheap (there are really great instructions on the Flywheel website on how to do it all!).
WordPress.org– I build all of my personal websites on WordPress, and I always recommend WordPress to my clients if they are wanting the best of the best. Of course, there are other other platforms you can use but with WordPress, the sky is the limit.
Beaver Builder*– Beaver Builder is a drag and drop builder that makes it really easy to create a website quickly. It helps with giving you the ability to drag and drop things like buttons, images/graphics, videos, forms, and more onto the page. You can make layouts that are typically only possible through coding.
Beaver Themer– Beaver Themer is an add-on to Beaver Builder and it lets you have even more control over your website. You’ll be able to create a unique header and footer, even if your theme doesn’t allow for much customization.
Add This– The Add This plugin allows you to add social sharing icons to that float on the lefthand side of the screen. By adding these, your readers will be able to easily share your content with their friends and followers.
Antispam Bee– This plugin helps you to keep the spam at bay! I like Antispam Bee because it’s free and it does a great job.
Pretty Links– If you’ve ever wanted to redirect your audience to a social media profile using a pretty link like amandacreekcreative.com/youtube, then you can use the Pretty Links plugin to make this process super simple and quick. These short links are then branded and easier for your audience to remember.
Yoast SEO– This plugin is completely free and it helps you to get your content search engine optimized. If you’re trying to use your blog posts to be found by potential readers who will later buy from you, then this plugin is an absolute must.
Tools For Email Marketing:
Active Campaign*– I recently switched to Active Campaign for my email marketing, since it has more functionality than ConvertKit does. I love Active Campaign because it makes it easy to set up advanced automations. When it comes to email marketing, it’s great to start with a tool that allows you to send out automatic emails whenever someone signs up to your email list after they’ve filled out a form to get a free offer, with Active Campaign you can not only set up these automatic emails but you can also use triggers and automation to move your readers into becoming customers.
Tools to Run My Membership Site:
Kajabi*– I love Kajabi for my membership website. Not only does Kajabi make it super easy to set up a course or membership website, but it is easier to organize your content. In the past, I tried other software like Thinkific and Teachable but Kajabi was my favorite overall.
Screenflow– I use Screenflow to record all of the videos that I need to make for my membership website. It’s easy to use and also makes the videos turn out really lovely! You can download a free trial and test it out before committing.
Canva– I use Canva to make all of my graphics to share my membership site, all of my workbooks for the members inside, and for all of the slides that I use in the videos and workshops that I create. Personally, I use the Canva For Work which means that I pay about $12 per month for a few advanced features but you could get away with using the free version.
Tools to Continue My Learning:
Skillshare*– I LOVE Skillshare. It’s my favorite place to learn new skills and it’s super affordable too. You can learn anything from Graphic Design to how to write better. There are also a ton of different classes on business. I currently have a few classes on Skillshare that help with photography for your creative business.
Scribd*– This app is amazing! It has a ton of books, some are in audio format and some are ebooks. For a very low monthly price, you can listen to or read books to help you with your business.
With all of these tools, I am able to make my creative business run each and every day. What are some of your favorite tools to run your own business? Leave your favorite in the comment section below!
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