The Top Three Tools That Changed My Business
Do you reconcile your bank accounts each month? I do, and here's what I've found…
Remember when you signed up for that FREE trial for 30 days and then you know, life got busy and you totally forgot about it? Well, then that trial expired and you were suddenly being charged each month for the product. This is great if you LOVE the tool and use it, but more times than not, it sneaks up on you and you totally forgot about it but you're still paying for it. This is why I love to stay on top of my bookkeeping because I'll find miscellaneous charges that I don't want to be paying for, so I can clean things up that way. Subscriptions are a huge expense for my business so making sure I know where that money is going is really important. I'm now going to share with you my top 3 tools that I use daily to run my creative business and I know they will help you, too!
01. CLIENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
You have heard me talk about it before because it's worth sharing with all my creative peeps!
HONEYBOOK! One of my first business expenses was client management software. Before Honeybook I was using a different system that was great, but I kept getting pulled toward HB and what it could offer my as a business owner who has several different avenues with my business. I was also drawn to the fact that Honeybook is constantly making changes based on the industry and various elements creative entrepreneurs may need.
I also love supporting a company that is focused on community and building real connections with fellow business owners. There is a portal within Honeybook that makes it super easy and convenient to find other vendors/creatives to work with.
You can post opportunities for various things like looking for a second shooter, specific vendors for a styled shoot, meet ups, etc. It's unlike anything I've ever seen before and love how it brings me closer to others in the creative industry.
As a photographer, website designer, and educator, I have several facets of my business that require time and organization. When I found Honeybook, I knew that my life and business would completely change for the better,
I just didn't know how much just yet! Before Honeybook I was drowning in my own workflow, or lack thereof. My templates were all over the place and I hated trying to create timelines for wedding days. As a creative business owner, I knew that I had to figure out a way to find a system that would work for me, not against me.
In early 2017, I made the switch to Honeybook. I spent the necessary time to set up all of my templates, questionnaires, and emails that I use every single day. I even created custom timelines for my weddings based on a first look vs. no first look, etc. I updated my contracts and all of a sudden everything was saved and readily available at my fingertips no matter where I was! I especially love how I can keep my Honeybook completely on brand and customized so my clients get that WOW factor when they go in to sign my contract and invest in my services!
In a nutshell, Honeybook has honestly taken over and run itself for me with a little moderation from myself. My dream is to have an assistant in 2018 and I know that because of the way Honeybook is set up and designed that it will be incredibly easy for me to add someone to my team and let them help me with this part of my business.
Using Honeybook for my creative businesses has completely increased my productivity.
Because I'm spending less time managing and organizing my client workflow systems, I'm able to spend MORE time on the areas of my business that need the most attention (like my blog, or my newsletter and my clients!) Not to mention I'm also a wife, mother, sister, friend, and more. I think you can relate when it's true they say "we wear all the hats", because we do. Discovering Honeybook has allowed me to not only focus on other areas of my creative business, but it's helped me to be a better person to the people I love the most because I'm not longer stressed about my workflows and systems.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
... with Tailwind! Okay, I’ll be perfectly honest that this is a BRAND NEW move for me, but I’m into it. I’d been using a different platform for my Pinterest account but recently received this email that kinda freaked me out (another HUGE reason why it’s so important to have an email list! Social media owns your accounts, your followers… in an instant they can shut it all down… then what?) Anyway, here’s a snippet of the email:
There was more but immediately I cancelled my account and signed up with Tailwind. I will be perfectly honest that I prefer the program I was using, but I’m absolutely not willing to lose what I’ve built with my Pinterest account if I have any say in the matter. I’ve worked hard on my account over the years and if it was taken away from me… I probably wouldn’t start over if I’m being honest. You never know but this was one of those situations where I wasn’t willing to risk it. I’m still familiarizing myself with the new software and I upgraded both my Pinterest and Instagram accounts within it so I can have both of those together instead of using an entirely different app. I’ll have a better review on it later but for now I can say that I really like it and I’m happy with the switch! Like anything else, it takes time to learn something new.
3. LIFE + BUSINESS ORGANIZation with trello.
Trello goes hand-in-hand with Honeybook for how I organize my business (and life). In a nutshell, Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
Imagine a white board, filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task for you and your team. Now imagine that each of those sticky notes has photos, attachments from other data sources like BitBucket or Salesforce, documents, and a place to comment and collaborate with your teammates. Now imagine that you can take that whiteboard anywhere you go on your smartphone, and can access it from any computer through the web. That's Trello!
Just recently I made this video for my family to show them how to use Trello for our own family needs and figured I’d just share it on here so you can see how this can serve you in SO MANY more ways than just your business! We have a family cabin and for so long my family has used Facebook to chat with each other and I really don't like it. Facebook is NOT the space where I want to try and stay organized... you'll hear my reasons in the video!
To give you an idea of how I use Trello, here’s a snapshot of the different boards I have set up for my life. I’m sure there will be more to come but already this software has absolutely changed my life and the way I run all the things.
I hope you find this post helpful as these three tools truly have changed the game for me when it comes to running my own business. I'm so fired up about setting up SYSTEMS within your own business to make life easier and can't wait to bring more of this to the blog!
Looking for more awesome tools for life and business? Check out my complete resource library HERE where I’ve linked every single thing I love and use on the daily!
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