6 Programs That Will Boost Your Business Productivity
Hello there! I'm super excited to share a peek into the way I run my business as well as the productivity and management programs I utilize to maintain a streamlined and stress free process for both myself and my clients. It's no secret that I wear many hats. Wife, mom, graphic designer, volunteer, and I also run Creatives for a Cause. So believe me when I say, I have searched and scoured looking for productivity management and ways to streamline my business and personal life for success. These are the programs that I highly recommend.
1. MILEIQ - As soon as I launched my LLC, I realized taxes and all the deductions I would need to start considering were going to quickly overwhelm me. I also wanted to make sure that every time I ran to the post office to mail something to a client, went shopping for supplies, or had a client meeting that I was tracking my mileage. This is something I was well aware would quickly slip through the cracks if I didn't quickly implement a system to help. This is where MILEIQ comes in to save the day. It automatically runs in the background of your phone tracking every drive. You can then go back and classify your drives as personal or business. It even allows you to classify them down further. This wonderful programs keeps track of your mileage monthly and yearly allowing you to get a print out for tax purposes. You get 40 drives a month for free, unlimited drives is only $69 a year and you can get 20% here! Worth all the money you get to deduct on taxes for sure! You can also subscribe monthly for $5.99.
2. Honeybook - I began looking at management programs as soon as I started freelancing, but felt there were so many options and I had no idea which would be right for me. So, in the meantime, I used Square for invoicing and payments, sent client contract and questionnaires via my email one by one and the whole process was quickly becoming an administrative drain on my business. I needed a one stop shop, but which one? I had heard of Dubsado, 17 Hats, and Honeybook. So, what's a girl to do? Try all three, of course! So, I took advantage of the free trials for all three platforms. I strongly encourage anyone in the same boat to do the same, because as I always say, businesses are not one size fits all. There are aspects of each that work well for different people and different businesses. I chose Honeybook in the end and here is why. The one on one customer support is amazing. They took the time to reach out to me personally and schedule a walk through session as soon as I started my trial. I used the platform fully prior to purchasing and asked lots of questions about tailoring this to fit my business. Their main clients are photographers, and I'm clearly not a photography business so I had strong doubts in the beginning about making Honeybook work for me. Alex walked me through everything and told me exactly how it could help and what they could do for me. Before my trial was even over, I had signed up for their lifetime membership. Sidenote: I HATE monthly payments! Why not become a lifetime member and never have to decide whether this was something I need on months where my sales are down or not? I knew this would be something I needed and my business needed. Once I became a member, Honeybook took my contracts and files and input them into my system so I can streamline my process. Honeybook allows me to send emails, respond to inquiries, draft proposals, send custom client questionnaires, send contracts, accept payments and communicate directly with my clients without having to send an email every time I have a question. The platform is very user friendly and easy to use. I highly recommend a trial and if you decide Honeybook is right for you, I can take 50% off the yearly membership!! Just think of how much time and money you'll be saving yourself being able to use one program to do it all! If you want to take advantage of Honeybook and save 50%, jump here
3. Trello - It's no secret that I love Honeybook (you just read my love story above) but I also love Trello. So now you are thinking, why do you need Trello if you have Honeybook? Well, I run two businesses. Three Hellos and Creatives for a Cause. This requires a lot of interaction and planning. Trello has allowed me to collaborate and streamline the process for both myself and the people I am collaborating with. I created a template detailing every page of a website design and what information and photos I need. Then I send an invite to my client so we have a shared spot with their to do list and the dates I need them by. We can chat on the platform and I can make sure that I have everything I need. Once they have sent an item (which can be uploaded to Trello directly, Dropbox or Google Drive) they can check the task off. This has helped me tremendously. The checklist feature allows me to see what content I still need and where we are in the website building process. You can grab Trello for free here!
4. Boardbooster - It's no secret that social media can be a huge source of referrals for businesses. As much as I love that aspect, it can also be a huge time suck for my productivity. (ADD syndrome anyone?) I can easily go on social media and then get sucked in and before I know it, I haven't done what I went on to do and I've lost valuable time. Pinterest is a fabulous social media tool, except it fits this bill perfectly. I go on Pinterest to schedule content and end up pinning for hours. Enter Boardbooster. This program has saved me tons of time. Boardbooster allows you to schedule pins to be pinned later at the optimum times. Goodbye time suck! Boardbooster also will take your boards and recycle old pins back to the top for refreshing and more pins. This is a fabulous board refresher, especially for newer followers who may not have seen this older content. I have seen a huge increase in my repins since utilizing my free trial of Boardbooster. I am definitely going to subscribe to one of their plans after my trial ends. I think the time saved, is worth the $5 or $10 a month that I will spend. If you want to take a test drive of this service, head here!
5. Acuity Scheduling - This program is one of the newer programs I have tried, but I can already recognize the benefits and I know this will be something I continue to utilize in my business. Acuity Scheduling allows you to set up your availability on a calendar and allows clients, friends, whomever, to schedule special incremented blocks with you. Once someone schedules a time with you, you get notified, it syncs with your google calendar or other calendar program, and automatically shows you are unavailable to others. I have implemented this as a way to schedule my initial client consultations, follow ups, as well as website handoff trainings. I have also used this program to schedule coffee chat sessions with other creative entrepreneurs. The other fabulous feature is that the emerging entrepreneur account is FREE if you have a Squarespace website! I have also utilized this calendar for my clients to create a seamless booking process for mini sessions! It enabled me to schedule an entire day of mini sessions where the clients selected their time slot, paid and were even sent a reminder 24 hours prior without my client having to lift a finger! Feel free to try it out for yourself here!
6. PLANN - This is for all you Instagram lovers that want a cohesive feed. Have you ever uploaded a photo and then realized that, as much as you loved that photo, it threw off your whole feed vibe? Yeah, no fun, especially when we all try SO.FREAKING.HARD to keep our feed consistent and on brand. This app will change your Insta game. You can upload your photos, just as they show up on Instagram and then preview new photos, schedule them, even save your hashtags to be applied in the first comment! No more worrying if you will like the photo you are about to post. The app is $8.99, but that's a one time fee and in my honest opinion, it's TOTALLY worth it. There are a few alternatives, but from what I have read and heard, they either charge monthly or they have a limit to the amount of posts you can do in a month. I'd much rather pay up front and be done with it. Check it out! Make sure you put your Insta handles in the comments, I'd love to look at your consistent feeds and follow you! Download in the app store - Plann!
So now that you have a glimpse into the systems I use to run my businesses, what are your favorites? Is there something I've missed that I need to know about? Let me know in the comments! If you try out any of these programs mentioned, make sure you come back and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear what works for you! Cheers to a more productive business!
(This post contains links to programs I use and wholeheartedly love. I would never recommend a program or product that I don't love. I may get an incentive if you sign up using my link.)