I get it, I really do - you are starting out with building a business with a gorgeous heart centred core; a knock out creative idea and a bucket full of values - and then there it is - the minefield of systems, processes and services - This is not what you signed up for, right?
Well, don't worry hun - I have got your back because believe me I have been there and done it. Read on for some of my favourite time savers and stress reducers and whilst some of these are affiliate links*, I promise I would be sharing them even if they weren't because they get the job done and make my life 100% easier.
Chilled Out Client Management
First up, if you are going to have the kind of business that has clients, bookings, invoices and forms going back and forth then you need a client management system. I tried a few over about 18 months and landed on Dubsado as one that offered it all in a neat package with lots of cool features. I'll admit, I needed a hand to get things set up from the legend that is Veronica and once she gave me the grand tour and I got my head round it, my eyes lit up over the possibilities. It makes client management a breeze - from that all important first discovery call to sending out contracts, receiving payment and managing invoices - a total dreamboat.
Perhaps most importantly, it's also super easy and gorgeous to use if you are a client - you can see for yourself here on my Contact Me page which is in fact a Dubsado scheduler page - nifty, right!?
Email Scheduling that's Breezy
Next, I'm assuming you want to build an email community and send them updates, newsletters, and encourage them to sign up for cool freebies and other goodies? Then let me introduce you to Flodesk. First off, Flodesk is a female founded company and has stellar values and ethics. It's also beautiful and simple to use so you can quickly and easily create emails that capture and convert with a simple building block structure that I wish I could apply to the rest of my life! It has templates, segments for your difference audience groups and you can schedule individual and sequences of emails too. I also love using the forms function which makes it a total doddle to create forms that will look right at home on your shiny new website.
What About the Money, Honey?
Now you are going to need something to help keep track of all this money coming in right? I have been using Pandle for about 6 months and have found it simpler and less faffy than Xero or Quickbooks. It plugs directly in to your bank accounts and PayPal so you can keep track of payments in and out; upload invoices and get an overview of your cashflow. I am by no means a numbers girl so this suited me perfectly as being easy to use and it takes away the need to manually track things in fiddly spreadsheets. A biz admin winner.
Easy Peasy Content Creation
I'm guessing you have a creative streak, am I right? But you also don't have the luxury of time to play and create cool graphics from scratch. Meet Canva my friend! Canva is like a big candy store full of templates for everything from workbooks to Instagram Stories and you can add in your own branding fonts, colours, logos and photos to quickly whip up a captivating campaign that you can reuse across your channels. Canva also has a pretty decent smart phone app and I can often be found creating a last minute IG post on my phone with one eye on the telly - it's that easy. I have also used it for all my workbooks and some of my web page graphics too. The possibilities are truly endless, even in the free version.
And if, like me you would rather not be posting last minute on Instagram then I suggest you take the time to set up a social media scheduler like Planoly. These are services that you link in with your Facebook, IG and/or Pinterest accounts and pre load content that you can then schedule to post at a certain time. It also provides you with insights on how well your IG posts are doing - handy to know what is working well.
Used in the right way, you can do all the work up front each month to batch load content and then sit back knowing you are going to have posts popping up on time and stress free. I am still getting to grips with this idea of scheduling myself as I like to be a bit flowy with my posts, but I know for a big campaign I have coming up that it's going to take some of the stress out knowing that all the posts are lined up and good to go. And that's what we want right - less stress?
...And don't forget to breathe...
Now this last one is a bit different but may be the most important one if you are aiming to prioritise your mental health whilst setting up and running a business. Insight Timer is the app I use for meditation and to help me sleep sometimes too (hello bed time stories for grown ups).
I build meditation into my daily practice and top up through the day too as and when I need to - sometimes just 5 minutes is all it takes. You can use Insight Timer for the thousands of (free) guided meditations and music or soundscape tracks, or you can simply use the timer for your own silent practice. Baking in a self care routine that includes time for meditation or mindfulness is the perfect way to help you manage the stresses of a business - even when you have a suite of apps like these on your side.
From Stressed to Sorted
I hope you have found this list useful - they really are all apps I would not be able to run my business without, especially when it's important to me to make sure I feel aligned with a companies values and ethics.
Got questions - great! email me via firstname.lastname@example.org and they will pop straight into my inbox. I'd love to know how you get on if you try any of these out, or let me know of your favourites too.
The Not So Small Print
*A note on affiliate links - some of the above links are part of affiliate programmes I belong to because I really believe in these services and am happy to share them with you. Some of the links offer a special trial or reduced cost period for new users (like you) and if you decide to sign up, I get a little something back at no additional cost to you.
Whilst I have your attention - maybe you'd like to read This Post on embodying a Goddess?