BIZ TOOLS I USE DAILY TO RUN MY BUSINESSES

As a small business owner, operating more than one online platform can easily become overwhelming. I learned quickly in my early days that having systems and resources to help in your quest of growing any business would not only save you time but also keep you out of the asylum spectrum... it'll drive you nuts if you let it

I put this post together to share with you the apps and essentials I use on a daily basis to run multiple online platforms that I'm responsible for. Between web + graphic design, photography, and niche sites/passive income - I've been making money online since 2012 - full time, so sharing these tools with you is a great way for me to subtly put my business out there into one place.  

COMMUNICATION

I recently began implementing this service, simply because I wanted to provide a quicker means for others to access me during business hours outside of email. What better way that through online chat? This platform allows me to respond to inquiries and other messages while I'm on the go using their app. This is perfect for someone who tends to be back and forth throughout the day. I have a small child so... life-saver. 

I've been using Asana for years now and don't really plan to stop any time soon. As a list lover, this is a great resource. I use this most often for my projects with clients. Apart of  their welcome packets mention use on Asana where tasks/updates are listed by me (with set deadlines) then completed and/or verified by my client. They also have an app that allows for instant messaging that makes things even easier. 

The only method I use for scheduling phone meetings, interviews, and other consultations with ease. I can easily share a link that allows others to view my availability and choose what works best for them. I can setup confirmation, reminders, and more. It works out. If something comes up, I can easily cancel a meeting with a notification email but I'd rather do so directly.  

If you're familiar with platforms like Zendesk or Freshdesk, then you're familiar with customer service platforms. I use Zoho Desk particularly for CreateHER Stock customer support. I have a rep that handles any incoming tickets and all. The platform is easy to use and navigate and since moving from direct email support - this has allowed for a better support workflow between myself and my small team. Goodbye email clutter! It's a great solution for small business and the free version packs a ton of features and is great for up to 10 agents.  



SOCIAL MEDIA + MARKETING

I've tried so many social media management tools for scheduling that I nearly gave up. I stumbled upon SmarterQueue randomly and felt my prayers were answered. I use this tool to schedule my content across my social media profiles. Blog posts, updates, promotions, etc. Best thing is it allows evergreen content scheduling - something I've been needing forever without breaking the bank - I pay $20 for this! No need to manually schedule re-posts again! Hallllelouuu! (You can get 30 Days free to test-drive if you're shopping around!)

This is pretty affordable - for two accounts, it's about $10 a month. If you have more accounts you want to automate, they have options for that too. I do love that you have the option to write the first comment (great if you prefer listing hashtags separately from your post caption.) 

My reason from "switching" from MailChimp. I found this on accident while searching for a more affordable means to communicate with my email lists. Particularly for CreateHER Stock subscribers.  I found MailerLite and LOVE them because they are more affordable and do offer a bit more than MailChimp. Although I still use both platforms, MailerLite is used for my bigger lists. You can read the many reasons why I prefer MailerLite over MailChimp here. 




DESIGN + VIDEO

Let me just say I'm not a fan of the subscription, cloud-based use of their apps. There are pros and cons. I miss being able to just pay for the software I needed and be able to keep it. If you cancel a cloud subscription with them, you're left with nothing. BUT - as a creative business person, I had to deal with the change. However, I do still love their apps. I use Lightroom and Photoshop quite often for creating graphics, templates, etc. 

I use this through my cloud subscription to Microsoft 365 Office. Any documents - contracts, PDFs, and such I create through Word mostly.  

This was my best, median choice for professional, yet simple and affordable video editing software. It's a huge step up from iMovie and MovieMaker and a little less intimidating than Final Cut Pro. For $45 a year or $60 for a lifetime, I can create some great video content... I say great because I plan to use the clone feature and then some in future content! If you want to check it out, they have a free version for download.


ORGANIZATION

Another platform I've used for years. I was grandfathered in after they changed their pricing so it's still free for me to use. I still enjoy it's ease and functionality for handling my electronic agreements to my clients. It shows when documents are sent, viewed, and signed. Love it. 

I only make use of Google Drive mostly. Usually to exchange content between my team or create folders to share collections of personal stock photos created for those who inquire about having custom images done via CreateHER Stock. 

This platform is basically my idea and planning dumping grounds. I keep the app on my phone for times when I randomly come up with an idea or have a sudden change that needs to be made - I can quickly type it out and it syncs to the desktop and vice versa. 

Only one of the central headquarters for storing all images and documents for my businesses. All free photo packs to CreateHER Stock subscribers are stored here as well for easy downloads. Lots of storage - not bad for $10 a month. 

A client photo gallery I use for a couple for different things. Mostly for any photo content I create for clients - I upload here for them to review and select favorites for editing. Afterwards, I can share directly from the platform in a simplified email for them to download their images as they see fit. 


FINANCES

I've been a user of PayPal for yearsss as my main payment processor and invoices. I always enjoyed having the card for ease of making payments at various places or using the Paypal option for online checkouts. Never had an issue with them BUT I do plan to leave them in the near future and give another processor a go. Time to try something now - maybe Stripe?

This platform has definitely helped keep all things related to my income and business organized, I like being able to set "rules" for things to keep what needs to be kept in an order that's easy to understand and search through. I plan to hire someone to do this job for me again soon, however. 

I’ve been using this platform for quite a while. I’m working on getting my ish together when it comes to my finances so Bench has been a tremendous help with this! Each month they organize my books and if anything needs adjusting or confirmation, they let me know and I can easily go in and do what I need to do. You can get a free month to see if they can save your life.

Do you use any of these within your brand/biz? What do you prefer?

Neosha Gardner