December 30, 2018
In our first year of business, we learned a lot of lessons. There was a lot of trial and error in figuring out how to run this operation smoothly, and we continue to research and discover new resources to increase our productivity and our revenue. We worked hard to keep our expenses low by utilizing mostly free resources. But as we all know, the free version doesn’t always cut it.
Once we started building up our clientele, we were able to invest in some platforms that we truly needed to effectively manage our business. Don’t get it twisted though, we still use a lot of the free stuff too! So because we love you, we’re sharing 10 small business resources that you need to level up in 2019.
1. Dubsado – This is a life changing, client management platform full of templates and automations. It’s great for service based businesses and facilitates an awesome customer experience around proposals, invoices and payments. With canned emails, contract and questionnaire templates, branding capabilities and client portals, you’ll look like and feel like a boss.
2. Asana – This is a free, project management tool that’s essential for staying organized. It helps keep us, and our clients, on task. The online platform is robust, and there’s a mobile app to make sure you’re always up to date with to-do’s and client communications. Being able to use this platform for client collaboration is exceedingly more efficient than drowning in a sea of email.
3. Mailchimp – Email marketing is so underutilized, but so much more effective than social media marketing. Why, you ask? Because the visibility of your email isn’t controlled by algorithms. For example, when you post to Instagram, only a percentage of your followers see your posts based on what the algorithm deems is important for them to see. On the converse, sending an email guarantees you If you don’t already have an email list, sign up for a free Mailchimp account and start building it up now.
4. Interact – Speaking of building up your list, this quiz platform has been so significant in growing our email list. We experienced an insane conversion rate on our first quiz, currently above 55% for quiz starts to email list sign ups. And as an added bonus, it really is fun!
5. Evernote – Do you ever get bright ideas when you’re out and about? This free tool is especially helpful for those moments because you can actually organize your notes into folders, add photos, voice memos and drawings, and share notes with your team. No need to carry around notebooks or fill your wall with post-its, because Evernote is all online so you can access your notes from any device!
6. Planoly – We seriously couldn’t imagine managing our Instagram feed without this free, visual content scheduler. Its drag and drop, stock photo integration and hashtag storage capabilities make planning so much easier.
7. Complete Instagram Planner – And while we’re on the subject of Instagram planning, we couldn’t make this list without including the House of 334 Complete Instagram Planner! This planner will give you the deets on the strategies we use to plan out our own feed. It also contains handy worksheets and motivational printables to keep you going throughout the entire year. Planning an eye-catching Instagram feed that attracts followers and customers can be tough. So we developed the Complete Instagram Planner for female entrepreneurs just like you who want to create beautiful feeds, increase engagement, and make the most out of IG for your business.
8. Canva – if you’ve never used Canva before, you’re missing out! This free graphic design application allows you to create beautiful graphics for all types of platforms using countless templates as starting points. Canva for work is even more dope, with added functionality that has significantly increased our efficiency.
9. Unsplash – There are lots of free stock photo sites out there, but we’ve definitely found Unsplash to be our fave. They’ve got a high quality, realistic feel…and you won’t find any of those bogus, cheezy looking images there.
10. Cloud Storage – We’ve talked about this before…PLEASE have a method to backup your files. We use Creative Cloud (not free) and Google Drive (free). God forbid your laptop crashes out of the blue or you spill coffee on it and are unable to recover your files, at least it will live in the clouds and you’ll still be able to have access.
***Your Mouth – Don’t rely on the internet alone for marketing! Even if you are using social media, email marketing, ad campaigns, etc. You’d be surprised at what an impact you’ll have attending events and telling everyone you know about your business. While digital marketing is great, connecting with people in person humanizes your business and gives them a reason to want to support you. Word of mouth has been a major key for us in 2018, and we’ll keep shouting about our business to the rooftops in 2019 to help us as we strive for millions.
How many of these tools are you already using? If there are some new resources on this list that you’ve never heard of or never explored, we encourage you to check them out for yourself! And if you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Let’s level up in 2019, together!