A Few of My Favorite Web Things
Spending 12 years in online marketing, the last 4 of freelancing full time, I have learned that the systems you put in place can make or break your business. This is my master list of the tools I love that keep my business running smoothly.
As Marie Forleo says, if it isn’t scheduled, it isn't real! And she is 100% right. To keep on top of my clients work, my own work, and all the admin fun in between, I use a system called “time blocking”. I learned about it from an episode of the Being Boss podcast; listen in here.
For the actual scheduling, I live by my Google calendar. I love having it on my phone so I can use it on the go. I schedule everything from coffee dates and date nights to my afternoon runs. Seriously note - you have to stay on top of your health when you work from home, and I treat that run schedule in my calendar like a meeting with my highest paying client. Afterall, my body is a client I have to take care of for life.
When someone reaches out to me to book a consultation, I send them over to my acuity scheduling link. I got started with acuity a while back, and then found out they actually have partnered with Squarespace!! That means I get my Emerging Entrepreneur account for free, saving me $15 a month.
If you aren’t in business to make money, then what you have is a hobby and not a business. If you want to make money, you need to send invoices. I used paypal for quite a while, but to be honest, their system was kinda clunky and unclear - i struggled with tracking it all properly, along with expenses too. It just became a hot mess.
Enter Freshbooks. Freshbooks is an invoicing and accounting system for small businesses. They offer a free 30 day trial, and after that their basic package is only $15 a month. Keeping all your receipts and client info in one place is totally worth more than $15 a month. When it’s time to pay taxes, you will be thanking yourself. To check out Freshbooks for yourself, sign up for a free 30 day trial here. Side note - I am a Freshbooks affiliate, because I really believe in what they do.
To get the attention of your future customers, you need to be where they are, and odds are you can find them on social media. The reach of social is staggering; my husband doesn't even have a Facebook page, but I do, and he still gets to know about events and articles because I am on social and share it with him. I know, mind blown.
But how do you manage it all? Before i talk about my tools, I want to talk about why I even use them. It’s because time and time again, if I interact on social, even just to log in and post something, I will easily get lost in a sea of comments and likes and two hours later realize I got nothing done for my clients. I just cant trust myself on there! I lose control of my time and at this point in my career, my time is really really valuable. So I needed to put systems into place to help me keep my business on social during the day, while I reserve my social media interactions for after I clock out. Now this is just me, and you might have waaaaaaay more self control. If so, more power to ya! But for now, I need to work with these systems in place to keep my mind on work at work, and my social interactions, even on my professional page, at a time when I can spend the extra minutes to be social. So, onto the tools….
Facebook allows you to schedule your posts, so one afternoon of clicking and you can be covered for a month. There are two other tools out there I want to mention that helped me get a handle on Instagram and Pinterest.
Later is a fabulous app for instagram - it lets you post up to 30 images a month for free. Just like Facebook, schedule all my stuff at least a week in advance so I can spend most of my work day on actual work and not on social media. It’s really important to interact on that platform; posting and forgetting did not work for me, but Later helps me manage the posting during peak traffic and engagement times so I can then reply later in the work day when my schedule allows. Check out Later here - no free trial link needed because their 30 posts a month is always free; yet another reason to love them.
Tailwind is another tool that works with instagram, but I primarily use them for Pinterest. Now I need to start this review with a big caveat - I am not that familiar with Tailwind. I have only been using them for a few weeks, but I did so based on the recommendations of a client who used them to grow their Pinterest traffic into the millions. This guy is legit going into full time blogger thanks to his Pinterest traffic, and that is no easy feat in 2019. So I got started with tailwind too. Very similar to Later and Facebook, you schedule in advance, but tailwind also helps you recycle post’s and the biggest selling point of them all (to me anyway) is their tribes. They connect you to people pinning to your audience so you can grow together. Pretty cool right? They are putting the social back in tata social media turned search engine platform. Anywho, I;m definitely no expert, but I am liking it so far, so I highly encourage you to check it out yourself. Click here to sign up for their free trial.
We might live our lives with a constant monitor glare these days, but printed business cards are still important. Networking is a skill I am trying super hard to improve upon this year, and a good quality business card can make or break a business. True story, the first conference I went to as an entrepreneur - I was keeping my funds tight and felt like a genius walking into Staples to print out a two sided card stock of my business card. Name and email on one side, famous person quote on the back, in my brand colors like a boss. Well, I messed up my PDF pretty bad, and these things came out SUPER tiny and looked so blurry you couldn’t even read my email. Of course I did this the morning of the conference. The next event I stepped up my game. I got 100 beautiful square cut high quality cards delivered to my hotel, waiting for me when I arrived. I felt like a boss and thank Moo printing company for that. They saved my confidence and I never made the self printed mistake again. I have ordered hundreds of cards from them, and continue to do so to this day. I will say that only one order of at least 5 (maybe 6? Counting wedding invitations?) did not go well. I am a fan of this planet so I ordered a set of full black business cards with white font on their recycled paper business cards. These did not have the quality I was used to from Moo. So I reached out to let them know, and they were super chill about it - gave me a full refund so I could order their standard stock paper. That set did not disappoint. So even one bad printing experience and I will still sing praises for this company - Moo is the best printers by far. And if I learned anything from that first conference, business card confidence is important so it is 100% worth the investment. To get started with moo, and take 25% off your first order, click here. Side note - you can get 25% off your first order because I am an affiliate with Moo, and have been since the beginning. They are my first business partnership and I am still madly in love. #honeymoonphase