I don’t know about you, but I love hearing about the products and services that other business owners use. Not only is it a little peek into how their business operates, but hearing what has or hasn’t worked for them can save me some of the legwork. After nearly a decade of self-employment, I feel like I have tried every service out there. If not for myself, I’ve probably tried it out for a client or consulting project, and being able to dip my toes into pretty much every service imaginable has made me extremely selective about the ones I’ve invested in for my own business. Below is a list of the services I am currently using, I hope it might help you discover something helpful and new.
Freshbooks – This is the bookkeeping program that I choose to use. I use this for tracking my time on client projects, invoicing, and also having my employees record their time. It can connect automatically to your business banking accounts to help make bookkeeping and taxes simple (you can create a custom login for your accountant at tax time).
Flodesk – I switched to Flodesk for email marketing a couple of months ago and haven’t looked back. They are one of the only email marketing platforms that has a flat monthly fee, rather than increasing your fee as your list grows. I found that model would inhibit me from wanting to grow my list because I didn’t want to have to pay hundreds of dollars per month. For example, I enjoyed ConvertKit, but always felt pressured to keep my mailing list under 3,000 so that I wasn’t paying more than $100 a month for their service. With Flodesk the price is the same no matter how big my list gets! Thanks to their super clean interface, simple forms, easy to manage workflows, and stellar customer support my list has been growing like crazy. If you sign up through my link you can lock in a lifetime rate of $19/month(full price is $38/mo).
ShowIt – I switched to ShowIt a couple of years ago because I wanted a more design-focused website that was easy to manage, and that I felt like I could design/manage myself. This drag-and-drop system makes it easy to create the website of your dreams, and editing pages, adding new ones, or integrating forms takes mere minutes. It can be expensive, but I’ve felt that it has paid for itself each year. Integrated into ShowIt is also my blog, which is run on WordPress.
Grammarly – This is a service that you can use online, or install as a plug-in for your internet browser, and it proofreads all of your content, right down to your Facebook posts or emails. I also love their weekly reports, which tell me how much content I’ve been creating or words I’ve written.
RewardStyle – This platform allows me to create commissioned links for products I blog about or recommend, and the link tracks back to record how many sales I drive. I can earn a small commission (anywhere from 1%-20%) and the money goes directly into my account each month. I prefer this method of “partnering” versus a company reaching out and offering to pay me $500 to post a picture of their protein powder on Instagram. Being able to put a tracking link into a product that I honestly use and love, and then make a small amount of money for leading you to it, feels much more authentic to me. You need to apply and be approved to use this service. Sometimes being referred by a current user can help. If you’re interested in being referred to this program you can contact me and tell me more about your website + business.
Microsoft To-Do – I’ve tried so many digital planning tools (Clickup, Asana, Trello and more) and I always come back to this simple program (it was previously called Wunderlist before being taken over by Microsoft). To-Do is built around the very simple concept of the To-Do List, but has powerful features such as collaborative lists, attaching documents/images to tasks, + more. I’ve used it for years and love it for organizing everything from my grocery list to my biggest business projects. If you wanna hear more about how I use To-Do and organize my day you can check out Episode 006 of the Plan Podcast.
Google Calendar – I use Google Calendar for keeping myself organized online. The ability to have a joint family calendar with my husband is great for our personal events and travel, while I can also overlap calendars for my business and clients. I also have the App on my iPhone so I can add events remotely.
The Daily Page Digital Planner – My best selling design is also available as a digital planner for the Goodnotes App, which you can use on an iPad. I use this every day in order to parse information out of To-Do and Google Calendar and create a handwritten roadmap for the day.
Skillshare – About 6 months ago I got really into online learning. I dove into skillshare and couldn’t stop! I took classes on digital illustration, hand lettering, graphic design, Procreate + more. If you click here you can try Skillshare free for 2 months, and can take as many classes as you want during that time!
YouTube – Back when I first started my business we didn’t have quite the same supply of convenient online learning resources that we have now. YouTube was the holy grail, and through it I learned everything from basic html coding to how to take photos with the used DSLR I purchased. Nothing has changed, YouTube is still the first place I look when I am stuck or need a quick tutorial.
Canva – My absolute favorite platform for creating beautiful graphics quickly and easily. I use this for creating all of my blog posts and podcasts graphics, even some of my Instagram content gets designed on Canva. I finally upgraded to their Pro Version to get access to more photos and graphics and adore it. Make sure you take the time to set up your brand colors, add your logo, and install your fonts. You can also upload your own photos to use in your designs. These features make creating Branded Graphics a breeze. If you click here you can use Canva Pro free for 30 days, and then get access to a membership rate of $9.95 per month (or $119.40 billed annually).
Creative Market – This online marketplace is my go-to for new fonts, simple icons, textures, mock-ups, stock photography + more. There is no membership fee, you just pay for things as you purchase them. I also recommend bookmarking their Free Goods of the Week Page, you never know what you’ll find in there! If you are looking for a gift for a business owner a gift card to Creative Market is a great idea.
Unsplash – This website provides you with an incredible selection of photos that are free to use. While I recommend that you avoid using stock photography in your Instagram account, they can come in handy for blog posts, your website, or creating other types of social media content.
Adobe Creative Cloud – Canva has gotten so good, that I honestly think a lot of business owners can get by only using that for graphics + promotional material design. However, I still use a suite of Adobe products for designing my Etsy Shop Products.
Coolers – This color generating website isn’t just fun to use, it’s also helpful when you’re trying to pull together a color palette for a new launch or event.
Planoly – This is my favorite service for organizing, prepping, and scheduling Instagram Content. They are always improving their service and adding new features. You can now schedule all your content for your Instagram Feed as well as Story within their platform. They also make it simple to manage multiple accounts and quickly switch back and forth between them. I love that you can use it on your computer as well as your phone, which makes it great for organizing and planning out content. It also provides great analytics, and I’ve found their blog + newsletter to be great resources for learning new skills or keeping up with the latest changes.
Mojo App – This is a great app for creating motion content for your Instagram Story.
Unfold App – Another app I love for creating Intagram Story Content.
Emoji Copy – I have a Windows Laptop, and although I finally figured out how to access emojis on it, this website still comes in handy from time to time, especially since it lets you search emojis by keyword (so much faster than clicking through them page by page) and select the skin tone.
Display Purposes – This website can help you clean up your hashtags. Simply enter your Instagram handle and it will analyze the tags you’ve been using, tell you if any of them a problematic or banned (which might be hurting your post’s performance) and can help you find better hashtags to use on your content.
Uprinting – I use Uprinting for a lot of my promotional print material, such as business cards, thank you notes for my Ety Orders, Customized Stickers, pens, mugs + more.
Planners + Notespads – Want an introduction to the exact vendors I use to create my notepads, pencils, or spiral-bound planner? Check out my online course, The Planner Creator, for a step-by-step guide to producing paper products for your shop!
Zencastr – I use Zencaster for setting up and recording both my solo and guest episodes. It has a super simple, well-designed interface and is easy to navigate.
Libsyn – This is the service I use for hosting and distributing the Plan Podcast. That means that each episode gets uploaded here, along with the show description and artwork, and they take care of the rest — ensuring it ends up on your favorite podcasting apps.
Headliner – This is an online service that I sometimes use for creating podcast graphics that include audio clips. They recently introduced a feature that will automatically create graphics for you based on your RSS feed and I am always down for one more thing being automated.
Spotify – I’ve been using Spotify for practically as long as I’ve been running my business (nearly a decade!) and I absolutely love this little music service. They’ve ridden the up and down waves of this emerging industry and I love how they’ve changed their service and interface over the years. I now have all of my music and podcasts organized within one platform, and I love that they make it easy to share your favorites with friends through texting or posting to Instagram Story (complete with links your friends can follow to listen).
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