Running a business is not an easy task. In fact, running a business is NOT for the weak. So if you cry easily or if you get offended or emotional pretty easily, or you're the person in the office that gets an attitude when the boss gives you constructive criticism, chances are, business is not for you!
Business is for the strong willed; the ones that will find a way out of no way or the ones that will see a solution as opposed to a problem. Business is for the thick skinned, so if that isn't you, then it may not be right for you.
With all of the work and headache and stress that comes a long with running a business, luckily, there have been a few tools that have literally saved my life. I'm going to share them with you in hopes that you can take some of the burden off of your workload. Here are my top 10 Tools I use in Business to Maximize Efficiency:
1. Canva - Canva is my absolute FAV tool for designing graphics, ebooks, social media posts, logos, etc. Canva pretty much does it all. Not 1 day goes by that I don't use Canva. Canva is literally the GOAT of graphic design. They just make it so easy to create, customize and then share or export. You can literally design flyers, posters, business cards, presentations, brochures, menus, and pretty much anything you can think of. One of the best things about Canva, it's FREE! However, if you want access to all of the stock photos and elements, it's literally on $12.95 per month! All of my products were created in Canva. Wanna try them out, click here.
2. ConvertKit - ConvertKit is an email marketing platform that allows you to really segment your audience and create email automations, sequences and send out broadcast emails to your entire list. The platform allows you to have up to 1,000 subscriber for FREE, and after that it's $29/month. Try Convertkit free for 14 days!
3. Shopify - Shopify is an ecommerce web hosting platform. With Shopify, you can create your own online store with ease and start selling your products on day 1. Shopify has amazing features and benefits such as abandon cart recovery, the ability to offer discount codes, unlimited products, gift cards, shipping discounts and fraud analysis. Shopify also allows you to add on apps to enhance your shop. Apps can help you enhance your store with features that do not yet exist with Shopify. You can try Shopify free for 14 days and then you have to choose your plan. The cheapest plan starts at $29/month.
4. Planoly - Planoly is an Instagram Scheduling App. Planoly's platform allows you to schedule posts and preview your feed to see how posts will look alongside each other. I use Planoly to schedule my feed for a week in advance. Planoly is very affordable and easy to use. You can also schedule out your captions for the posts as well.
5. Pinterest - Pinterest is literally my bestie. Pinterest is the biggest traffic driver to my website and to my Etsy shop. One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that a post on Pinterest will last up to 4 months, while other social media posts last between hours and a few days. That's why Pinterest will always be KING for me. You can pin something and it will get you traction for the next 4 months if it performs well enough. Pinterest accounts for 98% of my traffic to my website and my Etsy shop. I think I'm in love! Pinterest is absolutely free and there are a ton of tips and tools to help you find pretty much anything you need.
6. Outlook - Outlook is my go-to for my incoming emails. Every business should have a professional email on their business card and for their business. Whenever I see a gmail or hotmail email address extension, it makes me cringe. It doesn't look professional and the funniest thing is, it's not even expensive to own your own email. My business email is firstname.lastname@example.org for inbound emails and inquiries. For my subscriptions and things of that nature, I use email@example.com so as not to have a jumbled inbox.
Outlook is through the Microsoft Office Suite and can be purchased through GoDaddy.com for literally less than $10/month.
7. Facebook Ads - Running ads in your business is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Running ads not only brings awareness to your brand but allows people to get to know, and interact with your brand. The first step in the customer journey is awareness. Customers must be aware of your brand BEFORE they can even purchase anything.
Facebook ads is sort of like a science. Unless you know the science behind the facebook ads, you may not fully be able to utilize it to its fullest potential. I'd highly suggest taking a course before throwing your money at a Facebook ad.
8. QuickBooks - Every business needs an accounting system. Somewhere to track your purchases, scan in receipts, track expenses and know how much money is coming and going. Quickbooks is so great because its affordable and easy to use. You can easily connect your bank account to Quickbooks and then easily itemize each transaction into its own category.
Quickbooks also generates reports for you such as income statements, balance sheets and other financial statements that are annoying to deal with manually. Quickbooks, depending on your subscription type may only cost your between $7 and $75 per month depending on what other features you need.
9. HoneyBook - Honeybook is a platform that allows your to send invoices to clients, send proposals, schedule client meetings, send contracts, create custom step-by-step workflow automations and can be easily integrated with third party apps such as Gmail, Zoom, QuickBooks, Zapier and your Google Calendar. HoneyBook is only $9/month to start and goes up to $390 per year to access all features of the platform. You can try it free for 7 days.
10. Lulu - If you create ebooks or write regular books and need to have them printed, Lulu can provide you will physical book distribution, printing and global fulfillment. Lulu is one of the best book printing companies I have tried. They can have your book published on multiple platforms including Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes and Noble, and Scribd. Lulu's product costs are some of the lowest I've ever seen and the quality is up to my standards. Lulu's pricing depends on your project.
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