Wow, starting your own business is overwhelming! It is the building relationships through social media, but also carving out that time to go into get-shit-done mode. It is being a hard core researcher, trying to understand what your niche is really suffering with, but also making sure that your services resonate with you and your talents. It is a constant balancing act of push and pull and shifting and twisting, finding the way YOUR business works.
The reality is having the right tools and systems in place will free up that time you need to make sure that whatever you are working is the authentic direction you want to take your business.
Instead of doing tasks like scheduling your month’s blog posts or emailing your contact ‘by hand’, you can get other tools to do this for you, saving you tons of time and stress.
Whether you are a graphic designer, a life coach, or a branding expert, if you do most of your work online, here are 5 super important systems and tools to have in place when you are building the foundation of your business.
All of these tools are initially free but once you get into the advanced features, you might have to cough up some cash.
1) Social Management Tools
This one seems a bit obvious, I know. We are all probably spending lots of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But is it really benefiting your business directly? First, I suggest putting together a really strong social media strategy, which includes your top two social media platforms. You can have other accounts, but your main focus (and what will benefit your business) revolves around those two.
I also suggest having a tool like Edgar or Buffer to automate your posts and keep track of them. This will cut down on the time you spend in the actually social tool and there is less probability of getting distracted (yes, I know it happens).
2) Email Provider
Another obvious one, but here I’m not talking about Gmail or Outlook. Instead, I’m referencing tools like MailChimp, Aweber, and Sendinblue.
These tools are HUGE when you are building an email list and also sending several email to your clients about a service/product. You need to have this in place so that your life doesn’t become a living hell, by having to be glued to your inbox, and sending individual emails to everyone. It also really assists in zooming in on potential clients, as you build and classify your email list. Very important!
If you want more ideas on how to choose an email provider for your business (or are thinking in switching), schedule a free 15-min chat with me and get the clarity you need to make a decision.
3) Scheduler System
A no brainer, although when you are starting out it might seem less urgent since you have less client action. But trust me, you want to have this ready to share when you start doing consult calls or even if someone reaches out to you for a collaboration.
A scheduler like Calendly, Acuity, Front Desk, or ScheduleOnce make setting meetings and calls so easy; you just share your calendar link (with the times you previously selected as available) and the other person chooses what day/time works best. You are good to go!
Okay, it’s time for my tough love portion of this post. In my opinion, web analytics might be one of the most important tools to have in place on your site! Why? Because, in the long run, using this tool to understand and hone in on your strategy sweet spot might make or break your business.
Setting up a tool like Google Analytics is quite simple; here are instructions for Wordpress and Squarespace. And although you might not use it initially, having this data at hand will really pay off in the long run. Trust me.
5) Cloud Based Word Processor/Document Storing
Unexpected? You don’t know how many times Google Drive saves my butt on a daily basis. How you may ask. Here is a list:
- Sharing documents, videos, images using a public link with clients easily.
- Organizing all my business resources in one place, using folders and filters.
- Creating a joint presentation with someone I’m collaborating with (which we can built at the same time, without having to send back and forth emails).
- Accessing my stuff from any computer, anywhere (ex. library computer, my mom’s computer, space station computer...okay, maybe not the last one but you get the idea).
- Accessing my stuff from my phone easily (and setting up offline access when I am in the subway or on a plane).
And the list goes on! Another nice tool I use is Evernote. If you don’t like to work inside your browser, Evernote is a great alternative and is a pro note taking tool. You can share, tag, create audio notes, all in Evernote for your desktop or phone app.
That’s it! Those are the 5 tools I feel can impact your business, especially in the beginning phases. Having your own business is pretty awesome and using these tools and systems in your back end flow can bring down that feeling of overwhelm and make sure you’ve got a solid base to continue building up.
Being your own boss is about designing your life and business, without wasting time on menial tasks.
If you have any questions about these or others, please share them in the comments section below!