My Top 4 Favorite Business Tools for 2020
Everyone has distinct likes and dislikes, and our brains all work in different ways.
ut as business owners, we’re all looking for the tools and systems that will allow us to run our businesses in the best way possible.
I just hit my 6th year in business, and I have spent so much time over those years trying to figure out what tools and systems were right for me. I wanted to get organized, have tools that work for the way I individually think and like to see information, and have a system that would allow me to scale my business. It’s only been in the past little while that I’ve finally gotten down to a method that really works for me, my team, my clients, and my partner in my other business, Creative Boss Method. Since business owners are often curious about tools others are using and whether or not they might be a good fit for them, here I’m going over my four favorite business tools and how I use them in my now successful system.
Airtable is huge for me. I’m a spreadsheet person, so finding such a smooth spreadsheet system has been a game changer. Airtable lets me construct shot lists for my clients in which I can cleanly lay out the main idea for the shoot, any relevant notes, inspiration photos as visual examples, backdrops and props I’m planning to use, and the type of shots I’m going to take for each product. I can really break down the science of every photo so the client can see exactly what I’m thinking and know right away if we’re on the right track or not. Communication with clients about shoots is much more clear and simple, and this really helps us get that perfect final touch on photos.
I use Airtable for more than shot lists, though. I have my social media content calendar, my blog ideas, and my goals there, too. And Airtable spreadsheets allow for so much more organization than regular old spreadsheets you may have used before. I can filter columns, add colors, and switch to a kanban or calendar view if I want to see information that way. I can create separate boards and choose what information needs to be shared with my VA and marketing gal. Keeping track of all these aspects of my business has been solved with Airtable, so after trying many other tools, I can say that I’ve fallen in love hard with this one. If you have Airtable questions, please ask them! I’ll be happy to share more.
If you’ve got a phone, go download Mojo. It will save your Instagram life, because it’s what’s making Instagram Stories fun again. Mojo lets you take your images and make them like a video with motion and music. These types of images are so much more appealing, and my views increase a lot when I’m using Mojo. I even use Mojo to tie into my IGTV videos. And it’s so quick to grab your phone, add your own images to one of Mojo’s existing templates, make your modifications, and then download from Mojo and upload to Instagram. You can also make 2 or 3 stories that have a nice consistent flow by using the same template and effects in all of them. And no, this post isn’t sponsored by Mojo. It’s just a really cool app that makes me look great on Instagram.
You may have heard me mention Dubsado before. I’m still using and loving it. It’s tried and true, and if anything, I’m only continuing to evolve how I apply it as my business grows. I depend on Dubsado for taking care of clients, moving them through the contract and payment process, and making sure things don’t fall through the cracks, and that’s become even more important as I’ve moved to the point of having 2 different businesses and doing more things outside of photography. Dubsado has continued to add new features to their system, and one that I’ve started using a lot is the client portal feature. It’s a great way to communicate with my clients and give them access to all of their contracts and invoices. This saves me a lot of time because I no longer need to manually resend invoices for clients who can’t find their original emailed copies and want to write off their photoshoots on their taxes. I also have workflows that put out automatic emails to greet new potential clients who are inquiring about a service. In this way, I’m able to check out from my computer and focus on a photoshoot for 4-6 hours a day, knowing that new inquiries are getting responses even while I’m busy. I’ve also got follow up and shipping reminder emails set up so I don’t need to worry about those, either. Plus Dubsado integrates with other programs like QuickBooks to make my business life even better. Dubsado makes me and my clients happy and keeps everything moving along really well behind the scenes.
IGTV is now it’s own app (look for it on Google Play or in the App Store), so if you’ve been trying to figure out where IGTV went, now you know. And I actually love that Instagram has made IGTV its own thriving platform! It’s easier than ever to upload videos in a format that fits your phone and check your videos out right away. It’s also perfect for showing the real and raw behind-the-scenes of your business but with more time than Stories. I’ve been embracing IGTV by showing what I’m doing day-to-day. I’ve made Hyperlapse videos of photoshoot setups and videos about my process and the decisions I make as I work. It’s so much more fun for me to show people how something gets made from start to finish instead of just little clips here and there in Stories. Plus, Instagram also lets you share your IGTV back to Stories, which is a nice feature. If you’re not already following me on Instagram, find @crystalclear_creativestudios and see what I’ve been up to on IGTV!
That was a lot of information, wasn’t it? Here’s a summary to help you remember my 4 favorite business tools and what they do:
1. Airtable = amazing for organization and team communication.
2. Mojo = great for video graphics and stepping up your Instagram Stories game.
3. Dubsado = a tried-and-true customer relationship system for contracts, invoices, and workflows. Takes tasks off your plate while still giving clients a great experience.
4. IGTV = show up for your followers in higher converting videos, give them more than a 15 second look at what you’re doing.
And if you’d like some help building your business beyond the tools I’ve mentioned today, Kayla of Ivory Mix Stock Shop and I would love to see you over at Creative Boss Method. We launched a business-building workshop series last year, and we’re getting ready to launch something else soon so stay tuned for that!
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