I shared this post as a newsletter exclusive back when we first started our newsletter! I’ve gotten so many messages from our email subscribers who were referring back to it as they grew their business. So with the girl power message behind our newest clutch, I thought this month would be the perfect time to share that post here with all of you today! Plus, I’ve even added two new tools, too! And, if you aren’t on our email list, get on that, girl!
With a quickly growing business, we have implemented a lot of tools and processes to stay organized. Or at least… attempt to stay organized. Ha! I put together a list of 12 of my essential business tools I use to keep things running smoothly!
1. Google Drive
Without a doubt our most important tool and app! We use Google Drive to upload any videos we take for “vlogs” on our phone, Jeff uses it to send me photos, and we use it to organize brainstorms, among 1,000 other things. We also use it as a working document for when we have to submit drafts of sponsored posts. I heart Google!!!!
2. BaseCamp 2
We use BaseCamp as our project management and calendar system. Samantha makes a new “project” for every blog post we have in the works and can invite various team members to complete tasks related to that project. For instance, she’ll list a task for Jeff as “Shoot Capsule Wardrobe” or “Turn in Capsule Wardrobe Photos” and for me, “Write Capsule Wardrobe Post.” This ensures that everyone knows what day everything is due.
We keep a separate calendar category for sponsored posts, so our management company can view how our sponsorships are lining up in the calendar and also share the calendar with our product team so they can align promotions and product launches with our content schedule.
When I discovered HelloSign and HelloFax, I thought they were the best thing EVER! I haven’t printed, signed and scanned a document in YEARS because I can just virtually sign and save it with HelloSign. Same with HelloFax, I can send a fax to any fax machine without having to have one. Because… who still has a fax machine anyway!?
But speaking of scanning… since we don’t have a scanner either, Samantha has the TurboScan app on her phone that she uses to “scan” receipts and other important documents. Then she just emails them to me! It’s pretty amazing what a difference there is between “scanning” with that app and just taking a photo.
Gusto is our Payroll system and as an accounting-deficient person, I’m AMAZED by how user friendly it is. I. LOVE. IT. It’s how I run PayRoll, pay contractors and keep track of employee and contractor tax documents. They also file payroll taxes for you and remind you of other important regulations too! Plus, they have the best customer service I’ve ever encountered. Everyone is HAPPY all the time. The system is such an asset for us.
Deputy is what we use for TimeSheets, to track part-time employee hours. It’s not glamorous but it was the cheapest one that worked with Gusto and it gets the job done. Employees log hours in Deputy which I can then approve and export to Gusto before running Payroll!
I used Freshbooks for a really long time but once we had multiple employees and an excessive amount of expenses, it just didn’t cut it anymore. Our bookkeepers recommended QuickBooks and even though it’s intimidating, it’s SO much more robust than Freshbooks and necessary for all that we have to categorize.
Our bookkeepers run monthly profit and loss reports and status reports on outstanding payments. We also can send invoices through here!
Two fold on this one! So first, Pinterest. We use secret boards for SO many things. We use it to curate our product round-ups for the blog, so we can get a quick visual of how they all look together. We also use it to organize props/clothes for each of our clutch shoots. The team and I will pin photos and we’ll narrow from there before purchasing. We also use it to organize inspiration, color palettes, etc. for upcoming projects and shoots. When we need to tell a designer a color palette for a printable, for example, we’ll refer here to help give a visual depiction of what we’re looking for.
Second, I know Pinterest has pretty extensive analytics nowadays, but if I quickly need/want to know how many pins a specific post has, I check this Pin Count tool. I just drop the link in there and it gives me an estimate of the number of pins. To be clear, I can’t guarantee how accurate this is, but it has always seemed pretty close to me!
I use Font Squirrel if I need fonts in addition to my main ones because they are all free for commercial use, so I don’t have to worry about any licensing issues! They have a great selection and I like that you can “test drive” all of them.
10. The Noun Project
Since I’m not an illustrator, if I need a quick graphic for something (like a printable or a DIY), I’ll purchase the rights to a graphic from The Noun Project. They have SO MANY symbols and motifs available. Some are completely free, but most have a small charge to use without credit to the artist.
11. WP Engine
When we did our website re-design, we also switched hosts. Per pretty much everyone’s recommendation, we signed up for WP Engine. I like how easy the back end of their platform is to navigate and that they have a live chat feature for any instant tech support you need. Because if any of you have a website, you know that if your site is down, you want to talk to someone IMMEDIATELY!
Jeff introduced me to this one! It’s a really simple app for your phone that helps you lay out your Instagram feed. I go back and forth about how important I think the overall look of a feed is, but I have noticed when I pay more attention to it, my Instagram tends to grow more steadily. With PLANN, it imports your current Instagram feed and then you can add photos you’re thinking of posting to see how they look alongside it. I don’t use this all the time, but if I’m ever questioning a post, I’ll pop it in there to see how it looks!
And there you have it! If you have any tools you use and love to run your business, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. I couldn’t live without any of these!
Note: Some links included above are affiliate links. Read more about my editorial policies here.