As promised in a recent blog post (you can read more here) – I’m sharing with you something I hold near and dear to my heart: My Ultimate Business Resource List. As a disclaimer – I’ll let you know that these aren’t all photography related – but instead, resources that focus strictly on streamlining my business, workflow, and client communication. I use all of these apps, websites, and programs to make my running my business just a little easier. Ok, maybe a lot easier :).
Are you ready? Let’s dig in!
Quickbooks Online – Quickbooks is, hands down, the industry standard when it comes to accounting and taxes. After years of doing it “my way” and avoiding the bandwagon – I jumped on and won’t ever let go! If you’re ever considering hiring a bookkeeper (which you totally should) I highly recommend signing up for Quickbooks online. This allows easy cloud access for you and your bookkeeper or finance team. Your accountant will be oh-so-happy!
WordPress – My website has been on WordPress for YEARS. I adore the framework because it allows for so many plugins, designs, and options for customization. Most designers are familiar with it, so that helps when you’re ready for a redesign, or if you need to find a savvy web dev to update a few things.
Mile IQ* – This is a fairly new addition to my ultimate business resource list, but boy has it been a game changer. I used to record my mileage at the end of each month, but it was one of those tasks that I dreaded doing. Now the MileIQ app tracks all my drives from my iPhone for me! All I have to do is open the app and swipe left for personal, and right for business trips. Easy!
Expensify* – A few years ago, I decided to go paper-free with as much of my business as possible. It wasn’t until Expensify was recommended to me by my bookkeeper that I was able to ditch all those paper receipts for good. This app also makes keeping track of purchases so much easier! If I have a receipt, I take a picture of it and load it to the app. Then I shred and recycle the paper. If I get an electronic receipt (which I opt for whenever possible) – I forward those emails the Expensify system and it tracks and categorizes the purchase.
Tave* – I have been using Tave (a client relationship manager or CRM for short) since the start of my business, and it has helped me organize everything from client information to contracts. I believe having a CRM, whether basic or high level, is invaluable for any business. I think of it as my home base of sorts, as I can always check in there to see what needs to be done. Automating any and everything is the way to go, in my opinion, and Tave affords me that luxury when it comes to keeping client records in order. I have also heard wonderful things about Honeybook and 17 Hats – other popular CRM’s amongst business owners.
Calendly – Are you tired of back and forth emails trying to schedule a meeting or call? Calendly is an awesome website that syncs with your calendar and allows people to see your availability and book a meeting with you at the click of a button. It’s such a time saver and Calendly’s FREE option serves my business perfectly!
Linktree – Do you have time to constantly be updating the links in your Instagram profile? Yeah – me either! Linktree allows you to add more than one link to your Instagram profile, so you can point your viewers in the right direction depending on what content you are putting out. Plus the service is fun, easy to use and FREE!
Tiny Scanner – Apparently some people still use pen and paper for contracts, permits, and other important documents (shocking, I know!). So instead of having to bust out my annoying scanner every time I need to send a signed document back to a business, I use the Tiny Scanner app and send it straight to them via email. It is well worth the $5 cost for the pro version, and makes paper contracts much easier.
Planoly* – Instagram is my jam and I love it! Here’s what I don’t love though – planning out content and trying to curate a feed that looks consistent and in-line with my brand voice. What a time suck! Planoly allows me to schedule posts to my stories and feed and gives me a preview of exactly how it will look so that I can make wiser decisions before publishing. And, Planoly is an Instagram partner, so they are constantly rolling out new features and updates to make their app and desktop program even better.
VSCO – Although the majority of the photographs I post on social media are with my professional camera, when it comes to iPhone photography – VSCO is my favorite editing app! VSCO is FREE and gives me the tools I need to blend my iPhone work with my professional work, seamlessly and easily.
Pixieset* – This platform is how I share and store all of my client work. In my opinion, it’s the way to go when it comes to delivering shoots and weddings. The interface is easy to use, not only for me but for my clients and their families members. Plus, Pixieset developers are great about making updates – so there are always new features to try!
G Suite – Oh gosh, the power of G suite is real! Not only does it allow me to use Gmail for my business email (with my personalized domain), but I gain access to cloud-based spreadsheets, google documents and so much more. Not having to burden my computer with more downloads is a huge plus! And, when things are in the cloud – it makes it easier to collaborate with other virtual businesses. More on that in a later blog post!
Boomerang for Gmail – Ever wish you had an assistant that could remind you what emails needed to be followed up on? Or have you daydreamed about an option to schedule an email to be sent on a certain day at a certain time? Well, ladies and gents, I’m about to rock your world! Boomerang does this and so much more. I love to work late into the night, but I don’t like to send emails at midnight. It sets an unprofessional tone and also blurs the boundaries between me and clients. Using Boomerang helps me stay on top of email without having to sacrifice my night owl ways or professionalism!
Canned Responses for Gmail – If you find yourself sending the same emails again and again, canned responses wants to be your new best friend. This Gmail lab is FREE and will save you so much time! You can save responses to commonly asked questions, new inquiries, and more! Instead of re-writing these messages over and over – you can pop your canned response in and send the email off in seconds! Also – canned responses set you up for working with other professionals – like an admin team. More on that later, too!
So – there you have it – my Ultimate Business Resource List! Are you feeling inspired? Have more resources to share? Leave a comment below and let me know how things are flowing in your biz!
*Disclaimer: This is not only a tool I use and love in my business, they are also an affiliate of Kaysha Weiner Photographer.