Getting organized without a spreadsheet
Everyone knows one person who is obsessed with spreadsheets. And yeah, spreadsheets certainly are handy but there are oh so many other ways to track info.
I do know my way around a spreadsheet and there is something about them that makes my Type A heart swoon. But. They aren’t pretty. And sometimes with all they can do, aren’t that functional outside of containing data. You need to be organized in your business so what’s a girl to do? She gets herself hooked up with some wicked apps.
Before we dig in, I want to let you know that within the links below there may be affiliate links. What this means is that should you end up making a purchase after clicking an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission. This does not affect your purchase in any way. All referrals I make are for products and services I have personally tried out and adore.
CRM – Client Relationship Management
A good CRM needs to have a way to collect and track leads, create and send contracts, proposals, questionnaires, invoices and keep notes. The best software I have come across is called Dubsado. Dubsado offers a free trial unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Rather than a 14 or 30 day trial period, it’s a 3 client trial. So you can manage 3 clients for as long as you like and it’s not until you add the fourth that you need to subscribe. This was great because it allowed me to play around at my own pace to see just how the software worked.
Website and hosting
Your business needs an online home and for me that home is hosted with Squarespace. Squarespace has everything you could want for your business AND it’s easily designed, maintained and updated by you. It also has many integrations and every time you post a blog post it automatically posts to social media as well. For any site you design, you have a free 14 day trial period.
Where’s your virtual coffee shop? These days it can be anywhere thanks to Zoom. I love Zoom for its ease of set-up, you just download the app to your device and you can have video or audio calls with anyone from anywhere. My favorite perk is that you can easily record the meeting without the use of additional software. Also if there’s a few of you at the meeting, you can see everyone’s faces. Zoom is free for smaller meetings so is great if you do a lot of 1:1 chats.
These days there are some serious Spam laws in place worldwide and to make sure you aren’t violating them it’s best to use a great email app to manage your email marketing. I use ConvertKit because it’s simple, easy to use and I have one list of contacts with tags instead of many lists of contacts per opt-in. Everything is streamlined, I can easily see who opened what, clicked where, do split testing, add forms to my site and move the order of emails around in sequences. ConvertKit has a 14 day free trial or if you ask around, you can probably score a free 30 day trial.
The simplest client scheduling software I have come across is Calendly. The interface is clean and easy to manage. It’s free to use for one type of meeting and you can add a few questions to ask the client upon booking to prequalify the appointment. It connects nicely to your Google or iCal so you can decide when you are available without showing off your entire schedule or having the awkward back and forth emails. AND Calendly just added the ability to take payments!
Social Media Scheduling
It can be a bit tricky to schedule all those social media posts and also to keep loading them up every time so I turned to Smarterqueue to manage that all for me. It has a visual interface where you can see what you are posting when. You upload all your posts and organize them by subject then you can decide if each post is evergreen and therefore will be recycled or if they are for specific times. You also have the choice of scheduling by app and specific post or by app and subject. What sealed the deal for me was the evergreen filling of posts. If you don’t have something scheduled for a slot, Smarterqueue adds in a post from that subject
I know there are eleventy ways to communicate but only one has a great way to keep it all together and organized nicely and that’s Slack. Instead of having all the conversations jumbled up together like you do in email, you can create a channel for each topic and then all the interaction for that topic is in one place. You can even add links to Google docs! If you are part of multiple teams on Slack you have one dashboard and can easily switch between each. The best part – it’s all free!
If you're running a business, you're sending out invoices, getting paid, paying bills (hopefully for some of these great tools!) and need a way to manage it all. For that I use Wave. With Wave you can track the finances of one or more businesses and also your personal finances from one login! It keeps everything organized so when tax time rolls around you have a minimum to do. Oh did I mention it's free?
The only resource, as far as I am concerned, for housing your files is Google Drive. It’s reliable, easy to use, easily shared with others (or unshared if the need arises) and you can organize it how you need it to be even if you are using shared folders.
Organizing All the things
When I first discovered Asana, it was a bit daunting but I knew it was an amazing tool so wanted to figure it out. You can use Asana to organize and track every facet of your life and business from content creation to task tracking, finances, personal chores, grocery lists, parties, you name it you can track it. The easiest way to get going is with a course called Asana HQ created by Megan Minns. I don’t get any kickbacks for recommending this course, I just adore her and want you to have the best resources!
This can see like a lot of tools but honestly it's the best complication you can have without spending a zillion dollars. But I want to know, have you used any of these apps - which one is your favorite?