What Worked For Me: Business Tools

In my time as a business owner (nearly three years!) I have tried and tested a good number of tools which can help all areas of business. All of them claim to help you run your business and save you a bit of precious time - but which ones actually work?

Business Tools That Worked For Me | Online Biz | Creative Designer | Small Business Tips

I am definitely an advocate for a free trial and in my time running my business, I have made the most of a LOT of trials in my quest to have the smoothest running biz in the land. I sincerely feel like finding the right systems for you can be the difference between constant stress and freelance bliss so for me, getting the right ones was really important.

This is my first in a series called ‘What Worked For Me’ and in this post I will be talking about... business tools! From organisation to marketing, which continue to help me to this day and which fell flat?

Client Organisation

Acuity - Online Appointment Scheduling

Does It Work? - Yes

Acuity has completely changed the way I book all of my client appointments and saved me so much time. No longer do I have to email back and forth comparing schedules, I can just send my form and clients can choose the best slot for them! I also get the Emerging Entrepreneur plan for free with my Squarespace subscription which gives me loads of extra features.

Asana - Productivity & Project Management Tool

Does It Work? - Yes!

Asana is my go to tool when it comes to project planning and management. It is also how I communicate with my clients throughout our projects and share thoughts and files. It works perfectly with my brain as it is made up of a series of to do lists (just like my bullet journal!) and I can assign tasks to clients and people I collaborate with and set deadlines.

Dubsado - Client Management System

Does It Work? - HELL YES

I have been very open about how Dubsado has been an absolute lifesaver when it comes to my business and I would recommend it to anyone who runs a service-based biz. It really is the tool that covers everything and I run every part of my client projects through it including contracts, invoices, forms and proposals. You can even create workflows which can automate a lot of your client process so you don’t have to worry about it!

G Suite - Productivity & Communication Tools

Does It Work? - Yep

Google is a great place to go to when it comes to business tools and G Suite is a great package to support your business. Using G Suite, I can have a branded business email using my domain and this also connects to calendars and documents which are all kept in one place.

Slack - Team Collaboration Tool

Does It Work? - No

I know that Slack is a common communication tool for business teams but as I mainly work on my own, I don’t really need this as a channel for chatting and I find that I can just use Asana for the same purpose.

Trello - Project Management Tool

Does It Work? - Not for me

Trello is an alternative to Asana but instead of using to do lists, it uses a system of cards which you can drag and drop into different areas, add deadlines to and assign to team members. Although I can see the benefit of this, Asana was definitely a better system for me and I much prefer the way it works.

Social Media

Boardbooster - Scheduling for Pinterest

Does It Work? - Yes

Since completing Melyssa Griffin’s course, Pinfinite Growth, I signed up to Boardbooster to automate my use on Pinterest and promote my blog posts and design work. In just under a year, I have gone from 30 to over 4000 followers and get quite a lot of traffic through Pinterest.

Buffer - Social Media Management Tool

Does It Work? - Nope

Buffer was my social media management tool of choice for quite a while and although it was easy to use and never caused me any issues, I found that I was spending a lot of time adding and scheduling content and wasn’t getting the return I was hoping for.

Planoly - Scheduling for Instagram

Does It Work? - Yesss!

As a designer, visual platforms are really important to me and I am quite precious over Instagram and my grid (I realise this is sad!). Planoly has been really key in planning this and keeping me organised and consistent. Instagram has become one of my main sources of new clients and I would never keep up with it without Planoly!

Smarterqueue - Social Media Management Tool

Does It Work? - Yes

The issues I had with Buffer were solved with Smarterqueue, which is a tool which recycles the content you have already created and posts it to social media. The way it works means I only have to check on it and add new content once a month or so and aside from that, it is completely automated.


Dropbox - File Sharing System

Does It Work? - Nope

Dropbox is a great tool for file sharing but as I already use G Suite, I get a lot of storage on Google Drive instead so it isn’t worth paying for extra storage on Dropbox. I do however like the fact you can integrate Dropbox with your own files on a Macbook!

Google Drive - File Sharing System

Does It Work? - Yes

As I have already mentioned, I get 30GB of storage on Google Drive as part of G Suite which is plenty for me! I use my Drive to share files with clients, store my freebies for my resources page and also write all of my content. It’s much easier than attaching separate files to emails and forgetting where they’re saved!

IFTTT - Task Automator

Does It Work? - Yep

I almost forgot IFTTT (If This Then That) when writing this list because it is so automated, I don’t even have to check it! IFTTT can combine the tools you use and create little automation rules which you can use in your business. At the moment, I just use it to cross post my content on different platforms (e.g. putting Instagram posts on Twitter) but I know there is more I could use if for!

Email Marketing

Mailchimp - Marketing Automation Platform

Does It Work? - Yes!

I love Mailchimp for running my newsletter and at the moment, because I am under the number of subscribers to have to pay (you get 2000 free!) there is no reason for me to switch to anything else. I use it to send my monthly newsletters, an automatic sign up email and my free resources and at some point in the future, I am hoping to create a free email course through it too.

What are your absolute favourite business tools that you couldn't live without? Let me know and see if any of mine can help you out too!

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