Running an online business can only work smoothly if you have the right tools in place to help you with so many important tasks along the way. Here are my best kept secret and tools for running my own business.
I never would have imagined how many little pieces of software and things I needed to have in place in my business in order for it to run smoothly. There a tons of bits and pieces that, when you put them together, work almost like an assistant. It’s crazy how accessible and easy it is for us to run a business today. Basically, all you need to have is internet and a computer. Sometimes, you can even do with a phone.
I wanted to share with you all the tools that I use in my business and that have served me so well over the past few months and years.
Adobe Creative Suite
Of course, as a designer, the MOST important tool that I need to have is a design program that can do everything that I need. In this case, I actually use 3 different programs, all of which come from the Adobe Creative Cloud. I love this and have been using Adobe products since I was in College. Specifically, I use the following products:
Illustrator: for designing logos, symbols or vector images
In Design: for creating pdf guides, workbooks, checklists
Photoshop: for editing images and photographs
They switched from selling software to a monthly membership fee which I super gladly pay since I really need to have this for my business.
There are quite a few places where I download different design resources for my business. These I use when I need vectors, icons, illustrations, or even fonts. My favorite free option is Freepik, I always go to them first to check and see if there’s anything I could use from their library.
Then there’s Envato Market, where you can purchase pretty much anything you can think of: WordPress themes, plugins, fonts, vectors, you name it!
Finally, for photos I always use iStockphoto. They are really amazing and have thousands of great options.
Other design programs
Most people I know are completely in love with Canva. The reason for this is that it’s a SUPER easy way for you to design even if you know nothing about design at all. It’s extremely simple, you can upload your logo directly to the app and can create beautiful things on there in all different kinds of sizes and styles.
Apart from Canva, I actually love an App called Over. They offer pretty much the same things as Canva and it’s super easy to use as well.
web development tools
Domain + Hosting
Of course, in order to actually design and manage websites, you first need to have a Domain and Hosting for your business. I have used GoDaddy for years. They have an excellent customer service and have helped me a ton.
WordPress is an incredible Content Management System and platform through which I build all of the websites I do. The great thing about it is that there are hundreds and thousands of plugins and themes and things you can add to customize any site however way you like it.
The X theme
WordPress is the platform and you customize that with a theme. The only theme I ever use is X Theme. It is beyond brilliant because it is 100% customizable and you can do absolutely whatever you want with it. I have done around 60 sites with X Theme so far, so, needless to say, I love it. It’s super easy to use (although, there is quite a learning curve), and their online community is incredibly supportive as well.
Useful plugins + tools
There are a variety of extremely useful plugins you can use for your website as well. Yoast SEO is great for Search Engine Optimization, for example. Then there’s Back Up Guard which is perfect for backing up your site. Then there’s the wonderful magician Alexei from WP Speed Guru that does wonders to speed up sites.
I of course use G Suite for my email. I have firstname.lastname@example.org, but it’s a Gmail email, which is pretty cool. I don’t think I need to explain why Gmail is the best. We all know that’s the case, right?
One of the most important aspects of running an online business is having an email service provider that manages your database, sends emails and, pretty much does magic. My favorite one so far is Convertkit. It IS paid, however it is the best money spent ever. It’s extremely easy to use, and very beautifully designed. For me, having a visual dashboard that lets me understand and see the number of subscribers on my list is very important. Convertkit does just that.
However, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend money on email marketing just yet, you can use MailChimp which is free.
Another pretty great tool that I use is LeadPages. This software takes care of creating forms and landing pages for your lead magnets, and everything else related to your sales funnel. They have great templates that you can use to make it super easy if you aren’t a designer.
Calendly is another one of those amazing apps that I can’t live without. I have it on my site in order for potential clients to setup calls with me. It’s beautiful, seamless and so easy to use. Again, for me it’s important that the design of the app looks great and this one certainly does! It also connects with your Google Calendar, so you know exactly when you have to speak to someone.
This gem right here has saved me SO MUCH FREAKING TIME. I can’t tell you how much I love this software. Proposify makes the process of sending proposals online super easy. They also have a pretty comprehensive library so you can create your own template. Then, once it’s done, you send it over and your clients can sign your contract online in a moment.
There are various invoicing softwares that you can use for your business. I personally use Square. All my invoices go through them. They are extremely easy to create and the best part is that you have your money in the bank account within 24 hours.
Another one that is pretty cool and I recently discovered is Intuit QuickBooks’ Invoicing Software. They too offer instant payments and the really great thing is that they also track income and expenses by connecting to your bank account. Not only that, but they also give you quarterly estimates on your taxes which are automatically calculated for you. This is pretty cool, right?
That’s the basic list! Of course, there are more apps and software I use all the time. These are the ones I feel I use mostly on a regular basis. They are the little technological employees in my business and so important to making sure that everything runs smoothly!
what are some tools you have found useful in your business? share them below!
*some of these links are affiliates. which means that at no additional costs to you, I get a small commission. However, I honestly love all of these programs!