When it comes to running my business I rely on a number of tools to help me stay productive, organized, and keep my projects on track. I’m not gonna lie, it took me a while to figure out the business part of Sonrisa Studio. I’m first and foremost a designer. And I still have A LOT of learning to do when it comes to running a business. But after a bit of research and time on other business owner blogs, I found the tools that have helped my business run smoothly. Here they are…
Honeybook is a CRM system I use for all my bookkeeping and project management. I use it to send questionnaires, proposals, and invoices. My clients can pay with a credit card using their secure payment portal. The customer service team is super helpful and the user interface is made for creatives. It costs about $300 a year.
My Instagram account would not be the same without Planoly. I am obsessed with this business tool. It’s completely free and it allows you to plan your Instagram posts ahead of time. You can easily move your images around to play with what looks best in your feed. For someone who is all about the aesthetic of her feed, Planoly is the perfect tool.
My go-to computer is a MacBook Pro. Though I love working on a desktop, the Mac desktops don’t have the same storage or power as a MacBook Pro, strange I know. I also love being able to pick up and go to a coffee shop or work outside on a nice day. When I need to work on big website projects I hook this baby up to 27in monitor and I am good to go! It is definitely my recommendation for anyone who is working with large files and needs a fast, reliable computer.
Some of my freelance clients are hourly based, so I have to do a lot of time tracking. That’s where clockify comes in handy. Another totally free tool that helps me manage my time and allows me to export my hours into reports for invoicing.
This one is a must for any designer. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign on a daily basis so it is imperative that I have the Creative Cloud versions so I stay up-to-date on updates. You also get Typekit and other great apps such as Lightroom. It is around $60 a month but something I require to run a design business.
Pinterest is more than just a place to procrastinate. It is a wonderful search engine and my favorite place to promote all my work. To help me get more eyes on my pins I use Tailwind. Tailwind schedules your pins to get repinned on various boards. You can even join tribes of similar people who can also pin your work for you. I’ve only been on it for a few weeks, but so far I am really liking the features it offers.
For a lot of my Instagram photos, my iPhone works fine but photos on my website or any print materials I need high res images so I use a Nikon D3300. Now, I am by no means a professional photographer or know exactly how to use the camera but after a few (ok multiple) YouTube videos I was able to figure out a few settings I like and stick to those.
I’m sure most of you have heard of Google Docs but I have been using this tool since college and haven’t had an issue since. So why change something that isn’t broken, right? I use Google Docs to house all my files which I love because I always have access to them on my phone which is great if a client needs something while I am away from my computer. I also use it to send and share files with developers or project managers. It allows me to send large files without any issues.
All I am going to say is that there is no way I could run a design business on a trackpad.
There you have it, my list of essential tools I need to run my online business. There are definitely a few more here I didn’t mention but these are the main tools I use for organizing and running my business. I would love to hear about the tools you use that make your life easier.
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