Creative Market is the place to go when you need design elements with a "Pinterest" aesthetic like watercolor backgrounds, handwritten fonts, etc. There are plenty of websites out there where you can buy ready made designs and templates to make graphics but I LOVE the range of designs offered on this site. Super responsibly priced and they do bundles all the time to take the price down even more. The August Bundle has 130 items in it ranging from WordPress themes, business card designs, fonts GALORE, for $39 saving you well almost $1,900. It's insane. They only do the bundles for 7 days though so it's important that you check back monthly to see if a new bundle has been released. By the time this post went up, the bundle had expired BUT they are offered six free design elements until the next bundle is ready.
Biteable helps you create cute animated videos in minutes. I own a video production company and I still use sites like Biteable because sometimes you just need to make something quick for a YouTube outro or Facebook ad and it's not worth a heavy time investment. Now I'll be honest, you don't want this to become your only video marketing strategy because after a while people will be able to tell it's stock video BUT you can definitely get away with it for a couple video here and there. Here's a video I made for our client AB Kramer Group with Biteable.
Unsplash is ALL THE THINGS. I go to this website at least one a day and recommend it at least one a week. FREE high resolution photos, ALL DAY, EVERYDAY. Photographers use it as a way to get their name out and you can download and use whatever you want. I used Unsplash to create my 30 Day Quote Graphic Bundle & it helped jumpstart my list overnight for FREE99!!!
Screencast-O-Matic is an integral part of our business. I use it for recording Brand Boosts with my remote clients so they don't have to worry about scribbling fiercely during our calls. I use it for creating video tutorials for my resource library and my YouTube channel as well. For $15/year, it's well worth it.
This is not a typo :) Screencast is what I use in conjunction with Screencast-o-matic when I want to use screen capture videos to clarify a client question or give them a preview of their website while's being built. It's an awesome way to email the videos. Just upload directly to screencast and your client can stream the video recording without having to download the file or use a site like YouTube or Vimeo.
Early on in my business I used Skype for strategy sessions with my clients. When that bombed I moved on to Google Hangouts and finally settled on Zoom. The video quality is the best I've seen so far and it's so easy to use. I also use Zoom for hosting small webinars (max 50 people) for just $15/month.
The reason why some online entrepreneurs have better visual branding than others is a consistent color scheme. When you see certain colors not only do they communicate a feeling but you equate that feeling to the brand that presented that color combination to you. Coolors helps you create a color palate for your business by pushing the spacebar until you see a combo you like or uploading a photo and having it grab color codes from that. It's amazing.
I could give you 12 ways to use Canva for the rest of this post because it's so incredibly wonderful. I've shared some of my Canva tricks on my Made in Canva workshop video but essentially it is a website that allows you to build graphics online for free. The templates range from business cards to YouTube thumbnails. It's definitely helped me save on design costs and now it has an app so you can use it on your phone!
When I speak to a lot of my older clients they say the name "Constant Contact" when I ask them what they use to manage their email list. MailChimp is free. Unlimited emails up to 2,000 subscribers and you can hack it to your deliver your opt-ins for free as well!
Once your business has a solid email marketing strategy and you've got at least a few hundred people on your list, I would suggest migrating to ConvertKit. I'll be honest though. I bought one month of ConvertKit and cancelled the first time around but I didn't like the landing pages and I didn't have a strategy. Now I'm in love with it! I've had to use some work arounds to get it to work with Squarespace but I've already seen in increase in my list since the change.
I HATE QUICKBOOKS. There is something about the user interface that just makes me sad but Freshbooks is my jam! Their customer service is out of this world. They let you invoice clients for an entire month before you decide whether or not to pay for it. They gave me a 2nd account for half price since I was a loyal customer with Life Focus. AND they offer discounts to non-profits. Try it for a month, download the app and see if you love it as much as I do!
To do lists are fantastic but when you're managing a team you have to figure out a way to do that electronically to really be efficient. I used to be head over heels for the website Asana but after a while no one kept it updated. I discovered the website Trello and I use it every day. I use it to keep track of my daily tasks, manage my team, record stats for my social media accounts and even keep track of leads. It's a free site and it definitely worth implementing if you are a visual learner.
SHARE LINK GENERATOR
Share Link Generator is a new find. I had been using Click to Tweet for a while to help promote my content on Twitter but I needed something to use that would help me share content on Facebook. Share Link Generator is that and SO MUCH MORE. You can paste your blog post/web page link into the generator and share your content easily on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, & in Email. Click here to see how it works. (If you’re looking for another option try https://www.websiteplanet.com/webtools/sharelink/)
WeTransfer is a super easy way to share files. I would love to think that everyone knows how to navigate Google Drive & Dropbox but that's just not the case. WeTransfer is a free way for people to send you files and it's a perfect solution for those people in your life who aren't exactly technologically savvy. You can transfer up to 2 GB for no cost and you can always upgrade if you want to do more.
Scheduling social media posts is A MUST when you are a busy entrepreneur. Sites like Buffer & Hootsuite are a fantastic tools but if I had to pick Hootsuite would be my favorite. I just like the way the Hootsuite interface looks :) Pick on day of the week where you load in your posts for the week and then let them post on auto pilot for free. Services like Meet Edgar cost $49/month but allow you to develop libraries of content that continue to post automatically. So when you outgrow Hootsuite that's a great way to level up!
GOOGLE APPS FOR BUSINESS
You can't survive in business without using Google. It's just that simple lol. I use Gmail, Google Drive, Google Spreadsheets & Google Docs EVERY DAY. If you don't have a professional email like (email@example.com) you can actually set that up directly through Gmail and you'd like login like you normally would but your emails would use your domain name instead of gmail. Google Drive is also a great way to collaborate with clients so make sure you utilize that feature.
Dropbox is my JAM when it comes to saving space on my laptop. Google Drive is a great way to collaborate BUT Dropbox creates a folder on my desktop like my normal hard drive that allows me to still use my Microsoft Office suite without bogging down my computer. I can leave town and still have those files without having to carry an external hard drive. If you take photos as a hobby or as part of your business, DROPBOX DROPBOX DROPBOX. Also, I use the Dropbox app to give me easy access to Instagram graphics I've created on my computer. I pull them up in the app and save them to my camera roll for easy upload. Otherwise I would have to email the photos to myself and download that way. SO MUCH BETTER with the Dropbox app.
I don't need an assistant because of Calendly. It does all my scheduling for me. I set up different blocks of time depending on what I have going on in my life and I send people the link to the type of appointment that best fits the situation. I use it to schedule photo shoots, coffee dates, Zoom calls, you know name it! It also sends reminders 24 hours in advance automatically so no reminder phone calls or emails needed. It's heaven! BONUS TIP: If you love Calendly, check out Doodle. If you need to schedule a meeting with more than one person use Doodle. You offer up dates and times to the group and it takes a poll to see which date/time works best. No more email trains back and forth.
HANDS DOWN. THE BIGGEST WEBSITE THAT IS A GAME CHANGER FOR STARTUPS IS SQUARESPACE. Yes that was totally necessary to put in all caps. Squarespace is an incredible website builder that gives you a clean, modern look and feel without downloading an obscene amount of plugins like you have to with WordPress. All our sites are built on Squarespace. They take care of your hosting. All you need is a domain. PLUS their customer service is BALLIN so if you ever run into trouble, they are ON IT. If you want to go beyond their templates, I highly recommend Megan Garwood.
Yes, I know this was an EPIC blog post but this will save a ton of time searching for helpful sites and apps online. Bookmark this page and be sure to share this online. Did I miss any good apps? Share your favorites below!
*There are links listed above that are affiliate links however I did not recommend a tool I do not use and absolutely LOVE.