Do you ever feel like pulling out your hair because things just don’t work right? Or maybe you’re spending too much time creating invoices, emails, following up on late payments, posting to social media.
We’ve all been there and I know it’s no fun. So I wanna help a sista’ out and share with you the 5 main areas I recommend doing some application upgrades right now.
Read through to the end for a couple additional apps that didn’t make it into the video but are absolutely amazing!
Sneak Peak: This is what I’ll cover and have a couple of recommendations for. I’ve used all of them myself at some point or another.
• Project Management
• Video Meetings or Calls
• Booking Appointments
• Bonus: Password Management and Automations
Let’s break down tech that can help you appear to have it all together even if you don’t feel like it.
FIRST: GETTING PAID
Money talks after all and if it’s not easy to pay you, then it’s way to hard to work with you. Honestly. I don’t design invoices. I believe it to be a waste of your time to have to manually input numbers on a pretty document. No. Instead you should have an app or some software that allows you to customize the invoice template with your logo (and even brand colors if you’re lucky) but that links to a payment portal at the very least.
My all time favorite so far is Dubsado. They’re a bit more robust than simple invoicing and contract signing as I can also set up workflows to automate tasks, client portals so clients can review their contracts, invoices, and forms in one handy place, and even see if (and how many times) an email has been viewed. Kind of advanced for people just needing the basics.
If you’re not ready for the whole shebang yet then check out and.co for easy invoicing, payment, even proposals if I remember correctly. They used to have a low monthly fee for unlimited invoices, but it’s free now thanks to a recent buy-out.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
some may say first, but this is my list and I recommend G-Suite.
Yeah. I just took a side. I love using G-suite in my business. You could honestly basically run your business through gmail and their apps that come with an account whether or not you’re using a free or paid account.
My favorite thing about using the paid G-suite versus a free gmail account is group inboxes. Rather then setting up an alias for each new account you want to create (like hello@) you can set up group inboxes and then as you grow your team, add them in and adjust the forwarding settings.
Another option is to sign up for gmail. To use it free with a professional email you’ll need to set up email hosting with your domain on another account (most website hosts offer email for free) then just add an email address through the settings. You can create as many accounts as you want that way.
THIRD: PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Even as a team of one it helps to keep me on task and productive. I can set up my goals, track content creation on my blog, track client progress through my services, you name it there is a way.
My absolute favorite is Asana. It’s totally free with paid options if necessary. You can create boards or lists depending on your preference. It even has automation built in.
Another great one is Trello which is purely board format so it’s really a preference thing. If you do go with Trello though make sure you check out Butler for Trello which allows you to create custom automations for it so it can keep your tasks up to date for you just like Asana.
FOURTH: VIDEO MEETINGS
Yeah, I know. Face to face is cool, but it’s also limiting and unproductive. For one, if you’re not set up to work remotely then you’re limited to your geographic area. Some businesses have to deal with this, others don’t. If you don’t have your own office for clients to come to then you’ll need to factor in driving time, the cost of using another space, and shared internet speeds and privacy. Not to mention the lack of productivity if they’re running late. Been there, done that.
Zoom is the solution I recommend. Your client doesn’t need an account, they’ll just need to download some software to their device which is prompted when they click on your personal meeting link. You then have the ability to share your screen and even record your meetings. The best part, free for unlimited one-on-one meetings. For many, that’s all you need when you start.
FIFTH: BOOKING APPOINTMENTS
aka, a scheduling app
We all hate the run around of trying to find a time that works to meet with clients, specially if it has to happen all over again because they had to cancel or reschedule. Luckily with Acuity or Calendly you can create meeting types that link to your calendar, decide what your availability is and send off a link for your client to schedule something that works. It’ll be added to your calendar, they can get reminder emails…what’s not to love?
Of the two, my favorite is Acuity because of how they set up calendars and forms. If you have multiple appointment types you can re-use calendars in Acuity, but with Calendly you have to set up a new one each time. Admittedly, this isn’t such a big deal, but I really value being able to easily edit my availability.
*Update: Dubsado has also released a scheduler in their program.
Ok ok ok, if you read this far you get a bonus one too. Use a password manager. Seriously. I love Last Pass, but have heard that 1Password is also great. You can start free and have all of your passwords in one easy to find (and edit) place.
Also, if you’re ready to start trying to connect apps for automations you need to be looking into Zapier. It’s seriously cool and is a great way to take back time for yourself. I like to think of it as the cheapest personal assistant I’ll ever have.
There is also IFTT (If This Then That) which is kinda like Zapier, but more for personal tasks. If you’re trying to stay on the free account for Zapier you can look to see what automations IFTT can take over to free up more zaps.