To say that there are a lot of apps you can use for your business is an understatement. Not only can it be extremely difficult to choose which app will work best for the job you need to accomplish, but making the apps all work well together can take a long time with trial and error. I know the first couple years in business, I tried over 50 apps (I wish I was kidding) and finally found the perfect combination to keep my business organized, simplified, and working for me much more than it has in the past.
Are you currently pulling your hair out trying to find apps that will help you rather than be a pain? I’m sharing the 9 apps that I cannot live without and how I use them together. Disclaimer: I’m a designer, so I know some apps I use don’t apply to everyone. I tried to only include apps that many industries can use but know you may need to tweak things a bit to make it work for you. Ok, you ready? Let’s get to it!
I’ve shared my absolute love of Honeybook in the past. Not only do I use the app to handle all of the paperwork in my business (from contracts and invoices to client homework) but I also have a dedicated space for my clients and I to chat and have access to everything we need during their project. The pipeline (or dashboard) keeps all of my clients organized by project date so I can quickly see where I’m at in every project no matter how many projects I have active. The archive also helps to keep all of the information from past clients. It’s a great tool to help streamline your business so that you’re using only one app for most of your behind-the-scenes tasks. Get 50% off your first year of Honeybook (and you get a free trial to see if it fits your needs) by going here.
The biggest headache I had when first starting out was setting up a time and date to meetup with a client. After a million emails back and forth, we’d finally figure out a time that worked for us both but it wasted a lot of time. I wanted clients to know my availability more easily and be able to book their own appointment. Then Calendy entered my life.
Calendy connects to my Google calendar so that two different people cannot book the same time and date, I can specify days I’m unavailable, when I do have time for calls, and plan ahead for a whole year so I never need to reschedule due to my schedule being packed or because I’m out of the office. It has made the booking process so much more efficient and it’s free!
When it comes to creating an email list, I truly tried almost every choice imaginable. I always felt like something was missing no matter which platform I used. Email list software should definitely provide what you need now, but you also want the ability to scale.
I love everything about ConvertKit. You pay depending on the size of your list. Up to 1,000 subscribers costs $29. But each person, regardless of how many offers they’ve signed up for, will only count as one person. This was a huge deal for me so I wasn’t paying more for the same person wanting, for instance, 2 guides or downloads I’ve offered. They also offer awesome features like sequences, tagging subscribers to keep them organized, and branded cover pages to collect emails. It’s definitely my favorite.
Until the day Instagram lets you promote multiple links at once, Linktr.ee solves the problem of only sharing on link at a time. Say you blog and want to promote your post, but only 2 days later, you have a launch you want to share. Instead of changing the link and losing traffic to your post, you can add both items to the Linktr.ee account and promote both. I love using it to direct people to important pages on my site, features I write as a guest blogger, and when I create a new Showit template.
Blogging can be difficult when you have to think of enough content to create a whole post, but you can feel stuck right from the start when you can’t think of a catchy title for your post. Using CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer helps me to quickly create a title that I know will entice clicks and better explain what my posts are about.
In addition to letting you know how strong your title is based on the word balance (common vs. rare words), you can find out how the title will look on Google, subject lines of emails, and how much emotion or power your wording evokes in the reader. Emotion means you’re appealing to a fear or question your reader may have and power involves the promise you’re making with your title about what you’ll deliver in the post. It makes you think of how your title can draw people in or push them away. It has drastically improved my site views and the amount of people who read my posts.
Pinterest moves so quickly with all the new users and a huge number of pins being saved every hour. When you pin something to your boards, whether it is your work, a blog post, or inspiration, it just sits there and once it’s buried, it’s gone. Board Booster is a fantastic and cheap tool that cycles your content by repinning and bringing back old pins so that a new audience can see them. It’s helped me grow my followers quickly and it’s not a spammy system. I can control every detail of the cycle to make sure I’m not constantly pinning the same thing and it works best when I share a blog post that can help a lot of people. The post is brought to light to new people, bringing more new viewers to my blog and site.
Before planning out my posts on Instagram, I always felt like I had nothing to post. Also, I’m not a super-curated-feed kinda person, but I want my posts to feel balanced and showcase a range of my business’ assets and offerings. Planoly has been such a great tool to do just that. Not only do I schedule my posts, seeing them all on a calendar that allows me to see if I’m posting 3 times in one day then not posting again until 4 days later but I can see what those posts will look like.
The other feature I love about Planoly is that it does not violate Instagram’s terms of service. You don’t want to plan some posts then lose access to your account or have it deleted. The most important policy that can get you in trouble is if an app posts for you. When it’s time to post, you get a phone notification, it adds the photo to your phone, and copies the caption. Then you just choose the photo and paste the caption and post! It’s super simple and quick and I love that I can plan a bit more ahead of time but still post genuine and helpful content on Instagram.
I keep my business (and myself) completely organized with Asana. I keep my client project checklists, content calendar, and plans for future personal projects (like my shop, collab opportunities, and more). Having everything in one place keeps me sane and it’s easy to see each and every day what items I need to get done. I’m able to check that and my calendar before wrapping up each day and writing in my Simplified Planner the to-do’s for the following work day. It’s a streamlined process that keeps work during work hours and I enjoy my off time that much more.
Before finding out about Zoom from my business coaches (thanks guys!) I was using Skype or Google Hangouts. Skype would have problems all the time with sound and video quality. It’d look great for a bit then start falling apart the longer I was on the call. Google Hangouts would stutter and the video quality left much to be desired. Since switching to Zoom (which is free and a lot easier for non-account holders to use) has had a clear video, clear audio, and it’s simple to send the link to my clients to chat with them.
You can look more or less professional based on the programs you use and I love that I’m more confident when chatting with people now. Zoom is the newest addition to my app arsenal but it’s a lifesaver!
Now that you know most of the apps I use within my business, how do they all connect to make my life easier?
Honeybook and Calendy recently teamed up and now when I get an inquiry and need to set up a consultation, I can add my Calendy link quickly and easily (I literally hit a button!). This works well for my booked clients as well, for concept review or education calls. Zoom is what helps me to make those calls with confidence and get to meet more people all over the world face-to-face (which is my favorite part of my job).
ConvertKit collects emails from blog posts with additional PDF downloads, like checklists or guides. The stats from ConvertKit and Linktr.ee let me know which posts help my audience the most and the data is a big help when coming up with new content. Board Booster cycles my blog posts (especially the ones I mentioned that get a lot of hits to my site) so more people can see my work and Planoly helps me to plan out posts to educate viewers on Instagram.
Finally, with Asana helping me keep all of the marketing ideas in one place, I always feel in control of the moving pieces in my business.
Whew, lots to think about, am I right? If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’m happy to help!
I wanna be clear as well, some links within this post are affiliate links. I don’t promote or share anything that I do not use and absolutely love!