As you may be aware by now, I love tech. People often call me their ‘tech-fairy-godmother’. But I know full well that for many people, the idea of tech or dealing with anything remotely tech-related can be super overwhelming and make them want to run for the hills!
But just because tech gives you the heebie-jeebies doesn’t mean you should avoid it at all costs. There are some great, user-friendly tools available to you, that with a small amount of each setup, will make your business admin so much easier.
In this blog post I have outlined the top 5 tools I use every day in my business to speed up my processes and give me more time to do the things I actually love and am good at, designing and building websites. (Yes, even I hate doing the boring admin side of running a business, I’m only human!)
(Please note I have included some affiliate links here. If you decide to sign up for any of these tools it won’t cost you a penny extra but I might get a little thank you for recommending them, but I honestly use these myself and would never recommend anything I didn’t trust.)
A few years ago, design tools were expensive and hard to learn to use well (like Adobe Photoshop). But Canva has changed the game for so many business owners (yes, even seasoned graphic designers like myself!). There’s a free account option to get you started, which has plenty of tools, templates, photos etc to create your social media graphics easily. If you want to use the Premium photos and graphic elements you need a Canva Pro account, for only £10.99/month you can have full access to everything it offers. You can even save your Brand Kit which includes your brand colours, your fonts, logos etc, all helping you to make creating on-brand content so easy.
Check it out here:
Do you still use the pen and paper method to book in your meetings with clients and discovery calls with potential leads, messaging back and forth seeing what day and time works best? And isn’t it time consuming and annoying when people don’t reply, then when they do finally get back to you, you’ve already booked another meeting in the same slot?
What if you could send them a simple link that syncs up with your outlook/Google calendars, has the times setup that you want to allow people to book for and duration, and all they have to do is check their calendar and book when it’s convenient to them? You literally don’t have to do anything, it’s all automated!
That’s exactly what online calendars do. Calendly is one option that starts at $10/month for multiple event types, or TidyCal which you can get for a one-off lifetime deal of only $29! It’s a no brainer really. Check it out here.
(TidyCal what I use for all my meeting requests – PS if you want to book a discovery call with me, you can do so here 😉 https://tidycal.com/heatherhulbertdesigns/20min-discovery-call )
3. Stock Photo Libraries
Canva Pro is great for getting access to stock photos to use in your social media content, but sometimes it doesn’t quite give you what you need.
I would always recommend investing in a professional brand photographer to take photos of you and your business, products and services for your business websites, but sometimes it’s necessary to use a few carefully selected stock photos.
There are many paid-for stock libraries available to use, such as Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock, and at the minute you can get 100 photo or video downloads of any size for $39 (about £32) from AppSumo for Depositphotos (worth $500 – about £400), a resource that has 195 million+ royalty-free photos/videos and graphics available to choose from.
The beauty of stock photos is you can make your content look more professional than a quick snap on your phone, or find images that are relevant to what you’re talking about that you might not have access to in your camera roll.
There are free resources available but you often have to credit the photographer in order to use them which can make your beautiful images look messy or interrupt the flow of your website content. These include websites such as Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels.
With stock photos, you pay for the license to use the photos wherever you need to, either by buying them individually, with credits, or with a monthly subscription. This is why these discounted credit deals are so fab, as you get an awful lot of images for the equivalent of 32p a photo! Check out the Depositphotos deal on AppSumo here:
4. Creative Fabrica
If you need more choice for your graphics and fonts for your content creation and branding, places like Creative Fabrica are great. For a small monthly subscription, you can download and use any of their fonts, graphics, patterns etc. This is particularly great as it includes commercial licensing which means you can create things to sell online, including drop-ship items, self-publishing books and planners to sell on Amazon via Kindle Desktop Publishing (KDP) or just for your own marketing collaterals. It also opens up 1000s of premium fonts for you to use to put your own creative flair into your creations.
Grammarly is an amazing free Chome plugin which will help you to check for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes are you are writing your content. This is great if you’re using products such as Google Docs, or writing blogs direct on your website, rather than using Word which has its own inbuilt spellchecker. There are paid plans, but I only use the free version and it’s so helpful as it’s so easy to miss things as we type; bad spelling and punctuation not only look bad on you but it can also affect your SEO. If your visitors aren’t finding the things they are looking for because of typos, they’re more likely to bounce off your website and find someone else’s which will hurt your SEO long-term. If you struggle with spelling, for example, if you have Dyslexia, it can also be a great way to improve your content as well as it does the hard work for you to correct your content.
BONUS – AppSumo
If you want to find other helpful tools that could help save you time and money in your business, AppSumo is a great marketplace to find things. Quite often you’ll find tools on sale, or lifetime license deals for limited time periods. Check out what they have to offer here:
I hope you’ve found this blog post useful. if you have any other tools you absolutely love and think they should be included here too, drop me a message and I’ll check them out!