As a solo entrepreneur, I wear a lot of hats. CEO, owner, secretary, financial planner, manager, blogger, editor, etc. Without some help from technology, my business wouldn’t be as efficient and therefore I wouldn’t be able to serve my clients as well. Today I wanted to share with you the tools and resources I use almost daily to keep my biz running smoothly and efficiently.
At this point, you’ve probably heard of CRM (Client Relationship Management) software. It’s so important to the legitimacy of your business to have accountable software for client relations. From contracts to email threads and invoicing, with Honeybook everything is in one easy to access portal. Some of my favorite features are Client Workflows, Brochures, Questionnaires and the very easy to use Contract Proposals. Get 50% off your first year of Honeybook with this link.
Linking Quickbooks directly to your business credit or debit card allows you to track business expenses without even thinking about them. I’m not the most organized when it comes to my day to day finances, so with quickbooks, everything is synced and I can quickly know my profit, loss, expense totals, and other helpful figures at any point in the year.
This was a GAME CHANGER for me. My husband introduced me to Grindstone in early 2019, when I was working way too much and not really understanding what the time sucks were. Grindstone works with your mouse/mousepad movement to know when you’re using your computer. You type what you’re working on, and then get to work with the timer going in the background. When you step away, the timer stops, and when you come back it prompts you to list what you were working on while away. Grindstone has helped me to track how much time I spend on each step in the wedding workflow, as well as recognizing when I’m not being productive with it’s prompts. This has lead to more accurate predictions of how long a wedding workflow will take, making it easier to price myself profitably.
Man, if I could go back and tell myself in the first year of business to get this priceless software, I absolutely would. It would save me literal days of work. If you’re culling your images in Lightroom, you’re doing it wrong and you’re wasting hours that could be spent doing so many better things. Photography, marketing, spending time with your family, petting all the dogs – so many better things.
Along with the above, this program will save you so much time. Blogstomp not only allows you to make collages, diptychs, and beautiful layouts, but it sizes the images for web use which will improve your blog load speed.
If you’re not backing up your images in multiple places, change that right now. Backblaze is $5/month and the security of knowing my clients’ wedding photos are automatically saved in the secure cloud database means I sleep better at night and never worry about losing files.
With their newly announced automatic marketing campaigns, Pic-Time is leading the online gallery space with a beautiful interface and client friendly gallery directions. It’s unlimited storage option is less expensive than competitors, and you can have your current galleries transferred to their program for $2 per gallery as well, so you don’t have to worry about losing past work. Get one month free by using this link.
If you use wordpress to host your website, you’re already off to a great start with your SEO, because Google loves (owns) WordPress, which will increase your rankings. On top of that, using the YOAST plugin for wordpress can help you to learn and then impliment strategies that will boost your search engine optimization easily. My favorite features is the color analysis- green means your post/page is looking great, and red and orange indicate that improvements are needed. It’s such a handy way to quickly improve your blogs and pages to help you be found by the people searching for your business!
A few honorable mentions that I felt belonged on this list are as follows:
REDDIT: Yes, Reddit. I belong to forums for wedding photography that have been far more helpful than Facebook or Google/Youtube in answering specific questions about gear, approach, and marketing. I highly recommend this anonymous network of communities for asking questions.
IfTTT: Automate your whole life with this amazing app. I use it to post to different social media simultaneously, organize the information automatically collected from contact forms to google drive sheets and email lists, and to sync my Instagram photos to my Pinterest boards. There’s an applet for almost anything, so go check it out!