My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
As an Online Business Manager, I love anything that makes my job easier and takes the frustration out of everyday tasks for myself, my team and my amazing clients (you know who you are!).
In the space of a week, I’m doing everything from updating social media accounts and creating awesome landing pages to managing complex projects and keeping in touch with clients. I need hassle-free tools that save me time and make it easy to stay on top of everything, and everyone in my circle is the same way – I’m always getting asked which tools I use!
So here it is – my end of-year roundup of tools I love, in easy-peasy categories. I do get a small fee from some of these companies as an affiliate or referral, but every tool on this list is one that’s vital to my practice. I’d love you forever if you signed up through one of these links.
Let’s dig in!
This is the project management tool that does everything, which is why I use it every day. From brainstorming potential blog topics to creating task lists and tracking huge projects with multiple milestones, Teamwork’s versatility allows me to accomplish a lot, without overwhelming me with options. Whether you need to dump your to-do list, take some meeting notes or develop a content calendar, you need Teamwork in your arsenal.
Bonus: the ability to toggle many of its features on and off at will makes it highly customizable.
Canva empowers anyone to create professional-quality graphics for free, no design experience required. And there are templates for anything your little heart desires – great for people who need to quickly pound out everything from social media graphics to business cards, brochures and media kits, but don’t have the time or desire to learn how to use any of the expensive design software out there.
Sometimes, planning a project or content visually before we start to write works better for complex topics than dumping words into a document – with our focus on the main topic in the middle, we can split it up into easily digestible sub-topics and bullet points.
Mindmeister is a web-based tool that lets you create beautifully detailed mind maps. I love the simplicity of it and how organized all my thoughts look once i have them mapped out and being able to collaborate with people in real time is awesome.
Bonus: Don’t want to use a separate task tracking system? No need, it’s built right in!
Drip offers email marketing automation, with a bunch of helpful features to save you time and give you insight into how your customers are interacting with your marketing. The program has you covered at every step, from helping you find just the right group of subscribers for your message to customizing content, onboarding users, telling them about a hot new sale and so much more! I’m in love with the easy-to-use automation rule builder that lets you move subscribers in and out of campaigns and even send them to another app (like your CRM system!).
Close second: Infusionsoft. It took me awhile to get into Infusionsoft especially due to the price but now that I’ve been using it more I really like it. And I like that it acts as my CRM, Email Marketing, Leadpage Builder, and Funnel creator all in one. If you’re ready to take a leap Infusionsoft might just be for you.
If you’ve ever wished you could generate leads and sales while you sleep, Leadpages is the software for you. It works on the web, through text messages and on social media. From building your first page to tracking its performance and integrating with your favourite apps such as Salesforce, PayPal, HubSpot and many more, you’re set to bring in more business so you can focus on producing awesome work instead of pounding pavement.
LastPass is still the password manager to rule them all, as it’s the most feature-rich. I love that I didn’t have to install it on my computer – I just have to open a browser and use the extension. Affordability is also a big plus…$24 per year for a premium subscription is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
When you work remotely, video meetings are where it’s at for getting face-to-face time with current and potential clients, so having reliable video and audio is essential. I never have to worry with Zoom.
Not only does it offer the most stable connection, but whoever is on the other end of that call is just one click away from joining the conversation, eliminating the technological barrier and making online communication so much less awkward for the non-tech savvy. There’s also group messaging, which saves your hide if a third person needs to join the conversation.
If you work on a remote team, a flurry of messages can fly back and forth at all hours of the day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed when you have to search Facebook, text and your messaging apps for that one elusive file. No more! Slack makes workflow a breeze for my team and keeps all my files, messages and people in one place. And I love the fact that I can hop on a voice or video call right in Slack – easy peasy!
Back when I was managing my own social media content I used to use MeetEdgar and I LOVED it. After trying a bunch of other Social Media Management systems finding MeetEdgar was a HUGE relief.
Unlike other Social Media Management tools MeetEdgar lets you easily build a highly customizable library of content and a social media schedule to go along with it. It then automatically posts and reposts constent to social networks repeatedly over time, so you’re never caught with an empty queue.
Pro Tip: You’ll notice I said I used this back when I managed my own social media. I don’t do that any more. It is much more time efficient and cost effective to have someone to do it for you. That’s why I use Barker Social now. They are an amazing team and I now only spend an hour a month on my social media. They do the rest. Give them a try but make sure to say I sent you.
The Battle for Inbox Zero rages, and Boomerang specializes in helping my team win it at the click of a button by archiving messages and bringing it back to our inbox at a scheduled time. You can even tell Boomerang to remind you to follow up within a specific time frame if you don’t receive a reply to an email. This way, we stay on top of business and messages don’t slip through the cracks. It’s like having an office assistant for a fraction of the cost!
It even lets you write an email now and schedule it to be sent later, so you can draft away at night, schedule them to be sent in the morning and not have to worry about remembering to do it yourself!
Those “what time works for you?” conversations with clients and prospects can drag on and take time out of your day which is why I currently use vCita and I have absolutely loved it. It’s a wonderful scheduling tool, integrates beautifully on my website and even acts as a payment processor for my clients. It really is great. But, it is costly and doesn’t play nice with Zoom which is a huge deal for me so I started considering an alternative.
That alternative is Acuity Scheduling. Most of my clients use Acuity so the move to it is a no-brainer. It doesn’t integrate as nicely on my site as vCita does and the payment processing is more limited but it is SUPER EASY to use and integrates beautifully with Zoom. Plus it’s cheaper. Win-Win!
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