How much TIME do use you spend on writing and sending emails?
Creating content and graphics?
Or maybe there's that one special piece of content or document you need to share TODAY but you can't seem to locate it? Or find the attachment?
That brilliant idea or presentation you knew you started but didn’t finish?
It’s a lot of time used, right?
According to a 2019 survey by 8by8, nearly 50% of employees say they spend up to two hours a day looking for the information they need to do their jobs!
What I found over the past couple of years is if you don’t have the right tools in place, you can’t have the right processes in place. This means you’ll be less organized, more stressed, waste more time and get nothing done! Yes, there's more to it, like self-discipline and planning out your time but tools are definitely a necessity!
You can save so much time and be way more productive with the right tools in place.
If you're a solopreneur or trying to get organized starting your own business at home, I have a list of tools that can help! The other added bonus about these tools is they are completely free which is what you want as you are trying to save costs where you can! You're maybe a mom of young kids, which means plans change last minute and every day is a rollercoaster ride. I totally get it, isn’t life crazy but wonderful?
Here is my breakdown of the tools I use to make my business and day-to-day stay organized, and most importantly keep stress away!
If you want to organize your life you need to check out Trello. Do you like vision boards? Or perhaps you’re a sticky note addict like me? I use it for my small home business and also to make sure I accomplish my important personal todos. Great for entrepreneurs or freelancers who don’t have a large team, maybe one or two members. I love my calendars but I also love to see a timeline a vision board almost, (I used this to use a lot of sticky notes) it’s so relaxing right there in front of me what I need to start, finish, and what’s complete so then I can file away.
I wouldn’t be able to function without my Google! Basically, it's a hub (a Drive) that has everything you need in one place. You can create, share, organize, and manage all your documents, spreadsheets, content ideas, and to-do lists and then have the ability to share them with your team. You have your Calendar and create and share separate calendars if you want, create and share questionnaires and forms, have your Gmail and contacts, and all in the same place. The storage and protected sharing capabilities as well as the Google chrome extensions are amazing. Google Keep- this is another huge one for me. I. Love. Google.
If you're a solopreneur, entrepreneur or small business owner with a small team you must have Canva in your life! It's by far my best investment and the tool I use the most for a variety of tasks and projects. The TIME saved is unreal. In my opinion, the Pro version is well worth it, especially if you work in digital marketing or social media management but the free version is also good if you are just trying it out. I use it for all my social template designs, and email marketing templates as it integrates with MailChimp, but it’s also great for professional documents and presentations too. You can customize with your own branding, images, and logos and import videos. I absolutely love it! I need to write a separate post on this!
After the past two years, we've all had to endure, I doubt I have to go into detail on how Zoom is something I cannot do without! I find it to have the best quality when it comes to audio and visual capabilities and it's fast to get connected, even on my phone when on the go!
Unsplash is a fresh of breath air! For all your digital content you have a huge database here of legal photos, you can share in all your projects. You can sort photos into collections and also get more information on the photographer. I really love this platform and the best thing is it's FREE!
I use Mailchimp for my own marketing in addition to client projects. It’s an amazing tool for creating email templates and landing pages. If you’re new to automating certain parts of your business, I suggest checking this out as it is very user-friendly and the functionality is superb! It also integrates with many other tools!
Not only does Grammarly integrate with Google Drive, Word, and Outlook, it’s a great all-around spell checker which saves tons of time. A must-have especially if you’re a copywriter or blog writer but also great for when you are drafting emails and documents.
I use Feedly as a content reader for all the websites and blogs I like to read. Everything is in one place so I’m not wasting time clicking on different saved browser tabs. It also lets you know what’s new, what you’ve read and you can save your favourite pieces of content. Brilliant!
BUSINESS SUITE by FACEBOOK
I’m sure Facebook will start charging for the service so I will continue to use this until they do! It's FREE, very user-friendly and of course, can link to Instagram right from your phone! It is and will continue to have some of the best integrations and functionalities out there so a must-have in my opinion. Both Business Suite and Creator Studio allow you to create and schedule posts for Instagram and Facebook. Business Suite also allows you to create and schedule Stories for both Facebook and Instagram. Creator Studio only allows you to create and schedule Stories for Facebook. Here's a great read by Hootsuite that goes into all the details between the two - a great read if you're a social media manager!
SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING TOOLS
There are many schedulers you can use! I use Buffer for one of my part-time clients that have LinkedIn and also Pinterest so it really depends on what platforms are being used and how much content you are planning out, also how much functionality you need. Later is another one of my favorites for when you have a full-time busy social media schedule and daily content going out. It also has a hashtag research tool integration and the analytic capabilities are top-notch. Canva Pro also has a content planner so another reason why I love Canva!!
Hope this has been helpful and brings you some value to your day-to-day operations and most importantly saves you time and makes you more productive! I know I wouldn't be able to manage clients and projects without them and most of all, manage my time.
Get in touch if you'd like more advice on how these tools can transform your small at-home business.