You have probably heard the phrase work smarter, not harder. While it certainly takes hard work to build an online business, there’s a lot of truth in the saying. In the early days of being my own boss, I had yet to discover the importance of systems. I was still figuring out all the things and reinventing the wheel each time an inquiry landed in my inbox. My lack of systems cost a time and energy. Out of necessity (and as my business grew), I began experimenting with platforms to help streamline my workflow. I wanted a wow-worthy client experience, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Through a lot of trial and error (and experimenting with countless programs), I’ve landed on some wonderful platforms that allow me to create exceptional client experiences and focus on the work that I love.
Honeybook (client management system)
I have been using Honeybook for the past couple of years and it has helped to transform and grow my business. I’d call it the workhorse of client management systems (plus contracts and invoices) and there’s not a lot it can’t do. Gone are the days of invoicing from one program, sending over contracts as an email attachment, and trying to keep track of client leads. Honeybook allows you to create workflow systems, task lists, and embed a contact form onto your website. And the icing on the cake? It's a cinch for clients to use. Which is a win/win in my book!
Start here to get 50% off your first year of Honeybook
(This is an affiliate link. I'm sharing because I truly believe in this platform.)
Ever get tired of the back and forth of setting up calls and appointments?Yes, there's a better way. Being a creative business owner often means a full calendar and client’s have their own busy schedules to navigate as well. Now with Calendly, I simply block out windows of times for meetings and allow clients to select the time that best suits their schedule. Voilà! Scheduling made so much easier.
Quickbooks and Mint have been a lifesaver. I used to dread bookkeeping and taxes. And I’ll let you guess what that says about how I was managing receipts. Let’s just say there was a lot to be desired. A few years in, I was determined to carve out healthier financial work/life systems and these two programs have been the the foundation. I can submit receipts and review transactions, view spending by category, and see a running total of tax estimations. And nothing feels better than being able to write that quarterly tax check knowing that I’m on track. When a new quarter rolls around, there’s less scrambling and more peace of mind. Now that’s something I’ll toast to!
Planoly (social media planning)
As a creative, I've spent more time than I care to admit planning out Instagram posts and curating a cohesive grid. There’s really no getting around it, right? But since it’s part of the job description, Planoly has been a game changer. It’s a planning, scheduling, analytics tracking, grid planning all-in-one system. And it alleviates the stress that comes with managing social media. While it won’t write your captions for you (which is probably for the best), you can arrange your photos to get a glimpse of the visual grid, draft an accompanying caption, and schedule post times (though auto posting is only available for Instagram business users). Essentially, you can trade in your “winging it” approach for a savvy social media plan with this platform. Count me in!
Spotify (studio ambience)
This one probably goes without saying. Let's file this under mental health must haves as a creative online biz gal. Music changes everything and I think I might have a playlist for every aspect of my work day. While Spotify might not fall on the absolutely necessary list, I’d say it’s certainly essential for a lifegiving work day. I share a monthly playlist of songs I’ve been enjoying, which I’ve affectionately coined the Boss Lady Mixtape. Tune in here!
What are your favorite platforms and systems for your business? Feel free to tell me in the comments!