Having been in business for quite a few years now I’m keen to ensure my business fits better around my revived personal life, rather than the other way round.
One of the ways I’m doing this is by streamlining and automating much of what I do. And so in this blog, I share some of my favourite apps, software, and resources that are helping me on this quest:
- Canva – a fantastic cloud-based software you can use to create memes, images, and graphics for social media and your website. There’s a free version that I used initially though now I chose to pay the $9.99 a month as this enables me to store my brand colours, templates, and files in a way that saves me time. www.canva.com
- CamCard – I only recently discovered this great app that scans business cards and adds them to your contact list on your phone. No more piles of cards lying around or searching for business cards when you want them and it’s free. www.camcard.com
- Evernote – if you like to take jot down thoughts while on the move this app enables you to write up notes and collate website links, videos, images in virtual notebooks, and across multiple devices. Again there is a free version although I use the paid version which doesn’t cost much for the year. www.Evernote.com
- Grammarly – according to my dad I can misspell in three different languages. Thankfully for me, this app is wonderful at picking up spelling and grammatical errors across many different on-line platforms e.g. social media posts and website software, in a similar way the spell check function corrects this in Word documents. The free version of this is enough for me. www.grammarly.com
- Convertkit – I’ve used various email marketing software solutions over the years including Constant Contact, Aweber, 1Shoppingcart and Infusionsoft but this is by far my favourite. It brings together many of the benefits of more complex systems like Infusionsoft for the fraction of the price (e.g. with draft auto-responder sequences, the ability to tag people who click on specific links in your emails, or to resend a second email at the click of a button to those who don’t open the first time). www.convertkit.com
- Anytune – originally created for musicians, this is a great app you can use to listen back to audios at various speeds. I often pay people to type up transcripts of my films and audios, but sometimes I prefer to do this myself or to slow down interviews or training events so I can take notes. www.anytune.us
- Quickbooks – the thing I like least about my business is doing my accounts so I was delighted to discover the software that makes it so much easier to collate information from several bank accounts, issue invoices (especially automated monthly ones) and show me at a glance which invoices I need to chase. I also love how I can just can receipts on the move and update my accounts in only a few clicks. This is a great time saver and for the first time ever I’m looking forward to having all my accounts and reporting up-to-date. www.quickbooks.co.uk
- Asana – while I used to prefer Trello as a project management tool, I’ve now an Asana convert. This free software is the only way I keep track of all the projects I’m managing, what I need to do each day, and progress others are making on tasks I’ve delegated to them. I use this for one-off projects and as well regular tasks and have even transferred many of my checklistson to this too (yes I confess I am a checklist queen). www.asana.com
- Hootesuite – this is a great piece of software that enables you to post updates across several social media platforms all at once, to manage your interactions and pre-schedule posts to go out while you’re doing something else. There is a free version (though with limited functionality) but personally I think there professional version is well worth the small monthly fee. https://hootsuite.com
- Zoom – definitely my favourite software for calls and on-line events whether this is with a couple of colleagues, individual clients, or a group of clients. It’s video conferencing software made easy and affordable (you can sign up for free, although I pay US$9.99 a month). As well as great quality calls (much more reliable than Skype or Google+) you also automatically get sent recordings of the calls (audio and video). There is also the ability to host webinars and have breakout rooms. www.zoom.com
- SimpleMind – I love mindmaps and have used several packages over the years. This is the one I’m currently using which I really like as it’s really easy to re-organise my ideas, you can import photos and export your mindmaps into different types of document. http://www.simpleapps.eu/simplemind/
- Lucidart – I’ve only recently discovered this free software which makes it much easier to create flow charts for me to visualise my processes so I can communicate these with my team or create graphics for my training courses. www.lucidchart.com
- Fiverr.com – are there any small tasks you hate, don’t know how to do or spend far too much time doing? This is a great on-line portal where you can find people from around the world who will do all sorts of things for you for US$5. Great for getting small tasks done (you do get what you pay for so I wouldn’t use this resource to get e.g. a logo done) but I’ve found some fantastic people who have created graphics, done transcripts and small editing jobs. www.fiverr.com
- Upwork – another place you can find people to help you with specific project or tasks. I’ve recently taken on a great person through this portal who is helping me with my on-line products and sales funnels. I particularly like how you post a job, invite applicants to apply and only pay once the job is done. www.upwork.com
- Google Calendar – oh the joys of being able to access and update my diary from any device compared with being stuck using Outlook on my Mac and not being able to access this on my phone. What a relief! It’s easy to have someone else access so they can manage your diary and the best bit is it’s free. https://www.google.com/calendar
- Timetrade – this is online appointment booking software that I’ve been using this for a few years. I used to waste time going back and forward with emails or phone messages when trying to arrange a time to speak to people. Now I can send them this link and they can book a time in my diary. Much better! There’s a small annual fee that’s well worth it! http://www.timetrade.com/
- Survey Monkey – as someone who regularly does surveys ahead of launching new products, services and books I love this software for creating on-line surveys (that you can of course print off too). It’s easy to set up surveys and I love how it gives you access to individual responses as well as well as consolidated feedback. I find the free version is enough for me. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk
- Google Forms – I use this software for gathering important information from clients (e.g. my client intake form) and speakers ahead of events. It’s free, easy to set up, and you can contol who has access to these as appropriate. https://www.google.com/forms/
- Wufoo – I use this software to gather information from potential clients as part of an application process e.g. to join one of my business mentoring programs or to have a strategy session with me. I like how I can embed a link in my website (e.g. attaching it to an APPLY NOW button) and that I receive an email message notifying me when someone has completed an application. This acts as trigger for me to review their application and follow up as appropriate. http://www.wufoo.com/
- Kajabi – this software is phenomenal if you want to offer on-line training courses. It’s not the cheapest but if you’re ready to offer high-quality training solutions and a great client experience, it’s worth every penny. Kajabi brings it all the whole process of creating, marketing and delivering on-line courses– hosting materials, sales landing pages, shopping cart, affiliate tracking and basic email marketing. I’ve used a few solutions in the past and this is by far the best. www.newkajabi.com
- Samcart – until I signed up with Kajabi, I was using Samcart to take payments online (both PayPal and credit card) and calculate affiliate commissions. So if you’re not offering on-line products or courses and don’t want to invest in Kajabi, this is another good shopping cart option. www.samcart.com
I hope you’ve found that useful.
Please do share your thoughts including any other software you love that makes what you’re doing in business easier!
With love as always,
Alisoun Mackenzie is The Compassionate Business Mentor, Author, and Speaker who inspires business owners and social entrepreneurs to turn their passions into profits and make a difference in the world.
She is also the author of two Amazon Best Selling books Heartatude, The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success and Give to Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities Social Causes.
Alisoun is also the founder of The Heartabiz Hub a business network and training academy and has written the following free ebooks:
- The 9 Secrets to Signing Up Clients Without Selling (click here)
- 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact (click here)
- 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business (click here)
You can connect with Alisoun here:
- Alisoun’s website – www.alisoun.com
- Alisoun Mackenzie Facebook Fanpage (for tips on authentic living and business mastery) – click HERE
- The Heartabiz Hub Facebook Fanpage (for details about our courses and events) – click HERE
- Give To Profit Facebook Fanpage (tips on supporting charities and social causes) – click HERE