Online Tools, Systems, & Automation Recommendations
Below are a variety of solutions I recommend
based on extensive review and use.
Scroll down for quick video tutorials of some tools listed.
CATEGORIES:(click to jump to solutions for each category)
ADMINISTRATION & PRODUCTIVITY SOLUTIONS
Acuity Scheduling for Appointment Scheduling. Allows you to create multiple appointment types, gift certificates, packages, confirmation and reminder emails, etc. Easy to use and you can embed the scheduler right on your website. Can be set up with Stripe to accept payments without visitors having to leave your site. Pricing plans range from $0-$50/mo depending on your needs.
17hats for Client Management and Organization. A cloud software tool that takes a lot of the work out of paperwork. It integrates contracts, invoices, questionnaires, e-mail, to-do lists, time tracking, bookkeeping, calendars and more into a single login. Built for a business of one and includes almost everything you might need to keep your business running smoothly. Prices start at $34/mo or $200/yr.
Airtable for Shared Spreadsheets and Small-Scale Database. Almost a cross between a very easy to use spreadsheet and database. You can easily share any “base” with anyone you’d like. Each base can be viewed in myriad ways - whatever is easiest for you. Can store information in a spreadsheet that's visually appealing and easy-to-use, but it's also powerful enough to act as a database that businesses can use for customer-relationship management (CRM), task management, project planning, and tracking inventory. Free and paid versions available.
Zoom for Video Meeting and Conferencing. For small businesses and entrepreneurs with busy schedules and lots of meetings, sometimes video meetings are an easier way to meet with clients, networking partners, etc. Free video meetings for 1:1, or for meetings under 45 minutes with more participants. Easy to use, stable connection, can easily screen share (or share one specific window only) and have other participants in the meeting take over another person’s screen if desired.
Shift for Email Management. Shift is a downloadable program that connects to your email and allows you to have all of your various email accounts within one window. Shift supports: Gmail, Outlook, and Office365 (Microsoft, Hotmail, etc.) Not only can you easily switch between emails, you can easily switch between calendars and drives. Shift costs $30 or $100 a year depending on your needs. Click here to watch my video tour of Shift.
Backblaze for Computer Backup. Extremely affordable - $5/month/computer (business plans available for larger scale businesses as needed). After the initial download and set up, the computer automatically backs up when you have a web browser open (and it NEVER slows down any actions on your computer or browsing). Click here to watch my video tour of Backblaze.
vizCard for a Virtual Business Card. In a world where most of us are attached to our phones, handing someone a business card doesn’t guarantee they’ll remember to save it and put it in their contacts. Create a virtual business card that can be emailed, texted, or bumped to others. $19/yr via PayPal. Click here to watch the my video tour of vizCard.
Line2 for Business Phone Line. An app that gives you a second phone number (and often allows you to choose your preferred area code). Choose to have calls to your business number ring straight to the voicemail you set up or ring through on your phone. Allows for text and SMS through the app as well. Lots of other features, including toll-free numbers available. Plans range from $8.30 to $16.63/user/month depending on your needs.
The Great Suspender for Web Browser Maximization. Automatically suspends unattended windows and tabs that have been left open for a certain amount of time. This suspension keeps your browser functioning smoothly. You can also whitelist any sites or windows that you don’t want to have suspended. Available for Chrome Web Browser.
Toby for Web Browser Maximization. If you’re doing research on a client, product, solution, etc., and have lots of tabs open, but suddenly need to move on to something else, Toby lets you save your session in the browser with all tabs and reopen all of them whenever you’re ready. Available for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Click here to watch my video tour of Toby.
Team/Project Management Solutions
Teamviewer for Remote Desktop Access. Easily access another person’s computer and take full control of it enabling you to figure out what’s wrong, set up a program, find a lost file, etc. It has great security so if you give someone access to your computer, they can’t access it any time they want, they need your permission every time. It’s free!
Asana for Project Management. Asana helps you coordinate all the work your team does together. So everyone knows what needs to get done, who’s responsible for doing it, and when it’s due. You can use it by yourself to keep track of your own projects and tasks or with another person to an entire team. Multiple view options, task assignments, due dates, repeat tasks, file sharing, calendaring, and timelines. Offers a free version and paid upgraded version.
Dropbox for File Storage and Sharing. Cloud storage for any type of file. Share files and folders easily with other people The real pro to Dropbox is that if you’re storing items in the downloaded Dropbox folder on your computer, you don’t need to download and re-upload items to the site to edit them. There is a free version with limited storage space and paid versions that range from $8 - $20 a month depending on your needs.
Doodle for Small Team Shift or Meeting Scheduling. Allows you to put your scheduling needs into a calendar and share with your team. Team goes in individually and fills out the shifts they are available for. You view online or print out. Also allows team to be able to see others’ availabilities if you choose so they can see where there may be gaps and proactively make themselves available for those shifts. Plans range from $0 to $70/yr depending on your needs.
Google Calendar for Calendar Sharing. When working with a client or a team, it can be much easier to schedule meetings, share the usage of a particular space (like a board room or rehearsal room), etc. when you can easily share your calendars. Most people tend to be pretty familiar with it already. Incredibly easy to use and share with specific people, while allowing them to view or edit events in the calendar. It’s free to use.
Indeed for Recruiting Site. Search resumes based on skills, experience, and education. Save resume searches and receive notifications of potential candidates. Post open jobs and receive applications. Basic posting and search is free. Paid options available for long-term job postings, boosts, etc.
QuickTime for Screen Recording. Sometimes you need to SHOW an employee or client how to do something instead of just trying to explain it over email or the phone.Most of you already have it downloaded for various reasons and likely don’t know you can do screen recordings. Click here to watch my video tutorial on how to record your screen with QuickTime.
Social Media Solutions
Open Broadcast Software (OBS) for Live Streaming Software. Allows you to live stream and add in various elements to your live video. It’s free! It can take a bit of learning to use all its features, but there are plenty of tutorials out there and you can do the most basic stuff with it pretty easily.
Smarterqueue for Social Media Scheduling. My favorite scheduler! Allows you to organize your content into categories/folders and simply schedule the type of content/folder you want to be posted at a designated time. Automatically recycles (evergreen) content in a folder when it reaches the end of your pre-scheduled material so you never have a gap in your content posting. Pricing plans range for $20 to $80/month depending on your needs.
Buffer for Social Media Scheduling. Easy to use. Schedule posts on a regular schedule that you set or whenever you choose to schedule them. Schedules content on all social media platforms. You can go back on your calendar to previous scheduled items and “rebuffer” (reschedule) them. Browser extension allows you to seamlessly schedule content that you find interesting or relevant right then and there. Offers analysis of posting reach and interaction (i.e. success of content). Pricing plans range from $0 to $399/month depending on your needs. Click here for my video tour of Buffer.
Onlypult for Social Media Scheduling on Instagram Only. Instagram has been set up in such a way that the majority of social media schedulers are not allowed to automatically post content on your behalf. Onlypult navigates this obstacle and will post for you. Set your content to be posted according to a regular schedule. Set up and add first comments to all of your Instagram posts for all of your hashtag needs. Plans range from $10.50 to $55/month depending on your needs.
Movavi for Video Editing. A pretty straightforward and easy solution to video editing. If you are comfortable with iMovie and have a Mac, then that is a great choice, but Movavi is a wonderful alternative. It is free to download, but use with the free version has some limitations. Paid versions are between $40-$80, one-time purchase.
Canva for Small Graphic Design. Extremely simple to use. Offers templates (social media posts, presentations, posters, etc.), images & illustrations (some free, some paid), text, shapes, frames, borders, you name it! Upload your own photos and add color filters, text, logos, etc. to it. Design your own social media content or ads. In the paid version ($13/mo) you can upload your own fonts, (though its own font list is extensive) and create branding and color pallets. It also allows you to share your designs with others so you can collaborate.
Color Picker for Color Identification. If you do any of your own designing, then sometimes you want to know what color is being used on a website, document, or image you are looking at.Keep it open as a tray icon or open it when you need it. Click on tray icon and choose the color picker, click anywhere on your screen and get the hex code and rgb code. Save favorite and frequently used colors in the swatch and recall anytime.
(Mac app; look for it in your App store on your mac)
Whatfont? for Font Identification. This is a Chrome Browser Extension. If you’re a designer and you come across a font while you’re browsing the Internet that you love and want to know what it is, click the Whatfont extension and click on the text and you’ll quickly learn what font is used.
PostImage for Image Hosting. Have you ever needed to put an image on a website or share an image and there was no way for you to upload it and instead you were asked for the image URL? Create galleries and upload your images. Choose between a variety of share options from URLs to code. Free to use.
for Free Image Sourcing. When you create your own content for any reason, sometimes you need some base images to work from. Do searches for anything you can think of. Download picture as needed – license-free. Many images are free, but there are options available to purchase images or different quality images.
Check Out Some Business Solutions In Action
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