My Top 11 Business Tools That I Use Daily

 

We all have our favourite tools that we use daily in our business, so I thought I’d list my current most used tools for you.

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  1. Canva

I love Canva.. To the extent that I don’t know how I managed before it. This is constantly open on my desktop and I use it, without fail every day.

I use it for myself and for my client work. I create simple but gorgeous graphics for use on my website, on my social media, any presentations I need to put together and any freebies that I need to create. The selection of free or low-cost images is fantastic.

Top Tip- set up the branding options for yourself and any other brands that you manage to make it much easier. All the colours, fonts and logos will then be stored for you.

Watch my Canva video- how to make simple yet stunning graphics >>>

 

  1.  Asana

I put off using management systems for quite a while. For no real reason. Then it was the Trello Vs Asana debate. Now, I use both with various clients and I still don’t have a huge preference over the other. However, I’m currently using Asana more to keep in contact with clients. It’s a great tool when you are working as part of a team on a project, so you can all see what has been done or is yet to be done. I find it helps in mapping out your goals and plans, so you can see them at a glance and break them down into more manageable chunks.

 

  1.  Leadpages

Again, for a long while, I put off using Leadpages as I thought it was unnecessary. However, now I have it, I use it all the time. I’m certainly going to get my money’s worth, so I’m always thinking of new ways to set up landing pages and making them look pretty. I also have access to a few client’s leadpages accounts and enjoy creating amazing landing pages for them. Leadpages is easy to use and offers a great selection of templates to get you started.

 

  1.  WordSwag

I adore wordswag. This is actually an app on my phone, but it’s so handy. If you love Instagram, then this is a fantastic app for you to use. If you are a fan of the odd inspirational quote or text on an image, then this really is perfect for creating a graphic in a matter of minutes. If you are ever at a situation where you don’t have your social media posts scheduled and want to create something quick- this is the one. Great backgrounds, colours and fonts, with an amazing selection of quotes to get you started if you aren’t up to thinking of one yourself.

 

  1.  Dropbox

Dropbox has been around a long time but still one of my favourites. I’ve upgraded to the business version so I have extra storage and ask clients to share all large file with me here. This saves me using space on my desktop. I also use it to store all my stock photos, fonts etc.

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  1.  Buffer

I have over the years used Hootsuite, Post Planner and Buffer, but for now Buffer is winning for me. I use this to schedule my own social media and client’s social media, so I don’t have to wing it on the go! I also use Later for client’s IG accounts.

 

  1.  Paypal

I use Paypal for client payments and for receiving payments for all digital guides etc that I sell.

I’ve been using Paypal for years with previous businesses, so it’s a tool that I trust.

I find it easy to add payment buttons or links to websites and landing pages and when I want to withdraw the money, it’s usually in my bank immediately.

 

  1. Mailchimp

MailChimp, for me is a great easy to use email marketing tool. I’m a fan of sales funnels, and this integrates with leadpages making it easy to feed any sign ups into my lists so I can send out automated email sequences, save me having to remember to email any new sign-ups manually.

 

  1.  Wave

Wave is a free accounting software. I’m pretty sure, I don’t use nearly enough of it’s tools, but I couldn’t be without it. I use this to send branded, professional looking invoices to clients, set up automated reminders, send receipts once paid and keep on top of all my incomings and outgoings. If used correctly, this will also make your accounting much easier!

 

  1. WordPress

I built my WordPress site from scratch, so what I know is self – taught. WordPress is a little marmite- people tend to love or hate it. Personally, I find it really easy to use, I love how many plugins are available and how good you can make a site look.

 

  1. Hello sign

I haven’t long actually come across Hello Sign, as it was recommended to me not long ago. But it’s a clever tool- perfect for clients digitally signing your contracts- which I’ll be using from now on!

What’s your favourite business tool that you use daily?

How To Be Productive Whilst working From Home

 This weeks blog post is a guest post from the amazing Alicia Grace

 

As creative entrepreneurs, most of us work from home, which is absolutely brilliant – yay for not having to commute! – but it can also be really dangerous for productivity. One of the biggest hazards is that there are lots of distractions, from Netflix to unexpected visitors.

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So, what are my top tips on being productive while working from home? Read on to find out.

Wake up early

Just because you don’t need to commute to work doesn’t mean that you should wake up 10 minutes before. Studies show that your brain takes a full two hours to wake up. Be sure to wake up at a decent time each morning (a bit earlier than noon please).

 

You don’t have to jump right into work the moment you wake up, unless you really want to. Instead, use the time to prepare a healthy breakfast, get your blood pumping with a workout, or even catch up on the news. Your brain has been asleep for the best part of eight hours, and it needs some time to warm up (and caffeine!).

Create a solid routine

One of the good things about working in an office is that you have quite a set routine. When you start working from home, however, that’s all suddenly thrown up in the air.

 

That’s why you have to take control of your day and set your routine straight. Plan out the times when you want to work, what you’re going to focus on during those periods (email? brainstorming), and what time you’re going to take lunch.

 

Having a routine in place means that you’ll be able to resist temptations to do things you really shouldn’t be doing throughout the workday, so this is a really important step.

Set working hours

When you’re working from home, it’s so easy for your personal life to spill into work, but the opposite is also true. Set working hours for yourself, and check out of work outside of those hours.

 

This is something that I’m working on myself. Especially when you’re working on your own hustle, it can feel like you’re connected to work 24/7, and that’s why it’s even more important to set boundaries.

Remember to shower!

Not having to see people (who actually care if you smell) every week day is no excuse to let your personal hygiene slip. Dressing up for work, whether at home or in an office, is important psychologically because it sends a signal to your brain that you’re serious.

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Create a specific workspace

Make sure that this is separate from your places of relaxation, like your bedroom. Set up a desk somewhere with good lighting where you can concentrate on your work. If you don’t have space in your home, get creative, and think about whether you can get out and go to a public library or coffee shop around the corner. The goal is to have a specific space where work is your main focus, and distractions are kept down to a minimum.

Use a different browser for work

This is a method I devised several years ago. Using a different browser can completely shift your mindset – similar to having a separate workspace. Make sure that you don’t use social media on this browser, and that you don’t have personal bookmarks or links here.

 

I like using Google Chrome, where I can sign in with different accounts, and always have one window logged into my personal account, and another for work.

Plan out what you’re going to do

The thing about working in an office is that you always have someone reminding you about what you have to do, whether it’s sending you an email, or adding something to your calendar. When you’re on your own though, that’s all up to you. Write down your schedule and your tasks the day before so that you always know what you have on your plate.

 

  1. My Productive Life Kit has everything that you need to organise your workday!

Alicia is the founder of Alicia Grace Co, where she designs printable planners that enable women to achieve their goals with productivity, planning, and time management tools. She has a Law degree from the University of Cambridge and enjoys engaging with goal-getters, especially creative entrepreneurs. In her free time, she is either digging into a good book, food hunting, or snuggling with her very fluffy puppy.

Links

Website: http://aliciagraceco.com

 

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