We hear about amazing business tools all the time in the online space, but when was the last time you heard the names behind some of these amazing companies? Today we’re going to walk you through both the tools we can’t live without as a full-service brand and web design studio, but also the amazing people who have built these brands for like-minded creatives.
Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store!
- Calendly and their CEO, Tope Awotona
- Planoly and its founder, Brandy Pham
- Dubsado and their co-founders, Becca & Jake
- Flodesk and its founder, Martha Bitar
- Canva and its founder, Melanie Perkins
The Importance of Business Tools
As entrepreneurs, we wear a lot of hats. While we may have quit our 9-5 to become our own boss, sometimes it can feel like we’re working more than we did in a little cubicle. This is where the importance of business tools like the five we’re going to talk about today comes into play. These tools take some of those tasks off your too-long to-do list so you can focus on what really matters and give your all in every one of your client projects. These tools allow you to automate processes like scheduling calls, onboarding, offboarding, sending emails, and more. Even though not all of these tools have a free version, the return on investment you’ll see (in terms of both time and money!) will be well worth it.
First on the list, we have Calendly, which saves my life almost daily. It allows you to easily schedule meetings and double-checks your calendar so you don’t double book yourself for a lunch date and a discovery call. It’s also free and super easy to use! They brehttps://calendly.com/ak it down into just three steps:
- Create a scheduler for each meeting type – Add in your availability, meeting duration, what team members need to be present, even add in questions to be answered before the appointment is confirmed! You can choose from a predetermined schedule you’ve already created or you can add in a custom schedule for every different kind of call you have in your business.
- Share your scheduler through a link or embed it into your website. This is great for contact pages and discovery call links! These links aren’t very complicated or filled with random numbers and letters, so you can easily share them without your links looking unprofessional.
- Now anyone can book with you! Calendly automatically checks both your calendar and the person interested in booking a call to immediately suggest days and times that work for both of you. Pretty intuitive, right?
Calendly’s founder, Tope Awotona created the company in 2013 so he could bring to life his vision of a simple yet vibrant scheduling platform. You can learn more about the story of Calendly’s beginnings by clicking here!
Have you ever wished that social media didn’t suck up so much of your time? You’re not alone! There are a lot of social media schedulers out there, but Planoly is hands-down our favorite, especially with everything you can do on the free version! Here are some reasons why Planoly is our favorite content scheduler…
- The OG Scheduler – While there are tons of different schedulers you can choose from, Planoly prides itself on being the first visual planner for Instagram. It’s super simple to use, both when planning out how your Instagram feed will look and scheduling posts. It’s perfect for visual learners and thinkers!
- Automation – Remember when we were talking about how business tools can help you save time as an entrepreneur?! Planoly is one of them with the ability to schedule and set images to auto-post by themselves! You don’t even need to pick your phone up and interrupt your workflow to post on Instagram.
- Use Across Devices – As a designer, I tend to create all my Instagram posts from my computer, but then I use Instagram on my phone. Both the online scheduler and the mobile app sync so that whatever you do on one device is automatically updated on the other! This makes it easy to post on the go and be able to post high-quality graphics from my phone.
Planoly was founded by Brandy Pham, who was looking for a simple way to schedule posts to promote her business without cutting into mom time with her kids. The company was founded in 2016 and now has over 50 team members. You can read more about them here.
This CRM (client relationship manager) is every creative business owner’s dream. From sending invoices, contracts, and proposals to automating your entire offboarding process, you can pretty much do it all in Dubsado. Of all the tools in this blog post, Dubsado probably saves me the most time! Here are three reasons why…
- Canned emails – As a designer, I’d rather be occupied in Illustrator than stumbling over my words with every email I send my clients. In Dubsado, you can create and store as many canned emails as you need so that instead of spending time writing and rewriting the same email to your clients, you can select the right one and just hit send!
- Workflows – You can build automated workflows that allow you to create and send invoices, send contracts, questionnaires, emails, and even create payment plans. After a project is complete, you can send offboarding workflows to ask people for testimonials, check in with them six months down the line, and even archive the project after a certain amount of time.
- Proposals – I’ve mentioned these a few times, but this isn’t just a bland proposal to tell people what services you offer, but there are templates to allow you to create stunning and seamless proposals that convince people to work with you! You can then attach an invoice and contract to the proposal to make it super easy for people who decide to invest in your services.
Dubsado was cofounded by Becca & Jake specifically to help out online business owners such as designers, virtual assistants, coaches, and more! You can learn more about their entire team by clicking here. You can also get 20% off your first month or year by clicking here!
Who knew email marketing could be so stunningly gorgeous? Flodesk makes email marketing simple with
- Flodesk University – Here you can learn, not just about the platform, but about how to get better at email marketing for free through Flodesk University, a self-paced online course that features experts who bring tons of digital gold nuggets to the table so that you can increase revenue and open rates through email marketing.
- Designs – As a designer, some email marketing platforms have disappointed me in the past when it comes to designing email sequences or newsletters. Thankfully, Flodesk is not on that list! They have beautiful fonts and layouts to make your emails so pretty that subscribers will definitely feel like they’re missing out if they don’t open up!
- Automations – You can create an endless amount of automation for your segments. You can also create as many segments as you’d like to break up your audience and send super personalized emails that contain exactly what your audience needs to hear.
Flodesk was founded by Martha Bitar with small business owners in mind who care about visuals. They have one simple unlimited plan with one payment option. The best part? You can get one month free and then 50% off for life by clicking here! Learn more about the founder here.
Last but not least we have Canva, which is an amazing tool but may not make every designer’s list of go-to business tools. Canva is a graphic design software that is great for non-designers. Here are three reasons why our team of designers love using it…
- Shareability – Canva has multiple sharing options. You can send someone a link to view, edit, or use it as a template. This is a great tool for creating digital products or passing Canva designs along with clients so that you always have an untouched file that you can fall back on if something happens.
- Collaboration – Once you share a Canva file with someone else, it’s easy to collaborate with them in real-time, kind of like Google Docs! You can leave comments and work together, which is great if you manage a team or want to share files with clients and receive feedback in the same place.
- Templates – Now I’m not talking about the overused templates that are premade in Canva, we see enough of those! I’m talking about custom-made templates professionally made by a designer. You can either purchase templates from Creative Market, Etsy, or a small business or you can hire a designer to professionally create templates that are completely unique to your business.
Melanie Perkins is the co-founder and CEO of Canva, she is actually the second-wealthiest woman in Australia! They empower the world to design by making it more accessible to people who don’t have the skills or budget for designer software (yes, we’re talking about you, Adobe). You can learn more about her here.
Business tools are a lifesaver! Whether you’re a designer, online business owner, or someone else, these tools can help you elevate your client processes and take a weight off your shoulders by automating and handing over some tasks on your plate to software that can do it for you. What business tools would you not be able to live without? Comment below!