Owning and operating your own business generally means that you end up wearing lots of hats. You’re not only the director of pushing out and creating all the content, but the one who markets it, organizes getting paid, communicates with clients, and so much more. It can get really overwhelming, but if you put systems in place you can save time, earn more, and work less. Organization and systems will help you focus on what you love, and also let you take care of the necessities. We’ve gathered our top 15 productivity tools *(HINT: 8 of them are free!) and today we’re letting you in on how we use them and how they could be big influencers in your business too.
You know when you love someone or something so wholeheartedly that you can't even find the right words to describe your infatuation? That's how we feel about Trello. In just hours, we were able to streamline our systems and batch our processes. Hello, productivity! In 8 months, we became a 6-figure business and just 4 months later we were on track for $200k. Trello is totally free — and the program to teach you exactly how to use it and copy ALL our systems is only $29. Get started right now.
This tool is quite possibly our best accountability partner to date. Since we own a business together but work from our own homes, it would be really easy for one of us to get side-tracked or unclear on what we’re currently working on. We have many days throughout the week where we hop on a Hangout for 2, 5, or even 8 hours at a time to get things done.
We can easily screenshare what one of us is working on, talk out our latest blog post schedule or newsletter copy, or just brainstorm. Heck, we’ve even just got on a Hangout to blast some T. Swift as we both cleaned our offices! It can be lonely to work from home sometimes, so even if you don’t have a business partner, consider getting a friend or fellow boss to “Hangout” with you so you can cheer each other on and hold each other accountable.
Considering hosting a webinar? See how you can use utilize Google Hangouts. BONUS, we have a free guide for first timers!
ConvertKit has become our go-to email service provider. As we outgrew the “free” account on MailChimp, we realized we needed more robust features to handle both our growth and our ever-changing needs. Their incredible customer service, increased open rates and individual subscriber details made the switch to ConvertKit well worth it. For more about ConvertKit and why we left MailChimp, check out this post.
Google Drive keeps all of our documents in one place. We can easily share blog posts with our VA and editor in Docs, and keep track of influencer and cheerleader contacts in Sheets. And, of course, easily link all these things inside Trello.
Pro Tip: Create only one shared folder then make folders inside it for organization. This way, you don’t have to create a share link for every single thing you work on — just add it to the main folder and anyone who is added to the shared folder can see it!
Dropbox makes it so easy to keep all our files organized and is super handy because of its multi-device functionality. We’ve got Dropbox downloaded on our computers so we can save directly, and also installed on our phones so we can access documents or images on the go. We can keep track of all our blog post graphics, stock photos, slides for webinars, and all the course content we produce.
This may fall under “free” for you if you don’t need the Dropbox business plan like we do, but for only $9.99 a month, you get 1TB of storage and auto backup to the cloud.
Personally, we used to be turned off by any and all Instagram posting apps. We are strong believers in posting what’s “instant”. However, when organizing things like giveaways or having two members with access to one account, this tool has saved us! Later makes it super handy to not only be able to schedule posts in advance (hello, time saver), but be able to type your caption on a laptop instead of the tiny, fumbly keyboard on your phone.
Ready to get started on Later? Use this link to sign up for your free account and get 10 extra free posts a month!
This may fall under the “buy it if ya need it” list for your business, but for us, hosting webinars has had a significant impact on our email subscriber list. Starting at around $35 a month (billed annually), this tool is what we use to host all of our webinars (read more here). It’s an extension to Google Hangouts, so you’ve got rockstar servers with added benefits. Check out more benefits of Webinar Jam in this post.
As two people who have precious product information, custom designs, and memorable photographs, we are paranoid about backing up our files. Carbonite allows a behind-the-scenes automatic backup of all the files on your computer (you can add multiple computers and devices). We also use external hard drives to manually pull files from our computers and backup. Trust us when we say that you do not want to go through a hard drive fail when you haven’t backed anything up in 7 years!
Ok, we have already harped on about backing up once, but here we are going to do it again. We document on the go constantly, and as two photo fanatics, we would be devastated if we lost our latest snaps. If you have an iPhone, make sure your auto backup to iCloud is on. This could really save you in a pinch!
Everyone needs a little peace and quiet. With timed meditations and soothing sounds, this is a great app to use as a break in the middle of the day or right before you drift off to sleep. As creatives, it is so easy to have our wheels spinning with ideas, but sometimes we need help clearing it all out and taking a moment of real silence.
Adobe Creative Cloud
We fell head over heels when Adobe announced their Creative Cloud! To be able to access files from any device at any time is incredible! With their CreativeSync capabilities, all of your files will show your latest version — no matter which device you log in from. Boom.
Knowing where to invest your time is so crucial. Getting insight into your real audience, up-to-date statistics, and real time feedback allows you to adapt. By using Google Analytics we always know where on our site people are spending the majority of their time, what our most popular blog posts are, and what things we should consider reworking. If you haven’t already, make sure you set up a free account and get your website linked up today.
It may seem silly to have to mention Gmail, but when we see anyone with any other email provider we can’t help wondering why they haven’t made the switch yet. If you need assistance in making your Gmail Inbox run even better, then be sure to check out our post on the Power of Inbox!
This may be one of Apple’s least-known secrets. Have you ever had to take multiple steps in order to get an image from your computer to your phone via email? AirDrop cuts these steps way down. So next time you have that beautiful branded stock photo you can’t wait to share on Instagram, try using AirDrop to get it to your phone faster and with fewer steps. If you want a more step-by-step direction on how to use AirDrop, check out this tutorial.
We know that adding a few extra minutes to your social media posting routine can get overwhelming, but trust us, the benefits of Pinterest for your business are astounding. If you still don’t believe us, let us fill you in: it’s led to over 65,645+ Impressions every single day and refers thousands of people to our site every month. Whoa.
If you need your own Daily Pinterest Formula and need to (Re)Fall In Love With Your Pinterest, check out these posts! And if you are totally ready to uplevel your Pinterest game, Tailwind is the next step — try it for free for 30-days, you won't regret it.
Having these tools in our back pockets saves us time, keeps up productive and bridges the gap of working apart. Your business is never too small or too chaotic to put systems in place that can make your life easier!
DISCLAIMER: We wholeheartedly LOVE these tools. All opinions expressed here are simply because we do use these tools and find them extremely beneficial. We were not paid or approached in any way to write about these brands, tools or companies. A few of these links are affiliate links.
22 Time Saving Keyboard Shortcuts
Ready for even more productivity? We’ve put together our top 22 keyboard shortcuts for Trello and Mac users. What the what?! And we’ve conveniently put it in a PDF so you can print it out and reference it anytime you want. Genius, I know. You can thank us later.