As my business has been growing, and I've been working with more and more clients, I've realized there is a core set of tools that I use every single day -- both for my own business, and with my clients businesses. Today I wanted to share those with you!
This has, by far, made the biggest difference in my business when it comes to client management. With 17Hats I'm able to house all of my client information, send contracts, invoices, questionnaires, etc. from one place. Before using 17Hats I would send things from no short of five places, and it was confusing both for my clients and for me. But 17Hats has streamlined the entire process. I can also create workflows for things like new client onboarding -- so I know exactly what the next steps are --, see my calendar, and set recurring invoices that get sent automatically for long-term clients.
I use Asana for project management, both for the work I need to do for my clients, but also what I need to do for my own business. It's really easy to use, and I can add a client or a member of my team to a particular project with the click of a button if I'm not the only one working on that particular project. I also love that you can easily set recurring tasks in Asana, so I only have to input something once that might need to be done daily/weekly/monthly, and it will automatically show up the next time I need to do it.
I use Buffer for half of my scheduling for Twitter. I used to use it for everything, but now I use Buffer just to retweet things directly from my Twitter feed, and to share limited time promotional tweets -- like webinar promotions that are only going out for a week before the event.
Email marketing is a huge part of my business, and it couldn't be easier with ConvertKit! I love how easy it is to set up sequences (automated emails) in ConvertKit, the endless possibilities of using automations to make things happen behind the scenes, and how simple it is to create a one-time broadcast to send to my list. One of my favorite things about ConvertKit is that it's subscriber-based, instead of list-based. That means that instead of having duplicate subscribers, like MailChimp will create, I'll have one subscriber -- and then different tags under their profile for everything they've opted in for. So if one person opted in for 10 content upgrades, I'll only have that person on my list once instead of ten times.
Edgar has revolutionized how I schedule content for Twitter, and for my Facebook groups. Instead of repeatedly adding in the same updates, I only have to add a Twitter update once, set the category it's a part of, and then Edgar will continuously publish the post. I can also set up a really detailed schedule, so on Monday at X time, Edgar will always post an update from category Y. My followers, and my engagement levels, have increased dramatically since upgrading to Edgar, and using Edgar is the definition of setting it and forgetting it. I also love using Edgar to post updates in my Facebook groups (I have a private group for Hire Your VA in 1 Week students, and a private group for Rock Your Month participants) because it will automatically post and that post encourages conversation and engagement. I have Edgar post in the morning, and then I usually go into the groups in the afternoon to engage with everyone personally.
I live and die by Google Apps in my business. My email, and my team member's emails, are set up through Google Apps for Work, and I use Google Drive to organize everything. I have folders upon folders for every aspect of my business, I use Google Docs every day (I wrote the draft of this post on a Google Doc!), have Google Sheets set up for various things, use Hangouts for team and client meetings (usually), and have everything in my Google Calendar. One of my favorite things about using Google is that I can access my business information from anywhere. So whether I'm at home, or I'm working at a coffee shop, or I need to check something on my phone for a client, I can instantly access it. Google also makes sharing documents, folders, etc. with my clients and team a breeze -- it's just a few seconds to add them to whatever I need to share, and I know they'll have the same ease of access across all of their devices.
I primarily use LastPass with my clients and my team members, but it's made everything so easy. Basically, my clients can enter in their login information for various accounts, share the access with my team and I, but we can't see or change the passwords. So it allows us the access we need to do things for clients, and it protects their information.
I've hosted my site on Squarespace for over a year now, and I still love it as much as I did when I first switched! Squarespace makes updating and managing my site incredibly easy, as I don't need to know code in order to make the changes that I want to make. I'm also incredibly in love with their cover pages, which are gorgeous and really simple to set up. Their templates are really fun to experiment with and customize, too! I also use Squarespace for long-form sales pages, such as the sales page for my course Hire Your VA in 1 Week.
I use Teachable to host all of my online courses, such as Hire Your VA in 1 Week and the Systemize Your Branding Masterclass that I did with Kaitlyn Kessler. It's incredibly easy to use, and they make it ridiculously simple to upload all of your course content, build your sales pages, etc. Their reports are really detailed, and I love the live feed of who's enrolling in which courses. You can also have "private" courses -- which is how I put together limited time offers or bundles for webinars. Teachable will also pay out your affiliates for you, which just automates the process even more, and means that I can rest assured that my affiliates are being paid on time.
I love using Toggl for time-tracking. It's ridiculously simple -- you say what you're working on, what project it's for, and click the button to start. I track all of the time I spend on client work, on business admin tasks, and everything else. Tracking my time with Toggl really allows me to see exactly how long things are taking, and how much I'm spending on a particular client's project. My team also uses Toggl, and I can easily see how much time they've spent on a project, and I can see the summary of how long we've all spent on a client project. That's really beneficial because I can tell my clients if we're getting close on our allotted hours for a month by clicking one button in Toggl.
What are your favorite tools to use in your business? Let me know in the comments below!
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