Running a business is oddly daunting and equally fulfilling. In the past year, I have made plenty of mistakes. Some of them you can read about here, but with each mistake I gained a plethora of knowledge. That is what is so amazing about working in the creative and wedding industry: you never stop learning and it is a community built on love. So many designers, wedding planners, and other creatives are willing to pour their hearts out and share what has worked for them, and what has not. Between my mistakes and looking to more seasoned professionals for advice, I've been able to create a better workflow and increase my productivity. I'm so excited to share the five things I can't run a business without. I hope that you are able to walk away from this post having learned something new and ready to tackle the next work day!
SIMPLIFIED PLANNER BY EMILY LEY
Having a planner is a life changer when it comes to being a woman who wears many hats. As a teacher, wife, business owner, mom, all around badass, and Lord knows what else, it is easy for us to feel overwhelmed with juggling so much! The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley breaks down each day to allow for block scheduling, includes a to-do list, what to make for dinner, and a sweet quote for motivation.
I use my Simplified Planner for everything and it has made such a difference in my planning. In fact, I take it with me everywhere I go. I list my goals, due dates, and business meetings in both the monthly view and daily view. I am able to keep track of all areas of my life through color coding my "to-dos" and schedule. It also helps me measure if I am spending too much time on small rocks instead of my big rocks. Don't know what those are? Have a peak here.
I can't imagine trying to run Sweet As Honey Studio without it. To pick up your own, visit Emily Ley's Shop.
BOOMERANG FOR GMAIL
Boomerang is a plugin that allows you to schedule when emails will be sent. It is free up to the tenth e-mail sent, and then is $4.99 per month or $50.00 for a year. It is expected to have clients email after business hours, which is great, but it is difficult to not want to respond as soon as you get the email. Boomerang allows you to respond to the email and set a time for the email to be sent. Boomerang has helped me stick to my specific business hours, while staying on top of my inbox.
My professionalism in running my business has increased greatly through Boomerang. I have been able to develop a sense of trust and reliability for my clients. Boomerang will send you a reminder to follow-up on an email and helps clean up your inbox.
To set up your subscription to Boomerang, click here.
For a graphic designer, choosing Adobe Illustrator as something I can't run my business without is a given. However, there are many amazing thing Illustrator is used for outside of my projects. Adobe Illustrator is a vector and illustration program used by designers. It allows me to complete many of my day to day tasks such as: blog post headers, side bar graphics, worksheets, invoices, customizing pictures, digitizing hand lettering, business cards, inspiration boards, and so much more.
While Photoshop and InDesign are amazing programs by Adobe as well, I find myself in Illustrator 99% of the time. Learn more about Adobe Illustrator in this amazing blog post by Lauren Hooker of Elle and Company.
I am a chronic list maker, if there is not a piece of paper on me I feel off. Apps like Notes have never worked for me, but I've found myself grabbing a sketch book before my phone or tablet. I use my sketch book for scribbling down random ideas I have throughout the day. I have "spaghetti brains" which means I start 100 projects at once. Having a sketch book on me at all times helps me filter my thoughts by placing them all in one place. Not only have some of my most fruitful business ideas come from my sketch book method, but I also get to see how far I've come when I revisit and reread.
The holy grail of all website hosts is by far Squarespace. In the beginning of my business endeavors, I tried Wix and Weebly. Don't get me wrong, both are amazing in their own way, but I have found that Squarespace has allowed me to streamline and brand my business better than any others. The staff at Squarespace is friendly beyond measure and so quick to respond. I attribute the success of my website to Squarespace.
There are so many more things I would love to add on to this list, lessons and tools I've learned through mistakes and other creatives. What are some of your favorite tools? Share in the comments below!