Running an online business is a bit like riding a rollercoaster. At times it’s the greatest, most thrilling thing in the world, and you can’t believe how incredible your life is that you get to spend your day on this rollercoaster. Then, almost in a minute, you see that giant drop ahead and begin to think… What the hell am I doing?
First off, dude, let me tell you, this is normal and actually part of the fun. Who wants life to be ordinary, anyways? And let me tell you… those thrilling, “I can’t believe I have this freedom” kind of moments always outweigh the low moments.
Having the right people in your corner helps. Having the right tools in your toolbox also helps. Here are 8 of the tools that every new entrepreneur needs to help make their life so much easier and blissful…
Pssst. At the end of this post, I also share some of my top tips for new small business owners, so make sure you stick around!
Zoom is a tool for video conferencing, a great way to have your 1:1 client meetings! I personally love this format because sometimes my clients are international, and using Zoom rather than my phone helps me avoid long-distance fees. Having face-to-face communication really helps the client relationship, especially when talking about something as personal as your website design.
If you’re running a group program or needing to meet with larger groups of people, you can upgrade and use the paid version, but you get 40-minute group calls included on the free version.
I love, love, love Google Drive for my small business. It allows me to seamlessly organize all my clients’ and my own business files clearly and confidentially. I can also easily share my clients’ individual folders with them privately to access all of our work.
It takes a big load off my mind to know that everything is stored safe and sound in the cloud because, let’s face it, computer problems happen! This way, I can securely log on and find anything I need, no matter where I am, on my computer, phone, or even another device.
From a customer experience point of view, Google Drive is excellent because it keeps everything neat and tidy and in one place that most people know how to use comfortably by now!
The other Google tool I couldn’t live without in my small business is Google Calendar (let’s face it, without Drive, Gmail and Google Calendar, I don’t know what I’d do!)
Google Calendar allows you to make and manage any client appointments, but it also is an excellent way to time block your time between client work, personal meetings, and other CEO work that needs to get done for your business.
The social media schedulers I love and use regularly are Later and Buffer. It is really nice to plan and schedule out content in advance so that I can spend my time focusing on my clients’ projects. Honestly, either of these options works great! You don’t need both, just a couple of options I’ve tried and love!
Coolrs is honestly one of my favorite not-so-secret secrets. It’s so cool, and I use it very regularly in my design studio to help me select and fine-tune color palettes.
How it works is it allows you to generate a color palette, lock in specific colors you like, and continue to joggle out the others until you find a palette you love. The cool part is that it’s based on color theory and will only suggest colors that compliment others you have already locked in.
Canva is a terrific, easy-to-use online design tool, especially great for creating graphics for your business. For the new business owner, especially, Canva is excellent! While you don’t have the total capacity and flexibility you have with Adobe programs, you can save some good money as a new business owner with Canva!
I do recommend if you plan on using Canva a lot that you upgrade to the paid Pro version, so you can upload your custom fonts and branding elements and save all your designs in folders (these are just a few of the pro features I love).
A project management tool is a must. I know, I know, I was resistant at first as well. But since I got on the Asana train, I’ve never got off! It’s fantastic to know that all of my tasks, to-dos and client deadlines are all recorded in one central place.
When you’re starting your small business, there is a lot to think about and consider, and unfortunately, that will become even more complicated as you begin to work with clients. So have a project management tool to do the reminding for you.
When you’re constantly trying to remember all your tasks in your head, it takes away brain power you can be dedicating to your creative business! So let Asana do the remembering for you!
I saved my personal fave for last! Oh, Pinterest – I could write a love letter to ya!
Pinterest is an absolutely tremendous asset for small business owners. Throw out your preconceptions of Pinterest as simply the place to look up your next craft or recipe idea (hey, I mean it’s great for that too, don’t get me wrong!). Pinterest is no longer considered a social media outlet… it’s regarded as a complete search engine.
Interestingly, browsers on Pinterest are also looking for solutions (much more than, say, Instagram!)… meaning it’s the perfect place to promote your creative small business!
Brand new to Pinterest? I recommend this resource from my pal, Mademoiselle Social – it is the roadmap to get you running!
Here are my top tips and pieces of advice for new entrepreneurs interested in pursuing their creative passions online…
If you’re not intentional, your business will quickly take over your life. I recommend having one full day off your business each week to get out in the world, do what you love with friends, and remind yourself that your business isn’t your entire life. I also recommend having a CEO day each week, if you can, so that you have time to work ON your business, and not IN it (with client work, etc.)
The thing that absolutely always makes a difference for me, on the good days and the bad, is knowing I have my crew of business besties to turn to. We met almost 2 years ago, and we still talk almost daily! If you want to meet your own group of biz besties, start by making connections on social media and ask one another out to virtual coffee. Consider going to free networking or coworking events. You can even join a membership you vibe with!
Especially at the beginning of an online business, the imposter syndrome will be very, very real. Just remember, no one really knows what they’re doing! No one wrote the rule book for online entrepreneurship – you make your own rules! Just remember you are more than capable of doing this and always just try your best!
Focus on what truly matters in the early stages of your online business. Yes, you need to market your business, but avoid getting caught up in the narrative you have to “show up on Instagram” all day every day to make that happen! Instead, remember what’s most important to really establish yourself and your business… your website!
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