The Top 3 Business Tools I Can't Live Without - St. Louis Photographer
I'm 4 years into my St. Louis Photography business and have taken big steps over the past year to find efficiencies that save me time, but also improve my client's experience. Before now, I've been struggling to effectively manage all of the client inquiries, back and forth communication, invoicing, contracts, marketing...you name it. When you start out, the workload can be manageable without investing too much in tools, but I still recommend finding a system that works for you to ensure your business can grow with the right support in place.
If you've done any research at all, you may have felt overwhelmed by all of the tools that exist for business owners. I've spent hours upon hours reading articles and reviews, trying to find solutions to meet my specific needs. That being said, here are 3 tools that I have added to my business over the past year that are game changers.
For Business Management - Dubsado
Ahh, Dubsado. Before I met you, I was losing track of client emails and couldn't remember if I had sent the contract or invoice for the upcoming project. My organization system was a mess and you saved me. Dubsado is a business management system that offers SO MANY TOOLS to keep you organized. The capabilities help streamline your business and I know I've only dipped my toe into the water. Currently, here are the features I use the most!
Contract templates are easy to set up and customize for each project.
Invoicing is much easier because I can set up custom payment schedules for each session and also set reminders to automatically send.
Email templates and workflows can be created and set to send based on specific triggers you set.
A master dashboard gives you financial data and task reminders to keep you on track towards your goals.
Your clients can use this too! Each project allows you to invite your client so they can view their contract, invoice, package details, session guides, etc at any time.
Calendar booking is making my mini session scheduling so much easier! I'm pretty hands off this time around...I set the available dates and times, but the clients signed up and submitted the deposit with minimal involvement from me! Such a time saver!
Receive 20% off your first year or month with Dubsado if you sign up through this link!
Email Marketing - Flodesk
You've probably heard that starting and growing an email list is the most important thing you can do for your business. Think about it, if Instagram and FB were to suddenly disappear, your followers would go with it. I've been putting more effort into growing my list recently, which means I'm going to need an email marketing tool that makes communicating with my subscribers a breeze. Enter Flodesk. A beautiful, user friendly email marketing platform. Mailchimp was my go-to when I first started off, but I always felt frustrated with their limited template options. Here are a few reasons I switched to Flodesk (and why you should too):
Aesthetically Pleasing & On Brand Templates. Seriously, the template selection offers such great variety depending on what type of email you are sending.
User friendly! You can add your logo, brand colors and social icons at the account level so it populates on each email template. Creating workflows is also a breeze, which allows specific emails to be sent based on the triggers you set. Automation baby! All of my new subscribers are set up to receive a series of emails over the course of a set time period...I love any tool that saves me from repeated manual work! Did I mention that your emails are automatically formatted for mobile as well as desktop?
The price is right! For a flat fee of $38/month, you have access to unlimited emails, subscribers and access to all of the features.
Use this link to save 50% on your Flodesk subscription!
Social Media Management - Preview
Unless you live under a rock, you understand the importance of being present on social media. Trying to keep up with when to post and what to post is a common struggle amongst business owners. This year, I decided to invest in an app that helps me plan out my content...specifically on Instagram since this is where I spend the most time. Preview has a free option, but I upgraded to gain the features that would truly help my business. Here are some of the reasons I'm sticking with Preview!
Love that they have a great desktop app to go along with the mobile version. I like to build and plan my content from my laptop, and the app never gives me any problems.
The hashtag features are a huge bonus! I love that I can search for new hashtags, group together ones that are frequently used and then see how they perform.
The grid view has helped me create a more visually appealing feed and the drag and drop feature works really well.
Analytics are easier to read and take action on through this app! I find myself taking more action now than I did when just looking at my IG profile.
Well, there you have it! The 3 business tools that are helping me keep my head on straight! So happy I was able to share this with you...after all, we can't keep this stuff to ourselves. Please share any of your favorite tools in the comments. Love to hear what everyone is using to up their business game!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I only share about companies that I truly believe in.