Growing and managing your business can be EXHAUSTING! There is no magic button to take you from HARD to EASY, but there are tons of tools to help you get there.
In today's episode, I'm breaking down the six top tools I swear by to manage and scale my businesses.
As mentioned on today's episode...
Until next time babe, keep pushing, keep dreaming, and let's keep on redefining fabulous.
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Hey girl, Hey, are you ready for some real talk? If you are a female entrepreneur who has ever felt like a total failure or maybe even a frequent flyer of imposter syndrome, this podcast is for you. I'm your host Jessi, a millennial business owner, boy mom and creative genius helping women bring their business dreams to life. After 10 years of building numerous creative brands from the ground up, I'm ready to get real about what actually goes on behind the scenes of building your very own empire failure opened up brand new mindset for me and I really want that for you too, because honestly, I am just so over society's definition of what it means to live a successful life. So together, we are going to create and navigate a version of success that works for you. Together, we can redefine fabulous Hello, hello. Welcome to a another episode of redefining fabulous today is a really exciting episode, it is much anticipated. We are going to be talking about something that I get asked all the time by friends, my family, my clients, literally everybody wants to know, how do you do it? What's your secret? Everybody wants to know what the secret is? Everybody wants that like a one step process from hard to easy and spoiler alert, there isn't one. Okay, so today though, we are going to talk about some of the tools that I absolutely swear by not only to grow my business, but to manage it on the day to day basis. So I know you guys are super excited for this episode. So we are going to just dive right in. Okay, so today, we are talking about six of the tools that I use on a daily basis to both manage and grow my business. These are not in any particular order, per se. But obviously, there are some that I'm going to be super excited about. And I will give you guys all the details of each one. But the first one that we are going to start with is project and task management. Okay, so the app that I use for this is called Asana. And I've been using Asana for at least two years now. So I do have a great amount of experience in it. Like any app, there are lots of pros, lots of cons, always a learning curve. Asana is definitely an app that has a learning curve. Do not get me wrong, it is not necessarily a like, jump right in and be ready to go. Like right away. But there are a lot of things that make this app just freakin amazing. So Asana is a project and task management tool. Okay, so this is where I will manage the actual projects that I'm working on. What's really great about Asana is that I can invite all of my clients to like be a team member, and it's completely free for them to join there. Obviously, the hard part about bringing my clients in is the learning curve. So it's a struggle a little bit, but I am so appreciative for how open minded my clients are when it comes to this because it's an integral part of keeping track of all my projects, but also keeping track of deadlines, keeping track of details. So when I invite a client into an Asana board, what we're doing a lot of times is getting login information or getting project details, maybe project images, inspiration, copy contents, things like that. What's really great about Asana is that when I'm working with clients who have maybe like a lot of repetitive projects that have similar task lists for them, I can actually build a template. So every time that we start a new project in that same like genre, so like photo editing, blogging, etc, things that have a lot of the same steps, I've created a template for that so that every new project that we launch under that category, I can easily make the project already ready with all of the tasks, not only the tasks, but the due dates. So for example, photo editing, okay, I strive to get all of my editing done within the same timeframe. So what I can do is I can create due dates based on the start date or the end date. So what it's doing is not only giving me this task list, but it is also generating the due dates for each one of those tasks. Okay, that's been huge for me because that is like total automation right there. I don't have to think twice about it. Yes, I can always update it and change it if there are exceptions to maybe the rules of that project but you is phenomenal that I can just one click and have the entire Tasks list there. Okay, so also, something I love about Asana is that it is definitely geared towards a lot of different types of people. So we all learn differently. And so you can actually view your projects in like different views. So there's a calendar view, so that you can easily see the calendar, when things are due specific tasks, full projects, etc, you can actually see what your team members are working on, you can see what you're waiting on from your team members. You could also view this in List mode, which is probably the mode that I use the most just because it's a it's a little overwhelming, I won't lie, it's a little overwhelming. But there, they also have a board view. And this looks a lot like Trello. If you're familiar with Trello, at all, where it's kind of like boxy and sort of you can do it by like days of the week, I just I tried Trello I really did. I could not stand it. I don't know, I'm just the visual aspect of it just did not work for me. But there are certain situations where that view could be helpful. It's just not the majority of it. So the fact that I can still view things like that is really great. But for me, I'm always in ListView. For the most part, sometimes I'm in calendar view, but I'm mostly in list view. And also looking at like the due dates. So not only can you actually see your individual projects in these views, but there is also something called an inbox. The inbox is basically like ListView on steroids. But it is like telling you exactly what you need to do today, like what is due today, what is due tomorrow, what is due next week, it kind of helps me cycle through what projects need to be done based on like their level of urgency. So that's also really great. Workflow and integrations. Okay, it integrates with, like, what seems like everything. But to give you just a quick list of things that it does integrate with, we're talking about all the Google stuff, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Gmail, it integrates with Zapier, if that's something that you're using, integrates with Canva, with loom with YouTube, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, and so so many more, but it is super great when you can find a platform that integrates with a lot of the other things that you're using, because Hello, automation workflow making life easier for you. Okay, so Asana also has a free version. Okay, so it is a little bit more limited of a version, but you can try it to see if you would like it, it is free for up to teams of 15. So even if you are a small business, trying to just manage tasks between a couple of employees, this is a great opportunity for you, okay, I am on a paid version. Personally, I pay about $14 per month, you can also pay yearly, which ends up being closer to $10 a month, that is like your per user fee, when you're like a pro creator. So it does not break the bank. expensive, but it is one of those things that takes some time to get used to. So just keep in mind that, you know, if it's something that you're on the fence about, join the free version, check it out, try some of the features, I'm 90% sure that there's actually a like 14 or 30 day free trial for like the full paid version to see if you need any of the additional like bells and whistles. So that is what I use for project and task management. Okay, I will leave a link for you in the show notes below for really all of these things. Because I think that these things are really important. And I think that these things could help you grow your business as well. Okay, up next is going to be social media strategy and scheduling. So I know if you've listened to this before, or you're in my empowerment group, on Facebook, you hear me talk about this all the time, but I am obsessed with this social media strategy scheduling tool, okay, it's called Plann in that's with two n's. Okay? It is crazy amazing. And it's very measurable. You guys know this, by now I am a very visual person. I'm absolutely obsessed with the platform, the way it looks, the way it's a really easy to use. It also has a great mobile app, so you can actually be doing things in your desk, on the go wherever you need to do it. Okay, so planning content on the go is huge for me, because I'm definitely one of those people that is like crazy all over the place. Okay, my brain. If you are in a conversation with me, we will probably talk about 500 things within a five minute span because that's just the way my brain works. So for me, it is integral for me to be able to plan on the go when an idea comes to me. I can drop it in there. I don't have to post it I can literally just draft the idea within the app and then later on when I go to actually do my scheduling which by the way, I do most of that on my computer, but I do input a lot of ideas and captions and photos and things like that on the go because I'm Very much a fly by the seat of my pants. When I have a thought in mind, I have to get it down on paper or I will forget. Okay, so it's really great for me to be able to plan content on the go. Okay? What's also really awesome is they offer this calendar, like every month, this calendar already has content ideas with it. Okay, so one of the number one complaints and just stressors that I hear from all of my business clients is like, I don't know where to start, I don't know what to post, I don't, blah, blah, blah, blah, okay, there is no excuse anymore, they are literally giving you a calendar of content ideas, okay? That is huge, because some days, we are just like, so overwhelmed by life, or parenting or just our business in general that like our creative brain, our idea brain is like not working. So this is an awesome tool to be able to sort of like kickstart those ideas and get the like that brain flow flowing again, right. Now, like I mentioned, it's a very, very visual platform. So when you are planning, you are literally seeing your grid, like on a phone, like on the platform, like you're literally seeing what it looks like. Now, I am aware that plenty of people do not really give a shit about what their grid actually looks like, okay? If you are one of those people, I strongly encourage you to start to care just a little bit. But I also encourage you to not become obsessed with it, like me. But but to be fair, I'm a very visual, like visual content is my business. So it makes sense that I'm like that, but but like the visual of your grid does matter. But it matters more in a sense of like, can your potential client viewing and kind of like scroll through and feel like they're being guided through working with you and like how to work with you and things like that? Okay, so the other awesome part about this visual planning is that they actually offer like, strategy placeholders, okay, so like, I have my content pillars, right. And so they're all in different categories. So I can drop in the placeholder to show me like, what kind of content I need to go in there, I use either the rule of nine or 12, just depending on the workload for that month. But so I'm able to build that strategy, and continue to be consistent on that strategy. Because all these placeholders are telling me exactly what kinds of content I need to put in there. So it's really, really great. And sometimes, I will kind of like throw things in there by category, because that's how my brain works sometimes. And so like, if I just finished up a bunch of branding photoshoots, I will actually go through those photo shoots and pull out my favorites and drop them into like the media section of plan. And which is also categorized, so that all of a sudden, I have a bunch of content sitting there waiting for me, okay? Oh, it's also really great. They allow you to have hashtag strategies. So I have a lot of different saved hashtag groups. I think it's really important to be said, though, that I never really just drop my hashtags in and leave it at that, like every post is customized, I either add a few, remove a few, whatever it is, I'm not trying to just like reuse the same hashtags all the time. But I am trying to make sure that I remember to include some of the core, like niche related ones. So but I do it is really important just to know that, like I do, update those each time that I'm posting, but it's kind of like a starting point, okay, if you're like me, and you work better from a starting point than you do from like a blank page. This is key, okay, not only can I schedule posts, but I can also schedule stories and rails, okay. And I can also automatically post these things to my Facebook page as well. Okay, it does not have to post at the same time either. I can actually move those around so that things are posting to Instagram and Facebook on different days, different times, whatever it is, because it's really important to know that your audience on each of these platforms is different. They're active at different times, there are different demographics, okay? Those are things that you want to play with. Really awesome. No plan has amazing analytics, I will not go in depth with this because it's like a conversation for a whole nother day. If you guys really want to hear more about like, the details of this, head on over to my empowerment group, because I actually did an entire video of a lot of the assets within this platform that I love, love love so much. So you can actually watch that video there. The link to my empowerment group is also in the show notes. Okay, so pricing. Let's talk about it. Right. So plan has a free version, you guys. It's completely freaking free. Okay, give me all the free 99 right now. Yes, I pay for it. But I'll tell you why in a moment. Okay. So the free version includes one person in one brand, okay, it's only Instagram. But it's the perfect opportunity to test the platform to see if it works for you. Just because I'm obsessed with it does not mean that you're going to obsess with it. Okay. If you are a very visual person like me, I expect that you will probably like it almost as much as Me. But if you're not a really visual person, it may not be for you and may be way too overwhelming, okay, but the free version is a great way to test it, you do get 30 posts per month and you do get weekly analytics to kind of like, let you know how you're doing. Okay? The difference between the analytics of the free version versus the paid version is, is definitely the fact that the free one only gives it to you weekly. The paid version accrues over time and it becomes like, like a lifetime analytics Toolkit, which is very, very important. But like I said, if it's something that you're not sure about, and you want to just test it out, I am telling you try this free version. Okay, so I personally am a power user. It is $12 a month for me. It's for one person, one brand, okay? But it includes Instagram, Facebook, tik, Tok, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Okay, I can automatically schedule content to go out to all of those platforms for one brand. Okay, so if you know me, if you don't know me, here's a little backstory, but I actually run multiple brands, okay. In the last two years, I've actually sort of like condensed them a little bit. I do have multiple Instagram accounts, but the only one that I am really, really active on and then I want to really optimize scheduling for is my this way to fabulous account, I do have a boudoir photography account called unleashed and fabulous. I do have a retail brand called Real Talk press. Eventually, I may bring those brands into here. But for right now I am placing all of my effort on growing the this way to fabulous brand and getting it automated. So that then I can go back and focus on those other brands as well. Okay, so you can also the next leg plan up from where I'm at is called the build plan is $25 a month and includes two people, you can add additional people for $12 a month and it allows for two brands. But you can also add more brands. So the way that that platform pricing works is it's kind of like it's as expensive as you want to make it kinda Okay, so as many as many brands and users as you want to add, it's obviously going to go up per month, but in my opinion, it is so freakin worth it. Okay, so once again, make sure you check out the links in the show notes so you guys can try out that free version. Okay, so up next, short and sweet is my video creation and editing tool. Okay, this is what I use for reels. This is what I use when I am developing marketing content for some of my clients. Okay, it's really, really great, it's really easy to use, it allows for like a picture and picture which allows me to add logos onto the video allows me to add photos onto the video. So as an example, I like to make reels that are sort of like behind the scenes. So the what's playing in the background is a video of like me shooting me working with the clients, and then what's coming up, maybe it's popping up, maybe it's sliding to the side, or the actual final images. Okay, people love this people love to see before and afters but they also love to see the behind the scenes. So this is kind of like the best of both worlds for me. Okay, you can also add music right in there, I find this great. So the one thing I really dislike about reels on Instagram, is adding the music in and like not really being able to, like do much with it, you can't really edit much with it, right. So in this platform called InShot I can actually add the music, tweak the music, add like a fade in and fade out, break it up, move it around in my video, okay, I like to use music with motion. So like when something is pounding or something is changing, I like there to be a beat of music with that. Okay, so with that I can change the placement, I can change the music itself, I can go from song to song, okay. And then really importantly for me is that I can speed up or slow down the videos. So when you're using time lapse, sometimes it's really hard to get the speed that you really want. So I just record and then I actually do all of the speeds of the videos on the backend. So that app is called in shot. It is on my phone, I believe I can also use it on my iPad. However, what I did notice was that the content does not like save in a cloud. So like when I open my iPad, I can't work on the like the videos that I had already started on my phone. So it's like it there's not really a cloud it's kind of like part of it. So that's a big bummer. But that is an amazing tool that I've been using for years now to do all of my reels and like my marketing videos for clients. Okay, up next is email marketing, email blast design. Okay, I am obsessed with flodesk. It has been around for I believe, maybe a year and a half. I started it when it was still in beta. And so I've seen it grow. I've seen it where it starts and it was amazing and I've seen where it grows and it's just it's ridiculously easy and gorgeous email creator okay. What's really great is it is a very simple pricing. They have one rate okay, it Is $30 a month, they do have a free 30 day trial so that you can actually test it out. Once again, there'll be a link down in the show notes, if you want to try it out. It's just really great. It's very drag and drop, you can actually create lead magnets through there like you can create a, an email capture, you can also create segments, which what that means is that people can sign up for specific types of content, instead of having to sign up for like, everything. Okay, so I have people who sign up for the podcast, I have people who sign up for free training, I have people who sign up for a photography, mini sessions, etc. Okay, I have all sorts of segments. And it allows me to specifically reach the users that I want to with that specific content. So for me, as a multi passionate, running multiple businesses, this is huge for me, because I don't Alright, up next is dubsado. Okay, this is my client management software, I am obsessed with dubsado, I have have to just like, throw all the content out into the world and been using dubsado for about two years. This is where I manage all of my clients. Okay, I love that I can sort my clients by hope that it reaches the right people. Okay, this is a very project type also. Because as a multi passionate, I'm obviously doing a lot of different things. Okay. So if I want to strategic marketing move for me to be able to talk to this specifically look for a photography client, I can do that if I want to specifically look for a web design client, I specific client that I want to reach, okay, you know, me, I'm can do that. If I want to look for a social media content huge on that. So that is flow desk, I use that for email creation management client, I can do that. Okay, it's really, really great to be able to kind of like filter them out, and marketing, which disclaimer, I don't do very much email only look at what I want to. Okay, so another huge, huge thing that I use on dubsado is their time clock system. So what marketing. If you're on any of my list, you already know that. this does is it lets me jump around between a lot of my Um, so if you are joining a list, don't expect 100 emails a client projects, and specifically clock my time for those clients. Now, not only do I get to clock, my time per day, I see I have to unsubscribe on like on a weekly basis from client, but I also get to clock my time per project per client. Okay, so for people who hire me to do hourly content, design, some of the things that I signed up for, because it's just way marketing, web design, all of the things that are hourly, what this allows me to do is itemize their invoices so that they can too freakin much. Okay. But I will say that email marketing is see exactly what kinds of time is going towards specific projects. This is really helpful for a lot of my clients because on my list this year of things to grow, and really sort of put it allows them to sort of have an idea of how long it's going some extra effort into. to take or how about how much it's going to cost the next time that they input a new project in that same sort of category. Okay, so this is really, really huge. I literally just clock in and out of every single project and then I can go in and see it all see what's open and then apply it to their invoices. Okay, so speaking of invoices, this is also where I house all of my client contracts and their invoicing. Okay, so there's also automatic emails that will go out when there is a payment to or when there is a form or questionnaire that they need to fill out. All of that stuff is automated, okay, automation is the future. Automation is how you manage and grow and scale. They have an amazing portal, okay, so this basically becomes a client portal that allows my clients to see like their entire account to their entire project, right? So they can see all their invoices, they can see what's paid what's not, when it's due, they can see their contracts, if they need to go back and see some details. They can see any appointments that were scheduled, I can see any projects that we're working on any questionnaires that were filled out, like it is a place for them to go and view all of that stuff. Okay. And what I did is I actually built kind of like a super quick portal Training Guide. So my clients will actually get a, like a short little demo of like, this is what you can do in your client portal, because I want to make it as easy as I can for everybody. Okay, so last but not least dubsado now has like this separate company called Dublin's and it is basically like a plugin type thing to really take your proposals and your questionnaires and all these things to like the total next level. Okay, it is an additional fee. I don't know off the top of my head what the extra fee is you You can either do it monthly or you can buy like the specific plugins. But it's amazing. It has allowed me to make my proposals like totally stunning, totally like next level, right? Because who doesn't want to be next level? Okay? It works for a ton of businesses. But if you're a photographer, like this is like life changing, okay? The the visual, just the way it comes across, it is literally life changing. Okay, so let's talk about pricing. So dubsado As a starter is about $20 a month. Okay. This gives you unlimited projects, clients, invoicing, payment plans, forums, and email templates. Okay, it is more of a starter version, there are a lot of things in the next one up that are really helpful. So I'm gonna go through that for you. Okay, so I am a premier member, I paid about $40 a month, okay. And a couple of the things that I really, really utilize in this premier version, scheduling, okay, I can schedule all of my discovery calls, right on my website. Okay. So if somebody goes to my website, and they are like, yes, I want to work with this girl. But I need more information, I'm not totally sure what I need. Okay, they can book a discovery call, I don't have to do a damn thing. Okay, all I have to do is sort of like give dubsado Any days or timeframes that I'm available, and they will like see a calendar with all of those openings, and they will choose it and they will book it right there. Okay, within that schedule, or there's also a short form, where I will gather more details from those people to make sure that I have enough information for that discovery call to make sure we like maximize our time. Okay. There are automated workflows. Okay, so specific clients, if they are a photography client, there are things in the workflow that will automatically send them a pre shoot guide. It'll send them a pre shoot questionnaire, things like that. If it's a website, client, and I'll send them automatic emails of what I need from them. I'm sort of like the onboarding experience is all automated, okay. It allows me to have public proposals. I don't really use public proposals for the most part, because each of my clients really has a very specific scope of what they need, but allowing that I know a lot of photographers and content creators that utilize that, okay. Multiple lead captures, I can capture leads anywhere, as many as I want, in as many categories as I want. Okay, so as a multi passionate, I have a lot of categories. I have multiple lead captures for each of those. Okay. It also integrates with Zapier, I am not a Zapier user. I have been eyeballing it for years, because it is a platform that allows a lot of workarounds for a lot of platforms that don't necessarily have integrations. So I'm not actually a Zapier user, but it does have Zapier integration, okay. So the link is in the show notes, if you want to try it out, that link will get you 20% off of either your first month, or year, okay, so check it out if you're looking for something to really manage your clients, your invoices, and to sort of help you build some workflows. Okay. Last but not least, is something that literally keeps me sane, literally keeps me consistent and allows me to do it on the go. And it is Lightroom Mobile. Okay, this is how I edit my photos on my phone or my tablet. Okay. So obviously, as a photographer, I am not the kind of person that will just like take a picture and post the right image. You guys know me better than that. No, no, no, no, no, I needed to be perfect, right? Okay, so spoiler alert, I spend way too much time on it. Sometimes, however, Lightroom, Mobile allows me to actually edit some photos on the go. And it's allowed me to actually develop some templates and presets, so that if I'm taking pictures of some of the same things in the same kind of places, kind of often, I have presets built for that. So that it's usually a like 123 Click type of thing, right, I'll add the preset, and I'll probably make a few tweaks. But it gets me close to where I need to be really quickly. Okay. Also it syncs to a cloud. And I can actually open all of those photos on my computer. So where this works for me in my kind of workflow is if I'm somewhere on the go, I take a picture I drop it into Lightroom as a reminder to go back and edit it because I want it to be some sort of content. Okay, so, yes, I am like all over the place, my brain is not always in a place to actually do the work. A lot of times I have a four year old, attached at my hip, that doesn't really give me the opportunity to finish the work, but I can take the picture and literally send it right to Lightroom without even having to open Lightroom so that when I do find time to go in and edit some of that content, it's sitting there reading for me and I can't tell you how many times I will go into Edit, and I'll be like, Oh my god, I totally forgot about that amazing idea I had for content. Okay, so that is how like in and out of my brain is with ideas. It is like constantly spiraling with ideas. So like removal is a great, great tool for me to be able to like capture that idea. Toss it in a bin for later, okay? It's totally free, which is freaking amazing. Who doesn't love free 99 If you're not using Lightroom Mobile, I highly, highly suggest that you go download it on your phone or your tablet right now. And what I mentioned about my own presets, I build a lot of my own presets. However, the Lightroom Mobile app has like grown over the years and now has a lot of its own presets. And also like it has this like aI tool that like you can post a photo in there. And it literally says like recommended and it will give you a list of recommended presets literally just by like scanning the image. It's bonkers you guys is like so crazy. Like some of the times I'm like how does it frickin do this what it does, and for a lot of you out there who might be more beginner in the photo editing stages. This was a great, great tool for you and it's totally free. Did I mention it's free? Do not say no to free 99 You guys. Alright guys, that is a wrap on the six tools I swear by to grow and manage my business. As a recap. Those tools are Asana for project and task management plan for social media strategy and scheduling in shots for video editing and creation on the go. Flow desk for email marketing and blast design dubsado for all of my client management, contracts, invoicing, and Lightroom Mobile for all of my photo editing. I hope you guys found this episode helpful. I hope that some of these apps and platforms are helpful for you to grow and scale your business as well. All right, babe, I hope you really enjoyed today's conversation. I'm super curious to know what your biggest takeaway was from today. So go ahead and share this episode on social media. Make sure you tag me at this way to fabulous and let me know what you connected with. What did you learn from the episode and what action item are you going to take today? Until next time, guys, keep pushing, keep dreaming. And let's keep on redefining fabulous chatroom guys