10 Essential Productivity Tools - I use for my Business

 
 
 

I get it! You wear many hats. So as your business grows, your role will require you to do all the things, until you are ready to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) and Online Business Manager (OBM) like me. So you will need to set up tools and systems that will allow you to be productive with your time, so you earn more, but work less. There are many robust tools that will help you do just that. Here is a list of 10 essential productivity tools I use everyday to keep me on my A-game when I am working on my business and with my clients.

Business Tools

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1. Trello

If you have worked with me, you will know Trello is my jam! I use Trello for business as it is a great workflow system that can be used to keep track of your project deliverables. Other really neat uses for Trello, other than as a workflow tool, is that it can be used to create a social media editorial content calendar, an onboarding manual, a team assignment tool and my personal favourite as a critical path for projects and launches. One of the great perks of Trello is that it is FREE.99, with options to upgrade to a Gold account ( If you invite new people to Trello you get 1 month per referral of Trello Gold free!). There are endless video tutorials and ready to use sample boards that you can save as your own. Go get Trello now! You will not regret it.

2. Google Drive

If you are not using Google for work (now called G-Suite ) for all your business needs, you have been living under a rock for way too long. Google Drive is the ultimate app for Google that keeps all of your documents in one place. You can easily share living documents like Google Doc, Sheets, Slides, Forms and Drawings with your VA and other team members. Google Drive coincides with your Gmail account for seamless integration of all Google Apps and storage of files, email attachments and back-up for photos.

Pro Tip: Create a folder for each client or team to store all relevant documents in one place. Invite team members to access information in your folders or share links with specific people outside the team if you want them to have access to specific information.

Marketing Tools

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3. ConvertKit

Move over Mailchimp! Convertkit has become the go to email service provider for email marketing.  I know, I know, I love Freddie the monkey too for making beautiful newsletters! However, when it comes to generating leads to grow your lists for launches and sales funnels, Mailchimp just cannot compete with ConvertKit's robust features that save you time and money.  Convertkit features include allowing multiples forms per list,  built in opt-in form stats, auto-responder, custom messaging and automation.  This is a paid tool starting at $29. The biggest saving you will make is that ConvertKit will  not charge you for duplicate subscribers. Who does not like a SWEET DEAL? You will see the return on your investment in saving time and money, but most importantly by building your lists effectively and efficiently. 

4. Leadpages

LeadPages is an online tool that you can use to collect subscribers. This easy to use page builder has quite a lot of features for bloggers, small businesses and entrepreneurs. It is a landing page to direct leads to ‘opt- in’ for your freebie or download right from your website, social media platform or Facebook Ads. With Leadpages you can host a webinar or free course, create opt-in forms, build a sales page and get customers to sign up for your emailing lists or events. You will attach an email service provider like ConvertKit to store your leads, setup email automation and start engaging with your subscribers. You will be using Leadpages a lot for your business, it is definitely worth the $25-$37 per month investment.

Design

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5. Canva

Beautiful graphics are so important for visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. It has even been proven that quality graphics gain more clicks, likes and retweets than ones without. Canva helps create branding across all of your social media platforms. It is a free platform and an upgrade will cost $10 per month. This upgrade will allow you access to additional graphics, images and fonts. I use canva for branding my blog posts, creating freebie graphics and posters. Canva is by far the easiest tool for crafting eye-catching images that gain the most attention. I love Canva! I have never met a person who was not in love with Canva too!

6. Picmonkey

Picmonkey is a free online image editor with premium features costing $4.99 a month for a variety of photo editing capabilities from adding texts, effects, overlays and even creating logos. I started using Picmonkey as a blogger as I could not afford Adobe Photoshop and I just did not have the time to learn the fundamentals of graphic design and photo editing. With Picmonkey there is barely a learning curve and there are many videos on YouTube that assist you with all your design questions. This is a great tool for those who want to edit photos quickly and easily because I AM NOT a graphic designer or photographer, nobody has time for hours of designing or editing images - unless you are a graphic designer or photographer. 

 

Time Management

7. Toggle

 

Do you want to save time on your next project? Track it with Toggl. Toggl works seamlessly as an app or a web page, which means it’s easy to keep accurate tracking of project deliverables and tasks. Toggl is free and an upgrade starts at $9 per month. It is a great time saver as it makes switching between projects or clients as simple as typing in a new task description or clicking on another client listing. I am actually using Toggl right now to track how long it takes me to write this blog post so I can have a better understanding of allocating time for writing my blog post. 

Pro Tip: As previously stated, I use Toggle not just for to track work for my clients, I use it also to track how much time I spend on business tasks, like responding to emails, invoicing, social media management, research, etc. This allows me to know how much time to set aside for my business tasks so that they do not fall to the wayside.

8. Acuity Time Scheduling System

Time is money! The Acuity Time Booking and Scheduling System is an amazing time-saving tool that will allow potential clients to book a meeting with you right off your website and into your calendar. You can set it up for people who come to your website to schedule their own appointments and even have them pay you up front as part of the scheduling process. A great tool for consultants and coaches as it allows payments to be made prior to the meetings, so that means no invoicing- HELL YES! This is the real deal of all scheduling systems out there. Sync Acuity Time Scheduler to your Google calendar, send email reminders as well as text messages for free. An upgraded plan will cost you $19 per month.

Pro Tip: I use Acuity so that potential clients can book discovery calls with me. This is a great call to action incentive for a serious client who is ready to work with you and allows you to be readily available to close on a potential lead

Social Media

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9. Later

ater is the simpler way to plan your visual content marketing for scheduling and managing your Instagram posts. Later makes it super handy to not only be able to schedule posts in advance and it can be used across multiple Instagram accounts. It also makes it SO EASY to search for other people’s posts and schedule those to be re-posted in advance. A free plan gets you 30 posts per month, 2 social profiles, and 1 user account. If you want to use the free plan forever, nobody’s going to crash the party and make you upgrade and pay a bunch of fees. If you love Instagram, then you are going to love Later!

10. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool that assists with managing social media platforms. There are many similar tools out there but Hootsuite has great features like monitoring multiple feeds, mentions and messages all in one dashboard. This saves you time in engaging with your audience or tracking hashtags and trends. You can schedule up to 350 posts with the Pro Plan and the calendar view makes it easy to see your schedule for the day, week, month ahead. It’s also easy to drag and drop posts if you want to change up your schedule! There is a free plan and a professional plan starts at $9/99.

So, friends, there you have it! These are the top 10 essential tools I am constantly using in my business and with my clients. I can’t imagine my business without them! If you’re trying to put more of a focus on saving time and being more productive (hint: you should), then using these tools are for sure the way to go.

Want more? Here is a list of all the things that can make you more productive and grow your business every single day! Click Here

What tools and systems are you geeking out on? Let me know!