Running a business online takes a little more than a website and an email address – you need tools and systems to keep things operating smoothly!
Since I launched my branding design studio, I’ve tried many programs, apps, and websites, and over time, I’ve found several things that have really helped me grow my business and run it well. Of course as I continue to run my business, I may add and discover new tools and systems. But I want to share what I’ve currently used so far, so you can benefit from them too.
So, here are my top 6 favorite tools for running my online business. Let’s go!
Ahh, the most magical website design platform. Showit makes it super easy to edit your website. You can move anything anywhere – no coding knowledge required. This is the platform I use to design websites for my clients (and myself), and I don’t plan on turning back any time soon.
It does come with a bit of a learning curve, but if you’re someone who likes having control over every detail of your site, or you just want the ability to quickly change things as needed, it’s an amazing option. Showit also has a fantastic library of help docs, a Facebook community, and support staff you can chat with if you run into any issues.
(P.S. If you hire Homeward to work on your Showit website, you’ll get a custom tutorial video that teaches you the basics of how to edit your site!)
HoneyBook is the CRM (Client Relationship Manager) that I currently use for managing my client projects. I use it for keeping track of projects, accepting payments, managing emails and files, scheduling calls, and sending proposals, invoices, contracts, and questionnaires.
I’ve played around a bit with Dubsado as well, which is another great CRM option depending on your needs. Choose whatever platform works best for you, but I highly recommend having some sort of CRM to manage the backend of your business. It’s a lifesaver!
(If HoneyBook sounds like a good fit for your business, feel free to use my referral link to get 50% your first year!)
If you haven’t heard of Canva yet, you’re missing out! It’s a totally free online tool (with a paid option) that lets you create pretty much anything you need designed for your online business – Instagram graphics, business cards, client guides, etc.
I use Canva all the time to create easy-to-edit document templates and social media graphics for my clients and myself.
A word of caution though: Canva has a fabulous selection of free and paid graphic templates, but I encourage you not to use these templates as-is. Too many people are using the same templates online, and I want to make sure you stand out. Make them your own! Change out the fonts and colors to fit your established brand identity, and remove any elements that don’t align with your style.
And pretty please never ever use a Canva template to create your logo.
If you regularly send screen recordings to clients or customers, Loom is totally worth the subscription. I tried using free options for a while, and none of them matched the quality and ease of Loom. When you download the app, you can access it easily on your desktop, and it gives you the option to record with or without your camera, and with or without sound. You also have options for video quality, recording window size, and more.
I use Loom to record client presentations and tutorials. I also like to record my screen without sound while I’m designing, so I have content to share on Instagram and Pinterest!
Gosh, what was I doing before Notion? Notion is sort of an all-in-one workspace, and it’s totally free. It’s a little complicated to figure out at first (I’m still figuring it out myself!), but once you know the basics, it’s awesome.
I have several workspaces in Notion that I use to plan content, collect client testimonials, create task lists, write out my process details, and so much more. I’ve even started testing out creating shared client project dashboards in Notion. You could probably use it for anything your business needs. It’s super customizable!
The Creative Law Shop
All business owners need legal documents. Whether that’s operating agreements, contracts, terms and conditions, hiring agreements, etc. You have to make sure you’re running your business legally, and that means you need quality legal documents to ensure your butt is covered if you run into any legal problems down the road. It can happen to anybody!
I get all my contracts and legal template from The Creative Law Shop®. Every template is carefully written by a practicing attorney. These are as thorough as they get.
Once you have your templates, make sure you read through them so you understand what they’re saying, and update anything that needs to be replaced with your own information and policies. It’s a really good idea to have a lawyer practicing in your own state or country look over your completed document as well, so you can be sure you’re protected.
These tools for running an online business is not an exhaustive list by any means. Every business is different, and what works for mine may not work for yours, and vice versa. But, I believe these tools can help (almost) any type of online business owner looking to improve their business and processes!
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