Having your own business is not easy. You can often feel overwhelmed with all the tasks that you need to do. Trust me, I know. But, in the past months, I found tools that helped me a lot. Hopefully, they’ll help you as much as they help me.
So, this week’s blog post is about the tools I use. The tools that saves me lots of time. The ones that help me go through my to-do list while keeping the quality of my work high. Also, the ones that help me ensure that I am on point with my strategy. Plus, I made some videos to show you how easy they are to use.
Canva must be my favorite tool. I really love it! All the images, collages and infographics that you can see on my blog and Facebook page are made in Canva. (Pssst. I even designed my logo in Canva). I’m sure that you’ll love it, because it’s so easy to use. Also, the free version is more than enough for beginners.
The first thing to do when you set up your Canva account is to establish your Brand Kit. There, you can upload your logo(s), and choose your brand colors and brand fonts. It’s an essential step, because then you can easily find them later when designing an image.
When your Brand Kit is ready, decide what you want to design. Is it your logo? A Facebook post? A Twitter banner? Pick what you are looking for, and Canva will open a new workspace for you. It will have the right dimensions, so you won’t have to worry when you upload your creations online. It will fit just fine!
Finally, Canva will show you plenty of different templates for you to get inspiration from. You can choose one and change it to fit your needs. Change the picture(s), colors and fonts to match your brand. Have fun and be creative. But remember that Canva is great because it’s fast and straight forward. So, don’t spend hours on it. Keep it simple.
I use Postfity to save time when posting on social media platforms. With this tool, I don’t need to sign in on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn separately. I can write all my content in Postfity, add links and images, and schedule my posts for the following week.
With the free account, you can only have up to 5 social accounts and 10 scheduled posts. If you schedule your posts every week, that should be more than enough for you. So, enjoy the free version as long as you can, haha, because you can be sure that’s what I’ll be doing.
If you aren’t using Grammarly yet, you definitely should. Grammarly is an online grammar checker. When you download the software, you’ll be able to get spell checking when writing WordPress content, SoMe posts, etc. Besides, you’ll also have the application on your computer where you can upload text to proof read it.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not perfect when I write English. So, it’s great for me to use Grammarly. I used the free version for a long time, and it was pretty good. Since I am writing a lot of content at the moment, I have decided to pay for the premium version. I wouldn’t say that it was really necessary, though. The free version pretty much did the job.
When writing a blog post, the hardest thing is often to simplify your content to make it easy to read. You also need to have a nice flow and be catchy, so that readers won’t get bored. Hemmingway is a very great tool for that.
I am using the free version (of course!), where I need to copy paste my entire blog post into Hemmingway. Then, the editor will give me a grade. I usually try to have a grade between 4 and 5 on my blog posts. The editor will also highlight where there are things that should be improved. The most important is to take a look at the sentences marked with red. Those are the sentences that are WAY too long. Try to cut them and avoid having any red markings. After using Hemmingway for a while, you’ll notice that you’ll get better at writing blog posts. You’ll start ranking well without help.
HubSpot is famous for putting Inbound Marketing in the spotlight, but besides that, they also have a great CRM (customer relationship management) system. There are plenty of CRM systems out there, but I think that HubSpot is great for two reasons. First, it has a pretty decent free version. Also, it’s designed specifically for an Inbound Marketing strategy.
There are so many things you can do with HubSpot, and I am not even close to knowing them all. You should just create an account and get started, because even if you are at the very beginning of your business, it is essential to have a CRM system. Be organized from the beginning and put all of your business contacts in HubSpot. You’ll be able to decide who is the contact owner, what the lifecycle stage of each contact is, and its lead status. This will help you to keep in touch with the right contacts at the right time.
6. Cobraid Deploy
As an entrepreneur or a startup owner, you don’t have any boss that gives you feedback on your work. So, how do you reflect on your efforts? How do you find out what should be done better? Let’s be honest, we can’t all be Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jeff Bezos. The way I do it is by setting myself some goals. So, when I don’t succeed on them, I know that there is something that requires a more in-depth look.
With a KPI management system, I can easily have access to all of the data I need to evaluate for my goals. For example, I set myself a goal of reaching 1500 impressions on Facebook in November. I can easily see in Deploy that at the moment, I have reached only 525 impressions. It’s now November the 13th. I’m still missing 975 impressions, and we are halfway through the month. It will be tough to reach my goal, but there is still time to act!
Since I work as the Marketing Manager for Cobraid, I am of course a little biased. I must admit though, that since I started using Cobraid Deploy, I have been looking way more into my SoMe performance. Before, I used to review it every three months, which actually didn’t really give me time to act in time.
Slack is like messenger, but for the workplace. With Slack you can write to all of your colleagues. You can have both private conversations and group conversations. You can have a general chat for all of your employees. You can also create different channels for different topics like sales, marketing, events or whatever you like.
At the Startup where I work, we have a “random” channel where we share jokes and other funny things. It’s generally funny stuff that brings a nice ambiance to the office.
Of course, if you are a solo entrepreneur, Slack won’t make sense for you. But it’s great for Startups. Even if you are only two owners, then you’ll be sure always to have access to files that you sent to each other, and you’ll be more structured in your communication. Oh, and it’s free for small teams. Keep in mind though, that the free version only let’s you see the last 10,000 messages, but that should be okay in the beginning, right?
As an entrepreneur, you always have a million things on your to-do list. Mine is normally huge. Also, I have the terrible habit of trying to do too much at the same time. Asana is helping me a lot to slow down and to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Asana can help you organize, track, and manage your work. You can set up different projects where you can create tasks. On your projects you can then organize the tasks by categories like ideas, to-do, done, on-hold, to be reviewed, etc.
So, every time I have an idea, I create a new task in Asana. Then, on Monday mornings, I take a look at my Asana. I decide which tasks I want to focus on this week, and I drag those tasks to the to-do category. Once they are done, I move them to the done category. At the end of the week, it’s great when I take a look at how much I have achieved.
That’s it for now. These are the tools that I use the most. Both when working for Cobraid and when writing content for my blog. I hope you’ll find them useful. Let me know in the comments which of these tools you are already using and love, or if you use other great tools that I should check out.