I’m about 4 months into full-time blogging, taxes has been filed for 2016, and guys? I’m feeling pretty good so far!
I’ve definitely noticed a huge shift now that I have the time to sit down and focus on all aspects of my business. Working from home and on the road proves to be a challenge sometimes, and I really had to sit down and look at some apps and software that would make my blog run efficiently. Here are some of the tools I use on a regular basis to help me get through the workday and manage multiple projects with ease!
Ok, so this app already has its own dedicated blog post because, my friends: it is that amazing. Not only do I use CoSchedule to plan out both my social media and editorial calendars, but I also use it to keep track of when drafts are due and when invoices are due. Even if you’re not a blogger, this is an incredibly valuable tool that will help you keep on top of both deadlines and any social media you would need to push out for your business! You can try it free for 14 days to see how you like it!
First things first: for email, I swear by Google Apps for Business. This allows me to have a Gmail account but my email is still @aliciatenise.com. No disrespect to a firstname.lastname@example.org email address, but this really makes your brand look more professional in my opinion!
One of my favorite apps is Boomerang for Gmail. The first thing you can do with this app is schedule emails to send out at a later date/time. I like to follow up on pitches on Tuesdays-Thursdays because it is more likely that a press contact will be out of office on a Monday or Friday (side note: I always get the most emails on Tuesdays!) However, I might not always be on my computer first thing Tuesday morning to send those emails out. I might be at a photoshoot or at a press event. By scheduling out my emails ahead of time, I can be top of mind to my press contact and still do what I need to do during the day!
You can also use Boomerang to send yourself a reminder about an email. For example, you can set it so that if you don’t get a response from an email within a week, the email will “return” to your inbox as a new email so that you can follow up. Magic, right?
Y’all: this is a LIFE. SAVER. We all know how insane emails can get, and canned responses helps me get through them so much faster! This is another Gmail thing (sorry!), but it’s the best thing I’ve ever downloaded.
With Canned Responses, you can insert pre-written responses into the body of your email. You can make as many email templates as you’d like, which is incredibly helpful. I highly recommend customizing your templates a little bit after you insert them just so you don’t sound like a robot, but it saves you so much time in the end!
One part of the small biz life that I love and hate: sending and sending contracts! If you’re like me, I don’t have a printer at home. Yet, I need to sign a lot of important documents almost on a daily basis. 99.9% of the time, it’s not an issue if I digitally sign documents, and here’s where HelloSign comes in. You can upload your contracts and stamp on your digital signature, and then download the signed PDF to send back to your client. Pretty cool, huh?
In case you’re the one writing the contract, you can actually have HelloSign send the contract to your client and request their digital signature. I do occasionally run into companies that do require pen and paper signature, but in that rare instance, I use the wonderful app below!
I use this app multiple times a week. Not only do I not own a printer, but — shocker — I don’t own a scanner either. *Gasp*. Scannable is an app created by Evernote and I think it’s pretty fantastic: it looks legitimately like a scan! I use this for any pen and paper contracts I have to sign, as well as for scanning my receipts for any business expenses throughout the year. It’s nice to have a digital copy of receipts because let’s face it: I am the QUEEN of losing receipts!