I thought it would be really helpful to put together a resource page of tools that I use if not daily then weekly. This post will be added to regularly as I find and use more tools to make running my business easier each day.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase using one of my links, with no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend tools and services that I use or have used with great satisfaction and I recommend them here because they are helpful and useful and NOT because of the small commissions I make if you buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you are certain they are value for money and will help you.
In no particular order….
1. Pic Monkey.
I use Pic Monkey to create meme’s and edit photos for my website or product images – in fact nearly everything I used to use Photoshop for!
It’s quick and easy to access as it is an online resource and it is free. There is a paid for version, but I haven’t had a need to use it. Alternative: Canva or Pixlr)
2. Hootsuite Pro.
There is a free version of this tool to try but the reason I love it isn’t available in the free section. It is a great tool for speeding up posting to social media, having all the info and details in one place is fab. But in the Pro version (currently about £10 a month) you cab BULK UPLOAD. OMG this is such a time saver. Create posts in a spreadsheet and bulk upload. Now this doesn’t replace the personal touch on social media, and of course you need time to check in and respond, but this is a great way to get ahead and post your promotional tweet and posts.
Email marketing. If you don’t already you should. Mailchimp is a great place to get started with email marketing. For free Mailchimp will let you send regular emails whilst collecting up to 2000 emails. This is brilliant for sending out a weekly or monthly email to let people know what you are up to. However if you want to use automated sequences then you need something more, like ConvertKit which I love. When anyone signs up to get my free ‘The Art Of Marketing’ eBook they automatically sent a series of 8 useful emails to follow up without me having to manually intervene.
If you have your own website you need hosting. The best hosting I have found by far is with Ben of Handcrafted Hosting. The support is second to none. You can read more about why I think that here https://www.ahandcraftedbusiness.com/do-i-need-a-website-for-my-craft-business/
This is a free CMS system for self hosted websites – which sounds a mouthful! No link because Ben can install it, or you can install it yourself with one click normally from your website c-panel.
6. Guidance and mentoring group for support
Some days you don’t need a tool or resource to help you do something, you need good, honest advice, understanding or a place to go and cheer where people understand what you do. A Handcrafted Business Members Club is that place!
7. Small Business Legal Academy.
Running your own small business can be a legal minefield, which is why I want to know I have everything from Consumer Contract Regulations to privacy policies covered. I do this by being a member of the Small Business legal Academy, so I know I can get my legal questions answered by the UK’s top small business law expert and Richard Branson’s former lawyer, Suzanne Dibble.
I nearly didn’t include this one, but I couldn’t run my business without it, so here it is. When you sell online you need a way to complete transactions. Paypal is an amazing told for this which makes it super easy.
9. Survey Monkey.
If you want to know what your customers are thinking , the best way is to ask them using an online questionnaire.
10. Bullet Journal.
I use to have to do lists everywhere but now I use my bullet journal. I manage to keep track of most things…and it has revolutionised the way I work. Rather than explain it I urge you to click the link and watch the video to find out more.
11. Dropbox/Google Drive.
I love cloud storage – that way it doesn’t matter what computer I am working on from where I can access everything I want. WOW!!
12. Free Stock Photos. This is a new find for me, apparently they add hundreds of images each week and all photos are released under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) which means that you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free – including for commercial purposes – without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or illustrator or web site. How amazing is that?
I also use:
Screencast-O-Matic to record my screen for videos.
I use Video Block for stock vidoes
I use 123rf for stock images
Spyfu is a great keyword tool
WooCommerce and Yoast are two plugins I don’t want to live without.
Followerwonk is a nice Twitter tool for finding influential tweeters
This is an article which will change regularly – some will be added and if I find better again will be replaced.
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