10 tools to help you grow your business and free more time.
There’s no denying that going into business on your own after a rather well-paved career will leave you with a lot of decisions to make. Choosing which software and tools to best help you, as these decisions were usually made for you in a well-compartmented organisation with well-defined roles, is just a start.
When you set up your own business, you are the CEO, basically making all decisions. That's until you grow your team or work with a virtual assistant and marketer so you're free to focus on the fun stuff. Until you get to this stage, you might welcome a bit of help to get yourself organised, avoiding running like a headless chicken from morning till evening juggling a business and a household. I know the feeling, trust me, and hope these tools will help you grow your business and free some time for you!
Here's my list of tools that will help you keep focused on your business!
1. Google Calendar
Start with the basics, plan, plan, plan. Juggling a family life and setting up a business will keep your brain on the back burner, you either need a highly reliable PA or put all your meetings in Google Calendar. Don’t stop at business, use it for your’s and your kid’s GP appointment, parents’ evening, client meetings and days where you will research and write content. Google calendar is unsophisticated but will save you a lot of time. If you are a visual like me use colours to have your week set up on your screen and phone, just open your calendar as your first task when you sit at your desk in the morning.
Here's a great time saver for busy women juggling an active lifestyle. Wunderlist is a To-do List for your private and business life, easy to set up with reminders. Great to use on the go when you have an idea popping up, it also helps you to stay focused and get stuff done.
Setting up an email list is the basics of building an audience, for that you need an email list tool. Mailchimp is a great tool when you’re just starting out, Converkit has been thought through from a subscriber point of view to help you grow your list. Compared to Mailchimp it will allow you to create one list with different tags, rather than having to create a separate list for each opt-in, with Converkit you can create different opt-in's all feeding into one list.
An attention to details tool to help you write better. I can see you thinking "I don’t need that", it makes a lot of sense for me to use it - as English is not my first language. I would still highly recommend using the paid version, it will help you gain time, improve your copy, and keep you focused on the words when you're too tired to notice anything on the screen!
5. Facebook scheduler
For years, I’ve used Hootsuite to schedule my posts until I read that Facebook doesn’t like you to schedule your posts from a third party and will hit your engagement rock bottom, apparently Facebook will judge all posts via third parties’ as less credible. Even if Facebook has never officially acknowledged this; be on the safe side and use the post scheduler on your business page.
Buzzsumo analysed over 500 million Facebook articles for an article and the results of posting with a 3rd party tool resulted in 89.5% less engagement than direct posting!
How many times do you read great stuff for your business on the internet and have nowhere to save the information for later? Pocket is a great app to help you research content for your blogs posts, and marketing. Install the app on your browser and phone, then save the link to keep it into your library each time you come across relevant and helpful content for your audience.
The ultimate guide for content research to help you find great ideas for your posts and audience, research the most shared content, ideas and help for your audience. Get in touch with the right influencers to share your content with. The free version is limited but nothing stops you from visiting the site every day, the paid version is available from $79.00, you do get a lot for your money, though.
Jot ideas on the go, photograph magazine articles and images directly into your phone. I love Evernote to keep ideas in my digital notebooks, how many times have you been waiting for a train, a taxi or at the GP browsing a magazine. Take a picture with your phone and save the articles in Evernote. As they say “inspiration strikes anywhere” and if you have a team, you can share ideas across any device. Install the app in your browser and on your desktop.
Collaborate with your team and keep them updated with the latest task, content scheduling and marketing plan.
The new kid on the blog, I have not tested the service yet as it is limited to Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus, but I like the idea of having content distributed for me for a whole year. Missinglett_r will write your social media posts for you taken from your previous blog post with the aim of growing traffic to your blog and website.
I know you're very busy women trying to juggle a family and a business. I hope you've found these helpful if you have any useful tools that you would like to share, do so in the comments.