When I started my business, I ran everything with excel, word docs, and email. It worked and it was a great start. I’m all about running a lean business (see this post on running a financially healthy business), but when opportunity comes to make investments, choosing intentional ones is key. Today, I’m sharing 3 apps that have taken my work to the next level (including the APP that allowed me to drop everything and hop on a plane within hours to be with my sister for a family emergency!)…and seriously, keep reading. Crazy awesome deals included below!
App #1 on the list is well-known, so chances are you have already heard of the awesome Instagram planning app called Planoly. But if not, I’m here to clue you in because this app totally changed my world and has allowed me to really take control of my instagram strategy. Planoly is a separate app (outside of instagram) that will allow you to plan and schedule your content as well as provide insightful analytics for how your audience is engaging with your content. No more waking up on Monday and wondering what photo you should pull and post for the day–I upload a few of my favorite images from every session directly after editing and allow them to sit in my Planoly feed for later use. There is a desktop version of the app as well, so you can upload straight from your computer at the same time you’re uploading for a blog post (like I do). I try to plan my content about 3 days out at a time, but you certainly have the option to plan further out (it’s just what works for me). I love this app because as a photographer, I care so much about the visual flow and appeal of my feed. Before using Planoly, I would agonize over how the image I wanted to post was going to work next to the previous image and try to visualize in my head…this was both time consuming and ineffective, because I never truly knew until that photo was published! I now post far more consistently, have grown my following, and I love that I can schedule and post on my days off with the kids without having to do the real work of creating the content in the moment (you simply copy and paste). Instagram is crazy important these days, so investing in this app is an easy choice!
#2 on the list is Mile IQ. Miles are an incredibly easy additional write-off at the end of your year. Problem is…it can be a pain to actually do the work of tracking them! I used to keep a note on my iPhone that would list dates and drives that I would try hard to remember to add to whenever I got in the car for a work related event. I did okay, but I also know that it was time consuming and always a chore to remember as I my mind was already bombarded with a million things as I was mentally preparing for the work ahead. Mile IQ was an easy investment that truly does the heavy lifting for you. It’s an APP on your phone that can detect when you are driving and will automatically record the miles driven. Once a month, I hop on and classify my drives as either personal or work related, and then boom–it creates monthly reports for you that you can submit to your accountant. Done and done.
Cost: Pricing is $5.99 a month OR $59.99 billed annually, BUT, use this link and you’ll get 20% off!
Now here’s the big one, friends. A week or so ago I shared on my instagram stories how I had a family emergency and, within hours, dropped everything and was on a plane to Ohio to be there for my precious sister (UPDATE: thankfully, her baby is stable and doing well!). I had a few hours to finish up a few time-sensitive edits and reschedule clients’ shoots.. It was crazy. As my business has grown, it’s become increasingly difficult to leave it behind for a week+ at a time. Earlier this summer, I recognized that the backend software I was using to organize my client information+manage workflows just wasn’t working for me. It was too complicated and took me far too long to learn how to implement simple, new features. So, after researching and testing what was out there, I landed on Honeybook. Honeybook spoke to me because of it’s easy-to-understand backend as well as the amazing support they offer to get you setup. After a 20 minute phone call and a 40 minute screenshare session with their team, I made the jump and switched my entire backend over to their’s. And this emergency trip was the test of that investment, and let me tell you friends…it proved true!!
I managed my client communication for a week all away from home. I use honeybook’s messaging system to communicate with clients vs directly from my e-mail account because it so beautifully organizes and tracks that communication. I received new leads while I was away, and effectively was able to deliver appropriate documents (price sheets+contracts+invoices) and schedule meetings all from my PHONE. I also got paid while I was gone, using HB’s automatic client payment reminders. The amount of time I worked was so little, I was there for my family, and yet, from my clients’ perspective, it was as if I was still at home working normal office hours. WOW.
Cost: Pricing for Honeybook is $40/month OR $400 a year…BUT!!!! And major BUT! Use this link for a solid 50% off your first year (you guys–this is HALF of what I was paying per year to use my previous too-complicated software)!!
And once you sign-up, make sure to use their complimentary concierge service to build your contracts, price sheets, and other templates because they will save you a huge headache and an incredible amount of time.
And that’s it! Here’s to using helpful tools that bring efficiency and effectiveness to your business!