These are the ten must-have apps that I would not want to run my business without.
These days, there’s an app for virtually any issue you might encounter while running your business. Finding it difficult to time-track your projects? There’s an app for that. Sick and tired of back-and-forth scheduling? There’s an app for that as well. Struggling to stay on top of all your tasks for your various clients? You guessed it – there’s an app for that one too.
In this sea of apps promising to help us run our businesses faster and smarter – which ones are essential? Which are the “must-haves”? The answer to that question will, of course, depend on who you ask, but speaking from personal experience, below are the ten apps that help me run my business every day.
What does it do? Dropbox allows multiple users to sync common files across all of their computers and/or devices, so anyone can access a shared file or folder from wherever they are.
How do I use it? Dropbox provides my clients with an easy way to get all of their website content over to me without having to email each item individually. Additionally, I use Dropbox to transport files from my desktop computer to my laptop or vice versa without having to use a flash drive. (So for example if I’m at a coffee shop all afternoon, at the end of the day I can put all new files in my Dropbox to get them back onto my desktop computer when I get home).
What does it do? Better Proposals is a web-based platform for creating and sending professional and well-formatted sales proposals with digital signatures.
How do I use it? I use Better Proposals for both sending project proposals to prospective clients (I’ve seen proposal acceptances rates increase since I started using it!) as well as sending my Working Agreement for signing. I like how with Better Proposals: a) people can accept with one click, b) clients can refer back to their proposal or agreement at any time, and c) I can log in to immediately see which proposals are pending and what my current acceptance rates are.
What does it do? WordPress is one of the most robust website content management systems available today, and powers over a third of all websites online.
How do I use it? In addition to using WordPress to build each and every one of my clients’ websites, I love harnessing the power of WordPress to market and promote my own business. Because WordPress is open-source, there are literally thousands of “plugins” available to add-on and provide the functionality you’re looking for. As one example, the Yoast SEO for Everyone plugin lets you set a target keyphrase for each of your blog posts and then tells you how you’re doing as you optimize your posts.
What does it do? Calendly allows others to sign up for a call or meeting on your calendar. Calendly syncs with your personal calendar to make sure no one signs up for an event during a time you are busy.
How do I use it? We all love immediacy, right? I link to my Ellanyze Calendly from every issue of Short & Sweet I send out and also have it right on my Google Business page. It makes it easy for people who want to schedule a call with me, without the back and forth.
What does it do? Loom allows you to record videos of your screen (audio included), organize your videos into folders and sub-folders, and send people links to your videos or folders of videos.
How do I use it? When you’re a web designer, answering small how-to questions is just part of the gig. I remember years ago the vast amounts of time I would spend typing out instructions on how to do something in an email, sometimes with attached screenshots if necessary. Now? I simply navigate to the website I need to demonstrate something on, hit my Loom record button, go through my actions while verbally explaining what I’m doing, hit stop, and send them the link. It saves both me and my clients a lot of time!
What does it do? Buffer allows you to pre-schedule posts to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
How do I use it? Instead of manually posting my social media posts twice a day, Buffer allows me to do all the work once a week (on Friday mornings to be exact). This way, I can plan out my social media content one day a week when I’m inspired, and then let Buffer do the work for the rest of the week.
What does it do? ActiveCampaign is an email marketing, email automation, sales automation, and CRM platform.
How do I use it? I use ActiveCampaign to compose and send out my issues of Short & Sweet each and every week. Additionally, I’ve used ActiveCampaign to set up email automations like my Savvy Homepage Secrets mini-course. If you’re looking for someone to help you with your email automations, Emily of Flourish & Grit is your woman!
What does it do? At its heart, Trello is a web-based list-making application. Lists you make on Trello can be shared with multiple users and sync across all your devices.
How do I use it? While many people swear by Trello for project management, I myself use Trello in a slightly different way: I use it to keep track of what stage in moving towards website launch each one of my clients is at any given time, and I also use it to keep task checklists for every stage in each one of my projects to make sure I don’t miss a thing for any of my clients.
What does it do? Evernote is an app for note-taking and organizing notes that sync between all a person’s devices.
How do I use it? A better question might be, what don’t I use Evernote for? I use Evernote for my Next Actions List, my Weekly Task List, my Holiday Gift List … and just about every other list you could think of.
What does it do? Vonage provides you with a business phone number that you can use either from your personal cell phone or from any laptop or desktop computer.
How do I use it? I decided this year that I wanted more separation between my business and personal life (In other words, I wanted to be able to unplug on weekends). To allow this to happen, I realized I needed to stop using my personal cell phone number for all things business. Vonage has provided me with all sorts of great features like a business number with my local area code, the ability to reply to text messages sent to my business number on my desktop computer, the ability to have business calls go straight to voicemail outside my set business hours, being notified of new voicemails via email, and lots more.
How many of the top ten apps do you use and love? Are there missing from this list that you couldn’t run your business without? Let us know in the comments below!