My business is now two years old. Over that time I’ve tried out many things (as documented in this blog!) As a birthday present to you all, here’s a list of the tools I use to run my business, that have stood the test of time, that I still use today and plan to still be using in another two years!
The best thing is, the majority are absolutely FREE.
Tools for keeping track of Finances
Fetcher (From $19 a month)
I’ve mentioned before how much I love Fetcher, as it gives me an overview of my profit & loss at a glance. My favourite feature (at the moment) is the daily snapshot email that gives you a snapshot for yesterday, the past 7 days and the past 30 days, so you know exactly where you stand.
Quickbooks (ask your accountant)
I haven’t ‘done’ much with Quickbooks yet, but it was super-easy to connect to my bank account and Amazon account and will no doubt come in very handy come tax-return time!
Tools for managing my social media
I use Buffer to schedule all my social media posts. You can find out why and how here. Another thing I love is that you can add returns, or line breaks, into your Instagram posts. (Which you can’t do if you post directly into Instagram.)
I use Feedly to generate content for sharing on social media. Again, take a look here to find out how to get yours set up.
Tools for creating and editing images
Canva is a great tool for taking a photo and adding text, or other elements to create something new. It has pre-set templates (of the correct dimensions) for different social media posts, headers, business cards – pretty much anything you can think of. There are some paid elements, but I’ve got on just fine with the free version.
This is an example of the kind of thing you can do.
I use Fotor to re-size images for free, without the need to download software (it’s all online). I find it works best in Chrome (rather than Safari). It’s really helpful for adding your Amazon product images, as you can ensure they’re all sized correctly.
Background Burner (FREE)
I used Background Burner when I was having a go at taking my own product photos. It did a pretty decent job of removing the background and shadows from my images.
Tools for generating reviews & providing customer service
Jump Send (varies – from $29 a month)
I love Jump Send! It saves me lots of time, gets me some reviews (I think) and also helps with my customer service, as it automatically emails anyone who requests a return. This is probably my biggest time-saver and the one paid tool I couldn’t be without.
Tools for building my email list
Leadpages (From $25 a month)
I used Leadpages to host my swaddling guide. (You had to sign up to an email list to access it.) This is now against the terms of GDPR, so I no longer do that. (You can access the guide directly from my site, without supplying any details.) It is however good if you wanted to, for example, run a Facebook ad linking to a page with information about your product (perhaps pre-launch to generate some interest). I’m not certain whether it’s one I’ll re-subscribe to when my year is up, but I do see the value in it.
I use Mailchimp to send out my (occasional) newsletters and weekly blog updates. The blog updates are automated, so I do nothing beyond publishing the post. The newsletter takes a bit of setting up, but Mailchimp has intuitive templates and I find it pretty simple. Best of all, it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month.
There are different ways to use ManyChat. I use it to automatically send a message to everyone who comes onto my Facebook page and, occasionally, during promotions to add people to my Messenger list. I’m unsure if / how this complies with GDPR, so would advise looking into that before setting up any tools.
On top of this, I have a host of apps for my Shopify store – but I’ll save that for another time!
Is there anything you love that I haven’t covered? Any suggestions of other things I could try?