Running a small business is hard enough, but when you factor in balancing that with taking care of significant others, children or pets (not to mention your own personal needs), life can feel overwhelming. To help me stay organized, I use a variety of tools. On my list you’ll find everything from paper day planners to online invoicing tools. While this list isn’t exhaustive, here are a few of my favorite business tools for busy women entrepreneurs.
Organizing My Day
Dreamer’s Notebook Day Planner. Even though most of my business is conducted online, I still love a paper and pen planner. There’s something about writing down and checking off my daily tasks that helps me feel accomplished. The Dreamer’s Notebook doesn’t just record appointments but also helps you record your goals. Each month, you’re given a focus topic, i.e. November is about being thankful, and each week expands on that theme with introspective passages. For example, this week, we’re to be thankful for what we have and next week thankful for peace. I’ve ordered these for the last two years and have already pre-ordered my 2018 notebook.
Memo App. Sometimes the best ideas come when I’m nowhere near my computer or a piece of paper. Luckily, my phone is usually close by. I use my memo app to jot down ideas for new content and client programs that I want to expand on when I get back to my computer. The app is also helpful when I’m shopping and want to stick to a list.
Dropbox. After my computer crashed years ago, I learned the value of having files accessible from multiple sources. Dropbox offers all who sign up 2GB free, but if you need more space, try a monthly subscription to their Plus of Professional plan. These plans offer you 1TB of space to upload virtually any file type. I also take advantage of the mobile app, so I can quickly pull up a document on my phone if I’m not at home.
PayPal. As of the third quarter of 2017, there were more than 218 million active PayPal accounts worldwide, making it one of the most popular third-party payment processors. Collecting payments from customers around the world is a helpful feature for me, as most of my blog clients are overseas. Even if PayPal isn’t your preferred choice, it’s wise to offer it as an option so you don’t alienate potential customers. PayPal can also be used to help your company grow. The company offers working capital loans and lines of credit to qualified businesses.
QuickBooks Online. Want a robust, but easy to use bookkeeping system? Look no further than QuickBooks Online. With this virtual system, you’re able to keep track of your income and expenses and even grant access to another team member, if necessary. QuickBooks’ invoicing payment system allows you to send single invoices, set up recurring payments and even set reminders of when to follow up on those unpaid invoices.
Square. For small business owners looking for a third-party processor, Square is an option to consider. While the company is most well-known for its card readers that attach to the headphone jack of your phone, it also allows for card not present payments. I use it as another option for customers who want to pay by credit card.
Credit Karma. Having access to capital is important, and until you establish business credit, most lenders are going to want to know your personal credit score. This app gives me an idea of where my score is and the areas where I need to improve.
Banking App. If you want to know where your cash stands at any given time, download your bank’s mobile app. By tracking regularly, you’ll easily catch suspicious purchases and can act before any damage is done. Some apps even let you lock your debit card if you’ve misplaced it. One of the biggest advantages for me is the mobile check deposit feature. Instead of having to plan a trip to the bank, I can just deposit it through my phone.
Blogging & Web Site Management
WordPress. My first entrepreneurial adventure as an adult was as a web designer way back in 2003. I still design sites from time to time, and now WordPress is my go to tool. With a plethora of themes and plugins, I can customize a site virtually any way I want.
Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin. This easy-to-use business tool allows you to pick keywords for each post and then gives tips on how to make that post as search engine friendly as possible. You’ll get tips on word count, how many times to include the keyword and even the best way to utilize photos. As robust as it is, even a non-technical entrepreneur could use it and benefit.
Idologic. This has been my web hosting company for over 12 years. It primarily caters to those who want to resell space to clients. While I mostly host my own sites these days, I’m a loyal Idologic customer. Outside of the security and uptime, which is to be expected, it’s the customer service that sets this company apart. I’ve had questions at 3 p.m. and 3 a.m., and each time, customer service was able to respond within 15 minutes. This is crucial if your site goes down, gets hacked or you have space issues.
Lumen5. This is an online video maker designed for brands and businesses to produce engaging video content for social posts, stories, and ads. Their goal is to enable anyone without training or experience to easily create amazing videos in minutes.
My Fitness Pal. Between balancing marketing client work, blogging and family, healthy eating can fall to the wayside if I let it. The My Fitness Pal app helps keep me accountable. I record my meals and my exercise here to make sure I’m staying within my calorie goals and actually moving on a regular basis. Several of my friends are there, and it’s motivating to see them push forward with their fitness goals.
Amazon Kindle. I love to read, but it’s not always convenient to pull out a book. Instead, I use the Kindle app on my phone to catch up on reading when I’m in between appointments or when my mind needs to take a break from work.
YogaGlo. I purchased a subscription to yogaglo.com over a year ago. It features one off and multiclass programs on a variety of yoga styles and meditation, all on demand. I typically use the meditation section to quiet my mind in the morning or when I’m tired but not in a position to nap. After a short meditation, I feel energized and ready to tackle the rest of my day.
Pandora. Because I work from home, I’m able to keep music playing in the background while I complete my daily tasks. This gives my mind a place to focus when it wants to wander away from work and helps keep me moving when an upbeat song comes on.
Samsung Health. I use this app to record my steps and participate in the monthly walking challenges. Most of my work is done at a computer, so it’s easy for me to spend hours at a time sitting down if I don’t pay attention. This app combined with Pandora virtually guarantees I’m going to be out of my seat at least a few times during the workday.
These are some of the business tools I use to stay organized and on track with my goals. What do you use? Comment and let me know.