10 Tools I Can't Run my Business Without

I have a secret. I'm not Wonder Woman. At least not in business. Being a 'solo'preneur means: I wear many hats, have to trust my freelancers implicitly and need tools to make my work easier and more efficient. These 10 tools have saved me from lots of headaches and wasted time. Do you have an app or software you just can't live without? Please share!

In no particular order, my awesome marketing, editing, graphic and time managing tools:


Dashlane is a password 'vault' and password generator. It securely logs you into all of your devices seamlessly and easily. Because I manage many accounts for clients on a variety of platforms, it will also remember those passwords. For example, I have 12 different Twitter accounts that I manage. Dashlane knows them all - and simply asks me which account I'm logging into, I click on it, and it logs me in. There is a free version, but that is only available for your phone (app). I wanted to securely share passwords between my phone, laptop and tablet, so I purchased the paid version. FREE or $3.33/month


Waze: According to their app's website: "Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute." Waze has been hands down my favorite way to navigate Charlotte giving accurate updates for traffic related issues. I know I will be on-time or not...for client calls with Waze. FREE (ad based)


Canva: SHHHHH....a lot of my clients don't know I use this to create social media posts. It's a magical world of graphic design right at your fingertips. I use picmonkey.com occasionally, but I've upgraded to the Canva paid version recently and it was like light dawning on Marblehead. The paid version allows you to upload your own fonts, branding kits and gives you more flexibility and filing options. FREE or Canva for Work $12.95/month and up.


ClippingMagic: I love this tool for my photography! It helps you take an object and cut it out to give you a transparent background. You color in the object in green, and the area around it in red (that makes it go away). Now...it's not THAT simple because if you have a light colored object on a beige background, and there is no contrast, then you have a harder time cutting it out. However, if you have a black purse, and it's sitting on an ugly white/greyish posterboard, you can have it made into a transparent background OR white background in about 3 minutes or less. $3.99-$14.99/month depending upon how many images you typically use in a month.


Email Signature Rescue: Lots of people ask me about my autosignature. I did not create it myself, I use a software that has tons of templates! It's so easy to use, and brings your branding and marketing up a notch...especially if you do a lot of emails to clients or prospects! $48/year for up to 3 signatures, $99/year for up to 10


HeyOrca: This fab new tool is for collaborating with clients and scheduling out your social media posts. You enter in your social media post on the platform that you are using - say Twitter, and it looks JUST like it would look on Twitter. The client receives a link for all of the social media for that week/month/campaign. They can approve/reject/offer comments. Once it's approved, it will be sent on the day/time scheduled. It's not HootSuite and that makes me happy. HootSuite doesn't help you collaborate. I want to streamline posts - and free myself of back and forth emails waiting on client approval. The tool doesn't require software downloads or apps. All internet based. Simple to use for the client. Can you say 'HeyUserFriendly?' Starting at $99/month


HoursTracker App: I do love this app. I used the FREE version that allows you up to 5 clients at one time. Thank goodness I had to up that one! It keeps track of your hourly projects and clients. You can then export at the end of the month so you know just how much to bill them and how many hours a certain project is taking. FREE or $5.99-$9.99 Android or iOS


MailChimp: MailChimp is a super simple, email marketing platform that is FREE for up to 2,000 emails! I love that unlike Constant Contact, you can have unlimited amounts of images in your library, it will archive you emails, and it is always mobile friendly. Two downsides/annoying things missing - you need a 3rd party app to do the 'text-to-join' (free with Constant Contact) and you cannot send an email to multiple lists (like Constant Contact). You have to manually replicate and resend another whole email to another list - even if it's the same exact thing going to them. FREE and then $10/month and up depending upon number of subscribers.


Social Media Marketing Podcast: According to their website: "Social Media Examiner offers an audio podcast AND a weekly live video show to help boost your marketing skills and keep you up-to-date with the ever-changing world of social media.Whether you’re hungry for in-depth expert advice or want to keep up with the social media news of the week, you’ll discover knowledge you need to make your business grow." So, um, yes. That says it all. Love these, because the host - Michael Stelzner will readily admit to not knowing what the heck is going on (I'm not sure if he's serious or playing dumb for the audience...), but it's good just to make sure you're following! FREE


SocialOomph: I primarily use the free tool for scheduling out Tweets for up to 5 clients at a time. They also offer Twitter keyword monitoring. FREE version or $38.94/month and up for many more services.

For more tips, visit my blog and grab my free cheat sheet for online branding! https://mintmarketingsolutions.com/mint/

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