Over the course of a the last few years, I’ve discovered that I truly am, despite my best efforts, a semi-Type A, hyper-organizational dork. Seriously, I geek out over spreadsheets, organized folders (gimme those folders within folders)!
These traits can come in handy but without the proper tools, even the best, most on-top-of-it business owners can quickly get bogged down by all of the have-to’s that are required to stay up to date on each and every project.
Luckily, I’ve found the best damn software tools that have helped me stay organized and on-schedule throughout every aspect of my business for the past 5 years.
What are those tools? Well, let me share a few of those with you! And if you’re a fellow business owner, I’ve included a few codes if you’re interested in trying any of these out for yourselves!
Honeybook is my client resource management system (CRM) and it literally was a game changer! When I worked fewer than 5 weddings a year I was able to stay on top of checking in with my clients but I quickly realized that if my business were to grow (which was the goal) I’d need someway to automate emails, invoices, and other such tasks or risk things falling through the cracks.
Enter Honeybook. I don’t remember how I first heard about Honeybook but I’m so glad that I did! I’m now able to automatically import any inquiry that comes through my contact form as well as send check-in and follow-up emails, contract proposals, invoices, questionnaires, and timelines without thinking too hard about it. I can set up when I want emails to go out, quickly see where each client is in their booking process (and if I need to follow up with them), and I can integrate it with my Calendly calendar. It’s seriously the best.
If that weren’t enough to convince you how essential it is, Honeybook helps me figure out my quarterly taxes and sales taxes so when it’s time for me to submit those, the process goes so quickly! Oh, and if you use Quicken, you can sync your Honeybook and Quicken accounts, too!
If you’re interested in trying Honeybook out (and you really should), I have a code for 50% off your first year: share.honeybook.com/3Ci67
Speaking of calendars, I use Calendly. There’s a free version and a paid version but depending on what you use it for you can get by with the free version.
I use Calendly to schedule meetings and photography sessions for my clients. It shows times when I’m available and takes out times when I’m unavailable. This has cut out so much back and forth with clients when trying to schedule meetings and session times. They just click my link, see when I’m available, and schedule a date and time that works for them. Easy peasy!
As I mentioned above, Calendly integrates with Honeybook. It also integrates with your calendar of choice: Google calendar, iCal, or Outlook calendar.
Convertkit is hands down the most intuitive, most user-friendly email marketing platform I’ve ever used! It’s so much better than Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
I’ve been able to grow my email list to over 700 in just over a year because of it. What makes it so great? How much time do you have?
Just kidding. But in all seriousness, I’m able to import contacts from spreadsheets, assign multiple tags to different contacts, create and schedule broadcasts (Mailchimp calls them “campaigns”), can choose which tags to send my broadcasts to (so people wanting family sessions don’t get wedding specific emails), create landing pages and forms, AND I can create automated sequences for specific contacts. Oh, and I’m able to automatically import my Honeybook contact form inquiries into Convertkit with a little help from a free software called Zapier.
Now, with the help of Convert + Zapier + Honeybook, every contact I get is added to my email list automatically (hint: there’s very little effort on my part which is a time saver).
Photo Mechanic 5
Give me something that helps me organize my digital folders and I’ll be happy. Give me something that helps me organize my digital folders AND cuts down my editing workflow and I’ll sing it’s praises tip the end of time.
That’s 100% how I feel about Photo Mechanic.
What is it? It’s a software that allows me to rate and sort all of my images from a session or wedding. I import my RAW photo files, drop and drag those files from Photo Mechanic into their appropriate category folders (“Getting Ready,” “Couple Photos,” “Ceremony,” etc), then go through each folder and cull from there.
To cull, I assign a color to the “deliverable” photos and a different color to the “reject” photos. Once I’m done culling my photos, I’m able to hide the photos I’ve deemed “rejects” and then drop and drag the “deliverable” photos into their corresponding category folders. Those photos, and only those photos, do I import into Lightroom.
It speeds up my culling and speeds up my sorting. I freaking love it!
Fundy Designer Suite
Fundy Designer is a hand little tool. With it, I’m able to create slideshows, photo albums, and custom wall art displays for each of my clients. Those have helped me up my IPS and virtual sale numbers.
Fundy also integrates and works with several printing labs so if you wanted to, you could order your client’s products directly through Fundy!
Ok, so HelloFresh isn’t a tool for my business per say but it certainly has been a game changer when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping!
We’re able to choose 2-3 meals each week from their menu list and on the designated day, the meals are delivered right to our door. Each meal comes with fresh, portioned out ingredients based off the size of your family (we do the 2-person meal plan but you can certainly add more people to your plan if you have a larger family).
Not only has it cut down time spent meal planning and grocery shopping, it’s taught us a few new cooking tricks and has added a ton of new meals in our cooking arsenal. PRO TIP: save the recipe cards they include to make your own cookbook.
If you want to try it out, here’s a coupon for $40 off your first HelloFresh order.
Want to learn about other tools that either save me time, money, and/or sanity? Let me know in the comments below!