After being in business since 2019, I have been exposed to so many different pieces of software that it would make your head spin! One thing I have noticed, however, is that for all their differences, there tends to be a commonality that they all share. They, like ourselves, are out to serve their clients, make their businesses more efficient all while creating a community on the team with the ultimate goal being success.
With more and more experience with each piece of tech, the more I find myself leaning one way or another. That isn’t to say each doesn’t have its strengths – nor are they ones I wouldn’t work with again – but these ones are my favourites when it comes to my business and what I use.
When it comes to project management software, I look for something that is really user friendly and something that I can add comments, update status and track time easily.
I have used quite a few of these software with each of my clients, one thing I did discover through each one, and something I advise my client is, you don’t to have to pick what I recommend, but its nice – however, please pick something that is ideal for how your brain functions and the user experience.
My favourites are:
1. CLICK UP – Reason is the customization, communications, time tracker and the automations that if offers inhouse. Cost is relatively low for purchased tiers.
2. TEAMWORK – This has a lot of functions like Click up – time tracking, project management, commenting, etc. The cost is a little higher, but well worth the investment.
I feel every business, if you don’t have at least a system to track your clients, you better have a CRM. Ideally, you need a CRM to be able to track contracts, invoices, and projects from the high level (not the day-to-day level).
I haven’t seen a CRM I haven’t liked yet, however, I do have my favourites here as well. The key thing is that you want to have the right scheduling abilities tied to your CRM (so that you can track leads etc) but you also need to be able to formulate your packages so that your invoices can be a little more automated.
CRMs can help in this process, plus with your workflow on onboarding/offboarding as well, CRMs with this feature will help in the formalization of your process.
My Favourites are:
1. DUBSADO – this one allows us to have a lot of customization, the ability to have Paypal integrated alongsid eyour typical credit card provider, plus have different workspaces for each currency. it also has a more intuitive design as well for laying out your work flows.
2. HONEYBOOK – this program much like Dubsado, directly relates to creative entrepreneurs and is also very easy to use. Only feature difference I have seen so far is the lack of Paypal option or ease multiple currencies.
**Each of these affiliate codes are for these programs, where you would receive a discount on the first part of your subscription.
Conference Software, there are many to choose from – and I have used all. Some have extra features vs others – it all comes down to the security and stability that you client needs plus if there are restrictions based on fire walls etc.
These one I have use each and found the following about them:
1. ZOOM – we all know this software. It has expanded its library of features to add apps and having great filters for non-make up moments too. They have great security protocols as well to secure your meetings.
2. MICROSOFT TEAMS – they are coming for zoom with their software, ease of use and features (like a better blur background feature than Zoom). They are easy to use as well.
3. GOOGLE MEET – this one is nice because it is embedded in the Google Workspace as well. Ease of use and great blur background feature.
When it comes to cloud storage and documents, there are two veins of thought. When it comes to document software (creation etc) I have and love both these software equally – at the same time, I prefer to lean on Google Workspace for the fact the collaboration is fabulous and they are the OG for online document editing.
A very close second is Microsoft Office & One Drive – they are amazing and the OG when it comes to document creation as well. They have come along way in the last few years when it comes to online documents, they are primarily a paid feature however, so if a person doesn’t have access to the full suite of functions when it comes to documents, it can be limiting.
Emails & Calendars – for this one, my winner is Google – their ability to customize your email and it is relatively cheap is for the win, when it comes to house my multiple emails however, I have to honestly tell you to use Mailbird.
This piece of software is amazing, I am currently housing personal and business emails in it – it pairs all my calendars and allows me individual signature lines for each.
Some newer features they have integrated as well are schedule send, email tracking and I can also file my emails between email accounts (so I can centralize my ability to organize my emails) with ease!
With this software, you can start out as free but they often have great promotions when it comes to licenses.
When it comes to website hosting, I am using WordPress for this. They offer amazing support and with plug ins and other features (plus tons of add on 3rd party programs like Elementor) you cannot go wrong with their software.
I also used WordPress for my URL purchase as well – there are amazing other companies that can do this – I am a one-stop-shop where possible sort of entrepreneur.
As for my alternative choice, I think WIX is the next option to use when it comes to building your website and hosting. Their internal CRM, newsletter software and other features makes getting on line and selling easy.
Scheduling – my #1 need in my business, from time blocking to discovery calls and beyond, scheduling is my must have, needed and would be lost with out it in my business tool – CALENDLY.
I have this integrated in my CRM, I have this integrated in my offers, I have this integrated in so many parts. I have different lengths of schedules.
I block off my windows for these calls – so that I know my client gets 100% of me in that moment.
If you are service based – you need to have an app like this.
One piece to keep my business flowing is my instant messaging software of choice, SLACK. This tool not only allows me to communicate with my team, I even use it as a hub place for me to co-work with others I have connected with, my clients.
I even use it to alert me when my next appointment is happening on my calendar, when I have new email list subscriber and so much more.
So many pieces of software allow you to integrate it – from form builders, to email lists to clients. This allows me to not worry about my emails the same when clients need me, when my team has questions and they are unsure where in my Project Manager they need to ask.
Use it, I think this is something you all need to at least try!
I don’ t know about you but security around passwords is getting quite challenging! So as I began my process as a digital entrepreneur, I was seeking the best possible way for my clients to know their access codes were secure without being in a note book somewhere ready to get lost.
I found LASTPASS and realized that this tool was amazing, so much so I now use it with personal and business (separate logins to keep me off unnecessary apps!
The ability to put passwords into buckets (depending on team members) or sharing individual passwords with team members or from client to me has been so simple. Plus, if your client changes the password, LastPass automatically updates so you won’t be left in the dark so to speak.
This is one that is part of my armour in my business!
I have tried many pieces of software and for my retainer clients, I default back to WAVE ACCOUNTING. it does everything I need it to do.
Don’t get me wrong Quick books and others are the name of the game but for now, Wave is doing everything I need. Statements, quotes, invoices, the ability for recurring and so much more.
Other runner ups, as mentioned are QUICKBOOKS, XERO, Harvest etc.
For time tracking, I have been using the paid feature in my Project manager, CLICK UP however, TOGGL is another amazing free tool. It allows you both timer and manual – plus you can download your reports to add to your invoices.
When it comes to choosing my graphic design software, there is value in to programs. It just comes down to your experience level. One is CANVA. This program I cannot believe all the features that you are able to utilize. It simplifies the way you make your campaigns (online or in print) pop. With a free tier and a PRO Tier (what I have) it is a program for any budget.
With CANVA I’m able to use it on my phone or on my PC. I’m able to create videos, GIFs, normal images for any social media platform. I’m also able to create the branded assets needed for my profiles, website and promotional items.
The next level is with the ADOBE Suites. Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Spark, Adobe Photoshop to name a few. I have been learning small things in each of these programs – by no means proficient – but I do try YOUTUBE UNIVERSITY from time to time to try new things. There is a reason ADOBE is a juggernaut when it comes to graphics and pdf (more on that later) but it is something you need to take the time to learn – but an amazing program and skillset to have if you take the time.
Over the length of my business, I have used a LOT of software when it comes to social media scheduling. All of them have their plus/minus but they are all fantastic. My favourite software at the moment is SOCIAL BEE. The reason is that it allows me multiple buckets of content that I can schedule as evergreen – one and done so to speak.
It allows me to connect my CANVA account as well so that I can create one-off imagery (it doesn’t save to your canva account) for content especially in a 3rd party sort of way.
Also, I can connect my URL shorteners to the workspace for a client so I don’t need to create that short link – plus they have their own internal shortener as well.
The other software I think is great (and they range in price points). Check out these other programs to see if they serve you:
– Metricool – they have an amazing internal analytics downloadable report along side the ease of posting. There is a version of an evergreen as well
– Later – this is the Instagram OG – a great piece of software with its own free hashtag research feature and more!
– Hootsuite – the OG of all social media schedulers
When it comes to opening and reading PDFs, or creating fillable PDFs I have used 2 pieces in my career. Adobe Acrobat and NitroPDF. Both are amazing software, as of right now, due to my software needs, I’m currently an Adobe subscriber but I highly recommend both when it comes to PDF Reader and Fillable Document Fillers.
As for signing, in my past life and in this business, there are a few programs I have tried when it comes to PDF Signing of documents. This all comes down to price point – though your CRMs have the signature feature, if you aren’t at that point or you need to make quick adjustments to achieve your signatures – I currently use Adobe Acrobat (through my subscription) to accomplish this. Trying to utilize my tools in the most efficient way.
Other software that are great are:
– Sign Now
Depending on the form – if you need a digital fillable one that you email (pdf style i.e. Adobe created) or a intuitive version like I’m going to be talking about here, you will find in business, having a good and trusted Form Builder software is as important as your PDF Reader. The only difference is, this form builder will create the necessary reports for you to centralize the information.
Currently, I’m using my project manager, CLICKUPs premium feature of forms. The reason for this is as my clients fill out the information for the product they purchased, it creates a centralized hub/folder for the info so I can then implement the tasks needed and locate the original data quickly. I’m also able to then take that info and transfer it to the proper location (i.e. Lastpass or contract) from there.
Other software I have used that creates amazing forms and centralized beautifully: (Bear in mind, for full features, you may need full paid subscriptions for any of these products – some have decent free options to get a feel for their products)
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. We only partner with websites and platforms that we use on a daily basis and provide real value to our business and our team. Sometimes there are programs that are used for client specific work – but all are amazing value to you and your business.