Bringing Up Business: 5 Apps Every Creative Boss Should Be Using | Kansas City Wedding Photographer Merry Ohler
Truth? As a wife, mama, Kansas City Wedding Photographer, writer, entrepreneur educator and multi-passionate creative boss, I have to work HARD for the money, ya'll. Today (in no particular order), I want to share with you the five apps that make my daily life easier, help me to streamline my customer experience and achieve work-life balance as I do the work.
1. 17 Hats
Will you believe me when I tell you that this app has literally changed everything about my business? 17 Hats is a client management system that allows you to create client profiles, quotes, contracts, invoicing and even questionnaires! You can do amazing things like
- connect your email to 17 Hats and email clients directly through your client job profile
- keep track of billable hours
- schedule events like coffee dates, photo sessions, etc.
- set up Workflows which will help you to follow through on emails and tasks
- connect your Quickbooks account to keep track of income and expenses
- track warm and cold leads
- save contract templates, questionnaire templates and SO MUCH MORE.
The majority of the time, I use my desktop app to schedule everything because I prefer the functionality of it to mobile, but the mobile app is a huge help when I need to quickly find out if I am booked on a specific date. 17 Hats has literally been a game-changer for my business. Once I streamlined my customer emails, contracts and questionnaires, I began to deliver consistent branding and a seamless customer experience that kept my people coming back - and raving about me to all their friends and family.
Instagramming got you down? Seriously, I soooooo get it. The algorithms flux and flow, and every Insta-pro on Facebook is advertising that they've got the secret you need, but you are OVER it.
I've been there. Heck, I AM there. I mean, come on. Who on earth has time to sit down and post three times a day, with the PERFECT caption, then scroll for hours liking, commenting and interacting with the hundreds of thousands hanging out on IG in the hopes that a few will connect with you and your brand. NOT THIS MAMAPRENEUR.
With Planoly, you can
- upload multiple images, then click and drag them around to see how they will look in your feed
- schedule posts and even stories for peak times to ensure maximum impact
- have Planoly POST to Instagram for you
- view post likes by day and post on a monthly grid, so you can see what's working and what isn't
- batch work by scheduling all your posts for the week or month at one time
- pop on for 10 or 15 minutes a day to interact and LOSE the time suck
Planoly offers a free trial and a free version, but trust me. Once you experience the convenience, you will want to choose a paid plan because of ALL the time you will save.
Can I be honest with you? Last year, I had to remove myself from several Facebook recipe and meal-planning groups. It had nothing to do with the other people in the groups and everything to do with my inability to get it all together...whatever "it" is. Real talk, ya'll. I am a wife and a mom. I also run a successful, rapidly-growing business. I also enjoy serving at my church in various roles and helping my friends when I can. All of this leads to some hectic days, and in the middle of my busy season, I found myself resenting the perfectly plated pictures my friends were posting in these groups! I actually considered posting a picture of my toddler's chicken McNuggets one night! Ugh. Rather than stoop to such an embarrassing low, I removed myself from the groups, reconciled myself to the fact that I was simply not in the same stage of life that they were in, and moved on.
A few months ago, however, I stumbled upon Prepear, and it has been such a life-changer for me! I actually enjoy meal planning now. I love the desktop app and use it all the time. The mobile apps functionality is not as great, but I do my planning at home and just use the app while I'm shopping. With Prepear you can
- update what is currently in your pantry - and Prepear is smart enough to leave those items off your shopping list - even if they are in the recipe!
- click and drag healthy recipes into your meal plan
- add recipes from any link - just paste the recipe link into Prepear and it will auto-fill the recipe card so you can save it - with a picture
- create a one-click shopping list once your meal plan is finished for the week
- share recipes easily between friends through the social component
- use the mobile app (synced with desktop app) for total freedom
This may sound silly, but this app has truly made a huge difference in how often I cook at home. We are saving a lot of money on meals, too, because I already have a plan going into the week. Prepear offers free and paid plans, but so far I've only used the free plan and it has been amazing.
4. Adobe Spark
If you're an entrepreneur who does ANYTHING on social media, you probably aren't worth your salt if you haven't heard of Canva, the social media graphic design giant with a million free and paid options. While I have used Canva on occasion, Adobe Spark has won my heart because of the branding factor, stellar pre-set templates and huge library of stock photos and great fonts.
Adobe Spark is free for everyone, and remarkably useful for social media mavens and gents alike. With Spark, you can
- create free engaging social posts for every platform, including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, blogs, banners, and more
- create free video content using still images or video, text and voice over
- set your on brand colors and fonts within Spark - and Spark will apply them for you
- upload your own font
Adobe Spark is great for the days when I need to create a Pinterest graphic or Instagram Story with a Call to Action and simply don't have the time to make something from scratch. I love that I can pop into Spark and whip something up in two minutes flat that still delivers a professional-looking on-brand result.
I am a Kansas City Wedding Photographer and Entrepreneur Educator who is also a wife, mother, writer, singer and a whole host of other things. Running a successful, growing business while fulfilling my other roles consumes nearly every second of my day, and sometimes? It can be SO HARD to simply focus on one thing because of ALL THE THINGS.
Today, I sat down to answer an email via my cell phone. I noticed a couple of notifications, and 15 minutes later I found myself scrolling my Facebook business page, email unanswered! Ugh. The mindless time-suck that is social media, strikes again! I know you can relate.
That's where Forest comes into play. The Forest app is pretty simple - it was designed to help you focus and increase productivity by incentivizing you to leave your phone alone. (I know. It's crazy that we would even need such a thing, but it really makes a difference!) You can "plant" a tree, and if you do not use your phone for 25 minutes, it will grow. At the end of 25 minutes, you can plant a new tree or exit the app. If you exit the app before the 25 minutes are up, the tree will shrivel and die.
While this app is not a particularly complicated one, I'm including it because it does help me to focus on the task at hand and is enough of an incentive that if I do reach for my phone to look something up or check my messages, once I see that little tree growing, I am encouraged to put it down and continue working.
There you have it! The 5 Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs for a Happier, Healthier Life! With these apps in your toolbox, you will find your productivity increased, your customer experience enhanced, and you will save so much time!