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The best tools to use for newer business owners

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, the way I see it, you can either run from it… or learn from it.” — Rafiki (The Lion King)

In this blog we will have a chat about the best tools that I recommend for my DREAM clients and why I chose these.


Our business can be split in a number of ways but I like to think of it something like this:

  • Project management

  • Client management

  • Marketing

  • Website management

  • Content creation

Project management and client management could, effectively, be lumped together but it's easier to think of them as separate pillars.


Project management


When you think about managing projects, it could be as simple as creating and sharing posts on your social media.


What are the steps you take to do this? Not in any particular order:

  1. Decide on the format of the post, eg single image, carousel or video

  2. Create the graphic or the cover

  3. Open up your preferred scheduling app

  4. Write the caption

  5. Add the hashtags

  6. Schedule the date and time

  7. Engage with your DREAM clients and potential DREAM clients

If this was your process, then how do you keep track of this to make sure you don't miss a step?


I love to recommend Trello, Notion or Airtable for this - depending on your preferences.


Trello

Trello is probably the simplest tool of the three and quite easy to set up.


You can create a board and add your lists - could be Monday to Sunday or Monday to Friday (or even on the platforms you create content for).


Once you add a card, you can add checklists inside. That card can then be turned into a template.


Each time you need to create your social media, you would simply create a new card from the template and your checklist is inside for you to use each and every time.


Notion

I absolutely LOVE Notion and Airtable and I use them both (I still use Trello with some of my clients and for my coaching - that's how my brain works and if that's too much for you, don't do it).


Inside my Notion, I have a Dashboard where everything lives - my clients, my content, my personal stuff, my membership, my courses, my digital products.


Some of the pages are tables, some are lists, some are gallery views and some are boards (like Trello).


This is the exact reason I love to use Notion - it's so diverse.


There is a learning curve but then everything has one.


Airtable

I use Airtable to keep track of what I have posted on Instagram as well as my social proof (testimonials and client love).


I also use it for keeping the URLs for my blog posts and which affiliate links I have used etc.


Client management

How much data do you need to keep for your clients?


If you're a VA or a coach, it could be a minimal amount - their name, email address, phone number, social handles, website, brand kit etc.


You could use any of the tools mentioned above for your client management - Trello, Notion or Airtable.


All of these have free versions and you can keep it as simple as you like, especially when you are starting out.


I have a client portal inside Notion and each new client gets an invitation to the portal. I share one page which has pages inside and my clients can even chat and share graphics, videos and links with me too. It's pretty cool!!


Here's a snip from my 'pretend' client:


Notion is a great tool for newer business owners

All of the headings open into a new page and I even have links to their Google Drive folder and a welcome video as well as their contract.


If you want to go a little further, you can add tasks and 'relate' the client to the task (that is a bit more advanced but let me know if you want to learn how to do that).


Marketing


Marketing can be many things. For me, it comes down to social media, podcast, video and email marketing.


You may have more things that you do or you may have less.


I do have a podcast although I haven't recorded anything for a while. The same goes for my YouTube channel. I choose to use my energy in different ways for different things (right now anyway).


If you want to start with email marketing, you are going to need somewhere to send your emails.


MailerLite vs Flodesk for newer business owners


For newer business owners, I love to recommend either MailerLite if you want a free set up to include automated emails (for a lead magnet nurture sequence) or Flodesk if you don't mind paying for beautiful emails.


Both of these tools are relatively easy to set up and use. The biggest thing with any email platform is linking your domain (eg mine is jodraper.au).


In saying that, both of them have AMAZING tutorials and step by step guides on how to do this.


If you're still stuck, you can ask someone to help you - either to do it for you or to walk you through it.


Keeping track of your posts


Keeping track of what you want to post, what you want to write or record and what has been posted can be done on Trello, Notion or Airtable.


Are you seeing how resourceful these 'project management' tools are yet?


Scheduling your content


If you're posting to Instagram and Facebook, you can use Meta Business Suite to schedule your posts - these include stories, carousels, videos etc.


However, if you want to add music to your reels, you may need to do this natively through Instagram at the moment although Meta has introduced some music into their platform but it's a work in progress as I'm writing this.


If you're wanting to post to LinkedIn and your Google Business page and need to schedule, you may need to invest in a tool that will work for your needs.


I have recently moved over to SocialBee and I'm absolutely loving it.


Not only can I have different posting schedules for each platform, I can repurpose the posts that I'm sharing over and over again.


It's easy to set up new posts and add them to the queue too.


I was using Planoly but that only covered Instagram and Facebook (plus Pinterest). I was using this for a couple of years and it worked for what I needed at the beginning.


SocialBee is $19.00 USD a month (for the plan that I'm on).


Website management


Unless you're at a point in your business where you have someone looking after your website and SEO, chances are you will be the one keeping it updated.


As you may know, I'm a Wix user and I've been with Wix for almost four years now.


It's really use to use for setting up new pages (and even adding simple SEO or keywords).


I've set up my links page on there and can change the buttons when something changes in my business.


You may not even have a website at this stage.


If you want to set up pages for your free offers or services, you will need some sort of page builder.


In this case, you could use MailerLite or Flodesk. Flodesk does have a shopping cart now (but you do have to pay extra).


Do you keep track of the changes you want to make on your website?


Again, you could use the project management tools - Trello, Notion or Airtable to keep on top of your tasks and add due dates etc.


Content Creation


You could say this goes with marketing but I like to think of it separately as it's the creation process.


You should know which tool I'm going to recommend - Canva of course!


The great thing about using Canva is that anyone can use it, for FREE if you don't want to pay for the upgrade.


The biggest issue I hear from my DREAM clients is that their Canva is untidy!


My process is this:

  1. Create a new design - let's say an Instagram post

  2. Give the design a name, eg JO DRAPER_IG post_May 2023

  3. Save to a folder (I have a CONTENT ALL folder which is broken down into social media, YouTube, podcast, blog etc)

  4. Customise your design

If you start this way, you will be able to search easily for your designs as they are saved in a way that means something to you.


Your Canva account will stay tidy and you will be able to find things easily by folder.


If you wanted to use Affinity Designer, Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator for this process, I would still recommend saving in the same way. This would be inside a Google Drive or Dropbox etc.


Work with me


If you are ready to learn these tools in a non-techy way with a techy person, then my Club, The 'Not-So-Techy' Magic Club might be for you.


The best bit - it's only $7 AUD a month (if you're overseas, that's a real bargain!!).


You will have a portal with step-by-step tutorials, templates and even monthly Voxer office hours where you can ask me ANYTHING about your business.


Check out the page - www.jodraper.au/nstmc


Until next time, big love and chat soon,


Jo (and Scruff) xx


Jo and Scruff are here to help newer business owners

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