How long have you been in the online business game? 1 year? 6 months? It doesn’t take too long for you to start hearing foreign names for programs that people are using. It can be overwhelming to understand what these do fully and if you should use them.
Running an online business often requires you to wear many hats. It also means that you have to make the most of your time and resources! So how do you know which tools are vetted, easy to use, and will simplify your life?
In my time as an Executive Virtual Assistant, I’ve tested a lot of resources and worked with a lot of tools and systems. I’ve also worked with a lot of clients in many industries and have observed what they struggle with. Because of that, I’ve researched, implemented, and reimplemented many tools and believe me when I say, I now only use the tools I have found actually help.
In today’s post, I’m sharing 10 tools for online entrepreneurs that I recommend to all of Prestridge & Co’s clients. I honestly can’t live without them in my own business! These tools will help any online entrepreneur run their business with ease.
I love ActiveCampaign! ActiveCampaign combines CRM, email marketing, email automation, sales automation, and more into one easy-to-use software. You can create landing pages that trigger sales emails, set up email funnels, send nurture emails, and keep all your client relationship management tasks organized in this one tool.
This is amazing to track who your active audience is, which leads are warm, and know who to target specific content to.
I highly recommend Kay Peacey’s Active Campaign training if you need help learning the basics https://slickbusiness.co/accelerated-activecampaign.
Every list of tools for online entrepreneurs probably contains a mention of Slack. And for good reason! It’s a great way to communicate with your team or even your clients. Like most of the tools mentioned in this post, it saves you and your team so much time to have all communication housed in one place. You can search the archives to find a message, share links to important files, communicate with your team one-to-one or one-to-many, build a resource center to answer FAQs, and the list goes on.
Even as a solopreneur, you may want to consider using Slack. You can add clients to their own channel for easier communication or write yourself notes and set Slack notifications to remind you about them later. This will also set you up to grow later by laying the foundation and getting in the habit of using it.
For me and my team, we all use Slack to communicate with each other and with our clients. To help minimize confusion and lost messages, we created a specific System and Process for how each team member should use Slack to communicate. Big fans over here!
LastPass is another tool that you can use in your business and personal life, with a team, or as a solopreneur. (Even when hiring contractors for a short project.) Either way, your safety, and sanity are preserved. No more losing time messaging people for passwords that may or may not work. Have you ever changed your password to something generic, then had to remember to change it back when you’re no longer sharing the info? Not anymore, girl. This is the way to keep your accounts safe and streamline the sharing process. LastPass’s technology ensures your private data is secure and stays private within the groups of people that you share it with!
Dubsado is worth its weight in chai tea lattes (and then some). This is a complete client management system that allows you to track clients, expenses, send invoices, receive payments, schedule appointments, gather questionnaires… and I could go on.
Like most good things, there is a bit of a learning curve and takes a little time to set up, but it’s worth it and they have a great answer desk. Their customer service is white-glove perfection (and it should be as this is such a robust tool that lots of online entrepreneurs trust. They’ve got it figured out!).
Some of my favorite features of Dubsado are the automated workflows, the contract/proposal setup, and the payment reminders.
You can try Dusado for free with up to three clients, then pay yearly or monthly. To save 20%, use my code: dubsado.com/?c=sadieprestridge.
Acuity just integrated fully with Squarespace (which means bonus tools for you if you use both). For someone like me who doesn’t, the paid plan is still worth it. Within the paid plan, you get so many more features and additions on top of what’s available in the free plan. You’re able to set multiple meeting types (say you want to differentiate between coffee chat appointments, sales calls, and client meetings) and import multiple calendars so there’s never an instance where someone double-books you while you’re getting your hair cut or you have a date night scheduled on your shared calendar with your partner.
You can also set automatic emails for appointment confirmations, reminders, and client rescheduling. This is the best way to ensure someone doesn’t miss a meeting with you. There are other plans, but I recommend the Emerging Plan*.
Canva* is like Photoshop-lite. It’s all cloud-based and easy to create designer-quality graphics on the fly (without being a graphic designer). Thanks to their mobile app, you don’t have to be at your computer, so you truly can make things whenever you need a quick graphic! With the paid plan, you can import your own fonts, have unlimited folders, easily resize graphics based on where you’ll use them (Instagram versus Facebook, for example), and save additional color schemes (above the three saved colors you get in the free version) so if you have more than three colors in your brand, they’re saved and ready for you.
This is an essential tool for online entrepreneurs. This walkie-talkie app makes it so easy to communicate quickly with clients, contractors, and team members…or anyone else on Voxer! While my team usually uses Slack to communicate, we like to use Voxer for quick questions or when it’s easier to talk things out through voice messaging. Just as we do for Slack, we have a protocol for how and when it is best to communicate through Voxer rather than Slack.
There is a free version, but I recommend spending a few dollars a month on the Pro plan. I love
it simply for unlimited message storage.
If you’ve recently been held captive since 1980 and don’t know what Google is, I’m about to change your life.
Seriously, though, G Suite is an absolute necessity when working virtually. One of the first things Prestridge & Co does for our clients is a full system set up to organize their backend operations. We use Google with every client to sort, store, and organize their documents. Chances are you are already using Google Suite at some capacity for this in your businesses, but even now, our clients are taking our system start and making it their own with tools I am learning to use as well!
Of course features like file sharing, calendar syncing, photo storing, and more make it a top tool for online entrepreneurs no matter if you’re working as a solopreneur, in a team, or with short-term contractors.
Asana is my second brain. I put everything into Asana, from my personal tasks to
client project management. This is another indispensable tool for online entrepreneurs who are working virtually. Asana keeps everything organized and keeps all the team members on a project synced and up to speed on changes to the deliverables, deadlines, etc.
Asana also integrates with lots of tools mentioned in this post like Slack, Google, and more. While Slack is awesome for general communication, you can do the same thing with Asana in their interface if you prefer to communicate on specific projects instead. On the flip side, you can link Asana to Slack so that your tasks are listed in an Asana channel in Slack. Suffice it to say, this is my preferred project management software and what we use for all clients at Prestridge & Co.
Loom makes it easy to record and send videos as an explanation or training. You can use this to communicate with clients or your team and make sure things are crystal clear as you show in real-time what you are doing. For example, you can walk clients through their welcome packet and explain everything that’s inside so there’s no confusion. Or you can show your website designer exactly what needs to be updated on your site and where to find it in your Google Drive you shared with them.
Loom houses everything on their cloud system, so all you have to do is hook it up to Chrome, hit
record, then send your a link to the video. As a bonus, Loom will let you know when your video has been viewed, so you can know who may need a reminder to watch.
Team Sadie uses Loom as a part of our training for all Systems and Processes. When a new process is implemented in the back end of our business. We add a video explanation with a document for the whole team to review. Honestly, a lifesaver!
Whether you’re working by yourself or not, making sure you have files, notes, and easy communication at your fingertips is a must. Here at Prestridge and Co, we use all of these apps with our clients and also in-house within our executive team. My favorite part of it all is seeing the systems and processes that we have created around these tools to help streamline our own work and our client’s businesses.
If you’re interested in working with Team Sadie to provide support and set up systems, or you want to know what an EVA can do for you, click here to download The Ultimate Guide for Leveraging EVA Support!
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