It’s totally okay (and absolutely normal) to feel overwhelmed when you’re starting a creative business. Between learning how to market yourself and your products, figuring out finances and inventory, and keeping up with the ever-changing world of social media, it can be overwhelming trying to do all the things at once.
But let’s not worry about doing all the things. Let’s just start with a few things.
Whether you’re just starting out in business or looking to grow, there are a few important tools you absolutely must have.
And through years of researching, testing, budgeting (those subscriptions add up!), and of course, failing, I’ve found my favorite tools to run my business.
So today I’m going to share my top 5 favorite tools to use as a creative entrepreneur.
1. A website builder. I’ve been building websites for myself for years, and it feels like I’ve tried every website builder out there. But I’ve never found a website builder that I love more than Showit. It is a drag-and-drop program that you can use to completely customize your website (and there is ZERO coding involved!) They have tons of gorgeous free templates you can use, or you can buy one online or build your own from scratch. The program is targeted towards photographers, but I think it’s the perfect builder for any creative entrepreneur out there!
2. A newsletter provider. If you haven’t heard, email is now considered one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. Remember all those times that Instagram and Facebook randomly shut down for the day? Your email list will always be there for you (now that’s true love!). I’m still fairly new to the email list game, but I’ve been working on growing my list with freebie opt-ins and coupon incentives. I use Mailchimp’s free plan to collect emails and send newsletters. With Mailchimp, I can create custom workflows for when readers sign up, build landing pages for specific offers and opt-ins, schedule newsletters to go out in the future, and so much more. I definitely recommend it when you’re just starting out!
3. A good photo editing app. Whether your business sells products or a service, photography is an important part of creating an online presence. And if you’re not quite ready to invest in a top-of-the-line DSLR camera, the good news is you likely have a pretty good camera in your pocket already. My favorite iPhone photo editing app is AColorStory. They have tons of beautiful presets loaded into the app, and you can buy more for just a few dollars! You can also manually edit your photos if you consider yourself a pro already.
4. An awesome planner (and not one on your phone!). I am a huge believer in writing things down, and my planner is no exception. Although I am an avid user of Google Calendar for my personal life, I always find it easier to write my business tasks, to-do lists, brainstorming sessions and other planning on paper. Right now I am using a weekly planner from Plum Paper, and I absolutely adore it. I was able to add special pages for social media and blogging in the back of the planner. They also have other amazing add-ons like meal planning, budgeting, homeschooling, and more. I also have a reflections and gratitude section, which allows me to keep track of things that I am grateful for each month.
5. Pinterest (and Tailwind!). No matter what niche your creative business is in, I strongly believe that Pinterest can be an amazing source of growth for your business. Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your website or online shop. With the right strategies and just a few hours per month, you can make Pinterest work for you and your business, even when you’re away! If you want to learn more, grab our FREE Pinterest for Business guide. In order to boost my Pinterest traffic even more, I use a scheduling app called Tailwind. With Tailwind, I am able to upload and schedule my pins months in advance. Then, Tailwind will post them automatically at the times that my viewers are most active on Pinterest! It’s truly an amazing tool for my business, and you can schedule 100 pins when you sign up for a free trial. (P.S. Because I love Tailwind so much, I am a part of their affiliate program. That means that I will earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through my link. I appreciate your support!)
P.S. If you’re looking for one-on-one help with growing your Pinterest and getting more traffic to your website or shop, check out our one-time and monthly Pinterest Strategy packages! We’d love to work with you!
I hope these programs help you jumpstart your creative business. If you want more tips on running a business, head over to our blog to read more!