Running a small business is tough. I quit my full-time job in July to pursue my passions and since then have become a full-time business owner & creative alongside my business partner, Sergio. We started Mister Mister (great name right?) where we conceptualize, style and shoot content for clients. Creatively we’ve got it in the bag. Business-wise, there’s a lot of things we’re learning which means there are lots of challenges. I wouldn’t trade it for anything – there’s nothing more rewarding than working for yourself, having freedom over your schedule, and watching your business grow.
Thankfully, there’s two of us, but if you’re self-employed it’s likely there’s only one of you – and there’s a LOT to do to run a business properly. I’m always looking for a way to make tasks a little easier, or for software, apps, or programs to help fill in the gaps for things that are beyond my level of expertise (I know I’m great but I can’t know EVERYTHING). These business tools will help streamline processes, help with billing, creative, and keeping your tasks on track.
In July we incorporated through Ownr a service that helps you register/incorporate your business easily. It’s convenient and saved us a lot of time. When opening any business banking account you must present your articles of incorporation/business license. Doing everything with Ownr helped streamline things for our initial bank meeting at RBC to open our RBC Small Business account. You can still incorporate/register your business without using Ownr but if you can afford the additional fee I definitely recommend it. It just makes things so much easier by having a simple intuitive dashboard. We didn’t want to take any chances when registering our business (by making any mistakes) so using Ownr was a good investment. You can currently get $50 off when you incorporate your business with Ownr using our referral link below. The discount will be automatically applied at checkout. (Right now it looks like they also have an additional offer that allows you to get up to $319 back when you register your business with Ownr and open an RBC business bank account by Dec 31, 2020).
Wave is a godsend. It’s a freemium invoicing & accounting software that has been super helpful in keeping everything organized. The dashboard is super user-friendly and it’s super to generate invoices for clients. The best part? The auto-reminders: you can set it up to automatically email reminders to clients before the invoice is due (this has been GREAT in getting things paid on time). All of the basic features are free (which is all you’ll likely need). If you want to accept payment online through wave you can easily do that by linking your bank account. It’ll allow your clients to pay directly by credit card and it’ll put it into your account for a small fee (a percentage of the transaction). The fee is standard and comparable to basically all of the credit card processing software out there (Stripe, etc) but I find it’s extra handy because it links directly to the invoice and will mark them off as paid. You can also use Wave for payroll but there is a monthly fee.
If you’ve got an RBC business account you’ve got this handy little tool built into it. The Nomi insights app is GREAT for keeping you accountable for spending and purchases. When you have a business it can be easy to get caught up and purchase things you might need and Nomi will give you great insight on your purchases and let you know if anything doesn’t make sense or if you’re overspending in a certain category. I’m sure other banks have similar features, but as an RBC client and NOMI user, I can definitely speak for this one.
Hands down the best work management platform and collaborative software on the market. Asana allows you and your team to work together on projects while staying organized, sharing documents, and giving feedback. You can set task due dates, assign tasks to users and even put some stuff into a recurring schedule if you’ve got weekly tasks. There are so many options for workflow setups which makes it a great asset for different teams and business styles. Working alone? Still a GREAT way to keep a list of your tasks, documents and due dates! Highly recommend.
Okay, this one is a little different but hear me out. Setapp “is a desktop suite with a collection of Mac apps inside, like a portable Launchpad. With a Setapp membership, all of these apps are yours.” It’s basically got a bunch of apps you’d usually pay for but instead of buying them individually, you can just subscribe for $9.99 a month. Here’s why it’s worth it – if you use ONE of these apps properly it pays for itself. Here’s a few of my favourites: CleanMyMac X for keeping your mac clean and virus free, Disk Drill for recovering lost files. Flume for full Instagram access on your desktop, Be Focused for logging in work time (AMAZING if you’re billing hourly), and Capto for doing a screen capture (A+ for tutorials). There are a few of the 160+ apps that Setapp offers, and even just 1 use of Disk Drill for file recovery will probably save you more money than the whole year (if you were to visit a shop to recover a file).
Canva is a great tool for designing assets for your business. Whether you need to create a post for social media or design for print, Canva is super easy to use. The downside? It’s very limiting when it comes to options on the free version. Canva templates are now super recognizable so use it sparingly. It doesn’t reflect greatly on your business when you’re using the exact same social template as someone else (especially if people notice). The Canva pro does give you a lot more resources so I’d definitely suggest that if it’s within your budget. Alternatively, I recommend everyone plays around with the Adobe Suite Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign and Premiere and amazing programs and learning the basics can go a long way. If you have an Adobe Suite account you’ll even have access to their mobile tools such as Lightroom Mobile for editing on the go and Spark Post for easily creating social content.
I can’t remember the last time I signed into my email online. It’s definitely been close to a year – ever since I downloaded and installed Shift. Shift lets you toggle between multiple apps, and accounts, with just one click. I can be logged into 4-5 different email addresses (face it, we all have multiple), different software and platforms that I use daily and navigate through them all within Shift. That’s not even the best part. The search feature allows you to search all of the email addresses you’re logged into. Not sure which email an attachment is in? No problem, Shift can find it in seconds.
Is this another recurring monthly cost? Yep. Is it worth it? Yep. For under $10 a month you can connect your custom email domain to G-Suite – allowing you to have complete access to your email address through the simplicity of Google. No more logging in through GoDaddy’s awful email client – or whatever service your hosting provider gives you. It comes with complete access to Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet and more – which, face it, everyone is using anyways.
This g-suite plugin is a personal favourite of mine. Streak has many, many uses and features, but we’re just gonna stick with the free version which gives us access to their email power tools. You can do things like schedule an email to go out at a later date and put an email tracker to see if the receiver opens it. Yes, that’s right. You ever have one of those clients that say they didn’t see the email? “Ah sorry, I missed that invoice”. Well, you can know if they did (or didn’t) see it. It’s basically read receipts for emails, and we’re here for it.
Does downloading this plug-in kinda make you an asshole? Yeah. Are you gonna do it? Yeah. Ugly Mail scans your email and blocks any incoming email trackers from tracking you (and it tells you who else is using them, too). Basically, if you use this with Streak, you’re seeing the other person’s read receipts but they aren’t seeing yours. Do what you need to do with this information.
When you’re working for yourself you wear many hats. That’s why we put together this list together of applications every business owner needs. Some are a one-time thing, and others you’ll be using daily, but all will help with your workflow, and shaping your business in some way. The more time you save doing tasks, the more money you’re making. If you’ve got any questions about any of these apps you know you can always ask me a question here or slide into my DMs on Instagram. Good luck entrepreneurs- we run the world!
*This is not a sponsored post, but showing love to things we use on the daily. We also do receive a referral bonus if you use our Ownr code.