With the countdown to full time ON (30 calendar days, 12 working days, 4 portrait sessions, 2 engagements, and 1 beautiful summer wedding… but who’s really paying attention?!), I’m doing a lot of work to prepare myself from a gigantic move away from working 5:30a-8p with an ASP work day usually starting around 9 once I’m settled and in yoga pants with a giant glass of water and my favorite Sara Bareilles Pandora station playing softly on the iMac. That super long sentence is a good indicator as to how my life has been running for the past year now – so many words, so much to handle! June 25 will definitely be a bittersweet day but I’m ready with a new schedule, brand new planner, and a delightfully empty planner meant for ASP work days! Gearing up to take my business full time means taking a long hard look at what’s working and what isn’t right now to fully prepare myself for success as a small business owner. I’m sharing ten of my favorite business tools today that have made running a business and working full time in three days slightly less insane! :)
1. Simplified Planner. My life in general would be one giant “I’m so sorry I forgot our plans” mess if not for my Simplified Planner. I prefer the weekly academic edition which has both monthly and weekly views to keep track of everything important in both my everyday life and the world of ASP. I color code it with Sharpie pens and use flag stickers on the monthly view so I can look quickly and know immediately what my plans look like. If you’re an organization dweeb like I am, you need it in your life.
2. Pixieset. One of my biggest goals as a photographer is to make image delivery as smooth and user friendly as possible for my clients. Pixieset allows me to deliver my images and give my clients the simple ability to view, share, download, and order prints of their images in one place. For my wedding clients, I ask them to choose favorites with a separate email from their own which makes it easy for all of us to track the images they want in their design. So many functions in just one tool!
3. 17hats. I didn’t start using 17hats until about two months ago, but I already know that it’s changing my business for the better! Streamlining electronic contracts, questionnaires, invoices, and checklists for my clients is so easy now!
4. Custom Calligrapher | Jessica McSweeney from Poppy & Scooter. I have always been a fan of handwriting. It may or may not have started when I won “Best Penmanship” in 6th grade. It’s hard to say BUT I love hand lettering and modern calligraphy and pretty text. Once I’m full time, I’ll be launching a new wedding magazine for my couples and I can’t wait to see Jess’ gorgeous lettering on the cover!
5. My Passbook for Mac. Travel is a huge focus this year for me and I love being able to share sneak peeks and surprises with my clients on the go! The Passbook gives me a reliable place to save my images when I’m hundreds of miles from home!
6. Photo Mechanic. Culling images might be the only part of my business I don’t particularly love, but sorting through images in Photo Mechanic saves me so much time before bringing the images into Lightroom to edit my favorites!
7. Lightroom. Lightroom is my go-to editing software and is fully functional on all my mobile devices… a photographer’s must!
8. Graphic Designers | Krista Jones from The Palm Shop & Kellie Fox Design. I wouldn’t have the website design, visual brand, wedding magazine, stationary, business cards, or mailing stamps without these two talented designers. Much like calligraphy, I appreciate the art of design but don’t have a clue how to apply it so calling in experts to perfect my visual presence was and will always be so important for my business!
9. Instagram. Ohhh, my favorite social media platform! I love Instagram for its visual appeal, but mostly for connecting personally with clients and friends. All it takes is a quick double tap to let someone know I’m thinking of them.
10. iPad/Macbook Air. While these are both separate tools, they come as a pair to make magic happen for my couples at weddings. My early 2015 couples know all about these two gems, right guys? Even without the surprise they facilitate, I can’t live without Apple products! As a whole, they make running my business easy to do in an organized way!