Running a creative business is filled with decision-making. There is a lot of content out there and it can be difficult to know what tools will be best for you.
Today we wanted to make a streamlined video of every tool and resource we use for our creative business. We don’t think that this is the only way, but it is a system that we have refined over the past years of business, and tools that have helped us grow, stay organized and run a sustainable business.
It is so important to have really good education sources you are pulling from. When I first started, I followed a million different entrepreners. Some of their content was damaging for me, and that was anything that was really guilt-inducing. I am talking about the “work hard, hustle till you die, wake up at 5am and work for 20 hours” type of vibes. I know some people find this type of content inspiring but that was not for me. This is why it is important to be selective about who you are taking your advice from.
What we use it for: Marketing, Design, Customer Experience
We love canva so much. It helps us with every single aspect of our business. From Youtube thumbnails to Instagram stories and everything in between. They do have a free version which works great when first starting, but we have the pro version. If you are looking to be able to repurpose content, having the pro version is ideal. Our favorite pro feature is the resizing feature! It allows you to create an instagram post, then resize it for stories, make it into a short-form video, etc.
What we use it for: Customer Experience, Organization
When first starting, I didn’t think I would need to invest in a CRM (Customer Relations Manager). However, I have realized that a huge part of running a creative business is learning to set up systems to keep everything organized. Having a CRM has completely revolutionized this for me. We use HoneyBook and are able to run our three separate brands through Honeybook, and it keeps all of our customers & their projects organized and on track.
I would say if you have more than 10 clients that you are dealing with, it might be something to start thinking about.
What we use them for: Learning, Connecting with others
The things that I have learned from Facebook groups are unmatched. There is basically a Facebook group for every single business niche and personal niche possible. You can join photography groups to share your work and get critiques. You can join marketing groups to talk about the latest trends. You can join local business groups to get referrals. Highly recommend searching up your niche in the “groups” section of Facebook!
What we use it for: Organization
Google calendar is the absolute best. I switched from paper planning to digital in 2020, and it was the best decision. I love being able to see everything from every device, toggle certain calendars off and on, and have it connected to my Honeybook so I never miss a client meeting.
What we use it for: Marketing, Organization
Instagram is a place we like to stay active on, but we don’t love posting from our phones. The files that we are sharing are usually from our camera so they are stored on our computer. We also like typing Instagram captions with a full keyboard rather than our thumbs. For whatever reason, it just feels more official. Having an Instagram scheduler allows us to plan out our posts in advance, load a gallery of images into use. Planoly is totally free to use but does have the option to upgrade to a pro plan if you need more space.
Of course this “tool” is a little less tangible, but I strongly encourage you to find at least ONE person in your industry you can talk business with. Finding one person who “gets it” is such a game-changer. We can be told this lie that we need to do entrepreneurship alone, but it really is so much better when we are able to talk through the ups and downs of it with someone who is also going through it. Make it a regular thing to meet up and talk business! Maybe that means creating a text group chat, getting coffee once a month, or co-working together once a week. Find something that works for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What we use it for: Marketing
Email isn’t even something we use as much as we want to, but the success rate of our emails is enough to pay for the service. The two things we use this for are a weekly email on creative entrepreneurship as well as for keeping waitlists.
For example, we are doing brand mini sessions 1/ quarter. So right now we have a waitlist up to collect the emails of those subscribers. The email platform lumps all those people together and when it is time to launch those brand minis, I can easily send an email out to all those people with just a few clicks.
We think Flodesk is the most intuitive, especially for a creative person. We found other email platforms to be very clunky and hard to get on brand, whereas with flodesk, we already have our brand colours loaded so we just drag in some imagery and it looks professional.
This is a newer one, but something I have already been loving. Having my phone set up for “work” and “personal” sections is such a game-changer for work-life balance. Highly recommend taking the time to set it up!
We don’t believe one way is “right” or “wrong” to organize your business, you really do need to find what works best for you! That being said, we are always looking for new tools & resources to use.
If you have any recommendations please send them our way!!
We are Levi and Victoria. Husband and wife creative team based in Kelowna, British Columbia. We are photographers and entrepreneurs who specialize in wedding photography & helping others build profitable brands in line with their passions.