The Solopreneur's Digital Essentials List

Being a one-woman show offers many rewards: flexibility, work-life balance and the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of clients. Home office life takes discipline and resourcefulness.

Keep it fresh and consistent with the brand are two essentials for business marketing. But when days fly by often marketing tasks are left to the bottom of the to-do list. I admit even with my own business which offers marketing; I can delay in the marketing of my own business.

So when hours and minutes matter in your workday, it is vital that you find what works for you. Here is my essentials list that are key to Leap Business Services and my personal sanity.

1. Google All the Google, I love it all. Google Search, G-suite, My Business, Analytics, Ad Words, Maps, Drive and most of all their top-notch tech support. I'm at a point that if I am struggling with software, I want to quickly speak with a human that will magically screen share and fix my problems. Bypassing the need to press 1 or 2 then # 35 times, enter an account number that you cannot find, pass 1907 security questions, then repeat my concern at least nine times before I'm transferred to yet another support agent. Can you hear the screaming or is that only in my head?

There is so much to learn and it is constantly changing but here are a few blog posts committed to getting the most out of google to support your small business including:

https://smallbusiness.googleblog.com/

https://www.inc.com/travis-thorpe/three-new-tips-to-grow-your-business-with-google-my-business.html

This the point where I want to find a really nice Infographic that clarifies and summarizes all of Google's tools that are relevant for business owners but I cannot find one. Maybe another blog post idea?

2. Canva Are you one of those people that has a natural instinct for design, typography and photography? Great then stick with Adobe Design Suite and keep being a rockstar. For those who do not have a designer on staff and want to up their social media and marketing materials game, then Canva may be the answer to your prayers. For $12.95 USD you have access to templates, fonts, stock photography that is drag and drop ready keep your brand and campaigns on point. You can try it before you buy but I was an easy sell for this software.

3. Grammarly Editing, spelling and grammar have always been a challenge for me. Not a natural aptitude but a skill that requires ongoing development. Grammarly is an extension for your browser that points out spelling and grammar corrections. Grammarly is the superhero of spell checkers. The miracle robot brain, Grammarly, also makes suggestions on overused words, confused context and it has a free application. The monthly subscription upgrade provides advanced features that I pay $130 annually to receive.

4. Pinterest Need ideas? Inspiration? Although I can spend hours browsing dream bunkies, glampers and DIY projects that never really become a reality. I think of Pinterest as a giant lifestyle magazine table of contents. I also love Pinterest for infographics, concepts and guides for business and marketing. If you need inspiration or step by step guides, Pinterest is the mothership to thousands of blogs, guides and resources available online.

This is a screenshot of my Pinterest Work Fun folder

5. Magisto I understand the allure of videos. To be honest, I'm showing my age when I still would instead read than watch. But, keeping with the times and know that videos are top for increasing followers and driving awareness, I need to branch out. Magisto is a video editing program that provides many video templates. Once logged in you can easily combine video, images and words creating HD short videos. It's simple, offers a variety of templates and has a decent amount of editing tools. Again, the free service but for $20 a month, you can gain access to licensed music and advanced editing features.

6. Wave I like Quickbooks Online, but for the stage and requirements of my business, I need maybe 10% of the Quickbooks features. Introducing, Wave it's free to start as your business grows you can upgrade adding additional functionality. I also like their online payment option with reasonable pay per transaction rates. I am relatively new to the software, but so far it is easy to use and does what I need.

7. Shoeboxed Straight from the source "Shoeboxed is the fast, painless way to capture and archive receipts in a single, secure location. Shoeboxed turns receipt images into extracted, human-verified data, allowing you to streamline your accounting and bookkeeping, maximize every tax deduction, and email expense reports from anywhere." Did I mention it integrates with Wave? Offering automation in all the right ways.

8. Pocket Casts I started listening to podcasts a year ago and it my new daily. I probably enjoy 6-8 per week. My favourites are How I Built This, Success Bully, GirlBoss Radio and Community Made. My guilty pleasures are Here's The Thing, WTF with Marc Maron, Unhappy Hour and Oprah's Super Soul Conversations. I like that I can listen, learn and ponder while I unload the dishwasher, type away or as I drive.

9. PC Online Ordering

Living in cottage country, grocery shopping in the summer months can be stressful. I have become resourceful and a master of resourcefulness trying to align shopping for food with the holiday low traffic times. Our local Your Independent Grocer recently launched an online ordering service. I have hired my 10-year old to create the grocery list, and as soon as 2-hours my order will be ready for pick-up. Did I mention they deliver your order to your car? Maximizing your summer sunshine hours is a real celebration-worthy digital service.

10. Cooking Fever This Game App is not a life or business building tool. If anything it is draining productivity, but a few shameless rounds of this game has delivered endless fun. Not since the early years of Candy Crush has a game captured the hearts and minds of our family. I'm not proud, but honesty should count for something?

#tools #smallbusiness #Software #Apps #BusinessOwner

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