Platforms and Tools I Use to Help My Business Run Smoothly
I kind of consider myself an "ordered chaos" kind of girl. My style and business structure is easy breezy but it also plays by some rules. I've somehow managed to stay on top of my sh*t over the years but have always been a little all over the place. I need the structure and direction but also... don't tell me what to do LOL.
I've realized that for me, a loose schedule helps me to stay stress-free and gives me a direction to go in. When I took lash clients full time, I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to be doing from "10-5", and then I somehow crammed in all my other "to-dos" in between. It worked until I outgrew my business. Now, I truly see the value in having systems and places for everything since my days can be a free for all and entirely up to me.
While I'm not taking clients in my studio anymore, I want to share all the platforms and tools I've used and continue to use and love that have helped me run my business in the past and as it evolves. I'm not a very "type A" person but I know what works for me, which is a very loose and flexible schedule. It actually tricks me into getting more done. If this sounds like your vibe too, below are my favorite tools that will hopefully do the same for you.
This is what I used the second I took a paying client. For me, Venmo and other money apps just don't feel professional. There is a fee, but to me, that fee means 1. Convenience for your client and 2. A professional way to money. Plus, you can create invoices and send before an appointment and also add products and any services you want to it. It also doubles as a booking system, so this is what I used for years to book clients. I don't have time to book appointments for clients and I don't care how early or late you are in your career. You should not be doing this for your clients and potential customers. Set the schedule YOU want then hand it over to them to figure out. #boundaries
HOT TIP: If you don't offer online booking yet... PLEASE stop what you're doing and make this a priority. This is another way I would potentially make money while I sleep because clients would book at 2 am while I was getting some Zs. I’ve trusted Square for years because it’s inexpensive and works. You can sign up here
Shopify and Squarespace
These are two website hosting platforms I know very well. Shopify is very, very specific to e-commerce (this is what I use now for my website). There are add-on apps to customize your customer experience and they offer amazing customer service and tutorials if you need support. They have a ton of website templates to choose from, too. When I decided to create products, I googled "best e-commerce website hosting platform" and they popped up. Sign up here for a free trial but I can guarantee you’ll love it.
Squarespace is what I used when I started taking clients. Their templates are sleek and modern and easily changeable and user-friendly. You can add a blog, your booking link directly into it AND also sell products and track inventory. It really just depends on your personal preference because these two do similar things. While Shopify is more pricey, it is really phenomenal for e-commerce. They both offer online booking integrations. It basically boils down to the needs of your business and your personal preference.
If you'd like help with setting up either of these, email me here!
Google Calendar, Drive and Tasks
Using Google keeps all my sh*t in one spot. This is where I save files, pictures, graphics and to-do lists. Since I am already in my email, I'm one click away from saving a photo and also jotting down a note to remember. I like being able to see my schedule and task list as I respond to someone's email.
I need to be paid by Canva because I talk about them ALL THE TIME. Update: I now have an affiliate link you can use to sign up HERE. Canva has been working for me since 2013. It makes creating graphics, logos, menus and a breeze. It also comes with great fonts, stock photos and more. I personally never had time to learn Photoshop and this is way less confusing. I love the creative side of running a business and like to have full control over this part. I probably use canvas at least 5 times a day. If you have no clue what it is or are just not great at making graphics, don't have an eye for it or feel completely overwhelmed by all of it; I offer a pretty simple course/zoom call on this. You can sign up for this here!
UNUM and Planoly
While I don't pre-plan my content a ton I think it's very important for beginners to have an app like this so they can create a "vision board" for their IG. You can download pictures and graphics and clearly see as a whole what is cohesive and flowing. I always say to pay attention to the "clutter" meaning busy graphics next to each other or crazy fonts that don't match (more on branding here). If you don't have an eye for this naturally an app like this will help you a lot.
Since we are all going virtual, I just started looking into this platform. It's essentially a booking system that can link to your zoom and calendar. You send the link or add it to your site and you can book clients through it and have them pay here as well. I think with so many of us doing virtual consults this is a great option to be aware of!
I love my iPad for note-taking, too. I simply create folders for clients in the notes app and use my pen to write my notes out. This is great for someone who is a pen to paper kind of lady (I love writing but this keeps it more organized than in a notebook). You never have to remember what page you wrote that genius idea on at 3 am again. It'll be labeled "3 am thought" from now on and safely stored in your iPad.
I couldn't live without my Dear Lash Love playlist. I made it while lashing and it would get me through long days. It's a very personal list so when you listen you'll maybe get a peek into my brain. Music gets me through LIFE. I love Spotify because it curates music based on what you're already listening to and always recommends new artists. You're missing out if you don't have it!
I have so many other tools I use for my business but honestly, these ones are my everyday go-to's that are simple and straight forward. You don't need much to stay organized or sell something online. I'm a creature of habit and stick with the same OGs so when in doubt, this list should, at the very least, get you started with organizing your biz!
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