Must-Have Tools and Resources for Your Creative Business

If you are a creative entrepreneur you most likely have a million things to do at once for your business and you feel like you don’t have any time to get it all done. The best way to be the most productive is by creating systems for your business to streamline your process. The following business tools/apps/equipment are my favorite things to use that help me run my business. Since I run a graphic design business I also included my favorite tools to run the design portion of my business. Some links are affiliate links*

Must have tools and resources for your creative business

Business

SiteGround* – I use self-hosted WordPress for my website and my clients and I love SiteGround. I have tried plenty of hosting websites and SiteGround has by far been by favorite. My website never has any downtime and their support is amazing.

Name Cheap* – Before I found SiteGround I was changing hosting pretty frequently in order to find one that I like. I found that keeping my domains separate is the easiest way to keep things in order. Any time I need to buy a domain I just go to NameCheap. They usually run specials as well as already being a good price. I love how easy their dashboard is to navigate.

Trello* – TRELLO IS MY FAVORITE TOOL. I love Trello so much and allows me to be so productive and keeps everything organized. I even use Trello for every day use outside of my business. Trello allows me to organize my business and streamline all my processes in one place. I use Trello Gold but the free version is just as good and I actually have two public boards that you can access and copy to your own boards for free. My weekly to-do board and my Editorial Calendar Board

Evernote – I use Evernote to write out all of my blog posts and all of my writing for my business. You can organize your information into notebooks and then break those down into notes. I have a notebook for blogs posts, another notebook for all my business information, and another notebook for all my ebooks and courses. You can also upload images and pdfs, add reminders, and more.

Calendly – I use Calendly so my clients can schedule time with me so we can discuss their project, the free version might be limited for you depending on your usage but it works perfect for me.

Spotify – Whenever I work, I listen to music and Spotify is my favorite app to use. For the longest time I used the free version but recently upgraded and it is so worth it. If you have Spotify, you can follow me on there: Follow on Spotify.

Dropbox – I use Dropbox to store everything. I recently upgraded to the premium version so I can backup all my files to my Dropbox account. I use Dropbox to keep all files organized and I like that I can access them from everywhere. I even use the Dropbox app on my phone. I will also use Dropbox to share files with clients.

Bit.ly – A good way to track your links and see how many people are clicking on them is by using Bit.ly. You can take any URL and then plug it into Bit.ly and it will give you a link that is short and it will track how many clicks you get.

Wave Accounting – I use Wave for my accounting software. It’s free and you can connect your bank account to it, which makes paying taxes at the end of the year super simple. Wave also has an app for your phone and a receipt app so you can scan your receipts and it will digitally store them. It also has the option of sending invoices.

Hello Bonsai –  I use hello bonsai for contracts and payments. My design clients always need to sign contracts at the beginning of a job and Hello Bonsai makes it super simple to do so. I use their invoice option as well because they only charge $1/paid invoice.

Design Tools and Resources

Adobe Creative Cloud* – I have the monthly subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud because it gives me access to every Adobe program, plus access to fonts and assets. I wouldn’t have my business without this subscription.

Illustrator* – Illustrator is by far my favorite Adobe program. I use it for almost everything in my business. Some things include, logos, ebooks, content upgrades and worksheets, business cards and print collateral, printables, and so much more.

Photoshop* – I use photoshop the second most for my business. I will use it to edit photos or for creating product mockups. You can do most things in Photoshop for your business including making Pinterest graphics and all blog and website graphics.

Creative Market – I have an obsession with fonts so I usually purchase my fonts through creative market. However, Creative market has much more than just fonts. There are a ton of design resources and mock-ups and stock images that you can purchase from Creative Market. You can also sync all your purchases to Dropbox which makes it easier to access later on. I also love that Creative Market offers 6 free downloads each week. Here are some of my favorite fonts that I’ve purchased from Creative Market: Aura Blue, Crafty Script, Madina Script, Betterfly, and Bellwethers.

Tech and Equipment

Macbook Pro 15″* – I use a Macbook Pro to run my business. I am definitely team Apple and I love my Macbooks so much.

iPad Pro with Apple Pencil* – My new favorite investment in my business. I am obsessed with my iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. it was definitely one of the best purchases that I have made and it has changed my design process and business process. Instead of bringing my laptop everywhere I can use my iPad Pro. Also, it makes hand lettering projects so easy! I use the procreate app majority of the time. You can also use the iPad pro as a tablet if you download the app: AstroPad

Canon 70D* – Stock photos only work for so long. I finally took the leap into buying a DSLR camera and learned photography basics so that I can take high quality photos for my website and blog.

Tripod* – In order to keep photos steady and focused I love using a tripod. If I am doing a flat lay then I will use the tripod to make sure everything stays in the perfect spot.

Studio Lights– As most people know, you want to use natural light when taking your photos but I know that if you are working a full time job you don’t have the option of taking photos during the day because you are at work. So these are the lights that I use when I can’t get natural daylight and they work very well.

Reflector– Reflectors help reflect the light to decrease the amount of shadows in your pictures. You can use a piece of foam core or I use these ones because they fold in a nice compact circle.

Books for Business Inspiration and Learning

Girl Boss* – I love reading success stories and this is one of those success stories that is a huge motivator. I didn’t really know the story behind Nasty girl or the CEO Sophia Amorouso, but after reading this book, I have so much respect for her. It’s all about the hustle and being yourself through it all.

Big Magic* – This is another highly talked about book that is perfect for creative entrepreneurs. I know a lot of us are scared to put ourselves out there, to go for our ideas, to make excuses for things we want to do, and this gives that push to go for it.

Side Note:
Currently Reading – Will let you know if I recommend them once I finish them
Daring & Disruptive* by Lisa Messenger
Present Over Perfect* by Shauna Niequiest

Printing

Moo.com – Whenever my clients need anything printed, then I always recommend moo.com. Everything I have ordered from them has come out as I have wanted and the quality has been what I have expected or better. Also, their prices are always reasonable.

7 Responses to Must-Have Tools and Resources for Your Creative Business

Leave a reply