If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you may already know what a big fan of Evernote I am. I started using Evernote back in 2009 when I first started blogging. Instantly, I fell in love with this app and started using it as a way to organize just about everything: blog ideas, fashion inspiration, recipes, and more. Even years later, I still love Evernote and use it on a daily basis.
I’ve created two separate “stacks” for notebooks related to my blog/business. I have a stack that includes a notebook for recording ideas and a notebook for writing drafts of blog posts. My second stack includes notebooks for coaching (ideas, notes, etc.), various projects (such as my eBook and Socially Coveted), and tips (useful articles I want to read later). Having all of these separate notebooks allows me to keep things organized and easily find what I’m looking for.
Not only do I have the Evernote app on my Macbook Pro, but I also have it on my phone and iPad so I’m always connected. I also like to use the Evernote Web Clipper via Chrome to quickly save articles to read later. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
I have a confession to make. I’m a to-do list junkie. Not only do I use a daily planner (my Erin Condren Life Planner), and paper lists, but I also like to have a digital way to track bigger projects. What can I say? I love making lists! As a result, I’ve been through a lot of to-do list apps over the years. I’ve used Wunderlist, Todoist, Any.do, and others that I’ve lost track of. I very briefly tried Asana in 2015, but there was something I didn’t like about it, so I left it to go back to Wunderlist (an app that I would often turn back to). I couldn’t tell you what it was I didn’t like about Asana back then because I totally forgot. However, I decided to give it another chance. Since then, I’ve been hooked.
Asana is a fantastic project management tool, especially if you’re working with a team of people. It’s easy to assign tasks to others and keep track of progress. Now, I’m a one-woman show, so I don’t use all of the features Asana offers. I do, however, make use of it to create tasks and set deadlines for projects I need to do. When I redesigned my website, I created a project in Asana and listed everything I needed to get done for the updated site and set deadlines. I also created a project for my e-course launching later this year and have started outlining everything I need to do to complete the course content. Asana has been the perfect tool for helping me get things done!
Having an editorial calendar is essential for me. If it wasn’t already obvious, I like to plan ahead. Editorial calendars help me to do that when it comes to my blog content, my email newsletter, and even my social media updates. How you choose to create your editorial calendar is totally a personal preference. In the past, I’ve used a blog planner I purchased. However, I now take a much simpler approach.
I store all of my blog post ideas within Evernote. When it comes time to put these ideas into my editorial calendar for the month, I typically plan everything on a printable calendar I created myself, on my whiteboard calendar, or both. I even take things a step further by putting all of that information into my digital calendar as well. And of course, everything is color-coded, too!
For anyone who is just starting out with their email list, MailChimp is a fantastic way to go. Not only is it affordable, but MailChimp is very easy to use. As of right now, I still use MailChimp to manage my email list and I’m quite happy with it. Although I do feel there are some features missing compared to other services out there, MailChimp still allows me to do everything I need to do for now.
I’m able to save a variety of templates for my emails, set up multiple automated sequences, and more. Eventually, I will likely upgrade to another service, but I’m sticking with MailChimp for the time being. If you are just getting started with your email list, I highly recommend you check it out as it won’t cost you a fortune while you’re still building your list!
There are a ton of options out there for selling products online, whether they’re physical products or digital downloads. At this point in time, the products I sell are either digital downloads or virtual (my course). So, I need an online shop that allows me to manage all of that easily, which is why I use WooCommerce. The great thing about WooCommerce is that there isn’t a monthly fee in order to use it, which many shops charge. Plus, it looks nice because the themes I purchase are set-up to work with WooCommerce as well. I can also create promotional codes, which customers love!
Graphic design is not my forte. The truth is, I’m absolute crap at coming up with design ideas, pairing fonts, whatever. It’s just not my thing. However, I refuse to pay someone else to create my graphics for me because I’m stubborn and like to do everything myself. I would much rather spend the time learning how to do something than just resorting to paying someone else to do it for me. (It took me a long time before I even hired someone to do my logo.) So, while I do have Photoshop, I still haven’t fully learned how to use it. (I’ve been procrastinating on going through the course I purchased on Photoshop.) I need something easier to work with that can essentially give me design ideas I can tweak. And that’s where Canva comes in.
By now, I’m sure a majority of you are familiar with Canva. If you’re not, Canva allows you to create graphics for anything you may need and includes preset sizes for Twitter, Instagram, email headers, and more. You can also use it to create PDFs. The great thing about Canva is that there are a variety of templates available at your fingertips that you can change to fit your needs. It takes the stress out of designing. (Although, you do risk someone else having the exact same design as you, so make sure you change it up!)
Any promotional materials I need are created in Canva. My Instagram posts that promote my blog posts are also created in Canva. It’s so easy to use that I wouldn’t dream of using any of the other similar services out there.
If you’ve ever wondered what I used to create my eBook or my course content PDFs, it’s iBooks Author. Again, because I wasn’t blessed with design skills, anything that makes design easier gets a “yes” from me. Once you’re ready to start that new project, all you have to do is select a template, then start writing! This is perfect for me because it allows me to focus on writing, which is what I love to do, instead of stressing about design elements. Unfortunately, you can’t get too crazy with the design in iBooks Author. It’s more for you if you want to keep your books looking simple! However, you can easily add sections, chapters, photos, and change fonts and colors. iBooks Author is totally free and you can download it in the App Store.
When it comes to scheduling those precious Twitter updates, Buffer is basically my best friend. I’ve talked about Buffer in the past, but it’s still my social media scheduler of choice. Why? Because it’s affordable and easy to use. From their website, their mobile app, and their Buffer extension for Chrome, scheduling my updates couldn’t be any simpler or quicker. I also love their Optimal Timing Tool which analyzes my account to find the best times for me to post. (No more relying on what some study says about when you should post!)
I like to post on Twitter seven times per day and I regularly update my times using the Optimal Timing Tool for maximum engagement. Buffer, I see us being friends for a long time.
I would like to start off by saying that I don’t schedule all of my Instagram posts. Some of my posts are random snaps in the moment, while others are planned and scheduled in advance. In order to schedule my posts, I use Latergramme. Latergramme allows me to schedule updates through their website or mobile app. Whenever I create the graphics to promote my blog posts through Instagram, I upload them to Latergramme’s website, write out my caption, and choose my hashtags. It makes managing Instagram a breeze!
If you’re looking for a way to make Pinterest easier, look no further than BoardBooster. BoardBooster works by having you pin content to a private board, which BoardBooster then pins to your public board throughout the day. With this tool, you can easily schedule how many pins you want to have per day, you can loop old pins to get them more attention, and so much more. As someone who isn’t as active on Pinterest as I once was, BoardBooster makes maximizing my pinning so much easier. Thanks to this nifty little tool, I’ve been able to increase my Pinterest engagement tremendously and send tons of new traffic to my website. What could be better than that? You can sign-up for a free trial* and give it a go today!
So, this last tool is a bit different for this list, but still plays an important role in getting things done. We all have those days where we’re struggling to stay focused, but instead of letting it stress you out, do something to resolve it instead! I discovered Coffitivity ages ago and use it from time-to-time whenever I need a productivity boost and it really does work. In fact, I’m listening to it as I write this post!
What Coffitivity does is provide you with the background sounds of a coffee shop. I know, I know… This may sound a little weird to you, but trust me on this one. A study from the University of Chicago actually showed that being a tiny bit distracted can help boost creativity. (And we can all use a little extra creativity, right?) This means the background noise it provides actually makes a coffee shop a great place to work. Coffitivity aims to provide you with those same sounds without ever having to leave your house. There are free soundtracks you can choose from or premium soundtracks if you want to feel like you’re in Paris. If you’re someone who loves to work at the coffee shop, you need to check it out. (You can read more about the study here.)
What are your favorite tools for blogging and business?
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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed within this post are my own.