3 Essential Tools You Need To Grow Your Creative Business
So you made the leap and started a creative side hustle or went all in and are now a full time business owner. Congrats you badass creativepreneur! But let's be real. It's also kinds scary (ok scary AF). Not only are you creating and selling what you create, you're trying to figure out the business side of things. Contracts, advertising, social media growth, networking, blogging - there's so many things everyone says you need to do once you start a biz. And it's all true. There are so many things you need to do on the backend that maybe you didn't realize when you were just sharing your work on random Instagram posts.
Now that you're a creative entrepreneur, it's so important to get systems and tools in place now so you're able to actually spend time creating. Having the tools, process and software set allow you to focus on the fun side of being a creative business owner. Here are the essential tools you need so you're able to grow your creative business.
You may be the most detailed OCD Type A Virgo out there (hello twin - let's be besties), but that Excel sheet or Google Doc isn't going to serve you in the long run. What will is automating your accounting - so you can save time if you're doing your own bookkeeping or if you're working with a bookkeeper or CPA at our fave time of year (jk book quarterly taxes).
I started with Wave Apps' free version and later switched to Quickbooks Self Employed. Wave served me well. I just connected my business checking, Amex and business PayPal and I was all set. Because I didn't have to pay anyone a salary or use it for invoicing, Wave was free to use.
I later moved to Quickbooks Self Employed. You can connect all your accounts just like Wave but it also allows me to track milage in the app and I like the interface more. I currently do my own bookkeeping and I like how QB also tells me my estimated quarterly taxes. I make my quarterly payments online and QB is connected to the IRS site. It's super easy just to go in and pay via the Quickbooks platform.
These are the only platforms I've tried, but the best one for you is definitely the one you actually use and update. I'd definitely give Wave or Quickbooks Self Employed a try if you haven't decided on a platform yet.
Project/Client Management Platform
Whether you're a service or product based biz - or maybe you're both like me - you'll need a place where you keep every stage of your product creation, custom client order or wedding organized. That's where a software platform like Asana, Trello or Honeybook come in.
If you're a service based biz and you'd like one platform to do all the things - invoicing and payment processing, client emails and contracts - look into something like Honeybook. It's not only for wedding planners but photographers, consultants and coaches use it as well.
If you own a product business - or don't need to have everything in one place - Asana or Trello may be what your creative business needs. I personally use Asana and you can check out how I set up my backend business tasks plus my content calendar in the video below. I do all invoicing via my PayPal business account and also send contracts via Hello Sign - so I didn't need a monthly subscription model.
When deciding what platform to use to keep your clients, products and business organized, be sure to consider if you prefer everything in one place, if you want to pay a monthly fee and what you truly need for your business right now. Maybe you start with something free and upgrade as your business grows - and there's nothing wrong with that.
I mean, we want to get paid right? Of course we do :) Somehow getting paid when you own your own business just feels so much better than that twice monthly paycheck from a 9-5.
But how should you collect all that moola you're making? Not only is it super important to set up a SEPARATE checking account (preferably a business one - but if you're a solopreneur and just starting I think it's totally ok to set up a free checking account you only use for your business), but you should also open a PayPal business account.
I use my PP business account to invoice other businesses and to send payment to other entrepreneurs I work with. It also easily integrates with my Quickbooks account. I even have a PP credit card reader which makes having popup shops super easy because not only can you take a credit card payment, but people trust PayPal. Makes selling my holiday "sleigh my name" mugs a little bit easier when customers know I'm using PP.
Bonus tip. Get your Google Suite set up so you can not only have a more professional looking email address, but so you can also start using Google Drive for any important documents or collaborative work you're doing with other businesses.
You do not need to have a live website to have a firstname.lastname@example.org email address. You just need to own the domain - either through Google or another service. Sending emails from email@example.com VS firstname.lastname@example.org is more professional and I think others will take you more seriously with a business email address. It's well worth the $5 a month.
If you have any other tools you think you must have in place when you're just starting your creative business journey - please comment below :)