LET’S GET ORGANIZED, CREATIVE FRIENDS.
So many of us are self-taught – at least to a certain degree! Maybe you’re a fantastic painter with a BFA and more commission requests than you can handle, but you’ve never taken a single business class in your life. The world of invoicing your clients is foreign and terrifying.
Or maybe you’re a self-taught photographer who majored in business finance at university, but struggles with technology. Setting up an email marketing system? Writing quality communications pieces? Overwhelming.
My story goes a little bit like this. I’m a musician with plenty of training in voice, theory, and choral conducting, but every single thing I have learned about building, marketing, and running a creative business has come from:
- Trial and error. Try something, test it, try it again.
- HOURS (and hours) of reading blogs, watching tutorials, and asking for advice from others.
- Taking some online courses. There’s an amazing world out there of people who are sharing their knowledge through the magical internet.
- More trial, more errors, some successes, some flops.
You get the picture!
I thought I would take some of the resources and tools that I have found the most valuable and helpful for building and running my businesses and share them with you in one list! Happy self-learning, friends.
Here are fifteen tools & resources to help you run your creative business.
MARKETING + SOCIAL MEDIA
- Later Blog. In my opinion, the holy grail for all things social media. They have all the latest insight and tips for using Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok and more. Their posts are super comprehensive and packed with value. Also, they’re easy-to-understand for someone who is new to the world of social media or doesn’t have a lot of marketing experience!
- Later. This is a social media management system that lets you plan and schedule your Instagram and Facebook posts ahead of time. I believe they also have a Pinterest option now, as well. It’s been game-changing for me in helping me to pre-plan all of my social media content for my design business and choirs and therefore save precious time! They have free and paid versions.
- Tezza.This was created by a photographer and has awesome presets and filters for a simple editing process.
- A Color Story. Created by A Beautiful Mess; it has both a free and paid version, the latter has tons of filters and presets. It also has a really cool feature that allows you to easily adjust specific colours within a photo.
COPY & COMMUNICATIONS
- Ashlyn Writes. Ashlyn Carter is a great go-to for all-things copy-related. Her blog and Youtube channel are great resources not only for content writing tips, but also for advice on marketing and project management.
- Flodesk. This is my email marketing system of choice. I find it much more user-friendly than Mailchimp and it’s easy to setup an automated email series (this does require a paid plan). What I like the most is that it’s created with artists & designers in mind, so all of the email templates are beautiful and have lots of options for customizations to fit your style or brand.
- Paper + Oats blog. Kelsey Baldwin’s blog has so much information (& free video training) on how to use Adobe InDesign, which has been incredibly helpful in my businesses for creating longer-form written PDF content (like welcome packages, service packages, etc).
- Canva. The mother of all programs for anyone who needs to design something for their business and has ZERO experience with the Adobe suite. It’s SO easy to use and has a free version. Their paid ‘pro’ version gives you access to more design assets and lets you create “brand kits,” which save colour palettes, fonts, and logos – super handy when you’re working on lots of different projects!
- Inside The Square.Becca teaches custom css for Squarespace in a way that is easy-to-follow and doesn’t require any previous coding knowledge.
- Rebecca Grace Designs. She also has awesome tutorials for customizing Squrespace sites and she also sends out weekly videos through her email list.
- Ghost plugins. They have a large library of free plugins that you can add to your Squarespace site through code blocks or custom css.
- Honeybook. It’s an all-in-one invoicing, contract-signing, proposal-sending, project-managing program.
- Google Calendar. Perhaps an obvious one, but using Google calendar consistently is the only way I manage to stay on top of all of my projects. Schedule your day, colour-code your different projects, get it all done.
- Toggl.This is a free time tracking app that you can use on your phone or in a web browser. It’s great if you bill hourly or if you are wanting to keep track of how long it takes you to complete specific tasks or projects.
There you have it. 15 tools to run your creative businesses!