As I round out year one of REL Impact, I’ve been reflecting on what worked, what didn’t, and how much I’ve grown. This business-building journey is so empowering as there’s something new to learn every step along the way!
One thing is clear: As a one-woman start-up operation, I can only be as productive as the number of hours in a day. In short, there’s only so much I can do on my own!
Much of this year was spent developing the foundation for my business, setting up systems, creating programs, networking to sign on clients, and navigating endless to-do lists. Thankfully I stumbled upon several tools and resources that helped me streamline many of these moving parts… because maximizing productivity became a huge priority (as I often, early on, gasped for air).
Have you found yourself saying any of the following in a moment of overload and overwhelm?
- Oh no! Another day of not posting on social media and my tribe is hearing crickets!
- How do I create all of the images I need for my website, blog and social media posts? I’m not a designer!
- What email program should I use for email marketing to connect with my REL Impact friends? With MailChimp, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, SendGrid and others, the options feel overwhelming!
- How many times can I go back-and-forth over email trying to schedule this one coffee date?
- I’m getting invited to so many events. How do I prioritize the ones that will help satisfy me get farther in my business?
Yep, that was me. And while I’m not claiming to have solved everything that fills my head with overwhelm, I’ve reduced it all dramatically by utilizing a handful of essential tools.
And now I swear by them! Because they’ve helped me automate certain systems (think: email sequences and social media scheduling), create imagery that I would have otherwise never been able to afford, and schedule client meetings without coming off as a buzzing bee unable to make a landing.
In this blog - and in light of the season of gifts and giving – I’m sharing with you a list of these new favorite tools. I call them: These are a few of my favorite things... (My apologies if The Sound of Music is scrolling through your head right now.)
CANVA – Canva is a web-based platform that makes designing anything super easy. (Think: blog post images, social media posts, flyers, posters, marketing collateral, postcards, and everything else in any size in between!) I love the range of shapes, free images, layouts, and fonts they offer because it makes creating something totally unique a breeze. The program offers a free account where you can use most of their features for laying out and customizing your own images, and their paid version allows you to save your brand fonts and colors for ease-of-use each time you return to the site.
My absolute favorite part of this design program? The “Magic Resize” tool! Get this: You can create one image (say, a blog image) and then use the Magic Resize tool to create any other image size you may need (ie. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) WITH ONE CLICK. No more hopping all over the interwebs to find the dimensions for each image you need! Learn more about Canva and sign up for a free account right here.
CONVERTKIT – Convertkit is a newsletter or email marketing software that makes it seamless to communicate with your tribe, automate email sequences, and tag users according to their activity and engagement with your business. I’ve set up my Convertkit account to add new subscribers to a “Welcome” sequence, which is a series of three emails that welcomes them to the REL Impact tribe and shares with them more about who we are and how we may be able to help them reach their goals. I’ve also set up special tags to keep track of people in certain regions (ie. Colorado – where I host live events) or who referred the subscriber to REL Impact. The program is so intuitive and easy to navigate. Learn more about Convertkit and sign up for a free 30-day trial right here.
ACUITY SCHEDULING – Have you ever had one of those back-and-forth emails that goes on forever just to schedule a coffee date with someone you met at last week’s networking event? Yeah, me too. I got so tired of the inefficiency of sending countless emails for a one-hour date, I knew it was time to invest in a scheduling manager. And after much research, I chose Acuity Scheduling.
Call it your online assistant. Plug in preferences so that the system knows not to schedule more than 2 meetings a day and to never schedule appointments of any kind on Fridays (or whatever days and hours you choose). Add different appointment or meeting types so that the appropriate amount of time is blocked off for each (ie. 90 minutes for a 1:1 client and 20 minutes for a free clarity call). Acuity sends reminders (as often as you ask it to), maintains your client list, offers a payment portal for clients, and so much more.
I cannot fully express to you how this one tool has transformed my calendar-management into a super streamlined system. Learn more about Acuity Scheduling and sign up for a free account right here.
TAILWIND - First an explanation: Pinterest is a highly powerful visual search engine (not a social media platform). WHAT?!? That’s right. Pinterest is one of the most misunderstood yet incredibly powerful tools on the internet today. The idea is that you share content that pinners are seeking, which brings exposure and credibility to your business, blog or brand (in a nutshell).
But, you might be totally lost when it comes to knowing exactly what to pin – and when.
Tailwind to the rescue. For real.
This tool is the answer to curating and sharing the most impactful content just at the right times that your audience is looking for it. Amazing, right?! Among my favorite features are: interval pinning (which automates your presence), analytics (to analyze results), a Smart Calendar (which is optimized for your specific audience), and the ability to pin countless pins simultaneously. It’s a smart and easy way to take control of your Pinterest account, and will skyrocket your exposure… leading to more website visitors and ultimately, sales. (Oh, and the best: Tailwind can be used for scheduling Instagram updates, too!) Click here to learn more and snag a free month of Tailwind!
Are there other tools and apps that have transformed your business? I’d love to hear about them! Drop a note in the Comments below, or hop on over to Facebook to share them with our REL Impact community!
Some of the above products and links are affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission when you click on one of the links and make a purchase. There's no added cost for you, and don't worry - I'll never recommend a product or service that I haven't tried out and loved using. After all, we're here to create real impact, so I only share resources that will help you reach your business goals. Thanks for your support!