Staying Organized As A Small Business Owner
It can seem very daunting to stay organized as a small business owner, especially if you are just started out. And… especially if you are a one-woman (or man) show. I mean, come on. One person simply can’t do everything. BUT that is even more of a reason to get your business more organized ASAP!
Before using organization and automation systems, I was, quite frankly, all over the place. Today, I’m going to be sharing how I keep my online business organized, which allows me to be more productive, and focus on client work & income-generating tasks.
01. General Planning: Asana
Asana is a free project management system that is user-friendly, has a clean and minimal structure, and is great at keeping your business organized. As a graphic and web designer, I am constantly balancing multiple client projects. Unless you stay organized, this can fail very quickly. It can be easy to forget client deadlines or details of a particular task unless you have a system in place.
Asana can handle the following:
Task share with team members
There are 2 types of projects that you can create: board view and list view.
Boards are the dashboard where you can manage a task or project. Personally, I have a board for each of my design clients. You can use this in other industries as well (i.e. setting up a board for each of your weddings if you are a wedding photographer, event planner, etc.). I organize each of my boards into 4 different lists: This Week, This Month, In The Future, and Completed. This way I can easily view what is due this week and month, and see what projects I would like to complete later on down the road. Once a task is completed, I move it over to the Complete card.
Alternatively, list view is essentially a to-do list and general planning system for deadlines, projects, reminders and more. If you’re just starting your small business, it will pay off to learn how to use a project management system. It took me entirely too long to get organized in my own business, but I am so glad that I did by learning the ropes of Asana.
02. My favorite new tool: Pocket!
I recently discovered an amazing tool to help get rid of a few distractions in my daily routine!
Pocket is a browser extension, which is available on desktop and mobile, that will save anything you want into your ‘pocket’. This extension is essentially a storage system to hold everything you want to read later in a simple-to-find area. You are even able to organize your saved information into categories (I am ALL about staying organized with folders & categories). From blog posts to videos, podcasts & more, Pocket can save it all for you!
Pocket will sync your saves from both desktop and mobile so that when you are ready, you can have all of your saved posts in one place. This saves me SO much time with batch work. If I’m focusing my efforts more on Instagram that month, then I will of course open up the saved posts I have in the Instagram category of Pocket.
No longer am I distracted by shiny pieces of content at inconvenient times. Pocket enables me to remain productive, while still saving the best articles to read when I am ready (without the fear of losing them forever!).
Pocket is a free extension, and you can download it at getpocket.com.
03. Instagram Planning: Planoly
Social media is absolutely essential for businesses in today’s digital world. While it can seem overwhelming in the beginning, there are systems in place for automation. I use Planoly to schedule content for my own Instagram account and for the few client accounts I manage, and it is such a time-saver. Planoly allows you to schedule posts and re-arrange them until you are finally satisfied with your feed. You can add in all of your captions ahead of time, and you can even schedule automated posts so that you technically never even have to enter the application. The free plan covers 30 scheduled posts a month, while the premium plan includes unlimited scheduled posts and is only $10 a month (such a steal!).
04. Pinterest planning: Tailwind
Tailwind is essentially a bulk pinning platform which allows you to save time by using advanced features such as: bulk image and pin upload, drag-and-drop calendar system, multi-board pinning, hashtag lists, pin looping and other time effective shortcuts. You are able to automatically optimize your Pinterest schedule based on when your audience is most engaged, thereby maximizing your reach. You can measure your success with Tailwind’s analytics and insights to see what’s working for you and what’s not.
Tailwind truly saves me so much time every day AND makes scheduling pins a breeze. I simply spend a few hours a week pinning to Tailwind, and the platform then carries out the rest of the hard work for me. Because this is a paid tool, I guess you could call this an investment in your business. But I’m not sure you can even call it an investment when it only costs around $7/month (seriously such a great ROI… this platform does SO much work marketing my business). Considering that a decent portion of my website traffic comes from Pinterest, I can confidently say that Tailwind has definitely contributed to my recent business growth.
P.S.: Click here to sign up for a free trial of Tailwind (and get 2 months free of $30 off a yearly plan!).
P.P.S.: If you don’t really know what the heck I’m talking about but would like to learn more about using Pinterest for business, I recently wrote an article which you can find below!
5. Digital files: Google Drive
If you are going to be running an online business, you need to be using a file management system of some sort. This ensures that if your external hard drive or computer crashes (knock on wood), your files are stored securely in a cloud backup online.
While many prefer Dropbox, I am an avid user of Google Drive and wouldn’t have it any other way; I use it to organize files, add shared folders for client files, store my graphic and website images and files, and so much more! When I have completed a design project, I bundle up my client’s final files into a Google Drive folder and share the folder with them. Simple and effective! I also love that Google Drive is completely free (one less subscription fee) and has 15 GB of storage. With a professional G-Suite email address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org ), you get up to 30 GB of storage free. And you can even upgrade to 100 GB for only $3 a month.
One of the best things about Google Drive is the ability to use Google Docs. Similar to Word Documents, Google Docs are hosted in your cloud account and update in real time. This means that if your computer crashes while writing content, your document will auto-save and will still be there as it was when you left it. You can also invite team members to a Google Doc and share notes, content and ideas.
Do you need some help setting up general workflows for your small business? I would love to help! Leave a comment below, or send over an email to email@example.com . I look forward to hearing from you!
*Disclosure; Some of the content above may contain affiliate links. However, I would never recommend tools, apps or resources if I didn't use them and find them helpful myself.