If you’re lost in the biiiiiiig sea of tools, systems, and apps that claim to help photographers manage and run their business, you’re in the right place. I remember being a lost puppy trying to figure out what I should even do – let alone what tools I should use to help me do it during the first year of running my business.
If you feel me, keep reading and you’ll find an all inclusive list of the tools I utilize to help me run a business… + prices + when you should think about using them too.
Here we go!
- Trello – it’s my go to list making app. Totally free. Get organized with this app and corresponding website like yesterday.
- Planoly – the app I use to plan my instagram posts ahead of time. You can also use it on a desktop. I just use the free option! It’s a major time-saver and a must for anyone trying to use instagram consistently.
- Honeybook – it’s my customer relationship management system. I’d look into this once you’ve gone full time with your business or once you’re getting a high volume of consistent bookings. It manages EVERYTHING. Send contracts, invoices, proposals, manage emails, allow clients to schedule, get paid, and much much more. $400 per year, but you can get 50% off your first year with this link: http://share.honeybook.com/kyleigh67239
- G Suite – gmail’s business email. The way you can get an email address without the @gmail.com at the end. $12 per month. When setting it up, I also bought a domain through Google (kyleighdanielle.com). Then you get to choose the front part of the email. I chose email@example.com. This is a beneficial move to increase your professionalism. I used a normal free gmail account for about a year, though.
- Google Domains – what I talked about above. You have to buy a domain name for your website and there are tons of different options to get one, but Google felt like a simple one. $12 per year.
- Showit + WordPress – Showit is my fav website builder and host. You can customize EVERY part of the site with no limitations or you can use their awesome templates. Plus, there are so many resources to help you as you design. It’s $24 per month and worth every penny. I wish I started with Showit from the beginning. If you buy the “Showit + Basic Blog” plan, they’ll set up a WordPress blog for you, which I highly suggest! Get into blogging early.
- Flodesk – a tool that allows you to EASILY design on brand emails and manage your email list. I implemented this before I even had any email list subscribers because I had NO idea how to start and manage an email list on my own. Worth it! $38 per month but use this link to get it for $17 per month FOR LIFE. https://flodesk.com/c/7T86PQ
- Quick Books – how I track my business finances. There are tons of different package options, *but pro tip* the only versions that link directly to Honeybook are Quickbooks online Plus, Essentials, and Simple Start. Another pro tip since we are talking about money, make sure you have a separate bank account for your business. (especially if you’re an LLC)
- Lightroom Classic – the ONLY editing software you need. About $11 per month.
- Lightroom Mobile – the app to edit on the go from your phone. Free! You can even import the mobile version of the presets you use on Lightroom Classic.
- Pixieset – how I deliver client photos. I love that there’s an option to set up a print shop that connects right to client galleries. There’s a free option which you can upgrade from once you need more storage/ you want to offer clients the option to buy prints from you. I pay $16 per month after upgrading.
- Paypal – I only needed to set this up to accept payment through my online print shop on Pixieset. It’s free but charges you a percentage on each transaction.
That’s it! The complete list of tools I utilize to help me do this thing. Just know that it’s always evolving and far from perfect. It’s taken a lot of trial and error to get this list to the place it is. A lot of chance taking. A lot of research to figure out how to use everything effectively. If you’re in that spot… you got this. Use other’s advice and then try some things and see what works and makes sense for you. There’s no magic formula, but I hope this gives you a good starting place!