Top 5 Necessities for Small Business Owners

Yes, that is right. Sometimes I forget that I am too a small business owner. Crazy to think that creatives are lumped into this category. To everyone else, it may not seem like we crunch numbers or pay our bills, mainly because what we put out there is allll about the art aspect of the job.

But nonetheless we have businesses to run, and families to feed. There are some programs I use that rocked my world. So here we go – five of the best programs I need as a wedding photographer and small business owner.

1. Honeybook
Workflow Organization for the creatives and small business owners. WHAT? Yeah, I didn’t understand much of why I needed this program until I did a free trial and realized I was DOING WAY TOO MUCH on my own. This platform hosts all of my digital contracts, invoices, and brochure packaging. It is organized and keeps my inquiries in order and safe per date (so I don’t accidentally double book!). It helps my clients keep track with their payment reminders and also keeps records and receipts for my fiscal year. If you are on the fence about a CRM let me help you out and just click here. You won’t regret it!

2. Adobe Lightroom
I can’t edit a RAW image without it. Because even Photoshop compresses my RAW’s into JPG’s before editing. And why wouldn’t I want to streamline my editing flawlessly? This program allows me to not only cull effectively, but also keep my images at the highest resolution without stretching or compressing those pixels (exporting the best of their day to my clients!). I can utilize my own presets smoothly and tweak any way I need.

3. Pic-Time
I’ve gone back and forth between online gallery servers trying to find the best one. I’m officially content in saying: I loveee Pic-Time! Not only does it have an unlimited storage for my wedding galleries, it also notifies me once my clients successfully download their gallery and gives them the ease to view their gallery whenever they desire!

4. Showit + WordPress
I grouped these together because I purchased them as a bundled package. I am a DESIGN NERD. Meaning that I loveeeeee creating my website from scratch, and nowadays I don’t need to be super in on all the code in order to do so. Showit makes it easy and fun to organize and re-organize not only my website but also my blog. A big plus is that my blog is hosted through WordPress so I get all of those beautiful perks that come with a WordPress blog, but designed the way I want it to look from Showit! Add a program like Blogstomp to it and you are all set to creating your dream digital footprint!

5. My fifth necessity is accumulation of all these Free Necessities:

AirTable
I had a friend use this program for an event he created, and it blew my socks off. First of all it was free, and second of all it was basically a more colorful, design oriented excel spreadsheet. But one I could access through the internet, instead of having to constantly save and email to my phone. I not only use this to keep up with my scheduled sessions, but also my vendor contact info, my social media content schedule, second shooter schedules, wedding tasks, and sooo many others!

Excel Spreadsheets
I know, I’m still old school. But when it comes to accounting and taxes, I would rather import the numbers myself. It helps me see physically what I am spending and what I am expensing in monthly costs. I then export those and send them straight to my accountant! Works like a charm for us both!

Instagram + UNUM
The PHOTOGRAPHER’S holy grail of portfolio showing. It’s the easiest way to catch a potential clients eye without having to set up a table at a bridal show every weekend. If you have a small business, don’t just limit yourself to Facebook updates and witty Twitter banter. Combine the two and create an Instagram profile. It’s zero cost to put your work there and showcase, reaching even more clients. Bonus if you post more of yourself, because nowadays your audience wants to see and connect with you. Make social media more of a place to showcase your soul and your work versus getting lost in comparison.

I added UNUM because I use this platform to schedule my Insta feed. Again with my design nerd banter – but I want to make sure my feed not only is a reflection of my website but also a great reflection of my work. If someone clicks on my profile, I want them to get a feel within those first 6 photos of who I am and what I capture.

Hootsuite
Speaking of scheduling, people use this a ton for allll social media posting (since it is across the board from Facebook to Twitter to Insta). But I primarily use it for batch posting on Pinterest. Every Sunday I sit at my computer and schedule 5 pints per day to be posted through Hootsuite. It will then post it directly to whichever board I set with whatever caption or link I desire, and I no longer have to worry about keep up with it!

Google Analytics / Google Business
Guys the fact that these are free and available to be used BLOWS MY MIND. If you have not already taken advantage of these programs and set yourself up as a Google Business, do it now. It not only helps with your SEO, and digital backlinks, but it helps you understand how crucial Google is in this advertising age. All the SEO in the world helps, PLUS making sure Google can recognize you as a legitimate business. AND THEN TO ALSO have the option to view the website traffic? Come on. Get to it. Now.

 

There ya have it kids! My top five (well more like 10) absolutely necessary programs to help run my small business smoothly (and not let it take over my life!).

Happy day kids! // Mariss

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