As a small one-woman studio, running this small business can get really overwhelming sometimes. Luckily I have found these four completely free tools that have helped me stay on track, organized, and feeling in control of my business.
Asana is a task management program that allows me to stay on task, set deadlines, and plan workflows. My clients know how much I sing the praises of Asana. It is absolutely my number one way to stay organized on project tasks.
I have Asana organized to have internal projects (where I keep track of content marketing calendars, weekly admin tasks, personal design projects, etc.) and client projects (where I keep track of each client project). Within each project, I can assign tasks to a specific person with due dates. I love this system because it allows my clients to know exactly where I am in the design process and what to expect next from me. It also allows me to assign a few tasks to my clients, like filling out questionnaires or providing feedback on designs. The design process can be a mystery to some people so this sets expectations from the beginning and brings more clarity to the overall process. It also helps to ensure that projects stay moving and are on schedule.
I could write a whole blog series on how I’m using Asana and how much it has helped me, but I’ll keep it short because we have more great tools to talk about! But longs story short – I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from clients on how much they loved working and communicating through Asana and have expressed how much they appreciated knowing what they could expect from me next and when and that they knew exactly what I would need from them.
When I worked at my design day job the number one complaint was that we didn’t receive content and feedback from clients when we needed it, causing our projects to come to a pause for long periods of time. But the real problem was us. We never set those expectations from the beginning and never actually told our clients when we would need those things from them. Communication is a huge priority for me when it comes to my clients and Asana has definitely helped me maintain great client relationships.
Loom is a Chrome extension that allows you to do a screen recording and then quickly saves it as a link. I use Loom for two main things in my business.
Added bonus: You get a notification when someone has viewed your video
It is really important for me to get to know my clients and form connections with them. I like to work with people that I would want to hang out with. This can sometimes be difficult since I live and work in Oregon but I work with clients all over the US and even outside of the states.
So I like to use Zoom for video calls with clients and for consultations. Zoom feels like having a virtual coffee date and I am able to learn so much more about someone from just a little bit of face time.
I love that I can share my screen with people and can record for free up to 30 minutes. This has been really helpful for longer tutorials for my clients or for kick off calls where I don’t want to be writing the entire time but I also don’t want to forget anything. I’m also the kind of person that likes everything in writing, so having it recorded is a huge plus for me.
Added bonus: it has a face filter feature that smooths out your skin. Totally comes in handy when I’m working from home and didn’t put on make-up that day.
Streak is a Gmail extension that works similarly to a CRM like HoneyBook or Dubsado. It is more limited but it is completely free.
Some of my favorite things about Streak are:
These resources have been such a life saver for me and my business and could be a great asset for any small business. I hope that you find them as helpful as I have here at Quill & Co. Design.