When it comes to running a creative business, there’s a lot more to it than waving a magic wand and whizzing up branding love spells. There’s also a lot of technical back-end stuff that makes that creative magic possible. After all, just because you’re a soul-sister doing it for yourself, that doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself as well!
So just like Harry has Hermione, Buffy has Willow and Peter Pan has Tinkerbell, Infinity Creative have a big box chock full of tools that help us bring the sparkle into every project. And today I thought I would give you a bit of a peek behind the curtain and show you my top 8 tools for running a creative business.
This one is an absolute essential for any visual business, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a graphic designer without Adobe in their toolkit. Adobe Creative Cloud is the name for a collection of over 20 desktop and mobile applications, all created for creatives. They include programmes for graphic design, photography and editing, video creation, UX (or User Experience) and more.
This suite allows me to take the ideas I sketch out on paper and turn them into digital drawings, often making them better as I do! I can use photoshop on the iPad, draw and paint with Fresco and even design for 3D and AR (something that’s new to me but very exciting!) Really, Adobe Creative Cloud is the heart core of my business and it allows me to do my job to a very high standard!
Canva Pro is the upgraded version of Canva – a graphic design platform for non-designers. You might think that’s an odd thing for an actual designer to use, but hear me out. I mainly use it as a way of bridging the gap between myself and my clients, so that they can actually use their branding properly. Because Canva is an easy to use drag and drop system that lets you create social media graphics, posters, booklets, worksheets and loads more visual content, it’s the ideal tool for your average business owner.
Once I’ve done the branding work with a client, I will log into their Canva Pro account and load it with all of the branding guidelines, set up their logos, supporting graphics, colours and fonts. This means I can hand them over a complete design tool with their branding built-in, so they can have full confidence in creating new graphics for their business moving forward.
If you want to read more about why I LOVE Canva Pro, you can read my last blog (just click here).
I know this one technically isn’t a ‘tool’, but I honestly don’t know where my business would be without it. Crazy Daisy is an international online networking club hosted by business coach Trudy Simmons, and it’s an absolutely fabulous community to be a part of. Networking is one of the best methods I’ve found for growing my business, both in terms of finding new clients and building a network of amazing business women who will shout about my business at any opportunity!
Plus Trudy makes sure the group is always full of amazing learning opportunities, including how to grow your audience, build your ‘like, know, trust’, and generally develop your business while having fun and meeting a bunch of beautiful business women.
There are loads of different options out there for email marketing, but my personal favourite is Flodesk. This particular platform was built for creators, buy creators, and it gives you a level of control and creative freedom that’s head and shoulders above any other tool I’ve used. You can use it to design and send branded marketing emails, create beautiful and functional opt-in forms to grow your email list, and you can even set up powerful marketing automations that streamline your entire email strategy. The builder is intuitive and easy to use, and it makes it super simple to send marketing emails that are effective and look great at the same time.
When it comes to service providers, there aren’t any quite as big as Google. And because a lot of what I do is very collaborative in nature, Google’s Workspace Business Suite is perfect for me. It’s an integrated suite of secure, cloud-based apps that are powered by Google AI, and all designed around collaboration and productivity.
So, what exactly is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps teams communicate, collaborate and get things done from anywhere and on any device. It’s simple to set up, use and manage, so that your business can focus on what really matters.
A few of the apps I use most often include Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Calendar, Meet and more. All of these apps help me keep the business running and everything going in the right direction, as well as giving me the ability to collaborate with other business owners, like copywriters, photographers and more.
Sign up using my link below and get a free 14-day trial, and get an exclusive 10% discount when you try Google Workspace for your business.
I’m a really visual person, so if I need to explain how to do something or where to find something, I find it easier to show rather than tell. This is how I found Vimeo – a neat little workhorse that allows you to create and share video messages quickly and easily. You can record your camera, microphone and desktop all at the same time, and when you’re done the video is instantly available to share.
I tend to use this when we’re in the web design phase, and it’s a great tool for answering technical questions or training clients on how to use their shiny new website, create things in Canva, give quick briefs to my creative team, or generally just answer questions.
Every business owner needs insurance, but the type differs for every single business. I was never a big fan of the huge, faceless businesses, so I went on the hunt for a slightly smaller insurance provider – one who could listen to what I did and what I thought I needed, and give me the advice and cover I needed.
PolicyBee is an independent, specialist professional indemnity and business insurance broker, and they’ve definitely given me some peace of mind about my business in the background. They’re an absolutely fab business with really reasonable prices that are great for creative businesses, so if your insurance is up for renewal I highly recommend giving them a go!
And finally, we have what might be the driest, but most necessary part of running a business – the numbers. I needed something that was simple and easy to use, and that wouldn’t take up too much of my time getting everything sorted out each month. Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting software packages out there, and it’s so popular because it has all the time-saving tools you need to grow your business in one place. From invoices and expenses to VAT and time tracking, Quickbooks has you covered. And there’s loads of different packages available, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
And there you have it! That’s just some of the tools I use on a day-to-day basis that help me not only keep my creative business going, but give me the freedom and the ability to create the kind of work that I do. I do have discount codes and affiliate links for a lot of these tools, so if you’re interested in trying them out, please drop me a line and I’ll see if I can save you some money! And if you need any tips or tricks when using them, I’m always happy to share my knowledge as well.