The Business of Being Creative Double-Take: Top 10 Business Tools for Creative Entrepreneurs

Instagram. Blogging. Facebook. Email newsletters. Pinterest. Invoicing. Webinars. Bookkeeping. 

When you run your own blog or business, the list of things to do feels endless and it’s easy to feel constantly behind. The good news is, there are some amazing tools to stay organized and get things done. Joanna and I are sharing our favorite tools to help us rock our businesses, save time and make more money!

Katie’s take:

Cost: Free

Trello is a free project management tool that was made for a right-brained creative. It divides topics into boards. Each board is divided into lists that house cards filled with notes, images, to dos and more. I use Trello as a home base for my to do lists, content calendar and more.

If you aren’t sure how to use it, don’t miss Think Creative Collective’s Trello for Business course. It’s a steal at $29 and they give you their Trello boards.

Cost: Plans start at $20 a month

When you run a service based business, you end up with contracts, invoices, contact info and more. I hated using multiple platforms to keep track of it all. I was thrilled when I learned about Dubsado, the client management system for creatives. It is a tool I was happy to add.

Not only can it do everything mentioned above, it also has built in workflows so I can easily keep track of where I am in regard to client projects. Dubsado also has amazing customer support and an active Facebook group to share tips and tricks.

Cost: Plans starts at $29 a month

I’ve put a focus on growing my email list this year and ConvertKit has made it easy. I can quickly create a form to embed into a blog post. From there, I can segment my list so I can send targeted emails. ConvertKit also makes it easy to put together welcome sequences, email funnels and more.

Acuity Scheduling
Cost: Varies based on plan.

When you have a service-based business, having a scheduling app is essential. I love Acuity because I can set my schedule and my clients can select the time that works best for them. It also syncs with my Google Calendar and blocks out times I’m not available so I don’t get double booked. Clients can reschedule their appointments and receive reminders before sessions begin. I can also easily set up payments and intake questionnaires via Acuity. Start with a free trial and see if it’s for you.

Cost: Free

LastPass is my password manager of choice. If you are sick of juggling usernames and passwords, you can use LastPass to keeps tabs on them.

One of my favorite LastPass features is password sharing. Clients are easily able to share their login information quickly and safely It makes it easy for clients to share their passwords and account information. This makes everyone’s life easier and safer.

Joanna’s take:

Google Calendar
Cost: Free

I’m pretty much obsessed with anything that Google has put out, but I am lost without my calendar. I start each day with a glance at my calendar so I know what’s on the docket for the day, which is really important because each day is different for me! I have many different ones that I use: my editorial calendar, the calendar my management team created to make sure I meet my deadlines, my personal calendar, and even one that tracks how many times I worked out!

Cost: Free

For a long, long time I was a paper list person, especially because it felt so good to cross something off the list. But I kept losing my lists! So now I use this app which syncs across all my devices to keep me on task. I love that I can set alarms, too.

Cost: Varies based on plan.

By far, Tailwind is my favorite way to schedule and management my Pinterest account. I especially love all of the amazing analytics that it offers. I’ve shared my love of Tailwind before (more here)!

Cost: $0-9 a month

Plann is another app that I absolutely love and have mentioned before (more here). I really believe that using this app to carefully curate my Instagram feed has helped me gain more traction and build my following!

Cost: $9-70 a month

This one is kind of boring, but has saved me a lot of time. I recently brought on a bookkeeper to help me take of my business finances and she recommended using Xero for my accounting and invoicing. It’s great straight forward and veryyyy robust.

What other tools have worked best for you? We’d love to know!

ps — if you’d like to submit a question, shoot us an email at!

photography by Meghan Klein.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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