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Small Creative Business Owner? Here are 7 Must-Have Tools.

A Cheeky Note From Me, a Creative Business Owner – This Post Contains Affiliate Links So I May Earn a Small Commission If You Click On The Links. And Hey, If You’re Reading This, Try It On Your Blog Posts!

Small Creative Business Owner? SNAP!

You’re a small creative business owner, I’m a small creative business owner – we really aren’t that different. Thankfully, over the last two years (WOW folks, where did that go?) I’ve learned some tips and tricks. When I’d just started my web design business, it sure would have been helpful if someone had mentioned a few tools to help me on my way. So, here’s looking at you creative business owner – let me help a dude out.  

Using the right tools has saved me oodles of time instead of dillydallying; they’ve helped me attract and keep track of oodles of clients and they’ve allowed me to look and feel like an expert, even if I’m still working things out – spoiler alert – that does STILL happen.

The secret sauce to a successful small creative business...

First things first, it’s OK to start with a few free tools. But if you want your journey as a creative business owner to run a hell of a lot smoother, spending a buck, quid or baht here and there will help. Trust me, I know how terrifying it can be to invest at the beginning (if you need help there, have a gander right here) but once you punch through that wall of nerviness you’ll feel a whole lot better. To be cliché, nothing good ever comes from being in your comfort zone. Unless it’s a poolside margarita. That is good. 

So, before I write your ear off, here are my TOP SEVEN TOOLS for small creative business owners. I sure hope they help. 

DUBSADO - the tool for client management

What’s the worst part of being a creative business owner? For me, at least, it is surely the damn ADMINISTRATION. All that repetitive workflow stuff that you wish would just go away. Can you guess what comes next? Dubsado gets it done and out the way in the quickest of all jiffies. 

I use it as a super effective client management system to send proposals and questionnaires, to request feedback and invoices from clients, for surprisingly time-saving email templates and keeping track of finances. Yup, literally everything. 

Plus, there’s a nifty client portal that makes me look like I have my shit together. That, my friends, is always useful!

Emails you actually want to send!

Email marketing – UGHHHHHHHHHH. It is probably my most hated activity in the world; I would rather watch my husband playing FIFA for 4 solid hours than draft another clunky marketing email. And then Flodesk, a shimmering jewel of happiness and love, emerged from the internet wilderness. It was like something out of a dream. 

Flodesk offers creative business owners like us pre-designed email templates and sequences that look super-duper professional. Even the content is written for you! I just customised them to fit my brand and ta-da she’s ready to go. Frankly, I’ll never look back.

Notion - it'll organise your entire life

Organisation? What the hell is that? Yeah, it’s a new concept to me too. 

However, Notion helped me change my ways. And I won’t be changing back. I use it for organising my workflow, making all-important To Do Lists and big old messy brain dumps. They used to get lost deep in my Google Drive, but Notion gives you visual cues to help you navigate through the scramble of squiggles. 

If my laptop’s switched on (which it is, a lot), then Notion is too.

Stripe & (Transfer)Wise - because we all need to get paid!

I’m sure you know this one already. It’s just a small £70 billion payment processing business started by two brothers from literally middle-of-nowhere Ireland. As you do.

Stripe allows us creative business owners to accept payments, send payouts, and lets us receive money directly from our invoices. Plus, it can sync with your new favourite client management tool, Dubsado. 

The fees are pretty standard, but it is cheaper than Paypal. That’s always nice.

You’ll get a fee-free transfer via Wise if you use my link above *

Adobe - for all your design needs!

We’re all aware of Adobe, those big tech hotshots with Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere. Honestly, if you’re a small creative business owner and you’re reading this, you might even be selling your Adobe skills as a service. 

For those who aren’t design-wizard like you guys, I recommend downloading Adobe XD as a free program. I use it to design website wireframes, screen designs, Instagram posts and more. In short, it’s crazy useful!

Elementor Pro - DIY website dreams!

Hurrah! My bread and butter! Trust me, I’m generous for telling you about this one, clients literally pay me for this (but of course, I refer them to this straight away…) 

Elementor Pro is a drag and drop website builder that helps us create and craft beautiful websites for our clients. But the best part, folks, is that you can make changes after launch YOURSELF! No need to hire another creative business owner (though of course, we’re all into supporting our fellow CBOs) to change images, add blog posts and more. The extra custom CSS code also really helps bring your website to life, as you damn well deserve.

Don’t you worry if it’s confusing, fire me an email and I’ll teach you the basics.

Calendly - scheduling client calls just got easier

Automated calendar software – oh, it truly is a gift from heaven. 

Calendly – whether it’s the free or paid version – makes scheduling client calls so simple. Just pop in your availability (for me, Wednesdays and Thursday are always dedicated client days), send through the link to the client, and it will tell them when you’re free. Huzzah! 

When you’re just getting started as a creative business owner, creating a simple client schedule is essential. Calendly smooths out those bumps in the road so you get your new business roaring down the highway to success. What can I say, I love metaphors, folks.

Edit to add: Since the start of ’22 I have been using Dubsado as my scheduler and I freaking love it. We still do want to shout about Calendly though as it’s perfect for your business if you aren’t ready to invest in a CRM just yet.

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