Running a creative business takes a lot of guts, determination, and hard work.
When we start creative businesses, we often have fantasies about whiling hours away working on a craft we love and end the day completely content.
The reality of being a maker starting to carve their own path and run a business could not be further from this ideal.
Creative folk, even successful ones juggle full-time jobs, family, study and other interests.
We steal time for our making, waking up early, taking five minutes here and there.
When the day to day admin takes up the majority of your time, it's easy to become a little disillusioned, not to mention unmotivated; but there is a way to keep the things you love and make the admin a little less daunting.
I was running my market, Lonely Hunter, and found that small admin tasks chewed up so much of my time there was barely a moment to work on the things I loved, writing and interviewing creatives as well as planning an incredible event. There were times that the thought of doing the next thing on my ever-growing list seemed too much to take, and I often thought of throwing in the towel.
But my love of working with makers and the joy of market day won out in the end.
It's worth sticking with and looking for ways to streamline the tasks that you don't find inspiring.
Here are the five essential tools I live by to make running a business simple, and actually fun!
Google Drive has all the features of Microsoft Office but with the beauty of being cloud-based, so you can access your docs on the go.
It’s accessible to anyone with a Google account and a world of productivity is at your fingertips.
You can create a whole system to track your business and your ideas.
You can create documents, upload images, keep track of your business expenses or plan your editorial.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
The best part of Google Drive is it’s a breeze to work with others. Elliot and I live in Google Drive – we’ve got a million different docs and folders that use to run Maker Academy.
I’ll share ideas for a new course, a great designer I’ve stumbled upon, or a font I like.
We are constantly sharing things with each other and commenting on things that we can improve or change.
The best part is we can alert the other we’ve created something new or made changes to an existing doc so nothing can be missed.
Shout out to Google for making two of my most favourite business tools!
Google tasks is a to-do list that you can access from your email.
I use it all the time as a place to brain dump all the projects I’m working on and the individual tasks I have to complete.
There are a million different project management tools out there, but this simple little feature packs a punch.
I live in my email and with tasks I can note down any ideas I have in a jiff, and see immediately what I need to get done.
Mailchimp makes sending out email newsletters a cinch!
Their templates are really simple and designed for the complete digital newbie.
With Mailchimp, all you have to do is create some awesome content you want to share with your audience, put in a great image, send to your list and you’re off!
Bonus points also go to these guys for advertising on the podcasts that I love (Start Up anyone?).
This gives me the warm and fuzzies and makes me identify with their brand.
If you want to share files with team members, clients, or your mum, there’s no better way than Dropbox.
You can access the files on the go too so if you need to share something while you’re on the go, it’s painless.
What a lifesaver Hoosuite is.
When I was managing multiple social media accounts, it’s the only way I could keep my sanity and remain productive.
With one click you can add content to any or all your accounts.
The best part is you can share logins and have an extra pair of hands help out if you need it!
Whatever business tools you decide to use, it’s important to make sure they can easily become part of your routine.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is have a notebook on hand and use it like a life raft.
What tools keep you on track? Is there anything this list is missing in this list?