Tools and Resources for Creative Small Businesses
This resource library is a list of my favorite business management tools that creative entrepreneurs will find useful. Some of these marketing tools have been essential in helping me manage and market my online business.
I’ve been working as a virtual assistant for several years now. During that time, I’ve tested out several business tools from project management software to scheduling social media.
Have you used any of these virtual assistant tools yet? Small business owners can benefit from using any of the tools listed here!
The content on this page may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a commission of the sale (at no extra cost to you!). I recommend items that I personally use and enjoy.
Business Management Tools
The tools listed below are my favorites and what I believe are the best business tools for service providers like virtual assistants, photographers, graphic designers, and bloggers.
I use these tools daily to operate my virtual assistant business!
Client Management Softwares for Small Business
I use Dubsado for canned proposals, contracts, canned email templates, and more. It also allows me to set up workflows, which are like automated systems for booking new clients.
When someone fills out one of the forms I created, Dubsado will send them emails automatically.
I also have templates for proposals and contracts that are easy to pull up and edit when I need to. This saves me lots of time each week!
Try Dubsado here. I’ve also heard great things about Honeybook and 17 Hats.
Signing Contracts & Documents
In addition to using a CRM, I recommend protecting your business legally with The Contract Shop. You can purchase contract templates and other legal documents to make sure your website is legal.
Project Management Tools for Small Business
Project management tools can help you organize all aspects of your business (even your personal life, ha!). They’re great for storing all your business plans in one place.
I’ve used Asana for many years with multiple clients. In the Asana platform, you can create projects, assign tasks, set deadlines, and use a calendar view to help you visually see all of your tasks.
Asana also has a mobile app, which I like because I receive comments and notifications on my smartphone like text messages.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.
Toggl is my go-to time tracking tool. It’s very helpful for me to see how much time I spend on each task.
Also, Toggl shower a timer in the tab at the top of your browser, so if you’re a fan of the Pomodoro technique, you can visually see when you’ve spent 30 minutes on a task.
Graphic Designer Tools for Small Business
Canva is the easiest design tool for newbies and experts. I’m also blown away by how much their software has improved in the last couple of years. Here are just a few features I love about Canva Pro:
- Thousands of templates to use that are set up with the correct dimensions needed for each social media platform
- You can upload custom fonts to use on your marketing materials
Photoshop & Lightroom
To be honest, I don’t use Photoshop much these days because there are so many features available in Canva Pro now. But, I do use Lightroom to enhance photos.
I browse the Creative Market from time to time because this website has so much to offer. Everywhere, they update their free goods, which you can download free of charge.
I purchased a bundle of feminine logos to create my own business logo for $21.
Email Marketing Tools for small business
I enjoy creating email sequences and highly recommend them because they are marketing automation on overdrive!
FloDesk is relatively new on the scene since it launched in 2019. With FloDesk, you can create beautiful email newsletters with drag and drop features. Try Flodesk here.
I’ve also used ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign. But I like Flodesk because it’s the most affordable when you’re just getting started creating an email list.
Business Tools for Creating Social Media Posts
Tailwind is the best tool out there if you want to improve your Pinterest marketing. It allows you to schedule pins all in one sitting, so you can be consistent with sharings pins every day. Try Tailwind here.
Facebook Creator Studio
I’ve used Later in the past, but the Facebook Creator Studio is free. For now, the biggest bonus for me is being able to schedule carousal posts on Instagram. I can also cross-promote my Instagram content on my Facebook business page.
Most service providers are going to be reluctant about the bookkeeping side of their business.
Luckily, we can use accounting software to help make the bookkeeping process easier.
While this one was difficult to learn initially, I’ve come to rely on Quickbooks. I love that I can attach receipts to business expenses and keep all my invoices and expenses organized.
And if you reach a point where you can hire a bookkeeper and accountant, many of them are well versed with Quickbooks. I also like that you can link QB to Dubsado.
Communication Tools for Business
Whether you need to communicate with clients or your team, these tools allow you to easily communite with anyone, whether you’re at home working from your computer or on-the-go with your smartphone.
Separate business messaging from your personal text messages with ease. Slack easily integrates with Asana, Google Drive, and other apps you may be using. Communicate with your clients quickly!
Zoom has become very mainstream now because of the global pandemic. It’s a video conferencing tool that’s very convenient for socializing with friends, but it also allows you to create and save recordings.
As far as I know, Google Meet doesn’t have all the features that Zoom has, but it can link directly to your email address and Google calendar.
When you create new events, you can automatically set up a custom meeting link that’s attached to your calendar event.
Creating Video Content and Screen Sharing
Loom is a video software that allows you to record your computer screen. You can even include a simultaneous camera view of yourself speaking to your front-facing camera.
Loom is a great way to create YouTube videos or share video tutorials with your team or clients.
Scheduling Tools for Appointments
I use the appointment scheduler within my Dubsado subscription, but there are a few other options out there.
Find the perfect meeting time with super-easy online appointment scheduling software from Calendly, and say goodbye to phone and email tag.
I’ve also heard good things about Acuity Scheduling!
Tools That Help You Blog Better
Google Drive is a file storage service that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, forms, and presentations.
You can create folders and upload all sorts of files to them like graphics, videos, audio files, and PDFs.
I live in Google Drive daily as I use it to organize blog posts and other aspects of my business.
It makes file sharing really simple so I can create content calendars and other spreadsheets for clients as well.
Blog Post Template
I’ve created the following resources to help you make your blog work smarter for you. The blog post template helps me write content and include keywords in the right places.
The SEO checklist is something I use every time I work on a blog post because it helps me make sure I’m not missing any important best practices.
SEO Business Tools
Navigating search engines is a priority for me. Ranking on the first page of Google is a milestone I love achieving! These are some tools I use to help me improve my website SEO and marketing strategy for my blog.
If you’re able to invest $49 per month and can publish new blog content consistently, then you should consider investing in RankIQ!
This is a free tool to use for gathering a list of keyword ideas and a brief audit of your website. UberSuggest is a good tool to use when you’re first getting started with blogging.
Answer the Public
There are lots of mixed reviews on Answer the Public, but I do like that it generates plenty of content ideas and FAQs.
Site Checker Pro
Sitechecker is an SEO tool that I use to perform regular audits on the websites I manage. It performs website audits regularly for me, and shares tips on how to improve websites for better search engine rankings.
Keywords Everywhere is an awesome tool that can help you do keyword research on Google. It works as a browser add-on, and I use it on Google Chrome.
For every keyword I search for, it’ll provide an average monthly search volume, CPC, and competition data.
Google Search Console & Google Analytics
When I first discovered the Google Search Console, it blew me away. It’ll tell you what keywords Google is currently collecting from your website.
You can also see if any of your blog posts or landing pages are ranking on the first page of Google. The amount of information it gives you is invaluable!
Here are instructions for setting up Google Search Console with your website.
Google Analytics provides all sorts of reporting on your website traffic. You can also link it to the Google Search Console, so you can review all the data in one place. You can set up an analytics account here.
Save all your passwords easily in one place! When you use the Chrome extension, login credentials will automatically generate on your login pages.
Saves so much time and hassle trying to remember passwords!