We work from home on a daily basis and often work different hours, so having apps where we can easily stay in touch and organized is key to our success. Each of us also run our own businesses as well as The Marketing Greenhouse full time — I think it goes without saying that we are basically always looking for any opportunity (or any apps) to help streamline our work and increase efficiency.
Through trial and error, our team has found a handful of apps that really help us with efficiency, communication, and running our business in general. We’ve put together a list of them here for anyone who might be launching a new business, or even someone with an existing business that needs a little upgrade. Comment below and let us know if we missed any of your favorites.
Slack is a great way to keep your inbox low but keep conversations fluid with your team. We use Slack as a way to track informal information that we’d share in short emails or via text. You can create channels based on topics as well as have one to one communication with coworkers, too. While we don’t use it today, you can also connect your calendly and google drive accounts to Slack for full integration.
I’ll admit, when Tracy first recommended Asana, I thought, “Great, another organizational tool I’ll use for two weeks.” [sorry, Tracy]. I vowed to give it a chance because she was super passionate about it, and I fell in love. It’s amazing for keeping yourself and your team organized. We use it to track all tasks for each of our projects.
My only complaint is that unless a task is assigned to you, it’s easy to lose track of it. For example, in tracking for our website launch, we had a few ‘tasks’ as to when items go live. Unless that’s assigned to you, it’s easy information to gloss over. However, in terms of managing your workload, asana is the best.
Planning social media posts ahead of time is key to great content. I like to plan no more than two weeks in advance so the content is authentic and genuine. Planoly is my preferred tool for planning. I use it for myself as well as clients. There is a free version available; however, I strongly recommend the paid version for $9/month. With an Instagram business account, you’re able to autopost and track all of your stats, which is helpful.
There are other tools out there such as Later. However, Planoly gives you a visual grid allowing you to drag and drop photos, write captions, and even save hashtags that you can instantly add. When it comes to being efficient and batching work, Planoly is a must-have.
Ever wonder how the beautiful, white background and simple text Instagram stories were created? Meet Unfold. Unfold is an app with free templates as well as templates for purchase to make your stories look beautiful. The best part is they’ll export directly to Planoly.
If you’re in any type of a visual business, I’d strongly consider a Dropbox professional account. While you can use Google Drive, Dropbox is built for photo and file storage. It’s also a seamless way of sharing your work with clients or others whereas Google Drive requires a Google account. The free version holds a sizeable amount of photos and files, so I’d start with a free version.
Bonus: Hours Tracker
Hours Tracker is another app that we discovered through starting our business. You can track up to three projects for free, and the system is seamless. We typically do not bill by the hour; however, we do like to watch where we spend our time. Hours Tracker has been a game changer for easily tracking hours. It also offers a feature to plug in your hourly rate, which makes billing super easy, too!