I started using Harvest the day I opened my business. For only $12/month, it continues to be an invaluable resource for creating invoices, tracking time, income, and expenses. Harvest integrates with many other online tools, such as Quickbooks, Google and Basecamp, to name a few.
Contracts & Online Signatures
Getting contracts signed are no small part of a business transaction. For making this process easier, I use HelloSign. In creating a contract that my clients sign online, HelloSign allows me to upload my own existing document or use one of their templates. It sends status updates from the moment clients first view the contract to when they sign on the dotted line. HelloSign offers a free plan which includes up to 3 documents per month. For businesses with heavier traffic, paid plans starting at $13/mo. are available.
No more playing email/phone tag with your clients! With Calendly, you can schedule meetings, calls, and other appointments by simply posting your time slots online. Clients can view your availability and then book the spots that work for them. It’s a time saver for everyone involved.
Staying in Touch
Google Apps for Work
If you run a business, you’ll want a custom email address that ends with your own domain name rather than something like @gmail.com. You’ll also want an easy way to manage your emails. Google Apps allows you to do both. For $5/month Google lets businesses use a variety of Google products with a custom domain name. ou can use Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk and more. You will need to make a few tweaks to your hosting account to direct your emails to Gmail. Your hosting company can help you with this.
Contactually is a tool that helps you organize and manage your contacts. You can create categories (“buckets”) to easily keep track of family, friends, clients, etc. When it’s time to touch base with a specific contact, Contactually will notify you with a reminder. Contactually integrates efficiently with your email account, offering many additional features, such as email scheduling, open tracking and follow-up, if no response. Monthly plans start at $29.
Task & Project Management
Since starting my business in 2013 I have had my eye on Basecamp yet only recently have I signed up. I am glad I did! Basecamp is a popular online project management tool that allows you to store all project related info in one place (emails, files, to-do lists and more). It’s a great way to collaborate, keep clients informed, and track progress. Every project has its own email address assigned to it, so you can easily add items through email and don’t need to be logged into your Basecamp account. Plans start at $20/month.
I’ve never quite taken to electronic to-do lists and still use my Good & Done Daily planner. That said, if someone took away pen and paper, I’d gladly switch to Todoist. Its simple design reminds me of a handwritten to do list and I love that it syncs with your Gmail account so it’s always there when you need it.
One of my biggest challenges in structuring my day has been remembering to take breaks. I get so focused on my work that I forget to get up and move. Break Time is a desktop app that will kick in after a designated period of time, freezing your computer and forcing you to step away. It easily allows you to set the length of your work and break time (mine is set to 30 min) – just as you need it. $4.99 on iTunes.
Yoga Studio is an iPhone and iPad app with 24 hours worth of yoga classes. You can take a ready-made class, customize a class, or create a shorter sequence of poses that could be done during your break time. I’ve been trying to integrate these yoga poses into my work day to make up for all the sitting I do. $3.99 on iTunes.
7 Minute Workout
The 7 Minute Workout is based on research that claims that working out for a shorter period of time at a very high intensity level is just as, if not more, effective than a long session of exercise. I’m just getting into it, and I can tell you that after doing two rounds in one day I was barely able to walk the next day. Free.