I’m an INTJ* so…
I love organizing and making systems. I’ve tried out a few business management tools for photographers. From the free Studio Cloud to trials of Tavé, 17Hats, Honeybook, ShootQ and more. But I think I have found a system that works for me.
Now if all the tools below integrated into one big system it would be the ultimate super tool. I haven’t found something that I’ve liked, that works for me, so I’ve put my own together organization system from separate parts
For my social media, I focus on Instagram and use Later [affiliate] for my Instagram scheduling. I can schedule my Instagram posts with hashtags for many themes and write captions for posts. The mobile app gives me a notification to download the photo and copies text to the clipboard. Later works, is easy to use and plays well with Instagram. For my Facebook, I’m not as well versed outside of native posts so that’s all done by hand. I do like the Publicize feature from the WordPress plugin Jetpack for my blog posts, so that’s super easy.
So what is my great and wonderful way to spend less cash? It’s Zenkit. I use Zenkit for everything tracking. It’s my workflow, editorial calendar, client tracking, brain dumping, to do list, family management, tracking software to test, product info, notes, lead tracking, mileage, blog planning systems all in one. Zenkit works with Zapier to send my new client info to my bulk mail list automatically. It took the place of Studio Cloud which is free and Insightly which has a free tier too.
For contracts I use HelloSign, the free contract signings I need a few times a month and clients love that they don’t have to create an account to sign. It’s easy to use and works great. I upload the contract I need that I store on my Google Drive. I could use templates in HelloSign but I haven’t played around beyond what works for me there yet. HelloSign also plays well with Zapier for automation.
For invoicing I use Wave. Stephanie at The Green Stork introduced me to Wave and it’s great! I can upload my logo for a branded experience, plug in all my products and if I needed I could connect my banking.
But for banking/accounting, I bit the bullet and bought Quickbooks which isn’t free. I bought it on sale on Amazon! I had tried a few other software, like Brightbooks but Wendy at Q Infotek convinced me to give Quickbooks a go. Plus she has great training for Quickbooks available!
For my online galleries and digital proofing, I use Pixieset [affiliate]. Pixieset is clean, intuitive and the free tier is more than what I need, as I do in person ordering sessions. They also have a Lightroom [affiliate] plug-in for even easier file uploading.
Another app is Calendly. I use it for scheduling for mini sessions and school photoshoots. I configure the time slot length and dates and let people sign up when it’s convenient for them. Calendly also plays well with Zapier on the premium level, to make your life super easy.
And finally, I use Gmail, the granddaddy of free tools, to manage my domain emails all in one inbox. I use canned responses and filters to auto-reply to inquiries that I receive. And of course, Zapier integrations are possible.
So there ya go, how I organize my business on the cheap.