Setting up a remote business can be more complicated than you think, especially if you need it to travel with you. Also, despite the fact that most people dream of living a ‘laptop lifestyle’, imagining long days on the beach and flexible working hours, the reality is that staying 100% motivated and keeping track of admin can be a constant challenge.
After swapping a full-time corporate job in communications, I started my own creative company and found out for myself what a challenge it can be, after falling pregnant and into a 6-week cycle of low motivation and self-doubt.
In realising that I was not alone in feeling those things, I decided to put together a list of the 5 essential tools that help get me keep going when motivation is low or help me get things done and keep track when things get a little crazy. Most of these tools are free and I use them daily, resulting in many happy and productive hours and more time to do the things I enjoy, which is why I started my business in the first place!
Writing is one of those things that seem like no big deal, until you sit down and try to put the words on paper. When you hit a bout of writer’s block and you’re writing something for a client, it can turn into a monster of worry and angst to get things done. Enter Grammarly…a simple-to-use free online grammar checker tool that assists you in grammar errors, detecting plagiarism, improving text and heightening meaning. It means that I don’t repeat certain words too often. It’s a life saver if you’ve been staring at a piece of writing for hours and if you need help refining the copy.
If you run a creative business that manages various Instagram accounts, you’ll know what a pain it is to do it all from your phone, post quality content and only being able to log into a limited number of accounts. Although Grum is not free, it really simplifies Instagram account management by allowing you to schedule posts on your computer, making it easier to upload professional-looking photos.
Ah, keeping track of 10 projects that are all due within one week of each other – the stuff every freelancer or contractor’s nightmares are made of! Asana has been like a personal project manager for my small business, except it’s free (up to a certain number of projects and team members), easy-to-use and perfect for remote teams that need to collaborate on projects and upload images, files or documents. The best part is that you can download the app and keep track of projects on your smartphone.
When you start a creative business, but are not necessarily a designer, chances are you will get requests from clients for design work. I have been using the free version of Canva for ad-hoc, small projects, as well as for my own blog and business design, and it truly is a must-have if you want to create documents, adverts, social media graphics or anything in-between, which need to look professional and modern.
If you have a creative business, you will know that accounting is one of the biggest challenges for a creative mind. Xero helps you do just that. The cloud-based accounting software is geared towards small businesses and keeps track of all your incomes and expenses, while also allowing you to send invoices and ensuring that your documents and accounting is in order for tax returns, loan applications etc.
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