Our Top 5 Tech Tools for Artists
Greetings Maker! Zac here.
In the creative online business world I've hearing a lot about "working on your business" vs "working in your business" and I hear the dread in people's voice when they try to balance the two. But keeping things in order so that you can put more effort into your core offerings doesn't have to be a chore.
It could be that you're simply lacking the right tools.
Chopping down a tree with a dull ax is hard too. Sharpen up your tool kit with my top 5 recommendations.
"A messaging app for teams who put robots on mars" If JPL uses it, it must be good right?
Slack is the most powerful messaging platform I've ever used. You'll have no problem getting your whole team on it since it's available on every platform (iOS, Android, Windows phone, MacOS, Web, and yes, even Linux). I guess not every platform, I don't see Gameboy Color on their list...
Slack's not just for messaging though, through it's handy third-party integration, you can use it as a hub to funnel all of your important business notifications. I have personally used it's integration's with Trello, Google Calendar, and Stripe and found it handy to get text-message-like alerts when important events happen within those services.
Slack is free to use with no trial period. There are paid tiers, but for small teams the free tier works perfectly.
You've got your personal email on Gmail and love it, but you want to be professional, so you got an @yourwebsite.com email through your web hosting provider's sub-par Webmail interface right?
Google's got your back with Google Apps for Work.
All of the functionality and powerful tools you're used to with a Google account (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive) but with a custom email address @yourdomain.
At $5 per user per month, it's a great deal for all of the function you're getting, plus it comes with 30GB of Drive storage. I sprung for the $10 per month plan and have 1TB of storage.
Now I can get to all of my files. From anywhere.
How many times do you type out the same inquiry response email? Or re-type the same word you always misspell? Or copy/paste all of your hashtags for your posts on the biz Instagram page? #aintnobodygottimeforthat.
I use Text Expander daily to reduce the amount of typing I have to do while still keeping my writing looking professional and free of short-hand or abbreviations.
Simply set your desired text to output and then set your desired trigger text and away you go.
i.e., I have to write the word "customer" a ton in my writing for my day job (writing notes on calls at an ISP). I have one "snippet" set so that every time I type "cm" it automatically changes it to "customer".
That's a simple one.
I have another that outputs the current date, and another that outputs a common email subject that I send multiple times a day.
Lilah has one that outputs an entire form email to respond to inquires for design work. They charge $3.33 per month, and I know you'll save more than that in time. That ROI is a no-brainer.
Security experts will tell you not to use the same password for every site, and that's good advice.
If one site gets compromised, or if you accidentally give out your password on some site that you got to from a phishing email, then now your whole online world has been cracked open.
I mitigate that risk by using a password manager. (all those security experts use them too). There are many out there (LastPass is a great option too), but we chose 1Password.
It has a great user interface, is well encrypted, and has apps for my iPhone and Mac. (Windows & Android too).I use it to generate strong passwords for each account I make on the web, and they're different each time.
Now I just have to remember my one password (see what they did there?) and the app will plug my login information for me on the site I'm visiting. Much safer than that day planner of passwords that you have in your middle drawer or that sticky note under your keyboard.
$2.99 per month for a single user.
We live in Trello here at the Higgins Creative, thanks to Dana Malstaff's free training!
Useful for simple list keeping or full-on project management, Trello has a simple, clean user interface that can be learned in minutes.
It's available on Web, iOS, and Android, so you can be sure that you can get to it from anywhere.
We use it to manage our projects internally and with our clients. This has actually eliminated email back-and-forth while working on projects, because we can communicate and comment on details of the project within the project board.
No more referencing that one thing you sent last Tuesday and "oh yea, that one email that got lost in my endless inbox, what did it say again?".
Pixar, Google, theverge.com, and the ISP I work for all use Trello to keep on top of our projects. Oh, and the base tier is Free.
Have specific tech questions? Hop into our Facebook group for Makers and ask me directly!