When I first started my business I was like a fish out of water.
If that fish lived for Google searches and YouTube how-to videos. And if that fish was a uni dropout that didn’t take a single business course. I also can’t swim so that’s a bad reference but you get it. Shit was messy.
Thankfully I’ve learned A LOT since those first few months and managed to hit the 6 figure income mark my 2nd year of business. It’s one part vision, one part hard work, and one part working SMART with the right people, systems, and programs to help you get there.
* Just as a reference for those who don’t already know, I work primarily as a website designer and organic digital strategist. Some of these programs are strictly for website design clients, others are for social media and creative direction clients, and a few can be used with any business. I’ve highlighted which client/area of my business I use for each program.
We all know and love Google Drive! This is used for ALL of my clients. I also rely on this for myself with the legends I have helping me run the Traveller By Trade brand. The Google Drive doc files are editable from multiple ends, autosave, and can be access on any computer via your account. It’s ideal for planning out everything from website client copy decks to social media and creative direction marketing focuses.
For clients: Each client has their own folder. Within the folder will be sections; photo or video assets, all docs for website client onboarding ect depending on the client
For myself: The SSI Membership has a folder where we track all members, payments, guest speakers, trainings, month themes ect. I also have a folder with my email marketing specialist and another with my Pinterest manager. These are used to share assets and to build out newsletters/marketing emails that we can each edit, update, or comment/makes notes on.
This is what I use for my website design clients. I find it super easy to use and love the colour coded feature to help stay organised. Past/current builds/website redesigns are each assigned a colour so I can better track projects. Each client gets their own board, which I can invite them into, and here we house everything for them to be able to reference back to; Original quote & contract, all the website onboarding files, Google Drive links for the photos ect. This is also where we house all of the passwords rather than sending them over email for an extra bit of security.
This is what I use for my social media management and creative direction clients. I find this is great for larger teams! In my particular case with this platform I work alongside the marketing and FB ads manager and a few copy writers for 4 different brands. This is a great way for all of us to communicate and keep track of everything that needs to be done for each brand specifically.
There are a ton of social media planners and scheduler out there, but Later has stuck true to being my favourite (next to Plann, but they went through some hectic glitches while updating a while back and I had to make the decision to move solely to Later for the sake of sanity.)
I use this for all my clients as well as my own personal Instagram feed. My clients are generally scheduled out 4 weeks in advance and use the auto-post feature for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, depending on the client. My personal feed is *somewhat* designed out but like most SMM’s out there my own feed isn’t nearly as organised as my clients. Overall, I love using scheduling programs so I can get to aesthetic of my feed in place and plan further out when the inspiration sparks.
There are free and paid options for Later. For personal accounts the free should be fine, but with clients opting for the paid version gives a TON of perks!
Bless the Canva, master of design ease and template galore. If you don’t have it already, I highly recommend the Canva Pro subscription. It’s a tax write-off business expense and it gets its share of worth for me between my personal and client work. I also use this to house some of my freebies, like the Media Kit Template, and the brand boards that come with the Branding Blueprint.
This is only used for the SSI Mastermind. It’s used widely within the gaming and streaming community. We chose to host the membership on here because it allowed us to create an online space for the members that is outside of Facebook/other platforms they use daily. We’re big on life-work balance and separation and wanted to reflect that in the SSI community. There are topic boards with the SSI channel and they allow us to keep things like day-to-day questions and the training videos/chats separate (unlike in traditional FB membership groups.)
Highly recommend this platform to anyone wanting to create an online community.
OR (better yet) come and join us over at SSI! We do member intake at the beginning of each month.
This is a screen recording Google Chrome extension that I cannot recommend enough. Up until recently any length of video was free but they’ve since changed it to a 5 minute limit, with membership options available for longer recording.
Have you purchased an online course or pre-set pack that comes with tutorials? 99% chance these were recorded on Loom. I use this for the SSI Membership Mindset Monday videos and for website clients when needing the visual aspect of things to explain something. 10/10 recommend
How I book calls with all clients/anyone else that I need to organise a call time with (like podcast hosts.) This little gem links up with Google Meet or with your Zoom account and *the best part* is that it takes the guesswork out of figuring out your time zones, which is a blessing working with clients from 5+ different countries at any given time.
There are free and paid options, I currently use the free option. The paid option offers a ton of perks and allows you to accept a payment in order for the client to book in, making it great for coaches or those offering paid calls.
I have a serious hatred for PayPal and after wayyyyy too long of searching for an alternative, I came across Wise while on a digital nomad retreat in South Africa. I’ve basically been falling in love ever since and use this with most of my clients.
The best way to explain it? Think if the smallest banking service fees and best currency exchange rates had a love child.. and out came Wise. Unlike other platforms, you create different ‘bank accounts’ for each currency. Wise will then create bank details for that currency. This means that international clients can do normal bank transfers no matter which country they’re in. I currently hold a Canadian, US, Australia, UK, and German bank account within Wise.
You can even get a Wise card to use when travelling overseas to avoid the insane bank fees you for using your debit card internationally. Its bliss. Much love. Highly recommend.
My bookkeeping software! This is an Australian based platform, so sorry for anyone outside of the country, but this gem is cheap as chips and keep everything running smoothly so my tax accountant doesn’t want to strangle me at the end of the financial year. It’s linked up to all of my business bank accounts, holds client info, invoices, the works, and at only $15 per month. Cannot go wrong!
My email marketing platform of choice! I’d say I use this, but my email marketing guru does, and I just follow her direction. She runs all of my campaigns, has created all of my funnels, and sends out my newsletters from here.
There are a ton of options, and when I came down to choosing between FloDesk and AC more people had recommended Active Campaign. As long as you’re not still on MailChimp you’re fine (we have a hate-hate relationship, like with PayPal)
The shop integration portion of my website’s back end. I use Shopify Lite which is about $13 a month, depending on the currency exchange rate that month.
This is how I sell my website templates and the Branding Blueprint on my website. Shopify is the queen of e-commerce websites! I’d never recommended any other platform for selling anything on your website.
Last, but certainly not least, is my one true love ShowIt.
This is my choice (and literally the best) website-building platform in the WORLD. Dramatics aside, I don’t know why anyone builds on any other platform, aside from Shopify for e-commerce businesses.
It’s got just as much design freedom as Adobe XD and doesn’t build in the traditional section templates like WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, or literally any other platform out there.
While I offer website builds and redesigns on 3 platforms ShowIt stands to be my favourite by far.
This is also the platform that all of my website templates have been built on.
I hope this helps anyone that’s just getting started, or those looking to restructure any of these areas of their business. Have any questions? You can DM my personal Instagram account @travellerbytrade anytime.
Want to learn more tips and tricks? Make sure to follow @DigitalNomadByTrade
Or check out the resources page on the website
PS. There are some affiliate links on this blog. This means that by signing up for some of these paid memberships I will receive a small kickback. I appreciate you helping to support the ‘By Trade’ brand! x