this post is for bossbabes on a budget. there are a lot of components that go into running a business beyond creating your product or service – marketing, content creation, client + project management – just to name a few! in this day and age, there are a TON of options out there to choose from to get it all done. and when your funds are limited, (and who’s aren’t?!?!) it becomes much more important to make those choices wisely.
i’ve been an entreprenuer for the past 12 years and in that time, i’ve learned a thing or two about operating a business on a tight budget. today, i’m going to share with you the tools + resources that work for me and talk about where to splurge and where to save.
up first, let’s talk about a website. whether your business is product based or service based, in this digital era an online presence is an absolute MUST. most babes on a budget – myself included – are looking to DIY their site to cut down on costs. and i’m all for that! but ya gotta be smart about it.
*no matter which platform you choose, start with a free trial. make sure the platform will work for your future goals – is there a blog integration? for photographers, will it accomodate photo galleries? how about e-commerce?
*is the interface user-friendly + intuitive? in other words, do you get how to use it? is there a place to get help – from the developers themselves or a facebook group?
*big question here: do they have free templates? (unless you’re a web designer, use a template. trust me.) will those templates work for your business or will they require a lot of customization?
showit, hands down. i’ve used other platforms in the past and showit, by far, has exceeded them all. they have gorgeous templates, excellent customer service with fast response time, a facebook group full of helpful people, blog + ecommerce integration AND a reasonable monthly fee.
oh, and one more tip regarding your website: DO NOT use a free domain. it’s unprofessional. ’nuff said.
my recommendation: splurge
client + project management
next: client + project management. organization is necessary for your business to run smoothly. maybe you’re a die-hard paper planner – alphabetized, color-coded + indexed. if that works for you, you can skip ahead. if you’ve got post-it notes all over the place, if you’ve written down a draft for your next blog post on the back of a diner placemat and now you can’t find it; or you’ve got ten notebooks to flip through to find those new product notes you KNOW you wrote down somewhere………… then babe, you have GOT to get on board with some sort of client or project management system!
*again, free trial
*for project management, this will largely be a matter of personal preference and the set-up that works for you. it could be the best project management system on the market but if it doesn’t allow you to organize in the way that makes the most sense to you, it will become more of a hinderance than a help
*is there a free plan? what are the benefits of the upgraded plan?
*does it offer desktop, mobile AND app interface?
if all you need is project management – perfect for a product-based business, check out notion, asana or trello – all offer free plans, desktop + app syching and the option to add teams with an upgraded plan. HOWEVER, if you are in any way a service-based business, you’ll need a client management tool. i use dubsado and it is packed with features: project management, client management, automated workflows, scheduling, payment processing integration…… everything all in one and well worth the monthly fee for the time it saves me. AND if you’re moving from another project/client management tool, they offer a white glove migration service free!
my recommendation: splurge if you’re service based. but not too much – use my link to save 20% on your first month. you’re welcome :-p
with respect to content creation, i’ll be brief. simply put, you need on-brand, pretty pictures beyond those of your products. unless you’re a photographer, you’ll need a source for those pictures. start with unsplash + kaboompics. if you’re looking for styled stock photo to supplement, check out this post i wrote on styled stock photo sources. whichever one you choose, make sure they’re on-brand and, if you’re product based, you’ll probably want to make sure they also offer photos for mockups.
social media marketing
now let’s talk marketing. specifically, social media marketing. we all know you have to do it. for the purpose of this post, i’m going to focus soley on instagram since that seems to be where all the cool kids hang out. one thing i will stress – you’re running a business so make sure you have a business profile. you’re missing out on important insights + features if you don’t
there are plenty of posts out there that stress the importance of regular posting and having a cohesive, on-brand grid. but how do you manage it?
*say it with me now………..”free trial”
*use an app that allows you to layout your grid in advance so you can ensure it’s visibly appealing + on-brand
*definitely choose an app with a scheduler – automatic posting to instagram is nice, too, but not a deal breaker
this will also be a matter of personal preference for you. i’ve used planoly, later, tailwind, buffer, preview and hootsuite but now i’m using plann. why? like most free trials of IG planners, plann offered 30 posts per month. their free plan also offered some limited analytics + one stored hashtag set. but i was looking toward the paid version. the paid version – which i’m now using – offers ‘competitor’ analytics, (i hate that word – why not ‘peer’ or ‘industry’???) scheduled stories, image editing + reposting – all for a lower monthly fee than the others. however, if you’re looking for one app to post to multiple social media platforms, check out later which will also post to pinterest.
my recommendation: save. stick with a free plan until it’s absolutely necessary to upgrade
now, i feel the need to mention pinterest. there’s been a lot of talk lately about pinterest being the way to really boost traffic to your site. i’ve only just begun to really focus on pinterest (though i’ve been using it for years) so i can’t really give you any great insight. what i will say is that long pins seem to do better than short pins, pinning regularly gets you ‘seen’ and it helps to have more than one graphic for each post. i’ve recently gotten on-board with tailwind, also. it’s the go-to scheduler for pinterest, everybody loves it,…….blah, blah, blah. honestly, i’m on the fence. i’m not keen on the price, the app, the mobile version OR the interface itself. it’s kinda like amazon – an ‘okay’ price for the basic stuff. want more? pay more.
so these are the tools that are running my business, along with tips on saving money for the bossbabe on a budget. what do you think? any additional resources you think i should explore? (especially if you’ve got an alternate option for tailwind! lol) let me know in the comments!