7 must have apps for productivity and organisation for small business owners, creatives and those with a "side-hustle"

There are some apps you'll come back to repeatedly as a small business owner, creative, product maker or if you have a "side-hustle" (though we prefer the term "something else I'm awesome at" - perhaps that's less memorable...) The best ones are:

a) free (but not constantly asking you to "upgrade");

b) work across your tech e.g. your laptop, your phone and your tablet;

c) allow you to share work easily with someone else;

d) in nearly every instance allow you to use your voice to create text via voice note software;

e) work on Android or ioS.

 

 

Here are our top 7 productivity and organisation apps

For the short version look at the graphic. For the longer description keep on scrolling!

1. Google Drive

The headlines: It's free, you can create pretty much any type of document you want and share it with whomever you want.

The detail: you don't need to buy Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Forms again! You can create any of this type of document simply restyled and stored in the cloud under Google Docs, which you then save in Google Drive. This alone makes it indispensable. However we are particularly big fans of the sharing capacity of Google Drive - we store all our documents on here with shareable links (free resources for our newsletter e.g. PDFs or video masterclasses can be hosted particularly well here). We also create and save all our documents for E-Courses using this: participants can "save a copy" and then edit at will. This works so well for things like our budgeting spreadsheets or detailed word documents with exercises in it. The storage capacity of Google Drive is brilliant, and we pay a tiny amount for even bigger storage but to be honest haven't got anywhere near it. You just have to use it! (oh and did we mention the free forms you can store there - so great for gathering data!)

2. OneNote

The headlines: Very similar, but we prefer this for creating your very own bespoke folders, with sub-folders (or as they call it "Sections" and "Pages". It's free.

The detail: I know, I know, we just said "you can use Google Docs, why would you need anything else?!" But it just makes it all better. Every single time we have an idea with any detail we add it to a OneNote section, either as part of an existing page or adding a new page. It is just so easy to use. We draft pretty much all our copy using OneNote, and have sections that range from "podcast" to "marketing" to "SEO" to "Newsletter Details". You can also copy and paste anything to it with no formatting issues (and can dump anything in from PDFs to mp3s with a simple drag and drop when using a laptop/ computer. We Love It.

3. Voxer

The headlines: Voice-note app, such a quick way to communicate (and it's free although the paid option has some really useful features). You can play voice notes x4 as fast too!

The detail: It's one of those apps that you don't realise how much you need until you have it. Perhaps you think "but I can use Whatsapp voice notes!" Sure, but this relies on you being comfortable to share your mobile number. Whatsapp also gives you nowhere near the level of control over which bit of the voice note you want to listen to. With Voxer you can listen to someone's voice note as they're recording it (i.e. you're just 5 seconds behind!), you can listen up to x4 faster, you can go back and forwards by a few seconds, you can save and download voice notes... you can also type, just in case you find it easier to do so.

4. Otter.ai

The headlines: Record all the thoughts in your head, and then have them transcribed for free into text, or download the audio. Free, though great integration with Zoom on paid.

The detail: To be honest, not much more to say about this. Well, perhaps a few things. You can export a) the transcription of the text, either as one long monologue or with really detailed time-stamps. You can record multiple voices and it stems them out for you, along with time-stamps. You can export the audio itself (though think about the sound quality with this - using headphones so you don't get any extraneous noise helps). You get 600 minutes of recording time a month, which is pretty substantial.

5. Quickbooks

The headlines: For sending and receiving invoices, tracking every expense and income. Free or paid options.

The details: This is one where we do pay a little (but here's a top tip, sign up for a 50% deal that lasts, say, 3 months, then threaten to leave. They always give you an amazing deal for the next, say, 9 months when you do this.) We sync up anything to do with business expenses and income to it, and it works out everything for us. Seriously, everything. It's magick. We don't yet pay VAT but it's apparently ace for this, and you can even sort payroll with it. Our favourite two things are a) having most of the tax return done for us and b) the invoicing function. The app itself and the desktop version are both excellent.

6. Canva

The Headlines: For designing pretty much anything (like this resource!) We use the paid version but the free version is incredible too (but we're recommend using the paid version, it's unbelievable value)

The Details: Think Canva is just about designing pretty graphics? You're hugely underestimating the power of this unbelievable tool. Of course the graphic capabilities of it are superb, but you can also design websites, edit video, create business cards, presentations, YouTube intros. It pre-loads all the size specs for you, has an endless resource library, works just as well on the app as on a desktop (though we far prefer using the latter). It also syncs beautifully with other apps such as Typeform, Hubspot, SmartMockups (as well as direct posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, I bet TikTok will sync up soon...) It's so easy to use and it has been a tool we use every single day. In the paid version you have brand templates, colours, fonts, folders, you can access every single graphic, photo, video... for pennies over the course of a year. 

7. Trello

The Headlines: Get every aspect of your tasks organised in a way that feels totally intuitive and for which you need no tech knowledge at all. No watching of YouTube tutorials needed!

The Detail: This is a part of our business model that generates income, helps us track everything that we are doing, makes collaboration a dream and makes accountability simple, and all for free. We use Trello for our weekly to-do lists, for our "big dreams" boards, to paste our vision boards, to track our spending, to paste snippets of copy, with coaching and mentoring clients, as part of workshops...if you're looking for something to help you keep track of and organise tasks, this is by far the most intuitive for those less experienced with this type of software. It also has amazing free templates to inspire and educate.

 

There you have it, our top 7 apps for productivity and organisation for small business owners, those with a "side hustle" and creatives (n.b. we haven't touched upon marketing in this blog, that's for another time soon!)

What did we miss out! Let us know in the comments below, on Instagram or in our Facebook Group. 

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