Before I started Nestling Collective, I was struggling to do it all – not just making my products and packing orders, but posting on social media, trying to perfect my “9 squares”, learning how to flatlay, creating and sending newsletters, hustling at markets, creating content for my blog… phew! Oh, and be a mum, a wife, and work a 9-5 job, too.
So here are some of the small biz resources and tools I actually use and recommend, that might help you on your creative journey, so you can spend more time doing what you love. (You’re welcome).
- Linktree Okay, this one’s a no-brainer – get on it! This is a FREE app that lets you have multiple links in your Instagram bio! So you can send your followers anywhere: blog articles, your online shop, events, socials and more. It’s also super easy to use (and did I mention it was free?!) My biggest piece of advice here, though, is to be a bit creative when it comes to naming your links. As a follower / potential customer, seeing “Facebook”, “Website”, “Newsletter” etc. wouldn’t really make me want to click. Try to come up with something that would make me curious enough to click through!
- UNUM app I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda fussy about how my feed looks. And I like to see exactly what it’s going to look like – it’s gotta’ flow, you get me? This app is a visual planner that allows you to see your photos as they’d appear on Instagram, before you’ve actually posted. (Cue angels singing. Yep – it’s that good!)
- Canva Oh Canva, how I love thee! Seriously one of the best FREE resources around – one that makes stunning design possible for us mere mortals. I use this for SO many things! When it comes to Instagram, this is fab for creating quotes, promos and text overlay on images. (Other things I use Canva for include my pinnable images for my blog posts, Facebook page header image, Facebook group header image, FB ads, images for my website, email header, ebooks etc. See that pretty image at the top of this page? Yep – Canva). This one’s a must for every online entrepreneur.
- Squarefit This is a great (free) app – basically, it allows you to post full size photos and videos to Instagram without cropping! You can easily move, rotate, scale and flip your photos and videos, and create photos with white borders (because I like to do that sometimes!)
- Alex Tooby’s Instagram courses Hashtag Hero, Infamous to Influential, Success by Story and Instagram Authority(FREE COURSE!) I’ve done a few courses and workshops about Instagram. (Okay, more than a few!) Alex’s courses are by far the standouts! If you want to grow an engaged following, want (need?) to work on a “look” for your photos, or want to learn how to connect with the people in your niche area, then these are for you. Alex’s simple, step-by-step training is so easy to grasp and will make you go: “Ohh, really? It’s that simple?” SO many times over.
- Quik App by GoPro This is the ONLY app I use to make videos for Facebook. I love it because it’s super easy to grab photos from your camera roll, add some music and captions, and BOOM! You’ve made a beautiful video. It’s FREE, and it’s available for both Apple and Android devices.
- Facebook Ads Base Camp by Beckon Marketing Do you find Facebook advertising daunting? Or just plain frustrating? I struggled with creating a Facebook ad that actually converted for soooooo long (aka, wasted a lot of money on other courses, paying other people to do it for me, and just ad spend that resulted in big fat nothing) – and then I signed up to this course. Rebecca knows her stuff, and I can’t recommend her highly enough!
If you like to Pin:
- Tailwind Okay, so Pinterest is a bit of a rabbit-hole (mmm, am I right?) BUT… Pinterest is also a long-term source of quality website traffic. Unlike other social media posts, Pinterest pins can reappear in the Pinterest feed for months – even over a year. And with Tailwind, you can sit down once a week and schedule 100 pins before you know it. The secret is in pinning your own content to multiple boards. You just set the minimum interval you want that Pin to be posted, and Tailwind spaces out the repeats into the appropriate time slots. It even determines your best times to Pin! Best of all? Your first 100 pins are free when you sign up, so you can give it a good “try before you buy”!
- Pinning Perfect Course by Blog Clarity This is an 8-module online course created for bloggers and small biz owners, and it is extremely comprehensive – and what I love most is that you get lifetime access, and it’s always being updated with the latest information regarding Pinterest.
Emails and your Mailing List:
- G-Suite by Google Not only can you get a professional email address like firstname.lastname@example.org (instead of email@example.com) for a mere $5 a month, you get all the Google apps for business, Google Calendar, Google Drive for storage, spreadsheets, slide templates, forms, and document creators!
- Mailchimp If you have less than 2,000 email subscribers, you can use MailChimp’s most basic plan for free. Perfect for newbies!
- ActiveCampaign This is who I currently use – and they’re one of the most affordable providers for small businesses, with their plans starting from just $9USD per month.
- Sumo.me This has two versions, free and paid. With the free version, you can create scroll up boxes, hello bars, pop-ups, welcome mats and more. They will even email people your freebie (but won’t connect to your email service provider unless you upgrade). Works with Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix websites, just to name a few.
For your Website:
- Ecwid You can seriously get yourself an online store in 5 minutes! Add a shopping cart to your WordPress site, or open a Facebook store – it’s super simple, and the support from these guys is amazing, and it’s FREE! Plus, your Ecwid store looks perfect on any smartphone and automatically adapts to your customer’s screen size — laptops, tablets, smart TVs or smart watches.
- Big Cartel Big Cartel is another popular choice if you’re looking for an easy website option. They have a number of beautiful pre-made themes that you can easily customise with images, colours, and fonts.
- Squarespace Seriously beautiful website templates! And super simple to do yourself, even if you’ve never created a website before. Also, their support is AMAZING, so if you do get stuck, they’ll go out of their way to help you.
- WordPress A WordPress website will definitely give you the most options in terms of customisation, with a huge range of themes and plugins available. However, it can be a BIG learning curve. If you’re not confident going the DIY route, then you can always get someone else to do it for you! I highly recommend Cherrie at Virtually Cherrie Tippett – she’s an absolute gun with all things WordPress.
- SiteGround Web Hosting Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about SiteGround! Their support is extremely knowledgable, their wait times are short, and they really changed my experience with hosting providers for the better. I highly recommend them if you are looking for an affordable and reliable host with great support.
Admin, Accounting and Organisation:
- “My Plan to Greatness: Business Planner” by Green Pea Books This gorgeous hardcover planner makes planning business easy! It will help you clearly plan all your goals, tasks, social media, marketing and finances for a whole year and keep you motivated, committed and accountable along the way.
- Skillshare I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this online learning community for creatives with more than 20,000 online classes. Basically think Netflix or Spotify, but for learning new creative skills like illustration, design and photography.
- The Amplify Planner by Yael Keon Feeling a little overwhelmed with your marketing plan? This incredibly comprehensive and valuable planner is for any business owner who wants to successfully do their own marketing. Includes a goal setter, a strategy and brand builder, an ideas generator, a campaigns and launch planner, a quarterly and monthly action plan, and is full of extra tips, tricks and ideas to get you inspired.
- Wave Accounting Keep track of your money with this FREE accounting software! Perfect if you’re just starting out, or you want to step up from an Excel spreadsheet. It connects to PayPal and most banks, making it hella’ easy to keep track of all your income and expenses.
- Zoho Books Let me just start by saying, I luuuuurve Zoho! I started out with Wave, moved to Quickbooks, and now Zoho, and can say that it is easily comparable to the more expensive accounting programs out there. This is easy-to-use, online accounting software designed for small businesses (like you and me). Pricing starts from just $9 per month, AND they offer a 14-day free trial.
Communities I Heart:
- Mums with Hustle Biz Club Mums With Hustle is Tracy Harris’ “passion-fuelled business” where she teaches mums in biz how to nail it online, increase their productivity, improve their mindset and become confident in all things biz. This is an amazing Facebook group full of kick-ass, hustlin’ mamas, and is the perfect place to learn, grow as a business owner, get inspired, and connect with other mums in biz. There is SO much information for biz mums in this group, it’s unbelievable. And if you haven’t listened to Tracy’s podcast yet, put it on your to-do list! It’s 100% pure bizmum GOLD!