by Stephen King
I bartered with another business owner to help her design her systems, and we were deciding which electronic signing service to go with.
It took us two hours.
We still didn’t find one.
Scoping tools is hard, because the pricing often doesn’t line up in an apples-to-apples way, you’re not sure what capabilities you need until you realize you need them, and it sucks thinking about starting over with a new system.
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Here are my rules for finding and using the right tech:
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
- Use the right tool. I don’t use Excel for my calendar.
- If I need to decide which to use, I set a timer for one hour, do research, and make my best choice.
- I understand I might not be using the absolute very best tool for my needs.
- Many tools overlap and can do the same thing, so just decided how you’re going to use it and move on.
So here are the tools I use:
- Buffer: I was having issues with Hootsuite, and I’m so glad I switched to Buffer. It’s been working well.
- Instagram: I post all my rejections, a daily quote about my niche, and life photos.
- Twitter: General writer water cooler, but you’ll also find editors sending out announcements looking for pitches.
- Facebook: Anyone else feel like Facebook is fading away? I still use it for events and announcements.
- LinkedIn: I use this for typical professional stuff, as well as for their ProFinder.
- Evernote: I keep all my notes on my own continuing education here.
- Google Drive: Store all my folders here, as well as on iCloud and Dropbox. I just love paying subscription fees I guess.
- Scrivener: Gah I love Scrivener! It’s like if Adobe had a writing program, which means that it’s a tank. It’s tough to learn to drive a tank, but once you do, you’re unstoppable.
- Freedom: I block social media in the morning and all day except for the last 10 minutes of every hour. Productivity game changer.
- LinkedIn Learning: The biggest impact you can make on your career, hands down, is watching 15 minutes of a LinkedIn Learning class every weekday.
- Outlook: I was trained on Outlook for email management back in my corporate days, so I used it for my business now as well.
- Wisestamp: My friend sent me an email, and her signature looked so professional I asked how she did it. She sent me to Wisestamp.
- WordPress: This site is built on WordPress by another developer. I don’t run it myself and find it confusing. However, it’s what most people use.
- Squarespace: I designed my own site, pauletteperhach.com, on Squarespace and found the interface to be fairly easy to use. Sometimes the drag and drop can have me gritting my teeth and saying, “Just. Go. Right. Here.” But I’ve figured out how to get it to do most of what I want it to do.
- GoDaddy: Setting up websites is damn confusing, and every single time I have to call their customer service. They’ve always been easy to get in touch with, pleasant, and on-point.
- LastPass: Before LastPass, I kept my passwords on an Excel spreadsheet, which is not a good idea. LastPass automatically stores and generates passwords for me. What’s even better is if I have someone working on something like social media for me, I can share access to the site with them through LastPass Teams, without having to give them my password.
- YNAB: The You Need a Budget thinking has truly changed how I visualize my finances, and I’m so thankful for it. You can only budget money you have, and it really helps you keep more money in your bank account.
- Quickbooks: I was using FreshBooks, but when my business started to grow I needed more capabilities. Quickbooks is the professional accounting and bookkeeping software I needed to keep my books organized.
These might be overkill for the average freelance writer, but I’ve found them useful for peripheral projects and services.
- InDesign: For layout, marketing materials, flier design for clients. It does all the things you think Word will do until it just puts your image on page 9 in a place you can’t seem to click on.
- Illustrator: Email headers, fun graphics, etc. If you don’t want to learn this program, which is a time investment, other people have enjoyed Canva.
- Audition: This is where I edit my podcast.
- Photoshop: General photo work. I don’t use it that much, but it’s fun to get in there.
- Soundcloud: Podcast hosting.
- Society6: If you have any swag or want to put a quote or design on a bag, you can do it easily with Society6.
What tools help you run your writing life?
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