Your brand’s job is to communicate who you are and what you offer in a way that resonates with your target audience. This can be a tall order for even the savviest and most self-aware professionals. Even industry experts – individuals who specialize in branding – struggle to apply their knowledge and experience to their own businesses. They’re just too close to it. When it comes to assessing our skills and articulating our vision, we often fail to capitalize or even recognize our greatest strengths.
Headache-Free Scheduling & More Productive Meetings
Acuity Scheduling. Ever wish you could skip the time-consuming, inbox-cluttering email exchange typically required to schedule a meeting? Enter Acuity Scheduling, which saves you time and frustration by allowing your clients (or anyone else) to book their own appointments with you. Plans range from free to $34 a month and all paid plans include client self-scheduling, robust reporting, unlimited services/appointments, and Google, iCal, and Outlook integration.
Join.me. Join.me has all the features you need for more productive and powerful virtual meetings. Screen sharing is included in all plans, which range from the basic free version (up to 10 participants) to the $19/month (billed annually) Enterprise plan (up to 250 participants). Their Pro plan ($15/month if billed annually) includes nearly all of the Enterprise features, such as unlimited auto conferencing and recording, presenter swapping, and one-click scheduling through the Join.me Scheduler or directly in Google Calendar or Outlook. You can also host or join meetings on the go using the mobile app (available for Android and IOS).
Savvier Social Media
Paperli. Do you struggle to find and post valuable content regularly on your social media channels? Paper.li can help you stay abreast of industry news as well as maintain a consistent online presence. The platform allows you to create your own “newspaper,” through which you can collect, publish, and share engaging content on the web. The free version allows you to select up to 25 content sources and autopost your updates (your “newspaper” containing new content from your previously selected sources) to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at days and times of your choosing.
Rapportive. Rapportive is a free Gmail extension that enables you to see social media updates for the person you’re composing an email to. Once installed, updates from the person you’re writing to will appear on the side of your inbox, providing helpful insight into prospects and making it easy for you to find and connect with people on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Simplify Password Security
LastPass. We all know that unique passwords are a security must, but who wants to create and keep track of different passwords for every site they subscribe to? With LastPass, you can stop wasting time looking for and resetting your passwords. When you create a LastPass account, your passwords are stored in their encrypted “vault,” so you only need to remember one master password to access all of them at any time. You can generate strong, unique passwords for new sites and quickly log in to ones you use regularly. The free version is fantastic for your desktop, but for a very reasonable $12/year, you can add the mobile application and enjoy all same features on all your devices.
Easy Breezy Email Branding
WiseStamp. WiseStamp is an easy way to make a statement and market your brand in every email you send. Available for popular email services such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail, you can use WiseStamp to easily create and customize a personalized email signature with your company logo. The free version provides you with a signature for one email address and a few different design options. You can customize the color scheme and upload your logo (or any image) to go along with it as well as include social media icons that link to your profiles. The upgraded version ($4/month if billed annually) includes a wider selection of design templates, unlimited email addresses, and the option to forego the Wisestamp branding that accompanies the free version. If you want to get your whole team on board, Wisestamp for Business ($2/month per user) offers additional features, such as central management, pro signature templates, and use of email apps.
Task Management & Collaboration
Trello. Free and user-friendly, Trello is a popular choice for everything from to-do lists to project collaboration (especially awesome for editorial calendars and website projects). The versatile design helps you see (and stay on top of) all your projects at a glance. Check out Michelle Nickolaisen’s five-minute video for tips on using Trello to manage multiple projects.
Asana. This project management and task tool is free for single users and great for communicating with small groups on a shared project or managing your own internal tasks. Create internal, reusable checklists and daily to-do lists for more efficient task management. Pricing for additional users starts at $21/month (billed annually).
GoogleKeep. With Google Keep, you can quickly create, organize, and access notes, to-do lists and photos, which are automatically stored in Google Drive. An excellent option for people who want a minimalist alternative to more robust programs like Evernote. Although the Google Keep mobile app is only available for Android, there are a few ways to access your Google Keep account on your IOS devices.
Google Drive. If you’re still using Microsoft Word to create and collaborate on documents, it’s time you checked out Google Drive. With secure cloud storage, you can create, share, and access files (including documents, photos, and videos) anywhere and not have to worry about losing your files in a computer crash. The mobile app is available for both Android and IOS. You can also download Google Drive on your Mac or PC and sync your files between your desktop and the web so that any changes you make on your computer will automatically appear on the same file when you access it on drive.google.com. Every account comes with 15 GB of free storage to share across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. Additional data can be purchased with a storage plan.