I'm back with another business post — so let's dive right in! Another topic many of you asked about was tools/apps/software for both blogging and business. The ones on this list are all simple, but I use them every day and they make my life so. much. easier.
There was a period of time when I manually entered the info for my shipping labels. Wtf. Sounds totally idiotic but I don't think Etsy had a super integrated system back when I was on it (but I could be wrong). Either way, once I switched to a Squarespace site, I joined Shipstation and haven’t looked back. I use it to purchase postage through stamps.com, which has great rates and saves me on trips to the post office. Their platform integrates with Squarespace, so they work seamlessly together to manage my orders and send confirmation emails and tracking info to my customers. You can also set up presets for your products, so weight and size are all pre-calculated — all it takes is a few clicks to make your shipping label. It’s ridiculously easy and time saving.
DYMO LABEL PRINTER
I also used to print my labels out on regular paper, cut them out, and tape them onto my packages. This was a habit from my early days when I was being frugal Rachael and didn't want to pay for a label printer. What super young and frugal Rachael didn't realize then was that TIME IS MONEY. It didn't bother me for the first few years, but then the business grew and one day I found myself packing piles of orders during the holidays and going...wait a second, how long is it taking me just to attach these labels?! It adds up! So it's been a lifesaver. This is the one I have. If you're shipping products, buy it. Now.
GOOGLE SHEETS + ANALYTICS
Not rocket science here, but I put almost everything into Google Sheets. I use sheets to track my spending/revenue, for my wholesale order forms, and tons of non-business related things (like home renovations, it's great for that!). I also use Google Analytics to keep an eye on site traffic, what people are searching for, and how they're ending up on my site. I also use the built-in analytics that come with my Squarespace site, which are pretty thorough and give me a variety of info to help me understand my customer and reader. Jim works in analytics so he's been telling me since day one how important it is to pay attention to my data, and we periodically review it together so I can get his input, too.
PLANOLY AND UNUM
I have another post planned to dive deeper into social media stuff, but I have to mention these apps because they save me a ton of time when managing my Instagram. Both are Instagram planners and have built-in analytics, simple editing tools, and scheduling capabilities. You can draft your posts ahead of time, schedule when you'd like them to be posted, and publish them in a simple click. This is super handy for posting during the workweek, or for vacations if you want to unplug from your phone but keep your social going. They also have a grid view that allows you to plan out your feed, which I find really helpful when balancing out business content with blog/personal stuff. I use the free version of UNUM, but have an upgraded subscription to Planoly to utilize their Shoppable feature, which allow me to link products and blog posts to my Instagram posts, all through the link in my bio. You can click here to see what mine looks like. Planoly is definitely a bit more robust of a platform, but I still use UNUM because their grid view is more expansive. The free version is perfectly fine, so I'd recommend starting there if you're just getting your feet wet!
A day doesn't go by without me being saved by Dropbox. For real. It's invaluable to have all of my files and photos at my fingertips wherever I go — on my phone, iPad, or at work if I'm in a pinch. I store my entire hard drive on Dropbox, so there's no more "UGH that's on my computer at home!" moments. Before cloud storage was a thing (like in college...how did we survive) this happened all the time. No more! I also use it to share folders with clients so we can keep project assets organized and all in one place. I also know that my files are all safe and sound in my Dropbox, but I do still back things up to a physical hard drive because I'm paranoid and like to cover all the bases ;)
I would love to know what tools you guys use to keep you sane! Leave a comment or send me an email if you'd like to share the wealth. Thanks again for reading and I'll be back next week with another Shop Talk post!