Updated: Jul 13
If you've been looking around for online business apps you've probably come across an overwhelming list that's tricky to navigate. Believe me, I've been there.
To get to the next level in your business, putting as much as possible on automate will give you time & energy back to focus on the things in your business only you can do. Getting there can feel a bit stressful as there can be a learning curve - not to mention the time to set things up.
So, to help streamline some of the options out there for you, I've made a list of the software that I find the most helpful for automating my business and what they cost. Most of these options are great whether you have a service, product or dual-based business.
Of course, use your discretion as to what is necessary vs. what would be nice especially if you're in the beginning stages of automating. Most of the options below come with a free trial so you have a chance to try them out before committing. I would recommend spreading out the trials though so you actually have time to get into each one. Signing up for 3 free week trials at the same time might be too much to get started with!
I recommend picking the solution you think would help you the most right now and work from there. Start with a timer on for 30 mins to do a trial design/workflow for something you've already been wanting to create. Don't get caught up in adding all of your branding and tweaking - just use some of your main images/colours you already have to see how they interact, add in some demo text (if applicable) and get a general feel of how it works.
It's easy to get excited and really get into each one but it can lead to a time consuming process that doesn't actually help move you forward - especially when multiplying the process by each app.
I have included an overview of each + some referral links for you. If you sign up using the link you'll get a deal and so will I (likely the same as yours - thanks so much in advance!) or feel free to go to the website directly if you don't want to use the referral links.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments at the bottom!
Overall Business Suite: Google
Annual Business E-mail Plan: Starting at $7.80 CAD/month
While I am a Mac user and actually use Mail on my phone and laptop to view my e-mail, I use Gmail for my domain e-mail provider* as I find it's the easiest for syncing compatibility across all of the apps that I use. Google Calendar is a main compatibility feature in the other apps below that allow you to schedule (like HoneyBook).
I also much prefer the layout & compatibility of Google Drive to Outlook's OneDrive even though Hotmail has been my personal e-mail of choice since the early 2000's - yes, it even existed then.
Lots of hosting providers provide a free custom e-mail for a year when you sign up. If you're buying your domain from your web design provider then it may change the setup a bit and pricing may be different in the future.
*You'll need to own the domain name you want to use in order to set this up. Most often your domain provider will provide instructions on how to do this.
Monthly Plan: Starting at $20 CAD/month
Save 50% on any plan for 6 months - Starting at $10/month with referral link
I put this at the top because financials can be a major block for many people - not just business owners - so keeping them up to date and as stress-free as possible will help you in the short term as well as in the long run.
If you spend an hour or so a week keeping this up to date, your reporting and tax times will be an absolute breeze - I promise.
There are many different accounting software options out there but I personally prefer QuickBooks. I recommend asking your accountant what their team uses and opt for whatever software that is. If you don't have an accountant yet, reach out to a few who you may want to work with in the future and see what they use. I use QB as I have bookkeeping experience and that's what every company I worked for used, so I figured I might as well use it for myself!