There’s an app for that.
You’re never too new or too broke to start building your team. Free up your time and your sanity with apps to help you automate your tasks, often without spending a dime! Suz recommends her Top 5 in this episode.
You’re listening to Episode 99 of the Music-Preneur Mindset Podcast.
Hello! You’re listening to Episode 99: The 5 Apps I Can’t Function Without.
I’m your host, Suz, a mindset + productivity coach helping music professionals get clear on their goals, priorities, and next steps all while decreasing overwhelm and avoiding burnout.
Today’s episode is brought to you by my 3 Day Get Shit Done Challenge. We’re officially at the end of Quarter 1 and if you want to regroup for the second quarter now’s your chance! It’s completely free and takes less than an hour a day. Simply sign up using the form in the show notes and start checking things off your list with intention!
You can sign up by going to www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep99 and your 3 Day Challenge will get started immediately. You can also follow along in the Redefine The Hustle community on Instagram! You can start the challenge whenever you want, but it’s always easier when you do it alongside others!
If you own any copy of the Rock/Star Life Planner you can gain access to the community! Simply go to @redefinethehustle on Instagram and DM us a photo of your planner! It’s that simple. I can NOT believe we’re almost at Episode 100… I’m not exaggerating when I say it feels like yesterday that I was releasing the first 5 episodes back in January of 2018. I’ll admit, I didn’t think I’d make it this far. I thought I’d be done after 1 season, even though I had no idea how many episodes 1 season would be…
None of this would be worth doing if it weren’t for people like you tuning in each week. I truly don’t take it for granted. Sometimes, I don’t want to do this podcast. Sometimes I think it’s not good enough or sometimes I think I’m tapped out of things to share. Every time I think, “Eh, who’d wanna hear this? Maybe I should just skip next week,” I receive an email or a DM thanking me for the last episode, saying it came at “just the right time.”
I don’t say that to brag. I say that to hopefully inspire you – this is not something that only I have the magical powers to do – we all have something that others need to hear/learn from and it’s your obligation to share it.
That’s right – an obligation. A responsibility. When you have a gift for something it’s your job to share it. So if you’re having an off day or you’re sulking in fraud talk and imposter syndrome right now, let this be your wakeup call, you’ve got this! Get back to it!
In this 99th episode I thought I’d go back to something I used to always end each and every presentation with back in the day – your virtual team. See, 6 years ago I barely had a budget.
Hell, I barely had a budg… so I had to teach what I knew and that was how to get shit done with little to no money.
Before Jenn, before outsourcing to other contractors, before the fancy softwares, I was focused on finding the deals online to get more done with less. In fact, most of those apps and tools I’ve found to help me for free I still use today! I’ve looked at my best 5, the ones I could NOT function within this business without and made a list for you today.
Some of my favorite go-to apps have changed over the years – I no longer use Evernote or Feedly much these days, if at all – but many have stayed with me and luckily have adapted to the changing landscapes entrepreneurship. Some you may LOVE as much as I do and some you may think to yourself, “Ugh no, I’ve tried that one, I didn’t like it, it was too complicated/simple/limited,” you name it.
That’s A-OK! Not every app is for everyone and I’ll do my best to break down who each app would be perfect for/which goals they can best help with reaching. The important takeaway I want you to have, the reason I used to end every workshop with this slide of “virtual assistants” is that you DO NOT need a large budget, or any budget, to begin outsourcing your work and/or automating some of your processes.
You can have a team before you think you’re ready for one.
Now 3/5 are 100% free. Even though they offer paid versions you can get everything you need from them without a PRO account. The other two are a bit of an investment, but if you’re in the right stage of your career (and I’ll let you know how to determine that), they’re 1000% worth the investment.
Now, as I go through the list, you can access all of the links to these tools in the show notes www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep99 and yes, they are affiliate links. I will get either credit or cash for anyone who signs up through my links at no additional cost to those signing up.
BUT, I can tell you right now I don’t get much haha so I’m not sharing these to pay for my next vacation haha. I’m sharing these because I TRULY could not function without them and I want to make sure you know what they’re capable of doing for you.
Have an app that YOU love and can’t live without? If I don’t mention it in this episode I’d love for you to leave a comment on the show notes page or email me firstname.lastname@example.org so I can check it out!
To be clear, I will not be mentioning any social media apps, even though I do think they’re a necessary evil haha. These are all apps to help you run the administrative backend of your business or day-to-day life. So without further ado… let’s dig in!
First up is Canva, the graphic design tool. Why do I love it? The biggest reason I love Canva is because they are ALWAYS adding new features that actually make sense and are incredibly useful. So many apps try to grow and add unnecessary bells and whistles. Canva, on the other hand, has remained innovative and relevant to my needs as a content creator for the last 3 years.
You can use it to created branded images for social media, design your merch, create downloadable optins for your newsletter, and even create AND present workshops all without leaving the app. Their mobile app has become much more useful, although ultimately I use it most of the time on desktop.
I’ve stopped using Keynote/Power Point now that I can create engaging presentations and I LOVE their resize feature that allows me to make one design and easily tweak it for other platforms with the click of a button. Full disclosure, I believe the resize feature is only available on the PRO version, but you don’t need this feature in the beginning to get plenty of use from this application. I remained on the free version for 3 years before I upgraded. Grow with your
And, here’s a real PRO tip: Sign up for a trial of their PRO account and upload your custom fonts and colors in to the branding settings. When you cancel your PRO account and go back to the free version your fonts and colors will still be there. Shhhh don’t tell them I told you!
Choose a few favorite templates, title them for quote graphics, story templates and more and then batch out your next week of social posts with pre-made templates that you can brand as your own.
Next up is Airtable. For the last 3 years I have been OBSESSED with Airtable. It hasn’t changed much since I started using it and it doesn’t matter because it does EVERYTHING I need it to do. I don’t do all the bells and whistles, so to be honest it might have added more than I’m aware of in the last 3 years, I just keep it simple.
I always tell people Airtable is like spreadsheets on steroids.
You can color code content, turn normal cells into dropdown menus without crazy formulas, upload media directly to cells rather than needing to input a DropBox link, and switch views between looking at your data as a spreadsheet or as a calendar, or even those cards on a Kanban board (for those of you used to Asana and Trello). You can also now create forms to share with others to collect data/get feedback on your promotions and more.
If you have a Rock/Star Life Planner than you have access to my template library. Any and all of the spreadsheets I’ve made are now Airtable templates that you can access and copy as your own to edit. It’s been so much easier to share these templates through Airtable than through Google Drive, in my opinion.
I love the mobile app, it comes in so handy to access my daily ToDo list, and other tables that Jenn and I work on together to coordinate projects. My PRO tip for this one: sign up for the free app, create a template your peers or your audience could really use (you don’t have to get fancy, they have a whole library of templates you can build off of), and then each time you share it with them you collect credit towards maintaining your own PRO account.
You don’t need a PRO account to get a bunch out of this app, but if you prefer custom colors for your rows/columns and want more storage for uploading files into the cell a PRO account can help. For 3 years I’ve never had to pay for my PRO account simply because others are always accessing the templates I’ve created. You just need ONE simple spreadsheet that you’ve created that others can find helpful and you’re good to go!
The other too-good-to-be-free-but-is app is the Tapping Solutions app. Now, as you’ve heard me say many times on this podcast, I’m not an affiliate of this app, but I DO, in fact, love it. I use it multiple times a week to bring down my anxiety, prime my mindset before a sales call or presentation, or simply hit pause and take a moment to literally tap into how I’m feeling.
If you attended my Tapping Into Your Vision workshop last week you know how powerful 2-3 minutes of tapping/EFT can be. If you missed it, stay tuned I’ll be sharing the replay with the public soon enough as an evergreen training!
EFT uses 9 pressure points on your body to tap lightly on as you speak aloud the negative thoughts/feelings you’re currently holding onto and then work your way through rewiring those thoughts into a more positive lens.
It’s been scientifically proven to decrease negative feelings and the Tapping Solutions has a plethora of resources on their website’s blog and YouTube channel to learn more and find guidance as you go through the exercises daily.
They have a paid version, however I’ve had plenty of success using their free version. You’ll be limited to certain episodes, but I saw progress even as I redid the same episodes when I needed them. There’s plenty to go through without upgrading right away.
The next app has a free version, however I do NOT recommend limiting yourself and just suck it up and pay the fee as it will definitely be worth it. When it comes to social media content planning I am OBSESSED with Plann. I fall deeper in love with this app as time goes on… don’t judge me. I remain unapologetic.
Now, full disclosure, I recently took advantage of an insane sale they had during the holiday season and purchased their PRO version with 1 flat fee for lifetime access. I don’t know if they’ll ever bring that back, but I’m sure you’ll find great sales at the start of the summer and fall, so be on the look out!
With Plann you can automatically post to Instagram – a new feature that allows you to set it and forget it. Instagram doesn’t allow this will all of the scheduling platforms just yet, so it’s a major win. Another amazing feature? This Aussie brand joined forces with another Aussie favorite – Canva and now you can design inside your Canva account INSIDE the Plann app! Yea.. let that set in… No longer do I need to design on Canva, download and then upload to Plann.
Everything is done within one app.
Another favorite feature? It provides you with templated posting strategies to work out not only your IG feed grid but also your IG stories, your Facebook posts AND your LinkedIn posts! I hear Pinterest is next up, fingers crossed! What do I mean by strategy? You can add placeholder tiles that say “promo” or “BTS” or “testimonial” and begin planning out what your content strategy will be for the next week/month.
I also love the media collections – I can batch selfies, pictures of Charlie, text graphics and even find royalty free stock photos all inside the app and categorize all of the images into folders that correspond to the tiles on my strategy. When it’s time to plan my content? I simply go into a collection folder, drag it to the corresponding tile, write my captions and I’m done!
It’s allowed me to be more intentional with my IG aesthetic AND it’s helped keep me consistent on my posting. After a week or so of being on the app it’ll be able to tell you your best times to post and/or the times your audience is most active. Create a post and simply add it to you queue by choosing “next best time my audience is on” and you’re good to go!
PRO tip – go pro BUT make sure you’re ready to commit. Don’t throw money at apps and then let them sit there. Be intentional, schedule time during your week to use it! Plann also has wonderful webinar workshops and downloadable guides – I LOVE their blog – so set aside time once a month to learn something new!
Lastly, an app I would truly fall apart without is HoneyBook. Now first I MUST state a few things before digging in: if you are a musician, this may not be for you. It is a client management software so unless you sell a course, teach lessons, or work 1:1 with others in some way, you don’t need this.
However, if you do manage clients I 1000% recommend this platform and have helped many of my peers leave their old platforms behind and make the switch. Aside from partnering with RisingTide and creating an incredible community and network of creativepreneurs, HoneyBook releasing monthly guides on everything from Time Management to Financial Management, Client Onboarding and more, and their customer service being epic, I am in love with the incredibly customizable dashboard and client documents.
This one app, though not cheap (although no where near as expensive as some of its competitors), is worth its weight in gold for the time it saves me when on boarding and managing my client roster.
What I love the most are the features its added since I became a member almost 2 years ago – I’ve been able to do away with Calendly now that it has its own in-house scheduling tool, as well as DocuSign, since I can send invoices and contracts with a quick click of a button. It not only pays for these apps, it can do what they do and more.
With DocuSign I had to format and upload a contract. With HoneyBook, the contract is already in my templates library and it auto completes each client’s information in all the right spots when I open it up in their portal. I choose the corresponding email that goes with the contract and in less than 3 minutes my new client has everything they need to get started with me.
It has saved Jenn and I and incredible amount of time AND it reminds me when it’s time to follow up with a possible lead. I have closed more sales because of the platform and I have stressed SO MUCH LESS with their on-boarding automation features. My documents look more professional and I don’t have to chase after clients with the app’s auto reminders.
So there you have it. My top 5 don’t-ever-leave-me-I don’t-know-what-I’d-do-without-you apps.
What do you think? What did I miss? Be sure to head to the show notes page to check out the apps and/or leave me a comment with one or more of YOUR faves so I can check them out! And, sign up for my free 3-Day Get Shit Done Challenge while you’re there 😉
Thank you so much for listening and if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe on your platform of choice as I’ll be back every week with a brand new episode! And if you like what you’ve heard I’d love it if you’d rate, follow, leave a review, or share from your favorite platform.
Until next time, Rock/Star. Keep planning, keep learning, and I hope to see you back here next week so we can get grounded to get rising! Take care.
- Sign up for my 3 Day Get Shit Done Challenge
- Canva – why you need it plus a sneaky PRO tip to make the most of your free account!
- Airtable – what it is and some helpful hacks to stay organized
- Why I swear by The Tapping Solutions App and how it can get you out of almost any rut
- Create your seamless and organized social media strategy with Plann
- PRO TIP: Don’t just throw money at apps – make sure you’re ready to commit before you pay!
- Use HoneyBook to transform your client onboarding processes
- What apps can YOU not live without?
- Tell us in the comments!
- Theme music brought to you by DC-based Indie/Pop band Sub-Radio
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- You can download a copy of the episode’s transcript here
- Sign up for my 3-Day Get Shit Done Challenge below
- Grab your copy of The 2021 Rock/Star Life Planner here
- The Apps:
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