Tools I Love

 

Curious about what I use to run my business and fuel my creativity behind the scenes?

Here's a list of my favourite tools, courses and books! Some of the links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase them using these links, I'll get a small commission (it's going towards my rent y'all!). 

Of course, I only recommend resources I've used and enjoyed. Resources that I am happy to rave about no matter what. Resources that you're going to love too! 

 

 

ORGANIZATION & PRODUCTIVITY

f.lux - When I first started side hustling and freelance writing, it wasn't long before I suffered my first case of digital eye strain from staring at the computer screen for too long. f.lux is an absolute eye-saver! This free software cuts the amount of harsh white glow from your screen, will adjust automatically, or can be manually controlled. 

17hats - I got rid of three different apps when I started using 17hats for my writing business because cover invoices, quotes, contracts, time tracking, and more! My favourite part? Their customer service is incredible, and they've been super responsive to customer feedback and adding in requested features. 

Moo - I always order my business cards from Moo because they're high quality, gorgeous, and even have a recycled paper option. Moo prints all kinds of stationary and their interface makes it really easy to design something beautifully - even when you're a non-designer like me. Plus, receive 10% off your first order

Focus@Will - I'm always on the hunt for good music to play while I work, but Focus@Will makes it easy. They've worked with neuroscientists to develop music that actually boosts your productivity. You've got several different channels to choose from, and you can customize the intensity of the music to match your mood or task. Start with a 15 day trial, then sign up with an additional 10% off!

Hootsuite - Social media can get overwhelming fast, so I use Hootsuite to help me keep up. Use it to schedule your tweets and Facebook posts in advance. I also use Hootsuite to keep track of retweets, and mentions, and I love it for participating in Twitter chats. You can use it for free, but you can also pay for Hootsuite University, which teaches you TONS of great strategies for social media. 

Dropbox - If you're not using Dropbox yet, you should start. This cloud storage will change the way you work and help you sleep at night. I store all of my files in Dropbox so I can access them from any of my devices, at any time. There's also big relief in knowing that if anything happens to my computer, my files are safely backed up. Every free account comes with 2GB of storage, and you'll get a bonus 500MB if you sign up here

Evernote - My favourite note keeping app ever. Evernote is simple to use on the surface, but super powerful deep down when it comes to organization and features. You can use images, voice notes, and even tables in your notes. I keep notes for everything: blog post ideas, books I've read, a shared grocery list with my boyfriend. 251 notes and counting! 

 

WRITING

Scrivener - If there was ever a superhero version of writing software, Scrivener would be it. This program for writers and bloggers in immensely powerful and full featured, making any kind of writing project easy to keep track of. I've written novels, eBooks, and blog posts in Scrivener and I will never go back to Word or Pages. Even my blogging editorial calendar lives in Scrivener now! Give it a go with their 30-day trial.

Write or Die - Nothing will get you writing quickly like this online software. When Write or Die is set to Consequence mode, it will automatically start deleting words if you stop writing. If Consequence mode isn't your thing, you can set it to Reward or Stimulus mode. This program pretty much single handedly got me through my first NaNoWriMo.

Grammarly - Whether you're a naturally born writer or not, Grammarly is like having a personal editor for everything you write. Completely free to use, you can upload documents or just copy and paste your writing in the browser. Grammarly will catch any spelling mistakes, grammar issues, and punctuation errors. It will even offer better words to use and check for plagiarism. This site is the second pair of eyes on everything I write. 

Writer's Diet Test - Another great free tool to use, you can post anywhere 100 to 1000 words into The Writer's Diet Test. It will give you an analysis of how fit or flabby your writing is based on the amount of verbs, nouns, prepositions, and adjectives + adverbs you've used. It will also catch how many times you've written 'it', 'this', 'that', and 'there'. Since using The Writer's Diet Test, I've gotten a lot better at not overusing certain words because it always points them out to me. 

 

DESIGN

Creative Market - I grab the majority of my design elements from Creative Market, including fonts, images, watercolour images, you name it! Everything is designed by fellow creatives and always great quality. Plus, Creative Market offers free and heavily discounted bundles on a regular basis. 

The Noun Project - A source for every kind of icon imaginable, like arrows, pens, computers - you name it! The Noun Project has over 150,000 icons, designed by creators all over the world. You can download icons for free as long as you credit the artist, or their monthly plans are super affordable! 

Coolors - If you ever need to come up with a new colour scheme, Coolors is super fun and easy to use. With a simple click of your spacebar, it will generate a new colour scheme for you. As you find colours you like, you can individually lock them in until you have all the different colours you need.

 

COURSES

Better Branding Course - I have never loved an online course more than I loved Caroline Kelso's Better Branding Course! This course will teach you how to create and design your own brand, so you'll always have full control of your branding. What I really loved about BBC is that before Caroline even talks about design, she takes you through exercises and worksheets that dig deep into your core values so you can create a brand that reflects you and your business. Going through the Better Branding Course is how I created all of my current branding. Check out all the course details here, and then sign up for the Launch Level or the Basic Level

Stress Less & Impress - If you're running a service based business, Stress Less and Impress by Leah Kalamakis will help you get all of your behind-the-scenes details taken care of. In just 9 lessons, you'll have every step of your client process ready to roll, including Hire Me forms, contracts, project management, goodbye package, and more. Once you're done Stress Less and Impress, clients will be super impressed by how seamless and organized your process is! 

 

BOOKS

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

The Good Creative: 18 ways to make better art by Paul Jarvis

Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills by Marianne Cantwell

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg