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Cait’s Top 8 | The 8 Business Tools that I Can’t Live Without | Friday Chatter

June 15, 2018

What’s up, friends?! We’ve officially made it through another beautiful week, and I can’t wait to be at another beautiful wedding this weekend! AHH I’m so excited to get back to it after a little bit of (much needed!!) time off!

But before the weekend… we have one more order of business to take care of! I’m back with another Friday Chatter post! This week, I wanted to introduce a new mini theme that you may see popping up on the blog from time to time! What’s that, you ask? Cait’s Top 8!! I’ve been looking for a simple and fun way to incorporate some of my favorites into the blog and this is it! You can expect to see a short list of some of my favorite things from time to time right here on Friday’s!

This week, we’re tackling my 8 must-have tools for business! These things keep my business running and keep my brain in check when things get crazy!! Tune in below for the complete list of the 8 business tools that I can’t live without!

Gmail for Business

Not to be dramatic, but I have NO idea where I would be without my GSuite account! I’ve synced up my business domain, and not only does it keep my email address looking professional, but it keeps my life together! I’ve been a big Gmail fan since college & even blogged about how to make Gmail work FOR you! This tool is powerful for more than just email too! I use Google Sheets to organize timelines and drive to temporarily store certain files & materials!!

Honeybook

There’s a lot of buzz about this app in the creative industry, and I’m just here to tell you that it’s all true! This powerful tool has helped me get and keep my life together! I use Honeybook to send proposals, to sign contracts, to settle invoices, to curate responses from questionnaires and even use it to track my to-do list and workflows! PHEW! I don’t know how I did it before! This little app also allows me to brand items that I send my clients with my images and branding (Which makes the not-so-fun money stuff a whole lot more fun!!).

Click here to get 50% off your first full year of Honeybook!! 

QuickBooks

Thankfully, this little app has made the scary business side of being a wedding photographer not so scary. It automatically syncs with my business bank account and tracks each expense and profit! When I log in to the app, I can then categorize everything for a complete picture of the financial health of my business! My accountant was very happy to hear that I tracked my finances through QuickBooks as well! This app has motivated me to stay on top of recording my expenses and has made tax season a lot less stressful!

MileIQ

This app has literally saved me THOUSANDS of dollars. As a work-from-home business owner, it is so important that I am accurately tracking my drives… because come tax time, this can mean huge savings! It is a swipe based app that logs each drive I make. From there, I literally just swipe right if it was a business drive and left if it was personal, and it takes care of the rest for me! Come the end of the year, I’ll package the report together for my accountant. There’s nothing quite like instant gratification of seeing your total value saved tick upwards to keep me motivated and on top of my tracking game!

 Left: my mobile Honeybook Calendar! Thank GOODNESS for their savvy color coding system that ALSO syncs with my Google Calendar. Center: I can't show too much of QuickBooks, but it is such a GEM of a tool to keep my finances organized! Right: This is what my screen looks like when I've cleared all of my drives!! It is SO satisfying to see all of your logged miles tick up to your monthly mileage total!  Left: my mobile Honeybook Calendar! Thank GOODNESS for their savvy color coding system that ALSO syncs with my Google Calendar. Center: I can’t show too much of QuickBooks, but it is such a GEM of a tool to keep my finances organized! Right: This is what my screen looks like when I’ve cleared all of my drives!! It is SO satisfying to see all of your logged miles tick up to your monthly mileage total!

Photo Mechanic

This little app was THE game changer I needed when it comes to sorting, culling and organizing photos. I actually used this app way back when in college, when I was a photojournalism major! Previously, I used this app as a way to add caption details to image metadata and some other technical photojournalistic things, and then I stopped using it as soon as I graduated! Luckily, I heard some buzz in the industry about how much this powerful app can speed up your workflow & I looked into bringing it back into my workflow! Now, with the help of a fun little color coding system, I can cull an entire wedding in just about an hour!! Because the images render so quickly, it really does make sorting and culling down galleries a BREEZE!

Lightroom

I am SO happy that my sweet senior photographer told me about this incredible editing tool way back during my senior year of high school! PHEW!! I literally don’t know how I processed entire galleries before this tool! This tool is where I do most if not ALL of my editing! From time to time, I will pull select images into Photoshop for a brief touchup, if needed, but that’s so rare! Not only has Lightroom sped up my entire editing process, but it has also encouraged me to become more consistent with my editing because I can take a look at the entire gallery as one before it is exported!

BlogStomp

Y’all… I don’t think I could count the numbers of HOURS this quick tool has saved me!! You know those pretty side-by-side images you see on the blog (like you see below!!)? Those are all created in BlogStomp! I’ve been using this app for more years than I can count at this point, and I am just SO thankful for all of the time it has saved me! I literally just load a gallery of images into the software and organize them using drag and drop technology. I select the images that I want paired and press STOMP! That’s it! The app compresses my images to my preset size and stores it in a safe folder on my desktop. This is so much easier than my previous alternative: organizing images in Photoshop! (It was SUCH a headache!)

Shoot Proof

I feel like I have been gushing about app after app up until now (What can I say? I love my tools!!), but I truly cannot say enough GOOD things about Shoot Proof! This is the tool that I use to organize and send clients their final image galleries, and I am pretty much beyond obsessed. The list of what this app does is long and pretty incredible and could literally be put into another blog post entirely! I currently use Shoot Proof to send galleries to clients, and one of my favorite things about it is just how easy it is to customize to your branding and how EASY it is to use! It has made the gallery delivery portion of my client experience SO much more enjoyable for everyone involved!

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