The Only Tools You Need To Kickstart Your Creative Business



Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a ton of apps and tools to start an online business. With just a handful of the essentials, you'll be up and running in no time. In this post, I only share the tools that I believe will be beneficial to you and I'm confident that whichever you decide on will work just fine to start with.


So now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's dig in!


1) Tools to Attract

If you've read any of my other blog posts, you would know that I am big believer of using Instagram for gaining exposure and driving traffic to your business. I spill all the details about creating a successful Instagram account in this post so make sure to check it out and you'll be attracting loyal fans to your business in no time.


There are plenty of other social media platforms out there like Facebook, Tik Tok and Pinterest but as I like to say, keep it simple when you're starting out. Don't spread yourself too thin and instead choose to focus on one. Once you've gotten the hang of Instagram and are able to show up consistently, then you can explore the others.


2) Tools to Sell

Great, so now that you have a platform to share your amazing work and to start attracting potential customers, you need a place to direct them to to purchase and that's going to be none other than your website! There are a bunch of options available out there but to keep things simple (clearly my life's motto), I'm going share the top 2 that I would personally recommend.


1) Wix

This is the one I currently use and is what I would recommend for creatives because it is highly customisable. If you have a very clear idea in your mind of how you want your website to look, Wix is likely going to be the one that can bring your vision to life without you having to pay for additional templates. It may time some time to get a hang of the editing tools but once you do, the sky's the limit! It's e-commerce features are also easy to use and serves its purpose well.



2) Shopify

Shopify is widely trusted by e-commerce businesses worldwide and can be set up with next to no tech experience. However, my biggest gripe with them is the lack of affordable templates available. The free ones offer very limited customisations while the paid templates usually cost upwards of USD150; a pretty big investment if you're just beginning in business. That said, when it comes to e-commerce functionalities, Shopify does an amazing job and upgrading your website is usually as simple as downloading a widget or app. Their basic e-commerce plan is more expensive than Wix's but only by a few dollars.


The choice is yours but don't overthink it! Do your research, take a day or 2 to make your decision and move ahead with it. Both will work and ultimately, nothing has to be permanent. Should you change your mind in the future, you can still make the shift.


3) Tools to Nurture

You can quote me on this when I say that you should start building your email list from day 1 so you can nurture your relationships with your audience. To do so, you'd need an email service provider.


Mailchimp

Mailchimp is free up to your first 2000 subscribers however you will be limited to just a few basic functions. Things like scheduling and automated sequences are reserved for paid plans but if you're completely new to sending emails and list building, Mailchimp is a good starting point as it's extremely easy to navigate.


Flodesk

For creatives with a bit of a budget set aside, Flodesk is what I would recommend and is what I personally use in my business. They have a host of beautiful templates that you can customise to your brand so you don't have to spend a ton of time designing your emails. Unlike most other email service providers, with Flodesk you pay the same price for life no matter how big your email list gets. Use my affiliate link and get Flodesk at 50% off forever.



4) Tools to Receive Payment

Probably one of the most important tools in any business! When picking out a payment platform, it's important to choose one that your customers would be familiar with. Trust is everything! My top 2 picks that would be your safest bet are Stripe and Paypal. I won't go too far into the details for these but you can refer to this post for a comparison.


Both are free to set up and you can actually have them running concurrently if you'd like to provide your customers with multiple payment options. However, given Paypal's recent pricing changes in August 2021, Stripe is now the more affordable option.



5) Tools to Plan Content

Content is a huge part of business, especially creative ones! Having your social media content batched and scheduled in advance is going to take a huge load off of you, trust me.


Later

Later (formerly Latergramme) was one of the very first Instagram schedulers in the market. It is free to start with however there are limitations. The good news: with Instagram specifically, you get to schedule a maximum of 30 posts a month which is more than enough to begin with! The bad news: it only applies to Single Image posts. So if you plan on doing a lot of carousel posts or videos, then the next option might be better for you.


Facebook Business Suite

Facebook recently launched the Business Suite which allows businesses to manage their content calendars - amongst other things - for Facebook and Instagram for free. You can schedule unlimited single images and carousel posts to your Feed as well as Stories! To activate it, you would just need create a Facebook Business Page, making it a game changer for new businesses everywhere.



I hope you found this list helpful. Remember, imperfect action is better than no action. So to get started, just make a decision for each of these tools and stick with it! Nothing is set in stone and you can always switch tools in future.


Have fun and good luck!



P.S: For more helpful tips & tricks in bite-sized format, make sure to follow me on Instagram too! I'll see you there.