We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
We are a couple of weeks into the new year and wanted to start off this new year off by making sure we are set up for success with the programs and platforms we use to run our business. This got us thinking…we hear from a lot of you often asking about what we use for this and that. Erica, what did you use to edit that photo? Jon, how do you stay organized while navigating inquiry after inquiry? We hear you and thought there was no better time to put together a list of the top 5 programs we use to run our own business.
We are going to get the MOST out of 2021 because…well, the cancelation fee is extremely high. The moment you stop moving forward, your business starts to die. There is seriously no better time than now to take some time to make sure you are set up for success with the right resources ready to go for you.
Starting something new, like a new program or process, always feels overwhelming at first and usually requires a little bit of set up. And we get it…time is precious and setting up programs doesn’t exactly feel all too sexy or like you’re pushing your business forward. But we can say from experience that once you set just a little bit of time aside to get it set up right, it is going to help you work smarter, more efficiently and ultimately pay itself off in time savings in a matter of no time! We can’t encourage this step enough of setting up programs to benefit you and your business.
So without further ado, here is a list of the top 5 programs we use to run our business:
HoneyBook is the customer relationship management (CRM) tool we use, but it is really all inclusive. It’s built into our pipeline from start to finish…just like T Swift has all her outfit changes built into her concerts. Our inquiry forms that are hosted on our website link directly into HoneyBook, so our inquiries come into the HoneyBook pipeline and we are able to track projects from the inquiry all the way to completion. This platform also allows us to send pricing brochures, invoices, handles online payments and even let’s us exchange information back and forth with clients.
HoneyBook allows you to customize everything with all of your own branding, and there are automated workflow events you can set up so your software is working for you and reaching out with scheduled emails to your clients for you. Can we get a “Hallelujer, praise the Lort!” for not having to manually send emails!? There is a little bit of a set up involved of getting the ball rolling, but their support team is great. Once you do take the time to set this up it will save you so much time in the long run, allow you to make more money because you won’t be missing leads with them all in one spot, and you will ensure that your communication and the client experience you deliver is top notch.
If you’re interested in HoneyBook, feel free to grab your subscription here. If you use our link, you’ll get 50% off your first year on HoneyBook!
ConvertKit is the email platform we use. One of the reasons why we chose ConvertKit was we wanted to make sure that everything we sent through our email was able to be measured and that we were able to visually see how we created those pipelines and email sequences. Instead of building out these massive email sequences and PRAYING that they are in the right order & sent on time, ConvertKit allows you to see it and edit it through their visual editor. This is an awesome tool because there are really no questions about what is going on and where.
This platform has been HUGE for us because it has allowed us to connect more directly with our clients and our education students. It allows us to deliver content and resources on a regular basis, and let’s be real who doesn’t love a good freebie! I mean, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” Am I right or am I right??
If email lists are something new to you, we get it. It’s always difficult to start something new, especially when you’re starting a ZERO. We all get wrapped around the social media followings we’ve built and feel like if we start an email list, we starting at zero. Nobody wants to start at zero… but you have to start somewhere. When it comes to having an audience at your fingertips you can bring value to, there is NO better format than through email. At the beginning, we didn’t have an email list, even though we were ALWAYS told we needed one, but we quite frankly didn’t want to start it and put in the time. Once we finally got our you know what together, we are now screaming with agreement in that you NEED to have an email list. What a better year than 2021 than to just start. Just start!
Grab your first 1,000 subscribers on ConvertKit for FREE by signing up here.
Kajabi is the platform we use to host our online courses. We chose Kajabi because it really is the Cadillac of online course hosting. This platform allows us to create everything we need course related within one platform. Kajabi can handle course related email, helps us create our landing pages, sales pages, checkout process and even hosts all of our course content. Literally everything is done through this platform, and their support system is incredible! This was another BIG reason why we chose Kajabi because we knew that with something as big as creating courses and education, we wanted to have an amazing team behind us that would help us through the whole journey. Teamwork makes the dreamwork! Kajabi has not disappointed us.
If you want to see what Kajabi is all about and why we chose it for our online education, sign up here for a 14-day free trial using our link!
We use all the Adobe products for our business, but the big three we work with the most are Lightroom, Photoshop and InDesign.
Lightroom is used for all of our global edits in post processing. Any white balance adjustments, color temperature and global exposure adjustments are done through this platform. If we need to get really in depth with our post processing and get into some pretty commercial level retouching, then we bring over those images from Lightroom into Photoshop. Within Photoshop we do all of our extensive retouching. Photoshop allows a lot more control over the full image, allows us to create multiple layers on top of that image and fine tune the edits we’re doing. So if we are having to retouch an image, it really is the best tool for the job because all of the tools are more refined.
The third Adobe product we use all the time is InDesign. It’s is a powerhouse of a tool that is capable of creating anything from simple documents to full on magazine publications.
We use InDesign primarily to build out our customer photo style guides. It’s the program we used when we created The Photoshoot Planning Template because it’s the tool that we feel is best suited for this job. By the way, our editable and customizable template allows us to serve our clients with the BEST experience. It brings together all of the planning and pre-production work before a brand photoshoot into one place and helps you organize and plan more efficiently. Not only is it a beneficial tool for you, but to top it off, you can add your own branding and deliver a beautiful planning PDF to your clients. Click here to check out The Photoshoot Planning Template created in InDesign.
Adobe offers subscription plans for all of their products which allows for a ton of flexibility. For example, they have photographer bundles that include both the Lightroom and Photoshop programs starting at only $9.99 per month!
We use Calendly to schedule all of our client consults and any client meetings. When it comes to reclaiming your time and regaining your schedule there hasn’t been a better tool for us. Once you get through the super easy set up, you can have clients schedule at their convenience based on your availability. Calendly syncs with all of our Google calendars so that things are updated in real time and blocked out when we are booked. Instead of having to go back and forth with email this gives our clients more flexibility. We send them the live link and they pick a time that works for them. Yeah, that’s right! THERE’S NO CRYING IN SCHEDULING! Well not with Calendly at least 😉
Calendly is a free resource for one event. Click here to get started setting up your first FREE event. If you want to have multiple events and include your own branding, then there is a low subscription cost to the platform.
These are our top 5 programs we use to run our business. Hope these are really helpful for you and your business. If you have any questions about any of them, feel free to drop us a comment or shoot us an email!
What are some of the programs you use in your business that you didn’t see listed here? We’d love to know 🙂