Tools I use to run my Biz – By Vanessa Ragains

BMW-About-Page-3
I’ll tell you a secret, I had no clue how to market my business in the beginning. They do not have a business 101 class in the Massage Therapy program. NOTE: I would be happy to create one! So what is a newbie Entrepreneur to-do? To give myself some credit, I enjoy the process of researching and figuring out how to get started. There was no time to go back to school or take a business course and certainly no extra funds to hire someone to do the marketing for me. I was forced to answer my own questions! Where do I begin? What are marketing tools? How will this support my business? 
I started answering my own questions by researching articles about how to market your business, what social media profiles are the most popular for marketing, and which tools are the best for the vision of my business. LinkedIn was where I started my search. With a grand total of 76 connections at the time, I thumbed through the thread of articles and blog posts of folks who have been successful Entrepreneurs like Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, Mark Cuban, and IIya Pozin who is the founder of Pluto TV. You may be familiar with the articles he writes for Forbes.com. These posts were mostly on how to be a productive manager, how to run a business, etc. I also found an Under 30 CEO newsletter I signed up for. Excellent suggestions and a wonderful way to boost those marketing ideas.
Next, I went through my social media profiles and made edits where needed. Check out this guide to Setting up your Bios on your Social Media accounts! The social media profiles that are the most important for me to keep accurate are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I have a Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram that I am active on, but my primary focus are on the main 3. I used to post on each of these profiles separately, meaning logging into the profile to post regularly. After a while, this was getting to become a headache. There HAD to be another way, an easier way!
Buffer – First off, I LOVE BUFFER!!! This is a tool that will automate and schedule your posts on multiple social media profiles. This allows you to prepare each week or month with certain topics to engage your audience with. Sharing about a class you are hosting, whether or not you have an opening for a Massage appointment, and so on. By scheduling your posts in advance, you are able to alleviate the frustration that comes from having to post on all your profiles separately. So, for the Massage Therapist this is a lifesaver that does the work for you! One reason I LOVE Buffer is for the convenience and consistency they have built-in their iPhone app. If I remember something that I wanted to post later in the week, I can whip out my handy-dandy phone, choose the profiles that I want to post on, schedule it for a specific time/day, and viola! There is a FREE version that allows you to connect 3 social media profiles and 10 posts per profile. The paid version is only $10 which allows you to connect multiple profiles and unlimited posts.
Most folks have not heard about Pablo from Buffer. Check it out here!
Evernote – I first discovered Evernote from a client who was a huge fan! This tool allows you to keep your business organized. You create a Notebook where you can add notes and break-down projects in a snap! For example, each Massage Therapist I hire has their own Notebook where I “share” the Team Handbook, Meeting Agendas, and place a copy of their insurance with current License. 1) we don’t print it all out (Trying to stay GREEN here!) 2) simple way to communicate 3) they will always have access to these notes on any device. Another example is the Notebook I have for my VA (Virtual Assistant). I created numerous notes on certain tasks I need her to do each week. Some notes are just for her to reference as she completes her weekly tasks. I gave her a note with all of my clients names and contact info. Pretty neat! One of my favorite features is that you can use Evernote offline. So if there is no wi-fi I can still work on my Blog posts, add a task, or look through any of my notes! I literally used the offline mode to write this blog post while flying to Vegas! You can use the free version or you can pay $45/year for their premium account to create an awesome workflow with your Team.
Mindbody – I decided to create a business that was all Mobile. Meaning, I bring the massage experience to my clients and corporate companies. They can stay at home for their session and I come to them. MindBody software is the best scheduling software to book your clients, schedule classes, and can visually “see” what is happening, who my therapists are working without having to physically be at a particular location. The convenience of being able to contact clients right through the app makes MindBody a must-have. Not to mention their awesome 24-7 customer service where you can actually chat with a person in the middle of the night. That feature takes the cake!
Mile IQ – One of the dreaded tasks of being a traveling Massage therapist is keeping track of all those darn miles! Well, I can happily report that Mile IQ will be your best friend, in that regard! It tracks every drive for you. All you have to do is swipe left for Personal and right for Business mileage. It’s as easy as that! Plus, you receive monthly and yearly statements which make Tax day a breeze. This app is $60/year and well worth it, I assure you.
Wave This is an awesome and FREE accounting tool that connects to your bank accounts and keeps track of all your expenses to make tax day much simpler. You can create invoices, collect payments, and keep track of all your business receipts. Their iPhone apps are helpful while you are not by your computer! I have recorded a business receipt from my phone in an instant. This is another tool that does the work for you so you can get back to what you love doing!
MailChimpI have gone back and forth between Constant Contact and MailChimp for the past 3 years. I have returned once again to MailChimp due to the clean dashboard as well as the templates that are totally customizable. I love the drag and drop feature, too. My favorite part is, again, their iPhone app rocks! I have literally forgotten to Schedule a weekly email and could open up my app, review the email, and send it on its way! I appreciate simplicity in apps that make running a business like mine less stressful! MailChimp is the email marketing tool that I rely on.
These tools have been life savers when it was time to get my business up and running! I will have a part 2 of this post to share some more tools I have discovered to make marketing your business a cinch!
I LOVE YOUR QUESTIONS!! Please feel free to ask me a question or comment about what you read today. Looking forward to hearing from radical Folks like yourself!
Advertisements