tools of the trade — behind the scenes on all of our favorite business boosting programs

Updated: 6 days ago

While Brittany and I would love to live and die by the paper and pen, running a business is no joke. And those serious business lady vibes require some seriously efficient programs that help us keep our business running smoothly. But we’re all about sharing behind the scenes! So today, let’s dive into a list of our favorites that keep our books, business, and projects running on time.





quickbooks online

Hell-to-the-yes. I’ve been asked about one million times “what should I do to start my business?”. I always answer with “GET QUICKBOOKS”. It was the first of my millicentmaker purchases for my very first business, and I’ve been using it ever since. Brittany and I adopted the same systems when we came together, and it’s been our saving grace for figuring out expenses, running reports, blah blah blah.


BUT! The most important feature for us? Invoicing. Ya girls gotta get paid somehow, and quickbooks makes it super easy. There’s a million different invoicing & accounting software out there, but quickbooks has always been our go-to. Whether it’s this one or something else, get serious about your accounting and get one of them.


google drive (well, google everything, but we’ll get there)

File sharing!! Gone are the solo days of an inconsolable desktop screen. Brittany and I had to figure out the best way to share our files together and to start creating an archive of all of the projects. Google drive wasn’t our first answer, but it will definitely be our final one.

We keep backups of all projects on the drive along with internal documents, and it even allows us to share huge files (or final deliveries) with our clients without them having the download a huge file off of a thumb drive.


gsuite

If you don’t know already (lots of people already use Gsuite), Gsuite is how fancy people get those fancy emails with their fancy .com domain names they’ve purchased. (we’re fancy)


For us, Gsuite is great because we can not just manage our purchased domains, but we can also go in and add others to our fancy @maker--made.com email accounts (like our awesome interns, woo!).


google analytics

Yep, another google. And there’s one more after this, even! Google analytics is how you keep tabs on your website performance. It can tell you how many, who, and where people are viewing your website. It can show you site maps of how someone is navigating through your site, which pages are the most popular, and on and on and on. Legit too much information, and it’s awesome! It can help you keep track of how a specific campaign is doing with clickthrough data, and keep your sights set on where your site needs to improve.


If you’re not into all of that, I can guarantee you’ll get excited about the sheer fact of seeing how many visitors you get per month.


google calendar

Okay, last one. This one’s pretty simple, just the calendar. Brittany and I share appointments, meetings, and dental cleanings using google calendar. It’s easy to invite her to things, she can invite me, and our coworking space is even linked on our calendars so we can book conference rooms. Boom.


asana

We’re still figuring this one out. I mean...is anyone, ever, an Asana expert?! This shit is crazy. But it’s also awesome, and has so much capability that we haven’t even tapped into yet.

At its core, Asana is a project management software. It allows us to task out projects based on the type and set deadlines and communicate with each other on projects (without actually talking). We can upload files and client notes, type out thoughts to each other, and much much more.


We’re slowly diving into this new space with help from our friend, Jazmin, on getting it set up correctly for us. Thanks, Jazmin!! <3


harvest

We love Harvest!! It’s hands-down the easiest time-tracking software to use, and it’s actually quite powerful if you choose to use it in its full form. Harvest can actually handle invoicing and all of that jazz, we just have chosen to stick with Quickbooks.

But beyond invoicing, Harvest is really really good at time tracking and budgets when it comes to project management. We can set project hourly rates & budget and keep track of everything, plus it sends us emails when we’re close to reaching max with our retainer clients. And! They have options that allow us to bring on team members (like our amazing interns, woo!)


adobe suite

Obviously. Right? We just thought we’d include it in case anyone is curious. We use the Adobe programs for designing our magic. Including Illustrator, Indesign, and Photoshop.


adobe stock

Something that we pay additionally for, on top of our Suite pricing, is Adobe’s stock photos. It’s a monthly membership and we use it for things like client’s social media postings, sourcing photos for our inspiration boards in our deliverables, and for our own blogs & social media. They also have lots of assets for illustrator and photoshop, and sometimes you can even score some cool textures and backgrounds.


Okay, we’re done boring you with our list of “get it done” programs. But we honestly hope it’s helpful to see how we manage ourselves using some of the best tools around. Some of these programs talk to eachother (like asana and harvest and quickbooks all integrate together, making my life easier when it comes to running reports and sending invoices) but others don’t. We’ve found our perfect combination of things that helps keep us organized, but everyone has their flow.

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brittany stodgell

+ millicent schnebly

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