As much as I love and still use my paper calendars, I knew a few years ago that I needed to dive head first into new tools that could automate more of the business. Now y'all know I'm not the biggest fan of this tech-heavy world we're living in, but I've gotten my act together over the years enough to have my list of go-to programs and apps that make design life that much easier.
If you're a fellow designer, or a business owner looking for some systems to put in place, scroll on through and maybe you'll find a new tool to make your business more efficient!
DUBSADO - MY CLIENT EXPERIENCE SYSTEM
Dubsado was the biggest change I made with my systems hands down! Having a branded system to send clients through from first steps to project wrap-up reflected a really professional first impression, which is so important when you're potentially undertaking a multi-year project with a family. Saving time with the initial inquiries and automating some of the initial communication allowed us to schedule our days better and keep communication moving along without worrying about missing emails to schedule calls or meetings.
I do recommend hiring a Dubsado certified expert to set up your systems for you - not only to get it done, but also to ensure you're using the full capacity of the software and shortening your learning curve. It's ABSOLUTELY worth it. Feel free to message me for more information on who I used to set up Dubsado! You can certainly do it yourself but let me reassure you it was worth every penny to invest in a professional to handle the details (much like interior design right?!)
Use the code "AutomateYourBiz" to get 20% off your first month OR year of Dubsado (depending on whether you choose the monthly or annual plan (full disclosure: I get one month free if you sign up...it's a win win).
MONDAY.COM - MY TASKS STAY ALL IN ONE PLACE
There are many task management systems out there but Monday.com has turned into our favorite way to keep track of different projects and the tasks associated with that project's stage of design. This has helped a lot as we've grown the team, and gives us a way to communicate in one place that can be revisited at any time to double check on the status of all of our projects.
CANVAS APP - MY MEASURING SAVIOR
With my new iPad Pro, this app has completely changed my initial measurement appointments with my clients! Canvas works with LiDAR enabled devices (which means squat to me, but that basically means the latest 2020 versions of the iPad Pro and the iPhone 12 series). All of you have to do is scan the room with that iPad or iPhone and it creates a rough 3D version of the space, including all existing furniture, and you can always double check measurements and add them in to make sure your bases are covered.
These 3D models can then be converted right into AutoCAD drawings, without the painstaking process of recreating the spaces with your scribbled measurements in a workbook. Hallelujah!! Seriously, it's the best thing - and may even rival my love for Dubsado.
CONCEPT APP - MY DIGITAL SKETCHBOOK
Concept app hit my consciousness when I started taking an analog drawing course during the pandemic. I wanted to learn how to be able to do hand drawn renderings, rather than on the computer, at the drop of a hat. It's been an incredible outlet this year, and while I'm still learning how to be really quick with practice and embrace the imperfection of hand drawing, I have to tell you it's addictive because the more you draw, the more you want to draw and sketch. Concept app is my form of a digital sketchbook. I can save everything I am working within my iPad Pro, and it cuts down on the amount of paper I have floating around the house and office!
CANVA - GRAPHICS GUIDE
We create and update our welcome guides, investment guides, and social media graphics on Canva. It is a very intuitive tool and fuels my love of all things beautiful...because much like the designs we develop for clients, I want all the graphic things I need in my business to be beautiful as well. If you struggle to make documents in your business that portray your business the way you want, look no further than Canva.
MILE IQ - MILEAGE
Mile IQ is amazing to have come tax time! You can set the app to be active always, or only when you open it, but it records every drive you make, and you can categorize it based on business or personal errands in the moment. At the end of the year, you can run in and get your overall mileage number in a second and get that deduction completely spot on! Trust me when I tell you its worth the yearly fee (it's like 55 bucks I think) and you will thank me every first quarter of the year when your accountant asks you for your mileage. Says the girl who was strictly old school for her first year of business and wrote every trip down in a notebook. I'm old school still but too old to be writing mileage in a notebook y'all. Ha!
GENIUS SCAN - INTERACTIVE CONTRACTS
I love Genius Scan for its scanning capabilities - for receipts to save for tax time, and scanning contracts and turning them into PDFs quickly for clients. I've used it for years and I highly recommend it! It's easy peasy to use and you can email pdfs quickly or have them download into dropbox or google drive.
Do you have any tools that you love that didn't make my list? I would love to know - drop a comment underneath this post! New tools are always popping up, so I am all ears!