Cloze is relatively new. They just revamped their CRM last March, and it’s great. It used to be just for email inbox management, but now it does so much more. Cloze shows you everything you’re doing with social media, along with stats like when someone has opened your email. I was using Nimble for years, and Cloze does everything Nimble does, but does it even better because it shows you everything on one page. Their whole app is also more user-friendly than Nimble’s. Nimble had too much stuff to navigate around, and was rather expensive. And when I left Nimble, they didn’t even acknowledge that I left, and didn’t care that I left after so many years. They didn’t even send one of those emails asking why I decided to stop using them. One of the founders from Cloze wrote to me four times to try Cloze, so I tried it. As a freelancer and a small business owner, I’ve tried about every app out there. I know the difference between apps that are just stripped-down versions of enterprise apps, and those that are made for us. With Cloze, I could tell that they weren’t just selling me a lesser version of their “full” app; and I can even talk to the founder! That means a lot to us small guys. I really, really like that.
I have 2 iPads, 2 Macs and 2 phones. I always have Skype open at all times on one of my devices. Ivan and I use Skype for face-to-face meetings during the day. We also leave it open for chats during the day that don’t require a call or video chat. This gives us a written transcript of conversations, which is really helpful when you’re trying to recall a conversation you had 2 weeks ago.
We use Square when we’re out and about, usually when we’re at an event selling books.
I pay my contractors via PayPal. I like that it integrates with FreshBooks. Most clients pay me via PayPal and that automatically gets logged into FreshBooks. And if they pay me by check or ACH, I can record it as “paid” in FreshBooks very easily. If a company pays me via credit or debit card, they can do that easily via PayPal. I really love that PayPal works internationally. I have clients in 14 countries, so the international support is crucial.
I started using Cubby because when I’m in hurry, and that is a lot of the time, I only have time to save something to my desktop. With Cubby, I can make each folder on my desktop into a virtual “cubby,” which I can access on any device. Everything has to be accessible everywhere!
I use Dropbox for everything, along with Evernote and FreshBooks.
I use GoDaddy Bookkeeping for my accounting. I don't have employees, or inventory, so I don't need a complicated accounting program. I just have business expenses. What I like about GoDaddy Bookkeeping the most is that it keeps accurate, up-to-date. and real-time Schedule C information right within the app.
I use FreshBooks for all of my invoicing. It’s extremely easy to use, and they’re always trying to improve. FreshBooks keeps track of every single client transaction I’ve ever had with a client, and it’s all right there, all in one place. I had to sue a client last year and he was absolutely shocked when I could prove every single transaction and expense, down to a $3.99 Kindle expense! And since I do all of our accounting, I need everything as automated as possible, which FreshBooks allows me to do easily.
I tried to use a few other programs for quotes and proposals, but Quote Roller is the easiest to use, and it integrates with FreshBooks. You can basically just drag-and-drop things into it. But the #1 reason I chose Quote Roller is because of the integration with FreshBooks.
Fuze is cheaper and better than GoToMeeting, especially for webinars. If I initiate an online meeting, I always choose Fuze.
If you do a lot of writing, Scrivener is the absolute best app. It has a big learning curve because there’s so much to it, but once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to imagine working without it. It’s so full of features, but also not bloated. The only con is that they have yet to develop an iPad app.
GoToMeeting is more expensive than Fuze, especially for webinars, but it’s the standard, so I use it if a client prefers it.
RightSignature integrates with Quote Roller and FreshBooks, which is huge for me. I am always looking for integration. HelloSign is great, but doesn’t integrate with the programs I need. With RightSignature, clients can just push a button and sign. And there’s an electronic record kept online with time and date stamps for every action. It’s $14 per month, which is a bit expensive for the number of times I use it per month, but sometimes something is worth the higher cost!
Ivan and I use Brightpod specifically for keeping track of all of our internal marketing activities, like Twitter, newsletters, and web design and maintenance. They have a great editorial calendar feature. Their founders are in India, but they are extremely responsive! They listen to all of my feature requests, and I really like that.
I’ve been using Evernote since 2008. Everything goes in there. It really is a brain dump, but an organized one! You can put all of your web clippings in there from all of your devices. Ivan (my awesome full-time executive assistant) and I talk every morning at 9am and then the rest of the day, we can just put notes into Evernote and review it all at our next meeting.
We use Basecamp for client projects. With our company, client projects can be anything! Some have no marketing whatsoever, some have extensive marketing and some require just editing. We can go back and forth between Brightpod and Basecamp for the projects that have marketing. It’s extremely easy to share content with clients in Basecamp, and all of our clients really like that. It allows me to keep all documents, pictures and everything else all in one place. I also really like Basecamp because I like the pretty colors! Basecamp changed for the better a few years ago. When I first started using it, it was very expensive, and on top of that, when you called support, they seemed like they were mad at you. It was not a good user experience. But they have completely changed all of that around. I almost stopped using the tool a few years back, but now the team is responsive, and the platform is friendly and easy-to-use. And most importantly, it’s easy for our clients to use. Basecamp has pricing tiers for 10 projects, and then the next tier was something like 50 projects, which is a huge leap. They gave me a special price for in between the two tiers, since 10 was too few and 50 was too many. I really appreciated that they worked with me. They definitely work with the little guys, which you can’t say for a lot of companies.
Sprout Social is a more robust program than Hootsuite, which I used for years. We tried to use Hootsuite for our largest client, but it didn’t work out very well. It became too unwieldy and messy, between all of our accounts for clients, our company, etc. HootSuite was also charging a lot for reporting, which we didn’t like. Our largest client, who is in Mexico, asked us to find something else, and Sprout Social fit the bill. Sprout Social is more expensive than Hootsuite, but much more comprehensive. I tried it a few years ago, but couldn’t keep using it because it was pretty expensive. When I started using Sprout Social again this time around, they grandfathered me in at the cheaper rate from years ago, which I really appreciated. All of their support is also in Spanish, which helps with our client in Mexico.