Here Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…
I want to talk about a few of my favorite things. Now, what I mean by, “Favorite things,” are software tools that I use to help me become more efficient in my business. Most of these are free, and one of them costs you ten dollars a month, but that's not a big deal. Every week I start off my Bacon Weekly Mastermind with fifteen minutes of training. This is pretty in depth training about tools that I use to help me become more efficient. I spend about fifteen minutes, and then I give time for Q and A, where people can ask questions about the training topic or really about anything. If you want to learn more about the Bacon Weekly Mastermind, go to BaconCoach.com/bwm for Bacon Weekly Mastermind, or you can go to BaconCoach.com/bmw if that's easier to remember.
What it's all about is helping people to excel every single week. It's part motivation, part mastermind, and part training. I like to train people on the different tools that they can use to help make themselves more efficient in their business, or to help them get more creative ideas and things of that nature.
The three things I'm going to talk about today are Evernote, Canva and Acuity Scheduling.
Let's start off with Evernote. Evernote is a free program, but you can pay for it to get additional features. It's not super, super expensive. It's about $69 per year, and there are many benefits of paying for it. You can actually scan business cards and it will do OCR, optical character recognition. You can add those to your contact lists. What Evernote allows you to do is type in notes and manage what's known as notebooks. You can create a notebook specifically for, let's say, a client or a project. Then, you can add notes in there for things that you have to do, or conversations that you've had. I use it with my coaching clients. Every time I make a coaching call, I put notes in there, and then I can share the notes with the clients if they want to get that information. It's a great collaborative tool, but it's also something that goes across all of your platforms, meaning that you not only can see it on your desktop, but you can see it on your phone and on your iPad. If you pay for the advanced version or the premier version, you can get it on multiple devices.
If you choose the free version, then you only get it on two devices, and you don't get things like business card reading, and all the other neat tools with it. It doesn't hurt to give it a try for free and see if it works for you, creating notebooks, and having a place to store all your information. It's similar to Dropbox too, because you can store links and files and you can do a lot of stuff with it, but there is limited storage. Once you pay for it, you get more storage.
Let's move on to number two. Number two is Canva. It's C-A-N-V-A.com. Canva is a free program. It allows you to create incredible graphics. The cool thing about Canva is it has a whole bunch of templates already set up. If you need to create a Facebook banner, a Twitter header, a flyer or a business card, all of those are in there and they're all free. The way that Canva makes its money is it sells images for a dollar each. If you want to use some of their images, you can buy them for a buck, which is a great deal. You can't take those and use them outside like you could when Dollar Photo Club was around, which was eventually bought by Adobe Stock. It's still great stuff with great images that you can use for a dollar inside Canva to create a wide array of graphics.
You may have heard me say this, but using graphics inside of social media, and other places, increases your engagement by seventy percent. When you can create great graphics and have those added to all of your social media and your website, it's awesome, and that's what Canva does. Check it out – it's Canva.com. Like I said, it gives you the ability to create great graphics that you can add to anything. You can download them as JPEGs and upload them to your website and your social media. Play around with it; it's free.
3) Acuity Scheduling
The third thing I want to talk about is called Acuity Scheduling. They do offer a free trial, and you can check it out. The thing I love about Acuity, especially for my business, is how well it integrates with everything. When I say with everything, here's what it does. For example, I have coaching clients, and when I book those coaching clients, Acuity, first and foremost, integrates with all of my calendars. Whether you have a Google Calendar, Outlook, Mac calendar, whatever it is, it actually goes and reads those calendars and says, “Okay, this time is already blocked off because somebody's booked something, or you booked something.” You can also say, “Okay, these are my hours of operation, eight AM to five PM, Monday through Friday,” whatever it is. It looks at those and only allows people to jump in and book time with you during times that are not already booked.
Now, if you're smart enough to do this, or you understand how to do this (I'm not saying you're not smart), you can go into any calendar and it will allow you to add drive time before and after. If you're going to a meeting, make sure you put in thirty minutes drive time and thirty minutes back so that you're blocking off that time, because that was an issue. I forgot to do this when I first started using it and I learned the hard way. Not only does it do the booking based on the availability, but it also integrates with Go To Meeting and with all kinds of payment systems like PayPal, Stripe, and I think it just added Square as well.
If somebody wants to book an hour of my time, it searches for the available times, and then it sends an invoice and makes the client go to PayPal to pay for it ahead of time. Then, once they pay, it actually books a Go To Meeting, and sends both parties the reminder, and integrates directly in my system, so I don't have to do anything. Now, this costs a whopping ten dollars per month for all of that integration. It will also integrate with a many other things like Aweber and a ton of other tools that are out there.
I definitely want you to check those three things out. If you are going to check out Acuity, use my link. It's the same price whether you use my link or you just go directly, so go to BrianLoves.info/acuity. It's spelled A-C-U-I-T-Y. Go check that out, play with it for a while, and see if it works for you. Now, there's a ton of calendar programs out there, and I did a lot of research, and this is the one that I actually found to be the easiest to use in a lot of ways. It is so customizable and definitely very easily integrated. As a matter of fact, I interviewed the owner of Acuity on my Bacon Podcast, so go search for Gavin Zuchlinski, or search for Acuity, and you can listen to the podcast on how he built this. He actually built it for his mom.
Those are some of the tools that I like to use. Those are my favorites. Evernote keeps you organized, keeps all of your information in one place, and you can get it on all your devices. Canva is a great graphics tool that's free, and a lot of people don't have graphics backgrounds. This really helps you to create the kind of graphics that you need. If you don't have Photoshop or some other program, it lets you do that for free. Then finally, Acuity Scheduling helps you to keep your calendar in order and keep your business focused and organized, and book time, collect money, book your sessions, whatever it is that you want to do. If you'd like some more in-depth training about these things, I offer it in my Bacon Weekly Mastermind, that's BaconCoach/BWM. Give it a shot. Get four sessions in one month, for only $1.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and maybe some other tools you love!
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