The Digital Tools I Use in My Business

A photo of Ashton and the title 'The tech I use in my graphic recording business'

Graphic recording isn’t all markers and paper (or tablets and styluses)! I use a lot of digital tools and platforms in my day-to-day business, and I thought I would give them a shout-out in this (completely not-sponsored and entirely heartfelt) appreciation post!

I was honestly shocked when I made this list because it just…kept…going! And it’s not all things you’d necessarily think of. Who knows…you might find something in here that could be useful for you!

Let’s take a look!

1. Linktree

I don’t interact with this one a lot, but it IS useful. Linktree sits on my Instagram bio and lets people access all my links. It’s basically just a way to get around Instagram’s single link-in-bio policy.

You can mostly get away with the free version of Linktree unless you want something really specific. That’s what I use, and I’ve never had a problem with it.

2. HelloSign

HelloSign is the program I use to send contracts to clients and get them signed. Instead of having to print out a contract, sign it, scan it, and send it back to me…they just follow the prompts and I get a (legally binding) digital signature.

It’s easy to use, convenient for everyone, and I recommend it if you need people to sign things regularly.

3. Mural

If you love sticky notes, Mural is for you! It’s basically a digital sticky note program.

Mural can help you get organized on your own—or you can use it to collaborate with people on different boards. It’s also free to use forever, which is just amazing.

4. Siteground and Hover

These are the sites I use for my website. Siteground is my webhost and Hover is where I buy my domains.

5. Later

I use Later to schedule some of my social media posts. I know there are ton of options out there, but this is the one that’s worked well for my business so far.

6. Camtasia

We’ve already talked about how I use Manycam to share my drawing screen during virtual events, but if I want to capture that live feed and make a permanent video, I use Camtasia. It’s great for anything that requires a recording of a screen capture.

7. Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan

Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan is a subscription that gives me access to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s $12.99 CAD a month as of March 2022, and it’s so very worth it for when I need to tweak a photo and make it all pretty.

8. Movavi

Movavi is the program I use to edit the videos on my YouTube channel. It’s easy to use and easy to get started with, which I love.

9. Google Drive and Dropbox

I use both Google Drive and Dropbox for working with clients. Dropbox is more for one-off file transfers like distributing my graphic recording images during events. I’ll put the files in a Dropbox folder and the client will download them.

Google Drive is for ongoing projects that take more communication or collaboration. It lets us work together on documents or make notes on files—that kind of thing. So, if it’s a long-term working relationship with a lot of back and forth, it’ll be Google Drive all the way.

10. Trello

I’ve been using Trello since the fall of 2019, and I swear I would be lost without it! It’s like a digital bulletin board where you can organize things. It helps me keep track of client projects, plus any small bits of text like bios or anything that doesn’t really need a full Google Doc but has to be at my fingertips.

When I’m making my to-do lists or planning my month, Trello is my go-to because I can see exactly what’s going on.

11. Calendly

Calendly is a great tool for scheduling meetings. Instead of all that emailing back and forth, trying to figure out a time when we’re both available, I can just send my Calendly link, and the person can book a call with me at a time when they’re free.

I figure everyone gets enough emails day-to-day, and this is a great way to help give the ol’ inbox a break!

12. Proposify

When I’m working on documents to send to prospective clients, I love using Proposify. It lets me add my rates, examples of my work—whatever I need, and it has some nice design elements.

Proposify has a bit of a Big Brother vibe if I use it to send the document directly. I can see when the recipient has opened the document and how many times.

Luckily, there’s an option to download the PDF and then I can just send it through Google Drive or email myself. That way I get the features of the program and not the surveillance-y weirdness.

13. Canva Pro

I use Canva for all kinds of things! It’s a really simple graphic design program that lets you make your documents look polished and professional. I use it for my e-course workbooks and any kind of design work that I might have to do.

Canva has a free version and a paid version. I used the free version for a long time, but I recently upgraded to Pro so I could take advantage of some of the extra features. Either way, it’s an excellent tool and I recommend it if you ever want to make your documents or social media posts extra pretty!

14. Podia

I use Podia to host my programs and courses, and to send out my email newsletters. It’s more streamlined and basic than some of the other platforms out there, but I like the simplicity. It does exactly what I need it to. Plus, the customer service is amazing! I recommend!

15. Upwork

Every so often I run into a problem I can’t fix on my own and I need some expert assistance. And that’s when I’ll go on Upwork.

It’s perfect because you can literally say, “I’m looking for someone to help me tweak this thing on my website” and then people contact you if they can do the job. There are a lot of talented people on there and it’s great to have somewhere to turn when you’re dealing with tasks that would take you hours to figure out yourself.

16. Bombbomb

Bombbomb is a great little program that lets you record and send video emails. If you prefer saying a thing to writing it down, this can be a game changer. I’ve gotten excellent feedback on my video emails—I think people, and especially new connections, like to know that there’s a real person on the other end.

I find the videos a bit awkward to do…but that’s fine, I embrace the awkward and just trust that people will find it endearing! I use Bombbomb multiple times a week.

17. Sketchbook Pro

I gave you the rundown on Sketchbook Pro in my post on the devices and software I use for graphic recording. It’s a fantastic and affordable program, so if you want more  details, head over to my other post and take a look!

That’s everything on my list! Once I got started it was honestly hard to stop! Digital tools make our lives so much easier, and I don’t know what I’d do without them, to be honest.

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