I started my solopreneur business pretty much like most people do – low on funds and time, but high on ambition, ideas and motivation. I learnt pretty quickly that I had to be nimble and creative to keep the costs down to continue my solopreneurial journey.
I am a problem solver by nature – I kid you not when I say some of my favourite childhood memories are of me knee-deep in a who-dunnit novel or creased brow hovering over a puzzle board I just had to solve.
So when I had to come up a few free but effective tools to help me put the right systems in place to do my best work, I left no stone unturned until I put together my (currently) perfect system.
As my business and life evolves, of course, this system will too.
But for now, I share with you all what Iḿcurrently using so it could also help you get further along with your business journey.
P.S. In every category, I’ve included free options, so that you can build your business almost for free. None of these are affiliate links, so no conflicts of interest here!
1. How I Book My Gigs/ Meetings System
I recall one of my clients pulling out a notebook to scribble our next upcoming appointment and I was dumbstruck for a minute! I have vintage tendencies every so often like everyone else but paper planners in todayś age are really are simply not practical for so many reason but let´s start with editing – they aren´t. You might scratch it out but you really must start over. And what if you lose it? It drops into the loo or a puddle of water?
Getting a digital calendar set up and syncing across all your devices is an absolute no-brainer and vital for your mental clarity as well as sanity.
Why? Never having to worry that you have double-booked especially if you provide consulting, coaching or therapy sessions.
Better yet no more playing of email tag, where you send so many emails back and forth with your client, you forget why you were meeting up!
Your prospective clients simply check your availability on your digital calendar, select their preferred time and send you a request. All you do is accept it and done!
No need for a secretary/personal assistant, no need for back and forth emails or phone calls. Good to go!
My Current Scheduling System : Calendly – available on iOS, Android and Web.
2. How I Get Paid System
I love spreadsheets – wonderful stuff for dumping data then analysing what it all means. Period.
But to keep track of payments, expenses and even issue invoices..no, I simply don´t have the time to be painstakingly either cobbling together invoices from scratch or dealing with spreadsheet data entry. And I know you don´t either.
I use Wave and I absolutely love it! It lets you create a pretty professional and pretty in general invoice template which I simply key in prospective client´s info, then hit send. Done. Seat back and wait for my phone to ping informing me that said client has paid yours truly.
It is not as fancy as some of the other online solutions but it gives you everything you need to track your books yourself and it is free.
The free plan includes entering your payables, receivables, invoicing, and receipt storage. Super. Any additional fees come only if you need assistance with payroll, taxes, or credit card processing.
But I currently receive payments via only 2 systems – PayPal and M-Pesa (as I am currently based on the Kenyan coast). Since there has been a recent coupling of thse two systems , it has made my life incredibly easier and my accounting less of a hassle as I can within 2 hours transfer funds between the systems for a pittance. Nice.
My Current Accounting System : Wave – available on iOS, Android and Web.
3. How I Design Pretty Stuff System
I am not nor do I pretend to be an artist or artistic in any shape or form.
I have a great love for and admiration for artistic expression. Indeed, I wanted to explore this when I was younger up until my O Level Art teacher informed me in no uncertain terms, that art was simply not my forte and might have completely skipped my gene pool. So I heavily rely on my favourite graphic design tool for all my blog, social media, marketing demands. I recall life before Canva – expensive and limited because you had to hire an expensive freelancer to do the most basic graphics for you. Now, even as an amateur as I am in the field of graphics design, you can pull off remarkably eye-catching and professional stuff – check out my instagram if you need convincing!
My Current Graphic Design System : Canva– available on iOS, Android and Web.
4. How I Build My Audience System
Email marketing! Gotta do it – to promote your services/products, provide value to your customers and develop relationships with potential new customers. Just gotta do it.
So I use MailChimp primarily to get my subscribers through the door and Revue for my email newsletter. Revue is just brilliant -simplified entire newsletter management system.
I have created an integration between my MailChimp and Revue to do all the dirty work for me – ensuring I am maintaining my subscriber list and entire newsletter system in one go. No double entry. No sending newsletters to a contact who unsubscribed from said newsletter.
Seamless. Easy. Free. 🙂
5. How I Post On Social Media Daily System
I have a confession to make – before I started my solopreneur business, I was dead in the water in the social media world. No Facebook account (You heard me right – no Facebook!) no Twitter, etc. Now, I am posting daily, chatting with folks across all social media platforms and even getting referrals that way.
Remarkable – even for an introvert like me! So how do I manage my social media publishing – thank goodness for Buffer!!
I timeblock maximum 2 hours on the same day each week to publish and schedule a week´s worth of content and then not worry about it for a week. Phew!
Super low maintenance and stress-free.
My Current Social Medial Publishing System : Buffer – available on iOS, Android and Web.