Being a “boutique digital agency” (industry lingo for SMALL), means we have the flexibility of trying new systems for productivity and organization. We get to test out the latest and greatest apps because it doesn’t mean on-boarding a whole team of 20 people and changing their workflow for an app we end up hating. In fact, there are apps and tools both Nikki and I use to run the day to day and project management of Method Agency, but we also have tools we use separately.
So in the spirit of the question we ask all our Bitches in Business Guests, here are the top 5 Apps and Online Tools we use to run our business:
My Top 5 Favorite Productivity and Organization Apps
I Love the TeuxDeux app. I mostly use the web-based app when I have my computer opened during the day, but the mobile app is great, as well.
In a world filled with many complicated project management and task management tools, TeuxDeux is SO simple. You add your tasks for the day, you cross off the ones you accomplish and anything you don’t complete automatically gets pushed to the next day.
There are static lists which I use for ideas/notes/reminders/links and so much more! It’s simple, easy-to-use (and cheap! $3/mo!). I set up recurring tasks for things I do each Monday, Friday or once a month. I start my week going through TeuxDeux and organizing it for the week. It’s so simple, it’s impossible to get lost in the details. I use this as a daily, overview of my priorities. It’s been a game-changer for me! Try it out at https://teuxdeux.com/.
Our Business Coach got us using this modern agency staple, and for awhile we just used it for our work within our Coaching Plan. I like Trello for it’s ease of card set up, list organization and how it can link to your Google Drive, but I think it is limited in its list function (why can’t there be sublists, for example?). It wasn’t until we started a web project with a contractor that I really bought into the project management aspects of Trello.
And now, I can’t stop making boards! From personal boards to home buying boards to method project boards, I’m all-in on Trello as a Project Management Tool.
At the start of a project (or after a really inspiring personal session of ‘HERE ARE ALL THE THINGS I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE”) we make a list with ALL the cards representing ideas or parts of a project. It may be messy, but that’s fine. We’ll clean it up later. Then we start to break up the lists, from Weekly tasks (or goal dates for project milestones) or “Bekah Tasks” and “Nikki Tasks” or “Dev person Tasks.”
We can communicate within each card, move them to the “Completed” list we create, set due dates, link to content on Google Drive and so much more! Try Trello (Ps: I’m still on the free version!)
In most of our client relationships, we don’t bill hourly but instead have retainers or project fees. However, we still track our time so that we make sure we are estimating correctly when we project billing for projects.
I track my time with Toggl, a simple-to-use web and mobile app that simply tracks my time and assigns a “project” with a client. You can get details with many types of tasks and projects for each client, but I keep it simple and usually just 1 or 2 task types for clients.
Here is how my day looks so far (and if you’re interested, I’ve been tracking this blog post for 43 min and 44 seconds!)
At the end of each week, you get a detailed reporting of all your tasks for the previous week, which Nikki and I track and go over every once in awhile to make sure we are on track, adjusting as necessary. Best part? Toggl is free! There is a paid version, of course, but I like free!
You knew this one was coming, right? Of course we use, #Slack, because, who doesn’t?
We use Slack for team communication, communication with strategic partners and for saving important organizational docs related to conversations but not necessarily projects. Yeah.. it gets a little confusing having Trello, Slack AND our own personal to-do list systems. But Slack just isn’t a project management tool, so you need something external, we have found.
Five years ago when we started Method Agency LLC and had no idea what we were doing, we started doing our expenses and accounting with an app (spoiler: it’s free) called WaveApps. We always assumed we’d eventually have to move to a paid accounting system, but Wave has surprisingly been powerful enough for our ’boutique’ agency so far all these years!
My only complaint is that it lacks a budgeting feature, so we have been exploring other options to hopefully lessen the amount we rely on excel and the easy ability to mess-up formulas. But if you’re looking for a pretty powerful, easy to use, expense tracking, full-accounting system with invoicing, check out WaveApps!
#1 Gusto for Payroll.
We love, love, LOVE Gusto. Gusto makes getting paid and running payroll fun. I know those words usually don’t go together (well, the running payroll + fun part), but you’ll have to try it out to believe us!
We recently learned about Milanote which is an awesome tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. It’s like you’re working on a wall in a creative studio- it’s very visual and perfect for designers who work in teams remotely.
– Write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
– Organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
– Boards can be a shared workspace for collaboration with your team
– Hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects
– Free version available with no time limit. – PRO version $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans)
Those are my Top 5 Favorite Apps, but I’m always looking to streamline the process, get more organized and communicate better. So let me hear it: What are your favorites? What do you use to project manage along with Slack? How do you utilize Trello? Sound off in the comments!