Almost every business own out there is looking for ways to improve the workflow fo their business. These days, a lot of this can be done through mobile and desktop apps and serives. Here is a small list of the apps I use for my business on a dialy basis in hopes that they can help your business as well.

 

PayPal

We all know what PayPal is so what I am about to tell you isn’t super groundbreaking but it can be super helpful. PayPal is the method I personally use for accepting payment for my photography work and the reason is simple; it includes a free invoicing service.

It is a well-known fact that most business run on invoicing and tracking those invoices can be a pain. PayPal has a pretty robust invoicing service, especially since it is included with your free account. You are able to create clean and simple invoices with your business logo on it and send them to your clients. You even have features like setting a due date, allowing partial payments and being able to send a reminder to those who haven’t paid. You can also run custom reports to see all those invoices that are still outstanding as well as year-end reports for tax purposes.

Once your client pays the invoice, the money will be deposited directly into your PayPal account for you to transfer to a bank of your choosing. The main downside of accepting online payments, whether it is PayPal or another service is fees. Almost all online payment services take a fee for handling the money. Currently, PayPal charges 2.9% plus $0.10 of the invoiced amount. This can get expensive if you are handling large sums of money but for most photography jobs, it isn’t that much. Plus you can always claim the PayPal fees as a business expense.

 

Dropbox

Just like PayPal, everyone has heard of Dropbox. You might even have a Dropbox account already and are actively using it. Between the two most well-known online storage options for your average consumer, Google Drive and Dropbox, Dropbox is easier to use and on the client side.

I personally use Dropbox to deliver all of my images to my clients after a job is over. This was great in the beginning but I quickly found that I was running out of space with the free account (you currently on get 2 GB free compared to Google Drive’s 5 GB). This was when I decided to upgrade my account to the Dropbox Plus plan. This plan gives you 1TB of online storage and is well worth the $99 a year. With all of that online storage, I am able to store my most recent jobs making them accessible to past clients just in case they need the photos. Technically, you could probably get away with the Free plan but you would need to monitor your storage and remove photos when you start to run out of space. I found that $99 a year is worth not having to deal with the hassle.

 

IFTTT

If you have never heard of the service IFTTT, I completely understand. When I first saw the service being advertised I didn’t even know what the logo said so I didn’t pay any attending but know that I have been using it, it is a great time saver for my business.

So IFTTT stands for “If This Then That” and can basically be used as a virtual assistant that is always running in the background. For example, let’s say you write an article on your blog and you want to post a link to it on Twitter. Instead of you having to copy the URL of your blog, go to Twitter and make a post with the copied URL, you can set up IFTTT to do all of that for you. It can be set up to basically detect when you publish a new blog and automatically create the twitter post for you and publish it. For someone who is running all aspects of their business, having this type of tool to do the small tasks for you and really save you some valuable time. This is just one quick example but you can set up tons of different things using IFTTT.

 

Google Webmaster

This might not be a tool that many photographers think of when they want to improve their business but it can give you a lot of useful information about how your website is performing.

Google Webmaster is a service provided by Google that gives you some really useful analytics about your online portfolio. Once you add your site to the Webmaster Dashboard and verify it with Google, you are able to track your site’s search performance, see how much of your site is indexed, see any security issues, upload sitemaps, and tons more.  This might not be a tool that you use on a daily basis but honestly, but if I can use more of Google’s services to enhance my online performance I will do it.

 

Wunderlist

There are tons of apps, both mobile and desktop based, that allows you to make to-do lists and set reminders. By far the best free app I have found is called Wunderlist.

Wunderlist is a great app for easily planning any type of project and keeping a solid to-do list of the types of projects you need to complete. You can create different groups within the app so it is not all one big to-do list. You can also set reminders on certain tasks so you will never forget something that might be time sensitive. One of the coolest features is the ability to collaborate with others who are using the app. Let’s say you are a wedding photographer and you have a second shooter going on a job with you. If you both have the Wunderlist app, you can create a list for your second shooter of all the exact shots you want him/her to get and as they check off the item on the list, you will be able to see if real time. This is only one use case but you can see how useful it can be.

 

Conclusion

These are just a few apps and their are many others out there at can improve your business and workflow but these are the ones I personally use on an almost daily basis. If you can any other apps that you use for your business, I would love to hear them!

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Categories: Blog

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