If, like me, you also run a small handcrafted jewelry business, you'll understand the importance of delegating to improve productivity. However, as a one-person show, we don't delegate to assistants and social media managers and tech support and, instead, must rely on a wide variety of sources, apps and programs to help keep us motivated, productive and professional, and to further our growth as business owners.
This can also be financial prohibitive for many small business owners, as well, who function on a budget. So, while compiling my list of the best e-tools for handcrafted jewelry business owners, I was sure to include free resources.
- Google: Google offers a number of services, all under one convenient account, to help business owners simplify their life. Google Docs, Calendar, Photos, Gmail and Drive are all fabulous free programs to help keep your small business under one roof. Drive offers 15GB of cloud storage and file sharing for free when an account is created, with the option to tap Google Docs straight from your Drive dashboard, build new text documents or spreadsheets and add editors, create forms, or slideshows, and have them automatically saved to and stored in the cloud.
- Libre Office: Want a little more functionality for your documents, spreadsheets or presentations then this is the program for you. Not bloated with unnecessary tech, it's an easy program to master, even for those of us who might lack technological patience.
- Evernote: Not a fan of paper planners? Evernote is a great green alternative, to keep the carbon foot print small, for those tech-savvy folks who like to simplify their paper trails. This can keep you organized, is super easy to use, and has some impressive functionality for a free app.
- Storenvy: Need to build a customized website on a budget? This sales platform has an entirely free option, offering 500 listings and free shop templates to customize the look and feel of your store front, creating a cohesive branded experience. (Does not support digital downloads unless through third-party paid apps.)
- Blogger: Using the free Storenvy service? Link a free Blogger to your shop front for a complete, functioning website! Blogger is a great resources to "publish your passions", write content that matters to you and your brand, and it's customizable with very little technical know-how.
- Square: Most home-based business owners are already vastly familiar with PayPal's payment processing system. But Square is another fabulous resource for free, excluding the per-transaction fees. Their dashboard is very easy to navigate, offers clearly defined sections to access deposits, individual transactions, analytics, and invoices. And they offer a wide range of paid services if you'd like to keep your operational software under one account.
- Photoscape: This is the one photo editing software I will recommend over and beyond any other. It's not only free, but far easier to use than programs like Gimp, while utilizing only a fraction of your computer's operational capabilities. It's highly effective with multiple features for product photography, including text overlay (all the photos on this website were edited using this software).
- MailChimp: Email marketing is available for free through MailChimp for up to 2000 subscribers, and your list is yours if/when you decide to migrate to a new newsletter provider. The themes/templates are easy to build and navigate, so the price is right for this service! Please note, customer service support is not offered for free accounts.
- Wave Bookkeeping: Not ready for Quickbooks (and its learning curve) for your accounting needs? Then Wave might be the online accounting software for you! Send invoices, link your payment processes for easy income and expense tracking, scan and store business receipts, and download reports for tax time.
- Weebly (Starting At $8/mo): While not the most all-encompassing, nor inexpensive platform available, it's my pick for best bet when building your website, as it provides all the services I need for the best price, comparatively speaking.
- SendInBlue Email Marketing (Starting at $7.37/mo): Once you've surpassed the free 2000 subscribers provided by MailChimp, SendInBlue is surely the best bang for your buck, offering 40k monthly emails, and unlimited subscribers, for only $7.37.
- Papermart: Padded envelopes, shipping boxes, product packaging, drawstring bags, tissue paper and ribbons, this is the most affordable one-stop shop I've found to date for all your packaging and shipping needs.
- Vistaprint: While definitely not the only option for printing your marketing materials, their 50% off specials (held regularly throughout the year) make this company the better priced option for the quality.
- Craftybase Inventory Software (Starting at $8/mo): I've tried Jewelry Designer Manager Pro and Craft Maker Pro, priced at 250.00 and 150.00, for their respective downloads and, while it may seem better to pay one sum up-front, verses a monthly subscription, it's important to keep in mind that JDM and CM pro programs no longer offer customer or tech support a year after purchase. I lost my entire JDM inventory while transferring the program between computers and, since my purchase was more than 2 years old, I was offered no assistance through their team. Stick with the online, cloud-based monthly subscription and you're worry free.