The Influencers Guide to Productivity: Best Resources, Programs and Apps for Growth

Throughout my years of being an online entrepreneur, there were months where I would catch myself working from the moment I woke up, through the day and then sporadically until to the moment I went to bed, nearly every day. 

It wasn’t because I was the busiest person in the world or had stacks of launches and projects to tend to, not because of excessive deadlines or work-related events and meetings. The reason? I was unproductive and unorganized. 

I’d spend an hour on a project and then get lost in the rabbit hole of returning emails and texts that kept popping up. Or I’d research something for a blog post and then click on the internet or social media and completely forget what I was doing in the first place! It may have seemed like I had my sh*t together, but honestly, if staying on top of my work as efficiently as possible was part of my job, I needed to be fired.

So I changed things. A lot of things. 

The first steps I changed were easy adjustments. I didn’t have to buy expensive software or hire a full-time staff. The toughest part was creating a new structure of my time and holding myself accountable to that structure. I think millennials call this adulting? I like to call it boundaries! 

I am sharing with you today the resources, programs, and apps that have helped me in my quest to increase my productivity drastically. Initially, these were at no or minimal cost. 

Eventually, not only did my productivity increase from these easy and FREE changes I made, but my business and monthly income grew as well. From this, I was able to hire a part-time virtual support team which has been VITAL to the growth of my business. I was always so scared to take this leap because of the cost. But what I didn't realize is the fear stemmed from my lack of long term vision, goal setting, and understanding where I needed to structure and prioritize business, not the actual growth of my team. 

So you may be thinking "Well, of course, she is productive she has a team!", But girlfriend, I didn't have a team for the first four years as a business owner! My first official hire was only ten months ago, they are all part-time, and the most growth I have seen in my business has been in the last ten months! Coincidence? I think not! 

I am always here to be transparent with you. If you are truly serious about growing a business, there is only "so much" you can do on your own. I, unfortunately, learned this the hard way, years of being on a hamster wheel of trial and error. 

So, I encourage you with this; When you get to the place where you can afford support, even if it's part-time, leap and do it!! Don't wait and wait and wait as I did!! I wish I would've had the foresight to hire assistance two years ago. I know I would be miles ahead than where I am today. 

With this said, I want to say thank you to my incredible team that consists of Samantha (my VA), Dee and Nicole (my project managers), Jillian (graphic designer) and Chase (analytics and newsletter PRO, and my jack of all trades guru)! I am proud to have you on my team and hope my story encourages others to grow their team when the time is right. (If you reach out tell them I sent you!) 

To reiterate, being able to support and afford a team in the first place came from the FREE resources I used and changes I made. So, if you are still in the stage that I was in for four years and aren't at a place to hire a team, YOU CAN STILL MAKE THIS WORK FOR YOU! (I would also encourage you to read the 5 Marketing Strategy Musts For the Influencer Without a Team)

While being accountable for your productivity may sound like a daunting task (trust me I am a recovering control freak who tried to do it all myself for four years), in this day and age, it’s manageable. For those of us with untraditional careers, there are plenty of resources available to keep us motivated and organized. And I am excited to share those with you today. 

I use all sorts of apps to keep myself organized and to stay on task. If you’re struggling to figure out which resources will help you most, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are my absolute favorite productivity resources, programs, and apps, apart from which I would probably be useless:

The Influencers Guide to Productivity

SLACK

Oh man, I love Slack! Slack is where work happens. It’s a digital workspace that powers your organization — all the pieces and the people — so you can get things done! This is how my team and I communicate with one another. It makes the flow of communication so much easier. Here’s how it works: A Team Owner creates a Slack team, recruits Admins to help manage and organize the team, and they together invite and onboard the team’s members. It also keeps "work" conversations on its own platform and off your text and email thread!! Talk about clearing out the clutter. Ah, thank you! 

ASANA

Slack is how we communicate – ASANA is how we work and produce! Literally could not get my work done without it! It is a game changer regarding productivity. Asana is the easiest way for you and your team to track your work, schedule tasks, and approve work. Even if you don’t have a team, it’s a great way for you to schedule and stay on top of your tasks and workload. It also links to Google calendar, which is a plus for me!!

GSUITE

I’m a Google girl, so GSuite is a major part of how I stay organized as well. GSuite is a set of smart apps including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar to connect the people in your company, no matter where in the world they are. I also use it for my domain email (juleisolomon.net). My email is a Gmail account but has my web domain attached, so it allows for a more professional feel.

TEACHABLE

Teachable is where I create and host my online courses. It is seriously the best hosting platform I have found. If you create an online course, look no further. The benefits to Teachable is limitless! Everything is all in one central hub, so it's straightforward to edit, upload, navigate and keep track of students and sales. Plus, the design is super clean, customizable and professional.

GRAMMARLY

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you know I am terrible with grammar!! Luckily, there is Grammarly! Grammarly is the world's leading automated proofreader. It checks for more than. 400 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors enhance vocabulary usage and suggests citation. I used the free version for a while but opted in for the paid version because it is extremely affordable and I needed the extra features. I also love the app that syncs to your email for proofreading!

UPWORK

Upwork is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. I have found copywriters, SEO experts, designers and other fantastic freelancers on Upwork!! Highly recommend.

CONVERTKIT

Coverkit is the newsletter platform I use. Before Convertkit, I used MailChimp, but it was just too limited for what I needed as I grew my business. I love all the options with Convert. The automation and email marketing tools they have is exactly what I needed to grow my blog and business. It allows you to get super organized and "tag" subscribers based on their interests, which allows you to strategize offers more effectively. Plus, it ends up being cheaper than Mailchimp as your list grows!! 

Lastpass

Maybe you forgot your iTunes password (you know, the one you've forgotten about 3958789 times) Trust me, I get it: I can barely remember to eat lunch, let alone keep track of the million passwords all of the programs I need to run my business!
LastPass has been a lifesaver in helping me remember my passwords. If you're like me, constantly locking yourself out, resetting passwords is driving you crazy, check out LastPass and thank me later. 

TAILWIND

Tailwind is pretty freaking awesome! I use it to schedule all of my Pinterest posts and anything else I do regarding Pinterest (tracking, analytics, groups etc). Because Pinterest is the #1 referral of traffic to my website, I want to make sure that I stay on top of my Pinterest page and deliver the best content that I can. You can also schedule posts and check Analytics for your Instagram too, which is fantastic. This is a must!

PEOPLEMAP

If you’ve been hanging with me for a while now,  you know my love for Peoplemap! It really is my go to source for growing my Instagram and making sure that I stay on top of authentic engagement and reaching out to my ideal audience.  You can also build lists and campaigns, which are GAMECHANGERS if you are a blogger or influencer working with brands (or want to start working with brands). It's also a great place to find the contacts to media outlets and brand representatives! If you want to know more about people map make sure to listen to this episode of The Influencer Podcast… It is probably my favorite episode to date! Show notes here

DROPBOX

I am sure you know what Dropbox is, as it's been around for quite some time, but this year I invested the paid version, and I am so glad that I did. It is how I share large files with my team. Since starting the podcast it is a perfect place for me to drop a ton of recording and large files that way my hard drive does not slow down.

How do you stay productive? What have you found that works well, and what have you found that doesn't? Any advice to share with us? Please leave your comments in the comment box below. 

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I use all sorts of apps to keep myself organized and to stay on task. If you’re struggling to figure out which resources will help you most, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are my absolute favorite productivity resources, programs, and apps, apart from which I would probably be useless. Julie Solomon, Blogging Expert