10 Awesome Tools You Need to Streamline Your Creative Business NOW

About Syd + Coco Tammy Pereira

A year ago, I felt like a failure. I was working in two businesses: my Etsy store where I sold handcrafted metal planters, and my web design business. My husband created the metal planters in his machine shop and family business. Then, all at once, everything changed.

My husband was unhappy working for his family business. He quit and I was forced to close my Etsy shop. So I decided to pour my energy and soul into web design again. I didn’t want THIS business to fail.

Why am I telling you this? My business was a “hot mess.” I was working like crazy to grow my business, but it was WAY.TOO.MUCH.WORK. I needed an “easy button.” So I hunkered down for the next six months to work on my business and fix it.

The results were staggering! I grew my web design business by 50%! And the best part? I can now share with you all of the systems that make things easier, using tools that help to streamline your creative business.



Here’s my list of the top 10 tools you need to automate and streamline your creative business. If you want to grow your business, and work smarter (not harder), I highly recommend these tools. Just set it, and forget it!

Here’s the list of 10 tools you need to streamline your creative business (some affiliate links):



Do you have more than 10 clients and need a way to organize the chaos? 17 Hats is an all-in-one system for the busy solo entrepreneur. 17Hats keeps a running list of your projects and connects your projects to your calendar so you stay on task! But the most powerful feature in 17Hats is the templates and workflows. 17Hats makes it easy to add: email templates, project proposals, contracts, and forms to the templates area.

How 17Hats helps: Manage your day-to-day project tasks with templates!

Your Cost: $25 / month annual plan or $39 / month monthly plan


Are you overwhelmed by a big project? Asana helps manage bigger projects, and break them down into a step-by-step checklist. Every time you check off an item, the “flying unicorn” congratulates you (seriously!)

Do you work with others? You can connect your to-do list with your team, so responsibilities and next steps are done-for-you!

How Asana helps: Tracks large projects from start to finish with checklists!

Your Cost: $0 / up to 15 team members or $8.33 / month for premium


Find, plan and post social media content on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn with Buffer. And the content can be “recycled” week after week.

How Buffer helps: Plan and schedule your social media content ahead of time!

Your Cost: $0 / month for 10 posts per profile / $10 month for the awesome plan


Schedule phone calls and meetings with your clients with Calendly. No more back and forth emailing and phone tag! Set-up your Calendly page for your business and set your availability. Then send your customers the link to your page, so they can book an appointment with you.

How Calendly helps: Say goodbye to email tag and book your appointments fast with Calendly!

Your Cost: $0 / month or $8 / month for premium.

Canned Responses

Do you send the same email over and over again? Canned Responses, a feature of Gmail, saves you time. Save an email as a10 Awesome Tools to Streamline Your Creative Business // Miranda Nahmias “canned response” and use it over and over again!

How “Canned Responses” helps: Save an email as a “canned response” and use it over and over again!

Your Cost: $0 / month for Basic Gmail or $5 / month for Google Apps for Business


Share files with clients, other designers and anyone else with DropBox. Have you ever sent a file through your email and your client couldn’t open the file or the file was too large to send? You can upload your files to Dropbox and share the files by cutting and pasting the link to your project.

How DropBox helps: Dropbox makes is easy to share large files with anyone!

Your Cost: $0 / month for Basic or $99 / per year for 1 TB of space

Google Calendar

Do you forget about recurring tasks that need to get done? Set-up recurring calendar events with Google Calendar. Get reminded about monthly/weekly tasks such as: paying bills, sending invoices, scheduling blog posts, and more!

How Google Calendar helps: Schedule your recurring tasks on Google Calendar!

Your Cost: $0 / month for Basic Gmail or $5 / month for Google Apps for Business


Harvest is a time tracking and invoicing system. It tracks client time and auto-magically generates invoicing based on time tracked. It also sends automatic past due “reminder” emails for late invoices and accepts payments online with PayPal, Stripe and more!

How Harvest helps: Track your time, create your invoice and get paid online with Harvest!

Your Cost: $0 / month for 4 clients or $12 / unlimited clients


Is proposal writing time consuming and tedious? You can create beautiful proposals with Proposify. It takes the headache out of proposal writing and creates templates you can save and use later. I created project templates for: Hosting, WordPress Web Design, eCommerce and more! You can also “view” when (or if) your customer opens your proposal email.

How Proposify helps: Proposify helps to create beautiful templates and proposals!

Your Cost: $25 / month


Skype is face-to-face video chatting software. If you need to connect with folks all over the world, you can use Skype to chat for free! If you have limited time to meet with clients, chatting with Skype is super easy!

How Skype helps: Chat face-to-face with anyone, at any time!

Your Cost: $0 / month


  1. Sign-up for ONE of the tools listed above
  2. Test the tool in your business for 30 days
  3. Write down and track how the tool helped your business!

Related: 10 Productivity Tools To Get More Work Done

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” —Timothy Ferriss

What tools do you use to streamline your creative business? Leave a comment and let me know!



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3 Comments on "10 Awesome Tools You Need to Streamline Your Creative Business NOW"

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1 month 13 days ago

These all sound really helpful! I’ve been looking for better ways to streamline and organize so will have to check some of these out!

1 month 22 hours ago

Thanks, I found this article and I started playing around with 17 Hats this week. As far as project management I started in Basecamp, tried out Teamwork, now I’m back to Basecamp. I like how in 17 Hats, the quote is attached to the contract and invoice.