Very few speakers and authors have staff they can leverage to manage the dreary tasks associated with managing their own publishing, marketing, accounting, customer follow-up and social media. This makes it tough to get ahead and focus on the tasks that really matter – the ones that generate revenue.
How can a speaker or author keep up with the demands of a fast paced marketplace? Recruiting an army of VA’s will help, but running a small office comes with problems of its own. Sometimes it can be a wash financially and a waste of opportunity. Much depends on the details of how you allocate your precious time.
Leveraging Cloud technology, mobile apps and systems is one savvy way to manage your deal flow. Whether you’re working on your own or you’re managing a team to help you promote your personal brand, the tools you use can give you make-or-break leverage.
Here are a few tools you can use for streamlining the operations of your speaking business. Each of these apps are available for free or a nominal fee. The dividends they offer are priceless.
Todoist is a mobile app for projects that involve one or several people. Think of it as your electronic “To Do” list on steroids. It lets you manage To Do lists, tasks and projects from anywhere. These include mobile devices, web browsers, inboxes, tablets – basically anything that lets you connect to the Internet. You can share an unlimited number of tasks with your colleagues, social media manager, copywriter, designer, accountant and developer – and collaborate in real-time on shared projects and goals. The user interface design is minimalistic and elegant, keeping distractions to a minium. Check it out here.
Smartsheet for Project Management
Smartsheet lets you manage your projects simply and effectively. You can create simple task lists or complex processes to suit your needs. It lets you work from any device and create your own custom plans.
Smartsheet help you manage teams in a way that is transparent for everyone, and its visually-based design is especially user friendly. Features include Card View, Sights, Gantt Charts with drag-and-drop editing, Alerts & Reminders and Collaboration. Available here.
QuickBooks Online Accounting Software
QuickBooks was a pioneer in the financial software industry and has continued to pull its weight for solopreneurs and small businesses alike. Now with QuickBooks Online, you can track your income and expenses across all your devices including PC, Mac, smartphone or your tablet.
Here a handful of QuickBooks features you can use to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine.
- Expenses: Track your expenses and save photos of your receipts to your phone.
- Tax Accounting: Automatically categorize transactions, and submit sales tax payments and forms.
- Invoicing: Send invoices to your customers, including your logo and a crisp, professional look.
- Accept Payments: Once you’ve invoiced your customer, you can take their payment online. (Fees apply, so read the fine print.)
- Profit & Loss: Run a P&L statement to see whether your business is profitable. You can see your Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and dozens of other reports with one click, and they’re in a few seconds.
- Payroll: You can cut paychecks or even have an expert run payroll for you. (Fees apply, so read the fine print.)
Cam Card for Business Cards
Cam Card lets you take pictures of business cards and save the data in your Contacts database automatically. You can scan, manage, sync and exchange business cards with other users automatically. This is a great way to go paperless and stay organized at the same time.
You can even add meeting notes, add images, and set reminder.
Evernote allows you to access and manage files from anywhere. Having your files in a central location means you can find them quickly and access them remotely, regardless of their file type. Format examples include project to-do lists, reminders, photos, graphics, and even handwritten text. Once you’ve uploaded them to your account, you can share them with others and collaborate with them seamlessly.
Adopting new technology can seem like a slow process at first, but the rewards are truly liberating for the busy speaker on the road without a large support staff. Using technology to gain leverage in your speaking business can make all the difference in your level of success and the size of the audience you reach. It’s tough to put a price on that!
Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.