Being a Mama CEO is all about being able to rock your goals, and still get dinner on the table (even if it is frozen chicken nuggets some – ok most- of the time).
I’ve listed my Top 10 Tools that I rely on to run my business and my home, saving me time and sanity — something most Mom CEOs are short on!
1. Colored Pens
I love colored pens. I find them essential to my planning process. They allow me to separate out thoughts in my notes and frankly they are just more fun. I like the way my notes look written in purple or teal. I used to be a sharpie addict, but lately, I am finding I really like these Papermate Flair pens. They don’t bleed through the paper, but they still come in great colors!
2. Post-it notes
Along with my colored pens, I am never far from a stack of post-it notes. I feel like I run my entire business from sticky notes. In fact, I have dedicated an entire wall in my office just to post-it note planning.
I do all my project planning and course creation brainstorming on post-it notes. I get all my ideas out on individual notes and then I can move them around as needed. I also use post-its to time line out my projects, my editorial calendar and even plan my overall schedule of my week.
And nothing beats a post-it for daily to-dos. It keeps me realistic, because really only 3-5 (maybe 6) things fit on one square, and that is a pretty reasonable list for one day. It helps me focus on what I need to get done and not get discouraged by a mile long to do list.
In fact, I love post-its so much, I am creating an entire course around how you can run your entire business from these 3×3 inch squares. Stay tuned for more information (spoiler alert: its going to be FREE!)
3. Facebook groups
Being an online entrepreneur can be a solo journey for sure. I actually enjoy the quiet of working by myself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want some feedback, support and collaboration. I am part of a few facebook groups dedicated to different aspects of being a mom, an entrepreneur and the two together. I love being able to connect with people from all over the world, ask questions, get feedback on ideas and get support when I need it. I have amazing friends and family ‘in real life’ but my online mastermind and support groups really understand what I am doing as an online business owner and help me feel not so in a vacuum!
4. Equator Coffee
I know I probably shouldn’t drink as much coffee as I do…or maybe I should. But I LOVE a good latte and I credit it as one of my business tools. It gets me going in the morning, it’s a fun place to meet up with friends and I enjoy the ritual that is coffee. I am currently addicted to a local coffee shop walking distance from my house that also happens to roast the beans for Thomas Keller’s restaurants. The baristas do that fun latte art that my kids love, and honestly, it puts a smile on my face too to see what they design each morning. Coffee is a form of self-care for me, I think all mama business owners need to focus on self care as much as business and family care.
I like to do screen recordings for my clients to help them with some of the basic tech set up of their businesses. I also like to create and record slide presentations for my online courses. I have always used a paid software for this, but it was always acting up on my and giving me a hard time. I asked for advice in one of my online groups (see #4) and someone said, “I’m not sure, I always use QuickTime for screen recordings.”
What the what?!?!
You mean the FREE player that came on my computer has a screen record function? Oh look…it does.
You just open QuickTime, choose create new screen recording (with built in mic) drag out a square to show what part of your screen you want to capture and start recording. After you’re done, you can ‘share’ it many different ways including directly to Vimeo, (my video sharing service of choice.)
Ok, I actually love all my apple products, but my phone is my right hand man (or should I say, mom) when it comes to rocking my Mama CEO lifestyle. I can quiet literally have everything I need in the palm of my hand to run my business no matter where I am. A few key apps like Facebook, google drive, omnifocus, paypal, dropbox, square keep my business humming along whether I am at the park or out of town.
7. Google Drive
Speaking of favorite apps, I am a recent Google Drive convert. I have always relied on dropbox to share files with others and even take my files and audio recordings on the road with me. But the added benefit of google drive is the ability to edit your documents from where ever you open them (like your phone). I can work on a blog post while I wait for school pick up or add an idea to my brainstorm list while I’m away from my post it note wall.
Google Drive also allows other people to comment on your document. This is great if you want to get some tips on your latest sales page copy or you want someone to edit a blog post for you.
I use Pickmonkey to create all sorts of images for my business. You can use your own photos or create something in the newer “design” section. I create ‘pinable’ images with text overlays for blog posts (like the one I made above), cover photos for Facebook, headers and buttons for websites, graphic quotes for social media and of course, editing photos!
Picmonkey is becoming more and more robust, it is quickly edging out any other design software I use.
9. Amazon Prime
Amazon’s prime membership is crucial to the mom side of my Mama CEO lifestyle. With the click of a button I can order toilet paper, laundry soap and a birthday present for the kindergarten classmates party…oh and you can bet I throw a new pack of pens or post its in the order. Its on my doorstep with out me having to waste precious work time running to target (and leaving with $200 of other stuff.)
I also love their subscription service. I can have things we use over and over again delivered on a monthly basis and I don’t even have to think about it, time and sanity saved.
10. Dream Dinners
My mom did this service for us when we had newborns in the house, but I have continued to use it almost 6 years later (thanks, mom!) Basically, you choose your menu and go to one of the locations. The place is set up with all the ingredients you need and you put together all the recipes into plastic baggies. It includes the protein, all the ingredients and sometimes even the sides. You get home, throw them in the freezer and when you are ready for a ‘home cooked’ meal in a hurry you just defrost one of these, follow the directions and you have dinner on the table…almost from scratch… in usually 30 min or less. It is probably more expensive than truly making it from scratch, but it is way less expensive than takeout.
There are also a ton of these ideas on pinterest to create your own freezer ready meals. It is a huge timesaver, letting me work a little longer or play with the kids a little later and still get dinner on the table.
These are just a few of the tools I use to keep things running smoothly around Megan Flatt Headquarters (or at least seeming like they do!)
What tools keep your business and house running smoothly? Share with us in the comments!