4 Tools That I Use to Run My Service-Based Business

Updated: Jul 29

I’ve been in business for a little bit over three years, and man have I come a long way with my systems and processes! When I first began, I took orders via notebook pad & accepted payments via CashApp. I then read up on doing business the right way and learned that you can’t just do it that way.


I was hurt, but I knew if I was going to be building my own empire, I had to do things the right way.


Fast-forward to today, and I now have a concrete set of tools that I use to help me run my business. When you get to a certain point in business, tasks like responding to emails, posting on social media, sending out contracts, etc. can be time-consuming tasks that don’t need to be done manually. Systems and processes help with that entirely. I’ve been able to cut out at least two hours of my working day using these systems, and I’m going to share them with you!


Disclosure: Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, and purchasing will grant me a commission. While there may be affiliate links, I am sharing these services with you because of the usefulness and satisfaction I find with them, not because I want to gain commission from your purchase.


1. Stripe





Stripe is the money processor that I use (AKA, how I get my money in my bank account.) While a lot of people use PayPal to send invoices and quotes, I primarily use Stripe. Clients can still pay using PayPal, but for the protection of my business and theirs, I ask that they pay using Stripe. Stripe integrates into nearly any platform you could use, like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and more.


My favorite part of Stripe: As someone who offers digital goods (intangible goods that exist in digital form), there is the risk that comes with working with people who may not be honest. PayPal has a reputation for protecting the buyer, no matter what, and Stripe is known to side with the service providers. For example, this means that if someone were to use my logo design services, receive their logo, and dispute the transaction, Stripe is more likely to handle the matter accordingly versus PayPal.


2. Trello




Trello is a tool of gold. Think of having all of your “to do” post-it notes, but in an organized, personalized space. That’s Trello. As an organizational tool, I use Trello for two reasons. I primarily use Trello as a client portal, and it’s where my clients and I communicate the most.


My favorite part of Trello: Not only does it create a paper-trail (in case someone forgets what they asked for, or how many revisions they’ve requested), but it also helps my clients feel like they are a part of the entire creative process. Stand out features include labels, checklists, and due dates (with notifications, so you can’t say you forgot!)


3. Dubsado



One word. Timesaver! Dubsado is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that allows all of the pre-process things to be done in one place. I send invoices, contracts, calendar invites, invoice reminders, and so much more solely through Dubsado. Stripe and PayPal integrate with Dubsado, so no worries about getting to your money.


My favorite part of Dubsado: Its workflows. While at first look they are extremely confusing, workflows have saved me a ton of time and money. With workflows, I am able to set up automated processes that take administrative tasks out of my hands. For example, my typical workflow includes:


  • Sending a follow-up email once someone submits an inquiry on my site, thanking them for inquiring and letting them know that I’ll be in touch with more questions “in a few hours”

  • 4 hours after that email sends, another one sends with a questionnaire going deeper into their brand and their why.

  • From there, I am able to determine if this project fits my style or not. Rejecting their project sends a follow-up email informing them that we are not a good fit, and recommends my top 10 favorite graphic designers who have similar prices and amazing work.

  • There’s a lot more into the process of my workflows, and if you’re curious about it feel free to schedule a call with me to discuss it!


4. Planoly



Funny story. Many times when I’m out with my friends, we’ll be together and they’ll be like, “Ki, you never picked up your phone. How did you post that picture with that long a** caption so fast?” and I show them Planoly.


Planoly helps me schedule my content without the stress of posting it to Instagram. I’ll often upload batches of content and play with the layout of it to see what looks best, and sometimes I’ll spontaneously upload content just because I’m feeling like it.


My favorite part of Planoly: The discover tab allows you to search using @s and hashtags, for similar content. I use this feature to follow and engage with new profiles, eventually increasing the number of digital relationships I can make!


Give the feature (and Planoly) a try. You get $10 credit when you sign up using my link.


My business has been booming, and thankfully I have these tools to help me keep everything in order. It’s wild to imagine that I actually used to function without them!


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

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Based in Raleigh, NC

designing for women everywhere.