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4 years ago

Would you believe a Post-It note automates my Productivity?

Productivity with a Post-It note

Productivity is a must as every Small Business Owner wear many hats: sales rep, customer service rep, accountant, etc. Fortunately, there is a ton of great software to help us do all those jobs, but we still have to create all the digital assets necessary to use these apps, services, and websites productively.

The Problem with Productivity

Setting up a digital workflow is only as good as the information you put into it and -especially when things get hectic- it’s easy to miss setting things up correctly.

In my workflow as a product photographer I use
Evernote to organize and store all digital documents – creative briefs, model releases, estimates, permits, notes, etc.

SalesForce is my Customer Service Management service of choice. It keeps tracks of accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, expenses, etc. and links automatically to Evernote, Expensify, and Trello.

I’ve just started using
Trello to give me a clear picture of all current projects and tasks and Expensify builds expense reports easily and quickly, that I then import into QuickBooks.

Solving the Productivity Puzzle

Productivity via Post-It notesHow do I remember to add a Note and Tag in Evernote, that will help you organize a new job? Then there’s the opportunity that I have to setup in SalesForce if I want a bin, that will collect and correlate all information I need to have at my fingertips; a new list needs to be created on Trello and the expense report needs to be created in Expensify.

Don’t laugh, but a little Post-It note does all that for me. Automatically.

I use Evernote to get this process rolling:

  • Pink Post-It’s are Leads. That’s potential clients who have reached out to me and are inquiring about having product photography and/or video creates.
  • Yellow Notes are opportunities. These are the projects where I’m meeting with clients, pitching ideas and creating estimates.
  • Green Sticky Notes are jobs. Deposits are, production has started and we’re creating amazing visual content.
  • (There’s a blue note as well, but I don’t use that for my business)

The yellow Post-It kicks it off

As soon as I capture a yellow Post-It note, Evernote saves it in my opportunities notebook automatically (Evernote lets you assign notebooks based on the colors of the notes). All I do is save the note named with the job number associated with this opportunity.

Zapier takes over

As soon as that note gets saved, Zapier takes over and creates a SalesForce opportunity with the job number (which it gets from Evernote), builds a new Trello list with the same job number, captures an expense in Expensify tagged with that identifier (I hope that soon it can create a report), creates an Evernote tag – which will be used to be able to search all documents about that job and finally sends me a SMS to my phone. Done. That was not hard.

At the end of the day, one photo of this Post-It Note creates all the digital assets I use in my day-to-day workflow.

How do you solve your productivity puzzle?

[Wanna learn more about how I use apps, web services, and applications to run a more productive small business?]
7 years ago

Do you still use post-it notes?

I spend about 10% of my time actually taking pictures or shooting video. I spend more time as my own webmaster, SEO specialist, social media advocate, editor, sales person, janitor, shipping manager, equipment specialist, IT manager, driver, in short I’m chief cook and bottle washer. So it’s no surprise that things slip through the cracks once in a while – however when that crack swallowed two To Do items a few years ago (a client phone call I forgot to return and one client I called twice in 24 hours) I decide, that I need some help.

I have a friend that runs a studio with 160 employees – my studio is about 1/160th of that size – yup that’s right I am working by myself. I put together crews for productions, but I am a sole proprietor in my photography/cinematography business, so I don’t have a receptionist that can keep me on task. I started looking around and started reading about CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – in it’s simplest form it is a contact database, an email program and a calendar (so you could do it with mail and contacts and iCal).

I was looking for something that could grow with me over time and one of the biggest and most innovative names I
started hearing about was SalesForce. Some of the biggest companies use this cloud based CRM service, so I figure it will fit my growth requirement. I’ve been using it since 2008 now and it helps me keep track of my accounts, contacts and production opportunities I’m working on – now it’s designed for sales guys, so you need to learn a few terms, but it lets you automate a bunch of things.

DepuhlCRMLet me give you an example: The contact form on my website, for instance, auto populates my database with all the information a potential client enters online, immediately emails the client a personalized note and sends me a message saying, that someone just contacted me via my website – seamlessly and automatically. So it’s kind of like a receptionist, but I can grab the iPhone app to see all info I need to see on the run. Custom reports, email templates, reminders, … And so much more makes this a great way to help me run the office backend of my business.

postcard to SF

I use SalesForce to link my postcard mailers with cloud based CRM – click on the image to learn how …

SalesForce prides itself on having great security and privacy features and also has different levels of pricing (from $5 to $250 a month) and features to custom tailor to your needs. If you’re interested keep an eye out for some deals that they run once in a while, I got one of those when I signed up 6 years ago and am still paying the same price. Their customer service and support is out of this world and it makes me look a lot bigger online than I really am. And since I’ve used them I haven’t forgotten a phone call or called a client twice in a day.

Check out a short article I wrote on the American Society of Media Photographers ‘Strictly Business blog‘ titled “Automate” about how this automation works.

Pascal Depuhl is a Miami based product photographer and corporate documentary filmmaker. He filmed his first documentary film, “On Wings of Hope“, in Afghanistan 6 months after he got into producing motion work for his clients. It was awarded Best of ASMP 2013. He enjoys challenging still photographers to get into motion by teaching Move2Motion workshops. You can contact him directly through his website at

The Chatter about ‘Chatter’

Wow! I just saw something incredible that’s coming soon!

We all use social media to keep in touch with our clients, contacts, suppliers, … at least we try to. The question is always how to integrate Twitter, my facebook page, LinkedIn, … with our webpage and our business, our billing and our contact management system. But if you’re like me, we have a handful of applications, websites, clouds, … and try to piece this all together, automating as much as we can to get them to talk to each other. My blog has my twitter and facebook feed; my facebook feed shows my tweets, the website captures lead information into my CRM and my contact database syncs on my computer, my phone and the internet.

But there are still many components that I need to look up and log into. My cloud based CRM does a nice job of keeping all my marketing and sales information together in one place, my social networking presence is webbed together loosley; but that’s just me – just Photography by Depuhl, my commercial photography company.

What if all of that information was in one place?
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