Master your productivity with 11 amazing tools
With every passing year, it seems clients are expecting more and more from their photographers, which means we may need a lesson in productivity. Kat Dalager (@3etheLTAgency) goes even further and foresees the change of the very word photographer in her “Predictions for 2016“:
“The word ‘photographer’ will change. Maybe it will be ‘image maker’ or ‘content maker’ or ‘capturer.’ Whatever it is, it will reflect the expanded capabilities of the role.”
I agree with her and believe that in order to embrace the ever-increasing roles we find ourselves pushed into, we must become exceedingly efficient in our productivity. 2016 will be the year, where I take that productivity to the next level, integrating the technology, cloud based services, apps and automation software I use in my business.
Here are 11 tools that help me, solve my productivity puzzle:
Salesforce & Evernote
The backbone for this virtual productivity is SalesForce – the CRM that’s been running my business for over 7 years now. Every account, contact and job lives in this cloud based service [learn more about SalesForce here: “I got my head in the cloud (along with all my data)“].
This year is the year where this automation will get flushed out. I’m already using the amazing integration between Evernote and SalesForce, which allows me to attach all job related records automatically. Now any creative brief, handwritten note, job estimate, permit, release, receipt, rental agreement, … is tagged with a job number in Evernote and appears in the digital job folder in SalesForce as if by Magic.
Asana, Zapier & IFTTT
Every job, event and task that get entered in SalesForce automatically creates a counterpart in Asana, via Zappier. Asana is my project management software, where I can split up a job in an actionable To Do list. Every contact that’s added on my phone is automatically entered in SalesForce via IFTTT (IfThisThenThat). Zapier and IFTTT are two amazing automation softwares that enable you to use apps and cloud based services to stay productive.[nextpage title=”But wait! There are more …”]
Scannable & Ebsta
Integrating all the data and info you have across your apps, software and services is pretty cool, but where the real power comes in, is when you can utilize OPD (other people’s data). Got a business card that only has a name and a phone number on it? Don’t worry, Scannable will read the card, find the person on LinkedIn fill in the missing data and add it into your phones contacts. (You got to see it to believe it–watch Scannable work in real-time). If you’ve ever been on LinkedIn researching a prospective client Ebsta is an awesome service, that looks to see what data you have in SalesForce on the person you’re looking at. It pops up completely autonomous, while your on LinkedIn or when you ‘Ebsta’ search anyone on the web.
Data entry & Email templates
I’ve created email templates in SalesForce that get send automatically, when a client contacts me for the first time. Others are follow-up email templates, templates that get send out with each estimate and most recently the ASMP delivery memo (adapted to digital file delivery), that now automatically becomes an electronic record in the digital job folder.
All I have to add to the prewritten template is the custom URL in Photoshelter that my client can download their image files from and a copy of the file names that I to them. Talk about productivity – delivery memos customized and send in 2 minutes. Easy peasy.
In 2016 I will refine my “Estimate Request Form” (HT to Dana Hursey), who wrote a blog post about how his productivity increased, since he’s using an online form for estimates. I’ve gone a step further and integrated mine with -you guessed it- SalesForce, so that my clients are providing me with a lot more information about their shoot early and online. Productive collaboration. Gotta love it.
Receipts & Mileage
If you love tedious paperwork, than these next two apps are not for you (but I’ll venture a guess that your productivity could do with a little upgrade). Expendable takes a photo of a receipt, reads the date, amount, merchant, ect on it and with a few clicks you create an expense report on your phone. Tag it with your job number, save it in Evernote and it’s automatically connected in the digital job folder in SalesForce. No more keeping track of those pesky little receipts. The expense report gets printed out including the photos of the receipts.
MileIQ figures out when you are driving in your car and based on GPS data records the milage. All you have to do is to swipe the drive it into business or personal category and yes, you can tag it with notes and run a report to get all the milage. No more writing down beginning and ending mileage. It even knows where you went, if you customized the location.
Productivity on steroids
Well not quite on steroids, but you’ll see time free up to be way more efficient, when you unleash these digital productivity tools. Now you can proudly become a ‘image capturer’, a ‘content production engineer’ or a ‘photon-cowboy’ (or whatever photographers will be called in the future), but at least you’ll be on the way to solve your productivity puzzle.
This blog post was first published on the American Society of Media Photographer’s Strictly Business blog.