Most event planners are in the industry because they’re creative, can see a big picture, and know how to bring all the pieces together. That’s the FUN part that we all want to focus on. However, when you’re running a business, there’s a lot of stuff to do behind the scenes to keep the business moving. Lucky for you, I’ve outlined my 9 favorite resources for managing your business. All of these are free to cheap and are the ONLY way I can keep Reinventing Events running as a well-oiled machine.
Reinventing Events has always worked as a remote team meaning we all live in different cities. I like to say I hire for talent and not location. Because we all work from home and work in different time zones, working ‘together’ can be tricky. We use a lot of Cloud Based resources so everything syncs as well as tools that have mobile apps so we can easily find items when we travel for events.
Ready to take a peek behind the curtain? Here we go!
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Airtable is a new resource for us but one I LOVE and am using outside of business as well. I tend to geek out a bit about excel docs and tracking info…and we track a LOT of info during events, but Airtable makes it EASY to do. You can create multiple views of the data making it easy to find exactly what you need. For instance, when we manage sponsors, we have views for contact info, contract details, payments, and deliverables. No more having to scroll through a massive database to find what you need or hiding and unhiding columns ALL THE TIME!
For every event, there are hundreds of tasks that need to be done and you have to have a way to keep those organized. We use Asana and make sure every single task that gets entered is assigned to someone with a due date to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. It has awesome features like creating a template that you can duplicate for each event. This saves us TONS of time! Once you’re set up, make sure to add the Unicorn Celebration integration. It’s a game changer.
I like to call Boomerang our Secret Weapon…and it is! Our vendors and clients comment all the time about how we are on top of following up and making sure things keep moving forward. Boomerang is what helps us do that! When you send an email, you can click a button to have that email return to your inbox if there’s been no reply by whatever day and time you select. When we send an email, we boomerang that email to come back in 24-36 hours if we don’t have a reply. This gives us the reminder to follow-up to make sure someone has received the email. Haven’t you had emails that you’ve forgotten about sending and 2 weeks later you’re in a bad place because you need something NOW?! Yep…Boomerang keeps that from happening. Use my link and we both get a free month of service, which is about $10 worth of service. Boom!
As a business owner, you need to have a cloud based filing system. Get away from paper immediately! Even if you aren’t digital or techy, it’s SUPER easy and is much more secure. We keep static, or non-living, files on Dropbox, so things like invoices, PDFs, photos, and videos. Things that aren’t collaborative and have multiple people working on it at the same time. By saving files to Dropbox, everyone can access them as needed. Just make sure you have a good outline for file organization before you get started. Don’t worry…I’ve got you covered with How to Keep Your Cloud Files Crazy Organized. One other awesome feature of Dropbox is that you can take a photo of a file and convert it to a PDF to save in Dropbox all within their app.
Expensify is the tool we use for expense reports. I have my team (employees and contractors) use this to submit expense reports for reimbursement but I also use it for creating any expense reports I need to give to a client. The Individual plan is free and allows for 10 SmartScans, or adding photos of receipts to read and import, each month. I LOVE this feature when I’m traveling and don’t want to carry paper receipts around. Snap a pic and toss the paper! Everyone at Reinventing Events has the individual plan to keep the cost at FREE for everyone.
Don’t you hate it when you have a tool you use daily and they don’t have an app that you can download? GRRRR!!!! Fluid essentially saves the URL as a desktop app. When you open it, it opens in a separate window and not in your web browser. No more jumping through all those tabs in your web browser to find the platform you need to get work done. Fluid is free but I paid the one-time $5 fee to be able to save the icon to my doc which makes a huge difference for me for those apps I use on a daily basis. Well worth it!
7. Google Suite
If you’re not working with Google Suite (Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Calendar), I’m not sure we can be friends. I kid, I kid. 😜 The resources available via Google Suite are actually pretty great and we use a LOT of what they have to offer. These are all free tools and once in a blue moon something isn’t working and while that can be frustrating when it happens, it’s not often enough to stop me from using it. Everything syncs and works together and many businesses are using Google for their businesses, which means you’ll be right in step with the big dogs. And if you don’t have your email set up as a new business account, please do it as soon as possible. It’s so easy and makes you look much more professional than if your email is eventsbykaren@hotmail. It’s $5 a month per user and is well worth it. I even have some hacks to help you keep the number of email addresses, and costs, down. Reach out and I’ll share!
For the longest time, I did not want to make my team turn in time sheets, but a very smart mentor helped me see WHY time tracking has to be done. Essentially, you’re able to raise your prices and justify your time based on past events. By having data from past years and projects I have a better idea of how much time a project might take me and my team and help me decide what I need to charge to cover my costs. Harvest is free and don’t get tricked into paying for it. Just like Gmail, I have hacks for how to keep this free for you and your team.
And last, but certainly not least, is Slack which is basically a chat room, but also like a party. My team works in different cities so we need an easy way to communicate quickly with each other as we work from home. Slack solves that for us! I have a general chat area set up that everyone can be involved in but for each project or client, I set up a separate chat channel. This means that multiple conversations can happen at the same time since we’re all working on multiple things, but it doesn’t get lost within 1 single channel. You can also send private or direct messages to each other, star messages to refer back to later, and set reminders for chats to come back at a certain day/time. I think my favorite feature is the GIPHY integration which allows you to share random GIPHYS within Slack. This helps keep things fun with the group!
Running your business doesn’t have to be hard or daunting. These resources can help you keep things organized for your business and can even bring an element of fun! 🌈
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