• The Best Online Business & Project Management Tools for Creative Entrepreneurs

    Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links, which means I get paid commission per successful referral. Don’t worry, I only recommend services I truly trust and believe in. It won’t cost you any extra.

    When it comes to running a small business, it takes more than talent and grace to keep it running successfully. As a creative service-based entrepreneur (especially if you’re doing it solo), you have a lot to do: Serve clients, keep up-to-date on training so your skills stay sharp, stay on top of emails and appointments, track your projects, send invoices and contracts…

    It’s a lot!

    If what I said above resonates with you, it’s because I’ve been there, too.

    For a fairly organized person, it took me some trial and error in my first year of business to get the right systems in place and find out what worked for me to make managing appointments, client projects and marketing my business a lot easier. It took a learning curve.

    One of the best things I’ve done in my biz is to use time-saving online systems and templates! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my go-to resources.

    For project management:


    Consider yourself to be a very Type-A creative? If so, Trello is for you!

    Use Trello to create project pipelines for every client or internal project.

    Assign tasks, deadlines, and add external links to supporting Google Drive documents through Trello. Did I mention that Trello is free AND available on mobile as an app?

    Pricing: Free for the basic plan; paid plans start at $9.99 USD

    Worthy alternative: Asana

    For a client portal:


    Looking for a robust client project management tool that does it all? Gotta love all-in-one systems, right? Check out Honeybook, a super intuitive and simple-to-use client relations portal & project management tool. It’s the one I use for this business, and I really love it.

    You can use Honeybook to track prospective client leads, proposals, questionnaires, contracts, invoices, timelines, and payments.

    Pricing: $34 USD/month (billed annually) or $40/month — here’s your invitation to get 20% off your first year on me by using my partner discount on either an annual or monthly plan.

    Worthy alternative: Dubsado (free up to 3 clients, then $35 USD/month)

    For simple graphics creation:


    You don’t need superior design skills to create Pinterest-worthy graphics or beautiful Instagram or Facebook quote posts: all you need is knowing how to use Canva online.

    Canva is a wonderful, drag-and-drop graphic design tool.

    Pricing: Free! Upgrade to Pro for $12.99 CAD a month.

    *You can try their Pro Plan for a free trial before committing.

    For your online presence:


    Bluchic is a great place to look for premium website themes, landing page templates, and social media templates.

    Consider them your one-stop shop for making a stunning impression online.

    Their unique Canva template packet comes with a one-time investment with 85 unique different options that you can use for years to come. I highly recommend it!

    Pricing: $$-$$$ (USD) ranges depending on product

    Btw, I’m using their ChicServe theme and it’s fantastic.

    For stock photos (free):


    For those just starting out in business, of course, free is the best price… I still use it, too. Check out Pixabay for their incredible collection of free, commercial-use photos for you to use!

    I love Pixabay because it integrates free Canva images too.

    Worthy alternative (also free): Unsplash

    For stock photos (paid subscription):

    Social Squares

    A paid photo subscription for those serious about growing their visual brand!

    Out of all the premium stock photos I’ve seen online, I believe these stock photos for social media are by far my favourite in photo quality & diversity. You can use them for your website, your social media (hence the name, Social Squares), and your email campaigns.

    The stock photo collections are great: You have home and living themes, wedding/event themes, fashion/style, food, nature, health and wellness, etc. Perfect for every niche.

    These crisp, HQ photos will create a cohesive, attractive look for your brand.

    The monthly subscription fee pays for itself if you are a designer or a service provider that books a sustainable number of clients to keep current and new followers interested.

    For content templates:

    Biz Template Babe

    Content creation on Canva should come with enjoyment and ease… This done-for-you, copy-and-paste biz templates with lead magnets – the perfect thing to create email opt-ins!

    My favourites? eBook templates! Perfect for infopreneurs, bloggers, educators.

    Created by a mompreneur who gets the blogging & biz thing like the back of her hand.

    You’ll need Canva (free or pro version) to use these templates.


    Looking for a free accounting/financial solution that’s simple & effective?

    Use WaveApps to create and send invoices, automate your payment reminders, receipts, and track your financial revenue for the business year. It’s also free to use! Excellent 😉

    Pricing: Free

    Worthy alternative: Freshbooks (paid; more robust features begin at $15 USD/month)

    Acuity Scheduling

    A great business system to schedule appointments with others. It syncs with your calendar and people can book you based on availability (or what you open up for meetings).

    No need to email back and forth!

    You can also accept payments through Acuity (ex. If your services/consultation meetings have an upfront fee for producing product samples, or if there’s a price for seeing you).

    If you use Squarespace to host your website, Acuity integrates beautifully!

    Pricing: Free trial, upgrades for $15 USD/month, starting

    Worthy alternative: Calendly


    A new email marketing service that’s changing the game, with greater user-friendliness and open rates than ConvertKit with more robust features than MailerLite, MadMimi or MailChimp. Not only does it create beautiful, stunning emails, but the platform is intuitive and simple.

    Flodesk is like if Squarespace & the best email marketing systems had a lovechild.

    It’s that good and that effective, and so worth the hype.

    The best part? The price is right.

    It’s $38 USD/month forever — they will not penalize you for growing your list. All other email marketing subscribers raise the monthly fee once your mailing list grows over +1000-2000. But not Flodesk. You’ll get all the features at one locked price, forever.

    Use my beta pricing referral and lock in 50% off Flodesk… forever! ($19 USD/month)

    I keep repeating the words “forever” because really, it’s true. No hiked renewal fees. No higher pricing because your email list has exceeded x amount of subscribers.

    If you liked this post, please support by sharing!

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  • Flodesk for Creative Businesses: A Review

    Since committing to levelling up my email game this year, I was on the mission to use the best program for my entrepreneurial needs. A few months ago, I came across Flodesk through Jenna Kutcher’s list building challenge and loved it so much that I signed up for a paid plan (the monthly service subscription, I’m no Rockefeller) without finishing my free 14-day trial.

    In today’s post, I’m sharing my review (or should I say rave-view) of the aesthetically beautiful, user-friendly, and effective email marketing program that is Flodesk.

    Storytime: Me before Flodesk

    I’ve always believed in email marketing, but it was hard for me to get into it because the technicalities were overwhelming. The free platforms out there were limited in function (Mailchimp, ahem). ConvertKit was the best one that I’d found as an online entrepreneur and blogger, but it starts at $29 USD a month for 0-1000 subscribers and increases in price after you hit 1000 subscribers which means you either have to clean up your list to keep it low or pay for the upgrade. It felt sort of unfair that you’re penalized for growing your list.

    I also needed something to deliver different freebies without counting the same subscriber twice. Flodesk is intuitive in detecting when a subscriber has opted in for different lead magnets. Of course, instead of several different magnets, you can also create 1 big resource library (but it doesn’t hurt to attract people with a few, key individual ones).

    Related reading: How to build a resource library in Google Drive

    What I needed was an email service provider (ESP) that ticked the boxes for me of being simple to use, yet robust, and cost-effective towards a return of investment (ROI).

    Enter Flodesk.

    When I discovered it, this service ticked all the boxes for me.

    Off the bat, Flodesk is fantastic because it is… 

    • Pleasant to use (no coding required, no lagging interface, easy on the eyes)
    • Easy to use (regardless if you’re tech-savvy, using Flodesk is simply intuitive)
    • Aesthetically pleasing (their templates and designs: stunning and professional)
    • Robust in functionality (it does everything ConvertKit does, and they’re adding more features because the service is still in beta mode, so they’re open to feedback)
    • Personal (if you emailed the customer service, you feel treated like a friend)

    In the past, I’ve given a good chance to several other email marketing programs using their free trials: ConvertKit, MailerLite, Mailchimp, Active Campaign, Mad Mimi. I’ve also used the paid plans of ConverKit and Mailchimp to help manage the accounts of some of my clients.

    Of all the email marketing providers I’ve used? Flodesk is my favourite.

    The cost? $38 USD a month for unlimited everything (unlimited subscribers, unlimited capabilities). There’s no hierarchy for pricing between beginners or professionals. Everyone pays the same price. You can use my code to lock in the beta rate for $19 (limited time).

    Use the code “ARIETTE” or “ARIE50” to get 50% off your Flodesk subscription for a lifetime!

    Here are some perks and features in further detail! 🙂

    Simple drag-and-drop design

    Flodesk is great because their email builder is so intuitive and easy to use.

    In a way, I feel like Flodesk closely resembles platforms like Canva or Squarespace with their simple and user-friendly approach to design. None of that back-end coding stuff. Just easy-peasy, user-friendly software for everyday people who want to make things pretty.

    Tons of email templates

    If you fancy pretty-looking emails from your favourite brands, you can have that too – say goodbye to plain text email or awkwardly coded and poorly formatted email templates from other ESPs. With Flodesk, you’ll be sending visually stunning letters to your audience in no time with minimal stress about the tech.

    Related post: Lead Magnet Ideas To Grow Your Email List

    Email automation abilities

    Their automated workflows are great because you can send emails by automated triggers (ex. New person subscribes, within minutes, they receive their welcome email). This will make sending out sales funnels, lesson-a-day email courses, and email newsletters a breeze.

    You can separate workflows by days, weeks, months (though the first two are best). For me, I have a freebie + a welcome sequence sent to my subscribers to nurture them (if you’re a subscriber, you’ve probably received them). That’s just an example of what you can do!

    Related reading: How To Write The Perfect Welcome Email 

    Stunning, visually converting lead forms

    If you want people to sign up for your email list, you want to draw them in using beautiful opt-in forms. With Flodesk, you can design attractive forms designed to convert.



    Easy to understand numbers and statistics so you can track your progress!

    Track things like deliverability, link clicks, open rates, and more.

    All in all, I think Flodesk is great. I am loving it, and I think you will too (if you are creative and visual like me). For me, it’s more engaging to read (and create) my emails when it’s not just one big chunk of text. That’s why I try to put (at least!!!) 1 photo into my blog posts.

    Use the code “ARIETTE” or “ARIE50” to get 50% off your Flodesk subscription for a lifetime!

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  • Opt-In + Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your List

    What a lead magnet?

    Simply put, a lead magnet is an offering that attracts your ideal audience (aka customers or clients) to your brand. A lead is anyone who becomes interested in what you offer, a lead magnet is what does the attracting. In short, a lead magnet is a marketing tool to entice a call to action. The call to action (abbreviated as CTA) could be to shop in your store, to enrol in a course/program, join an email list, pre-order a book, or as simple as to ask you to sign up for your email list.

    Other words for lead magnets:

    • Opt-in incentive
    • Sign-up offering
    • Sign-up bonus
    • Sign-up incentive
    • Temptation (just kidding, sort of)

    When it comes to growing your email list, lead magnets are one of the best things that you can do as an online entrepreneur to incentivise people into signing up as your subscriber.

    So, how to attract more virtual pen pals onto your email list? Here are some ideas.

    (Besides offering people cookies.)

    Create a free resource library.

    It’s a given that people love free resources. Why not create an email opt-in where you share some of your best resources with subscribers for free as a thank you for subscribing?

    There’s a couple of ways that you can share your freebie library.

    1. You can link to it within your post (to a hidden web page that’s password-protected, and email subscribers receive the password in your emails).
    2. You can link externally to a cloud storage platform.

    Your free resource library can be 100% digital, and you can create it in various ways such as linking to files in Google Drive or Dropbox or having them right on your website.

    Depending on your niche/industry, these are some ideas for digital freebies:

    • Photo editing presets
    • Canva templates
    • Worksheets
    • Printables
    • Recipes

    If a whole library is overwhelming, you can always start with individual opt-in items for lead magnets. In my experience, having access to a whole library eliminates hassle – people don’t need to sign up for your mailing list 5x to receive different freebies; they can receive any freebie that you have available all at once by accessing a one-stop-shop/resource library.

    Offer a sign-up bonus or discount.

    People love a good deal and a valuable bonus for doing something simple like signing up for an email list. So a good idea to grow your list could be to offer a discount or bonus.

    Many retailers offer this: email subscribers get 10% off their first purchase.

    Host flash sales or holiday sales.

    Basically, people love saving money. 10% makes all the difference. So, if you have some products you’d like to sell, then a sale would be an excellent idea for you to get lots of people buying from you. If a holiday is coming up, or you just feel like doing a flash sale, do it.

    Promise to send your subscribers valuable content such as an email course or weekly tips on a topic.

    No one likes fluff, except on their furry, four-legged friends.

    People love value.

    You can send out weekly insights or tips, or an email course.

    People love email courses because lessons are delivered right to their (digital) doors!

    Engage with your email list personally.

    One of my favourite entrepreneurs that I love getting emails from is Marie Forleo. She always has such a warm and approachable personality (even online) that makes you feel seen.

    One great thing that you can do is address emails by your subscriber’s name. Depending on which mailing service you choose to use, the first name of your subscriber can be plugged into your email using a code. Or, if you want to be old school, you can always do so manually…

    Ideas for being creative and engaging with weekly emails, according to the days of the week (you don’t have to do this, but it’s a fun idea and people look forward to it). 

    • Monday: Make your theme #MotivationMonday or #MondayMood — share stories with your subscribers, engage with them to motivate them, ask them how they’re doing.
    • Tuesday/Thursday: Make your theme #TipTuesday or #TechTuesday — Share a tip or share an easy and actionable tech tutorial (if that’s your expertise, of course) with subscribers.
    • Wednesday: Make your theme #WisdomWednesday — share lessons that you’ve learned, and lessons that you’d like to pass on. It’s a good time to get anecdotal.
    • Friday: Make your theme #FriYAY — Share your roses & thorns of the week and ask your subscribers how their week went. People will notice when you show you care.

    Share checklists.

    Did you write an awesome blog post with practical tips or resources?

    If you want to help people follow-through on what they’ve read, you can create checklists for them to work through to use and reference whenever they need it. Here are some ideas:

    • Checklist for Blog Post Audit
    • Podcast Launch Checklist
    • Decluttering Checklist

    Create swipe files/cheat sheets.

    Cheat sheets offer a solution to a problem, and people love efficiency.

    You can offer your cheat sheets at a paid price.

    Write and sell an e-book!

    e-books are a great source of passive income because once the hard work is done, it can continue to bring in sales for you as long as you have a solid marketing plan in place.

    Places to sell your e-book:

    You can offer your email subscribers a discount too 🙂

    Offer discounted coaching sessions.

    If you like to help DIY-minded entrepreneurs with something, such as bookkeeping or graphic design, you can consider coaching alongside (or in replacement of) services because it is more personable, and you can teach the person you’re serving how to replicate their results.

    Share/sell swipe files.

    As a copywriter, this is one of my favourite things to share: swipe files.

    Basically, they’re ready-made templates for blog posts or emails that are as easy-as-pie because it’s already written out, and all you have to do is change the wording to fit your needs.

    Swipe files are a great way to attract people to sign up for your list.

    Hope this was helpful! Which lead magnets are you using/planning to use?

    P.S. Frequently asked the question: What’s considered a “tiny” list, and can you sell to a tiny list? Absolutely! Tiny lists are under 1000 subscribers (i.e. 200-250 is the number you want to be at before you do any selling, in most cases… Unless your small list is very engaged!). Once you pitch any service, course or product to them, expect at least 10% to convert.

    There are several ways to sell using email marketing:

    • Affiliate links
    • Sell your own product
    • Sell your own course
    • Sell your own services
    • Share a promo/discount

    Are you getting people onto your list? Try these tricks out and pin this post to save it for later.

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  • Write The Perfect Welcome Email: 8-Step Formula To Nurturing New Subscribers

    feminine styled stock desktop

    When a new subscriber joins your list, it ought to be a joyous occasion because it is like having a friend invited to your home for an intimate dinner party. And for you, it probably is a happy time, because of a new subscriber = a potential friend client, student, or customer, right?

    The thing is, people won’t feel welcomed unless you welcome them.

    Your welcome email makes a crucial first impression about your brand, and you only have one welcome email to show your subscribers your stripes and that you care about them.

    1 | Welcome them (by name is best).

    • Welcoming people will add a human quality to your emails.
    • It’ll build brand loyalty because you’ll be perceived as warm.
    • It creates positive feelings around your brand personality.

    2 | Thank them for joining your email list.

    • Tell them “I’m so glad you’re here.”
    • Tell them “I’m grateful for your presence.”

    “Thank you” is one of the most powerful words in the English language. It demonstrates humility and it is a token of appreciation. It makes people feel seen and validated.

    When subscribers feel appreciated, they appreciate you.

    3 | Deliver an incentive.


    • A 10% discount code for your shop, services, or courses.
    • Access to your free resource library.
    • Access to your Facebook group.
    • Monthly stock photos.

    People will want to stay on your list when you deliver them value. It’s like receiving snail mail or online shopping orders — people need to want what they’re getting in the mail.

    4 | Share who you are. Keep it short and sweet!

    * A photo of you helps too. Ideally, a lifestyle brand photo or a headshot.

    Consider this part as a mini-bio, but you’re making a personal introduction.

    • Use a story to connect with your audience.
    • Share your blogger/business journey.
    • Tell them 5-10 fun facts about yourself.

    5 | Set communications expectations.

    Let subscribers know when they’ll hear from you (monthly? weekly?) and what kind of content you send out. Let them know how often you aim to respond to emails, too.

    By setting communication expectations, you’ll…

    • Set the tone for the relationship by being respectful and open.
    • Be clear about your boundaries and theirs (how often you’ll email).
    • Decrease unsubscribes and spam complaints from people.

    (You can even tell people, that, if they don’t prefer to receive these kinds of emails from you, they are welcome to peace out right away by unsubscribing. That way, you don’t waste anyone’s time. It sounds like an extreme step, but it’s effective. Your loyal fans/repeat clients will stay loyal.)

    6 | Ask subscribers to whitelist you.

    Basically, that means that you want your subscribers to add you to their contact list or safe sender’s list so that your emails do not get flagged as junk or spam.

    Whitelisting is important because it improves your deliverability.

    You can also tell subscribers to drag your emails to their main inbox so that it doesn’t go in the wrong folders, such as Promotions, Social, Updates, so they don’t miss your emails.

    7 | Share with them how they can connect with you if they have any questions for you, or just want to chat.

    • Let them know which email you/your support team can be reached at.
    • Let them know communication expectations (e.g. M-F, 9-5 pm EST).
    • Let people know how they book you for a service or coaching call.

    Let people know your inbox is available makes you likeable and approachable.

    8 | Let people know where they can find you online.

    People love following businesses they love…

    If you have Instagram, Twitter, a Facebook group…

    Invite your audience to hang out with you online!

    The more you build your know, like and trust with them, the more you win.

    ** Flodesk is my current favourite email service provider for its simplicity + beautiful templates. Grab 50% off your plan forever by using “ARIETTE” at checkout!

    Welcome email “voice” and “talking” tips!

    Tone matters. Be personable in your emails.

    Address people by name. Ask them about themselves.

    Ask them how you can serve them. Invite them to reply to you.

    People don’t want to feel like just another faceless number in a sea of subscribers, they want to be seen and heard. Metaphorically speaking? They don’t want to be invited to a giant potluck with 50+ people, they want to come over for an intimate dinner party with you.

    Write as you speak; tell a story & sound like yourself.

    Let your writing voice reflect your real one online. Get personality on paper.

    Let people get to know you. Show off some of your quirks. Like, if you’re a fan of puns or movie/TV show references, go for it. Memes are fine, too. (In moderation.)

    Infuse your warmth into your writing voice. Share your story, and show yourself.

    You don’t need to share your whole life story, but it is important for new subscribers to gain some context into who you are, and who exactly is emailing them. This is your time to share some fun facts about yourself, why you’re passionate about what you do and a bit behind your life. If you have any pets, show a picture! (People are always won over by furry friends.)

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