The 5 Business Tools I Can’t Work Without

5 Business Tools I can't Live without

When I was starting out with my photography I had no idea what business tools I should use.  I wasn’t sure what I needed for my business, which was so frustrating.  I felt like everywhere I looked people, with already successful businesses, were talking about how systems are so important.

I read The E-Myth Revisited, and it talked a lot about how businesses need systems to be successful.

So I get it.

I can take a hint.

Systems are crucial to making a business run (and making my family run ;) but I couldn’t do it without the awesome business tools that I use daily.

I’ve talked a lot about how I plan and how I keep up with my goals, but I haven’t shared the tools I use to get it all done.  These 5 programs, tools, and apps are used every day in my business.



Google Docs

Google Docs are the best!  I mean seriously the absolute bestest ;)  Every single piece of written content I create for my business is brainstormed, outlined, drafted and finished in google docs.  At one point I just saved everything to Dropbox, which was ok.  It got the job done, but google docs take it to a whole other level.  I love them because it simplified the process for me.  I don’t have to make sure that I’m saving anything to any where because it’s already saved.  I use the history function to look at different versions of my draft.  The bonus feature of this tool is that I can access it and edit any where I am.  


This program is a life saver.  Seriously Asana is a business tool powerhouse!  I know lots of people love trello, but I can’t really make much comparison because I only tried trello for about two seconds.  What I can say is that I love Asana!  

I have projects set up like they’re my overarching categories.  I then label the tasks in Asana as my projects.  I can create the subtasks as each of the steps in the project.  I also have it set up with my editorial calendar for my blog.  It makes things much easier because I check it for what posts to work on each week.  All my tasks that need to get done each week are posted in here as welll.  I plan my whole week at the beginning of the week so that I have an idea for when things need to be completed.




Ok 17Hats is my client management bff.  I know some people like to use Asana for project management and I do for running the structure of business.  17Hats is what makes my client management flow.  I love it for the way workflows streamline the systems for new clients.  I can set up a workflow template for all the types of client work and then when that client comes in I can initiate that template and all the guesswork is taken out.

It also ensures that each of my clients get the same client experience because it’s systemized and written out and is triggered when a couple decides to book my services.  I’m completely obsessed with the simplicity of this once I started.

I also use 17Hats for invoicing.  I can send clients quick price lists and then set up an invoice.  This really is my client bestie.  Everything is in one place.


I got Convertkit as a way to keep in touch with people through email.  I get to keep in touch and share news about new posts, what’s happening the business or when sales happen.  I also love that I have the potential to break out groups based on their interest.  

I currently have a lot going on on here on the blog.  I share about running my business, weddings and couples, and all about the stock shop.  When I have people signed up based on their interests then they get the emails they want.This way people who are only interested in weddings are hearing about running a business and the benefits of stock photos.

I know there’s so much that I can do with it, but I’m still learning all the features.  Right now it mostly is just a way to communicate.  I’m working on a FREE EMAIL Course about building your brand photos for your biz.  Go here to be the first to get it when it is available.


Adobe Photographer

Lightroom makes my life so much easier.  I could not shoot weddings without Lightroom.  There was a day (really long ago) when I edited weddings in Lightroom.  I think this was a time in my life when I wanted to spend all my time at the computer.  I joke.  Really though Lightroom is a beast and I love it.  I use Lightroom to make all of my blog graphics for my website.  I also use both programs when I’m editing my all of my stock photos!  I use Lightroom to edit and photoshop to get the photos ready for the Palm Dreams styled stock photos.

***This post does have affiliate links that pays me a small amount at no additional cost to you.  The good news is I only become an affiliate for things that I absolutely love.


The Business Tool Box

Was this short list not enough?!   Get my business toolbox. below

Get the free List of EVERY tool, app or program I use in my business and how I use it!

Kenmare Loft Wedding with Elegant Candle Light Details | Chicago

Christine and Chris had a beautiful and elegant candlelit Kenmare Loft wedding.  The day started as a beautiful day in downtown Chicago.

Elegant Kenmare Loft Wedding

I was fortunate enough to get to shoot the wedding with my friend Jenna Marie.  The simple elegance of the day was breathtaking.  We started the day at the Kinzie Hotel right in heart of downtown.  Christine and Chris had a beautiful ceremony with moments that were so special.  Their reception was elegant and lit by hundreds of candles.  The simplistic elegance was beautiful.  There was so much joy and fun throughout the whole wedding day, and it was a pleasure to be a part of it.Kinzie Hotel Getting Ready Kinzie Hotel Getting Ready Luther Memorial Church Wedding Luther Memorial Church Wedding Luther Memorial Church Wedding Luther Memorial Church Wedding Humboldt Park Bridal Party Photos Humboldt Park Humboldt Park Wedding Photos Humboldt Park Bridal Party Photos Humboldt Park Humboldt Park Wedding Photos Humboldt Park Humboldt Park Humboldt Park Wedding Humboldt Park Wedding Humboldt Park Wedding Humboldt Park Wedding Humboldt Park Wedding Humboldt Park Wedding Kenmare Loft Wedding Kenmare Loft Wedding Kenmare Loft Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Candle Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant WeddingKenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding Kenmare Loft Elegant Wedding


3 Ways To Do a Goal Check-in to Help Grow Your Business

3 Ways To Do a Goal Checkin to Grow Your Business

Reading is one of my favorite things to do.  I have to legit make time for it because with kiddos business and family it can get kind of difficult to find the time but I make it happen.  

I recently read the 12 Week Year and it totally changed how I looked at goal setting.

The basic premise is if you treat your goal setting process like something that happens in 12 week increments instead of once a year then you will achieve more of your goals each year.  The idea is that you will feel the same urgency you feel towards the end of the year, and you will get stuff done.

It’s amazing what a little urgency can do for goal setting.  I’ve used tools like Lara Casey’s Powersheets before and I love to use my Day Designer to brainstorm my daily and weekly planning, but reading the 12 Week Year just gave me so much more clarity around goals.  I loved doing the goal setting in each of the other tools, but I really like to know the why behind a system.  Reading the 12 Week Year gave me the why.

Before you can put these checks into place you need to know what your goals are in your business.  If you’re still trying to plan out your goals check out this post it has free quick planning guide so you can focus on what your goals should be based on for your business.  

The other key factor in goal setting is making sure you’re setting SMART goals.  I know this is goal setting 101, but it’s crucial.  The quick breakdown of a SMART goal is it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time based.  

When you have your goal set then you want to write down all the things you can do to reach your goals.

Then write out all your tactics to reach your goals.   Once you’ve done goal setting and planned how you can reach the goal you’re ready to start tracking your progress.  Here are three ways to do a goal checkup.

Schedule in Personal Goal Checks

One of the first ways to track your progress towards your goals is to make sure you’ve set a plan of when you’re going to check in.  I like to check in weekly and monthly.  

I spend time planning out my week most Sunday’s.  This allows me to figure out my life and business priorities for the week.  I do a weekly check-up on my goals when I’m planning for my next week.

If this is already starting to seem like a lot of steps don’t worry I made a quick checklist for you (Grab it below).

Next I look at all the tactics I wanted to get done for that week and see if anything still needs to get done.  If so I plan how it will fit into the next week.

By checking in on my weekly completion progress I know if I’m starting to get closer to my bigger goal.  This also works for projects that I need to get done. These weekly checks are built into the 12 Week Year plan.

I also do monthly checks to look at the overall bigger picture.  I look to find out stats that either show progress to my goals or show that it’s not working.  If there’s not a positive trend towards my goal then I know I need to rethink some of the things I’m doing.

If you want to have each of these steps laid out for you, don’t forget to grab the quick checklist that takes you through the steps of doing your own personal check-in system in your business.

Meeting in a Mastermind

Another way to hold yourself accountable to your goals is to meet in a mastermind.  

When you meet in a mastermind there are other people who know what you’re working towards and what you are doing to get there.  This can be so helpful to making growth in your business.  

When you join a mastermind you get to part of a community of other focused business owners.  Each member is also trying to drive their business forward.

It can be powerful to talk about what you want to accomplish.  It can also continue to keep you excited about what you want to get done in your business.

Having someone else who cares about your business and growth can feel amazing because then you’re not alone as a solopreneur.  They’ll cheer you on and help you.

There’s also the benefit of shared knowledge.  Each person has a different skill sets that make them unique, and when you’re in a group where everyone wants you to be successful people are willing to help you achieve your goals.  You’ll still have to do the work but maybe you will get there a little quicker.

I currently virtually meet with one of my biz friends and it is everything.  We discuss our goals, and then we discuss what we plan to do to get there.  The next time we meet we can discuss how it went, and share anything we feel we need change.  We also send each other little encouraging reminders to get it done.

If you’re looking for a mastermind the Little Black Desk Society fosters an amazing community of women.  The facebook community is open to everyone, but the masterminds open quarterly.  I have found so much value in being a part of this facebook community.  It’s always been amazing to be around other women who want to support each other.

Pay for a Coach

The third thing you could do to set up biz checkpoints would be to get a coach.  

This I believe is similar as getting into a mastermind but there’s more concentrated time spent on you and your biz.  It is a financial investment, which can sometimes be more motivating to get work done because you don’t want to waste your investment.

I haven’t hired a coach yet because I think one of the most important things you can do when getting a coach is to decide what you need and want from your coaching experience.

There are so many great coaches out there.  You just need to find the right coach for you.  Do you need to work on your sales then maybe you need a sales coach.  Do you need to work on your systems, then maybe you need a coach who specializes in organization.  Do you need to work on your mindset then maybe you need a coach who specializes in mindset work.  

You just need to figure out what will push your business forward.

Don’t forget to grab your checklist below then let me know how you track your progress towards your goals.

***There are some affiliate links in this post, but I only share products that I absolutely love

Get your FREE Checklist to Create Your Goal Check-in

4 Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look

Why You Should Do A First LookWhy You Should Do A First Look

Why You Should Do A First Look

What is a First Look

A first look on the wedding day is when the Bride and groom decide to see each other before they say I Do.  It can be one of the most romantic moments of the day.

There are so many reasons couples opt to do a first look.  Below are some of best benefits of deciding to do a first look.

You Will Look the Best for Your Portraits

Ok who doesn’t want to look fantastic in a picture?   Of course we all want to look our best, and bonus this is one of the added benefits to having a first look.  You get to have portraits taken when your hair and makeup is look amazing.  

The first part of the day is when you’ve just taken the time to get ready.  Not a lot of action has happened yet.  Often times there’s been a whole team helping the bride look her most beautiful.  It makes complete sense you look amazing at this point so you should have pictures taken together then.

An Intimate Moment with Your Soon to be Spouse

I’m going to be honest.  A first look can be one of the most beautiful moments of the whole day.  It is one of the few moments throughout the day that you have just for yourselves.  Throughout your whole wedding you’re often being wonderful hosts to your guests.  

This is moment just between the two of you, and you have a photographer there to capture it so you remember it for always.  It is so amazing to get to hold space for each other, and let the other one know just how excited you are to be with them for always.  It’s a beautiful way to share in each other.

A wedding day can be so limited on time, so it’s fantastic to have some time that is just for you two.  You will be in high speed the whole day so to have a first look is to have each other for a little bit of time even if it’s only for just a few moments.

Relax the Rest of the Day

Another reason couples love having a first look is because it tends to calm all the nervous energy.  Usually after the first look my couples feel so much more relaxed the rest of the day.  I see it in the way they interact.  I see it the in the pictures.  

There is something powerful about being in the presence of your love that calms couples down.

It can also be a relief to know that one of the part of the day is taken care of, and you both are ready to commit to do it together.  Once you’ve seen each other there always seems to be less stress.

Have More Time for Bridal Portraits

Lastly and maybe a little selfishly in service of my couples I think a major incentive to a first look is the added time for bridal portraits.  It can also be a day saver when the sunsets early.  When you have a first look it creates space in the timeline for bridal portraits.

I’ve said it before a wedding day moves fast, and even the most well planned weddings can get behind.  When you have a first look you’re able to take photos immediately.  You don’t have to worry about down time that can’t be used.  It is often the best use of the time that we have together.

Doing a first look can make the day run smoothly.  You have time to take portraits together and there’s not a rush.  There are more opportunities to get beautiful bridal portraits.

If you have more questions about figuring out wedding photography make sure you get the FREE guide below!

The 7 Essentials to Love Your Wedding Photography

If you’re looking to choose your wedding photographer, then this is the guide for you.  It’s a quick cheat sheet for what to look for when you’re choosing your wedding photographer.


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