Apps and Tech Tips to Keep you Sane. Presented by Jessica Gwynne of Client Kiosk.
Bethany: Welcome to the first of the second round of the PHAROS knowledge collective series ‘App and tech tips to streamline your life and keep you sane’ with Jessica Gwynne from Client Care Kiosk.
Jessica: This apps and tech tips has come about after the conference because a few of you wanted to know how you could streamline your life using apps and technology. Hopefully today you’ll take out one or two things that will be really beneficial for you and perhaps keep you a little bit sane and save you a little bit of time.
I’ve broken it down into three areas, business organisation, marketing, which is where my background is and a few life tips as well. Let’s jump right into it. The first one is Evernote, which is basically your brain as an app. This has saved my life as I can be one of those people who are a little bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and so if I haven’t written something down it’s gone. So much so that I’ve gone back to a paper diary because if things don’t sync it’s gone from my mind and this is why I love Evernote. You can jump onto www.evernote.com and have a look. What Evernote is it’s basically a notebook that syncs to all of your devices. It works in both Apple devices as well as Android and allows you to store different things such as notes, video, audio, text and pictures.
You can use it for things like ideas you have when you’re out on the road or when you’re shopping and you see something you like you can take a photo of it and save it which is more of a life thing than business. I use this as a notebook during a meeting because everything saves. If you’re like me you may have 10 different notebooks and you’re not sure which one you took to a particular meeting it’s all in one place. It’s also emailable so whenever you have taken meeting notes you can email it and copy it into xPlan or Coin or whatever database you’re using for your file notes. It’s easy and it’s free. There is a paid application of it, but it’s not really necessary as it just takes away the ads, which to be honest aren’t really that much of a problem.
I’m going to give you a top tip for each one of these and Evernote allows you to create different notebooks. You can change or abbreviate them in any way you would like. For example you can have ‘client meetings’ where you put all of your meetings in there. For marketing if you’ve got an idea when you’re on the road or somewhere you can pop some notes in there. Business management, practice development, your staff if you need to have meetings with your staff you can put your notes in there. Also anything you find or is educational you can put in there. You create your different notebooks and then you can have notes within those notebooks. I use it while I’m driving to create audio notes. With the simple press of a button you can talk into it and it’s then saved and you can send it off to your staff or whoever you need to. Evernote is your brain in an app and is very, very organised. Best of all it syncs to all devices.
Suitebox is another one where you can digitise your media and meetings. I think Chris brought this up while we were at the conference and had a chat about it, but I hadn’t looked at it until he mentioned it. I’ve done some research into it to find out what it is and while I haven’t used this personally it is specifically for financial planners which is why we wanted to talk about it today. It’s from Australia, which is great, and it’s all being developed here. It’s quite new but it’s perfect if you’re looking to digitise your meetings. It’s cloud driven and you can use it on all of your devices including iPhone, iPad and your computer.
Suitebox gives you the ability to have face to face meetings with a more professional interface than having a Skype meeting with someone. You can talk to them and you can record the meeting both audio and video which can then be put straight into xPlan or Coin. You can then have document collaboration meaning you can have a document and go through it with the person on the other end so that they can be following along at the same time. It’s exactly like having a meeting in an office where you’re going through paperwork. They can also sign it there on the spot and send it back to you. It’s $49 per user per month and I would suggest that most of you only need to have one user.
If you sign up with a single email address such as ‘[email protected]’ everyone can have the login which they can log in and use as long as you don’t have two users on at the same time you could definitely get away with having just one user. It’s really new technology so it’s not really tried and tested but that’s not to say it’s no good. These people are Australian, they’ve got a really strong background in apps and they are from the finance industry. If you’re looking to engage a younger target market this is really perfect for you. If they’re too busy, they’re not required to attend meetings in person or they really enjoy sitting at home to have a meeting or sign off everything they need to do and then forget about it. This can really change the way you do your business and instead of it being really confided to the area where your office is you can spread your business further afield. If you have any questions I’m happy to take them, however as I say I haven’t used this myself but I might be able to forward them to Chris and have him answer them for you.
The next one we’ve got for your office management is Basecamp which is your office online. I use Basecamp all day every day and it’s a project management tool, sort of like Evernote. I use them in conjunction with each other and you create things called ‘projects’ and within this project you’ll have a to-do list which have ‘to-do’s’ under the to-do list. It will come down to how you can use that more effectively. What it does in your to-do list and Basecamp as a whole is that it becomes completely searchable.
Even if you have finished a to-do and you’ve ticked it off the list and it’s no longer there you can come back to it six months later and say ‘I was talking to so and so and we talked about this particular company that I can’t remember’ you can put in that particular company’s name and everything you’ve put into Basecamp is there and searchable. It’s not time driven, meaning you could be using this for years on end and you could find the information. For that reason alone I love it, if you finish something and need to come back to it then Basecamp is perfect for that. It to is cloud driven so you can use it on all your devices, I use it on my computer and on my iPad when I’m out and about.
If you have staff who are remote or who are out of the office a lot it’s great for that, you’ve basically got your projects and your to-do list wherever you are. You don’t always have to go into Basecamp itself, it allows you to email from your email straight into the to-do list itself so you don’t have to log in all the time. Instead you can hit ‘reply’ and whoever is completing that to-do list can keep going. It’s only $20 per month for up to 10 projects with unlimited users. It doesn’t matter how many people you share onto your projects it will only cost you $20 per month. I think I’m up to 4 projects and one of those is a personal thing to keep everything together so you would never go above 10 projects I would imagine.
So how would you use it? I would create a project that is your business and within that create separate to-do lists under the major areas of your business, similar to Evernote. Client relationships, practice development, marketing, administration etc. Under ‘client relationships’ you might have each of your clients names and you can put in there a to-do which is required to be done for that client. If it’s something that needs to be done, such as their SLA, you can put in their name, SLA and details of what needs to happen and then assign it to someone if you’re not doing it yourself. Alternately you can assign it yourself and put a deadline on it. When that deadline comes up it will email you to say you’re two days away from your deadline, have you done this? Often I get those and think ‘I forgot about that’. Again it’s a reminder so you can jump on and finish that.
You can change those settings, so if you need more than 2 days or within 5-7 days or 1 day it’s up to you. For example something you could use it in your business now which is relevant is Christmas gifts for your clients. Who’s got time to do that? Not me. You create the to-do, you say what you’re after such as ‘I want a bottle of wine around $50 for x number of clients’. You assign it to your staff member or BA and ask them to do the research for you and give them a date which they have to do it by. They get that and do all the research, if they need to ask any questions they can email it back to you and you can answer the question.
When they’ve finished it and put all the research together they can assign it back to you for a decision and you can say ‘I’ll have x bottle for however many dollars, go ahead and buy 50 of them’, then assign it back to your admin staff to go and get that done. These simple things you don’t really have time to think about, if you give it 2-3 minutes to think about it and not have to do it yourself you can assign it to your admin and get it done like that. That’s how Basecamp can really work and save you time and a bit of sanity. Instead of keeping all these things up in your head it’s out, it’s there and you can see it every day.
Moving on from project management looking into files now what happens if I’ve got two that are very similar and I’ve put them both in here and in Dropbox or Google Drive? We’ll start with Dropbox as this is what I use, I’ve used both and I prefer this one. Google aficionados love Google Drive and I get into heated discussions with people over these two, but Dropbox is my preference.
Dropbox is cloud driven so again it syncs on all of your devices. This means that you technically have your computer server with you anywhere you go. All of my files are on my iPhone or all of my files are on my iPad or my computer. My VA also has all of my files. This means that any time something is updated it syncs everywhere and everyone is always working with the most up to date file. There’s different levels of users so while I have access to all my files and so does my VA I can share files with people who can view it but they can’t necessarily make changes. This means that I can share files with clients on the go. If someone rings me and says ‘have you got that XYZ’ I can send it through if I’m out and about or on my way to a meeting and can grab my iPad or iPhone, send them the link and they can then download the file so they’ve got it. Instead of having a server and waiting until you get home or having to call your admin staff send it to you it can be done within 2 minutes and you can then forget about it. You have the ability to share files and add users, instead of them send them files without them having to get back to you. This really helps to protect you from file theft which could also help with your business insurance as your server is no longer on site.
I’ve had a look into security for Dropbox, there’s multi level access so people can share or edit. Dropbox staff cannot access files by law and the only time they can is when they’re legally required to do so by government agencies. They have physical security onsite and technical security such as multi layers of security. You can have a password and then another which is a text message that you get every time you log in and gives you a code to log in as well. All of their data centres are in the US, meaning they’re not somewhere that is a little bit lawless. Also all the files are mirrored files, meaning all the files that are on your computer are also on the server. If something happens to the server you’ve got a backup of your files. Likewise if something happens to your files which is more often the case then there’s a backup on the server so at any given time you can retrieve your files.
Alternatively you can use Google Drive. Like Dropbox it’s cloud driven and syncs your files to all devices for access on the go. Where it differs from Dropbox, and this is where the Google aficionados get me on, is that you can collaborate on files. It’s very similar to Suitebox in that you can have a file open that you’ve shared with another user and you can both work on it at the same time. You can change things in real time such as Excel documents, Word documents etc and save it as you go. If that’s something you would be doing with remote staff or with clients then yes, Google Drive would be better for you. Personally I haven’t found the need to do it which is why I go with Dropbox over Google Drive.
With both not only can you sync them with your computer you can also when you’re out and about then log onto google.com/drive or dropbox.com and get all of your files. You log in to that with your normal login to get your files and download them if you need them. If you don’t have your laptop with you, say when you’re travelling, there’s the ability to do that as well. Again it’s also protecting you from fire and theft onsite.
There’s also CamScanner, which turns your mobile phone into a scanner so you no longer need to have a scanner in your office.
Kylie: I would like to know if you have anything on ‘Box’ which is a Melbourne company. Have you heard of anything called Box?
Jessica: Just Box? I haven’t heard of anything called Box. It’s a Melbourne based file storage is it Kylie?
Kylie: It’s a file sharing site, I know that much. I think it was created by Citrix now that I think of it. I think that Just Super has theirs made specifically but I’ll look into that and get back to you.
Jessica: I’ll have a look as well and see where it fits in compared to the other two. Camscanner is an app which you can download from the iTunes store or the Android Google Play store. It’s free, it’s simple easy to use. You basically take a photo of your documents through the app and you can then email it. It will turn it into a pdf or a jpg depending on what you need it for and you can email or upload it directly to Dropbox, Google Drive or storing it on your phone as well.
This is great for things like bank documents or documents where you need to sign them for other people and send them back really quickly, anything like that. It’s basically a scanner that’s on your phone and goes with you wherever you go. If you’re out at a meeting with a client and they’ve got documents or anything like that Camscanner is perfect for taking a photo of their ID and you can upload it to Dropbox or send it to your email to xPlan or wherever you need to store it. Instead of having a scanner in your office you can have it on your mobile, it’s very easy.
Another tip there would be to scan business cards wherever you go. If you are meeting someone and they hand you a business card you end up with every business card on your phone instead of having a lot in your wallet. Just take a photo of it and upload it into wherever it is that you’re storing all of those things.
Moving on to the marketing tools that I tend to use on a daily basis and would really help you if you’re looking to save time on your marketing. After the conference I hope that you are hooked on the idea of being on Facebook and LinkedIn. If you are the Facebook pages app is your Facebook site on the go and makes the platform much easier. It can actually be easier than doing it from Facebook directly. The app can be downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play store and it’s as simple as pressing on the app, your site will then come up. You can post directly from there or take a photo and post it up straight away, or you can choose them from your library. You can also post videos straight away if you like and can also schedule posts from there.
We talked at the conference about batching and you can do that sort of thing where you post a week’s worth of posts in one go on a Sunday night while sitting on the couch watching TV. You can see all of your analytics to see what is working for you and what’s not as well as checking your messages and responding directly. It’s really similar to the Facebook app but instead of being your personal site it’s your page site. This is really good for the behind the scenes type content that followers really like. For example at the conference we took a photo of the speakers and straight away you can upload it and make a note of it, people enjoy that. It takes away the time of posting, you can do it straight away in the moment and get it done which is great for conferences and community events. Most of all it’s social media just for you, to show people what you do and how you help people.
In the same vein there’s the LinkedIn app which is again your profile on the go. Here you can check in with your connections, catch up on the latest news, look into your groups and engage with people and you can update your profile. Updating your profile on the app is a little bit more challenging. You can do things such as changing words and that sort of thing but I would recommend continuing to do that online. If you commute on public transport this is the way to use that extra time. If you’re sitting there, you’re stuck and there’s not much you can do then you can be connecting with your connections on LinkedIn. Have a system where you say for 10 minutes a day I’m going to go into the LinkedIn app and I’m going to do x. I’m going to look at my new connections which might take a minute, I’m going to update or share something with my people which might take two minutes and then I’m going to check my groups and have a chat which might take 4 minutes. Then we’ll see if I need to connect with any people from that which is 2 minutes. With 10 minutes you can really inspect your LinkedIn profile, get connections and have engagement with your people on LinkedIn that will really help get you business with no extra time.
If you don’t commute and public transport and you’re in the car I highly recommend that you don’t do that. I think I mentioned WordSwag at the conference along with Canva. Canva is basically a way that you can become a designer with no design skills and it will take you five seconds. The website is wordswag.co and it’s on the app store for download on iTunes and Google Play. It’s free, as by the way are the Facebook and LinkedIn apps. You can pay, with all the extra bits in there is about $5 and I would highly recommend getting it. It allows you to pick a photo, you can use one of your own photos or they’ve got a million photos in their database, and then you put some words over the top of it.
As an example Cooper from Prospective Group on the Gold Coast has been using it and there’s a couple of examples that he’s done himself. It’s visual, it’s obvious and it’s interesting. It allows you to connect visually with your audience and you can use it on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or you can email them. Once you’ve created it then it gives you those options and allows you to do it straight away. All you need to do is have something to say, it’s that easy. If you’ve got the words you pick your photo and type in your words. There’s a few little buttons down the bottom and you keep pressing buttons until you like what it is that you see from the different designs and templates. Once you’ve done that click next and send it to wherever it is that you want it to go through your social media channels or email.
This is great if you have a female target market because this is the way that women like to get information. They’re busy, they don’t have time and they like things that are pretty. If you do have women in your target market this is how you will engage with them. Similarly Canva is brilliant. Canva.com is not an app, it’s only online which I’m hoping one day they will change but for now it is what it is. Canva makes branding and design really easy. Cass said to me at the conference that she’s loving all the PHAROS Knowledge Collective branding, it all comes from Canva. It makes being a brilliant designer so, so easy. They’ve got free templates and sizing for just about anything. That can be anything online such as your social media channels, your presentations, adds, documents etc. Jump on and have a look, I highly recommend it. It’s got all of these free templates, a bunch of free images, different templates for writing and there’s a whole bunch of that stuff for free. If it’s not free it’s $1 US to download and it will say ‘this is going to cost you $1 is that ok?’, you say yes then download and it’s done.
We can do for Canva for business, which is free at the moment but I think is going to go for $9.99 per month soon, is that you can create your own design and then resize it across all of your platforms. You weren’t able to do this before and it was very frustrating. That means you can create a whole suite of designs that look very similar and it does everything that you need it to. That means you can take your brand across all of your platforms, both social and online as well as for physical documents and those things that you have. I highly recommend jumping in and having a look, you might get stuck for 10 minutes and then be there for an hour because it is a little bit of fun for people who are quite creative but don’t necessarily know where to start. Alternately you can create a great design, download it and upload it in about 5 minutes to wherever it is you need it to go. Canva.com is highly recommended.
If you are serious about your social media, and I hope you’re getting that way, Hootsuite is great. Hootsuite.com is a website that you can use on your computer but also it will then sync to all of your devices, iPad’s, Smartphones etc. This brings all of your social media into one place. If you’ve got a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account then what it will do is bring it into one space where you can see everything that is going on at any given time. You can also post from here and you can batch load posts to do a week or a month at a time.
You can do it onto different platforms, so instead of having to just go onto Facebook, put up a post there, press post, go onto LinkedIn, put up a post there and press post you can do the same post across both platforms at the same time. You can do this for a month in advance. It’s now even brought in Instagram which is used to not have so you can use Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook. I don’t think it does Pinterest but it does do WordPress blogs so if you are looking at blogging you can even do it from there. The tip on how to use this in the best is to batch your content that will save you a whole bunch of time, particularly if you have a content calendar. I do have a 4 step process on creating one of those so if you do want that please let me know and I can email it through to you. Then all you need to do is check back daily for any engagement that needs responding to. That net time we were talking about, if you have some of that then bingo. If you don’t jump on a train or bus to get to work then maybe you could go walking, you can even do it while walking.
Check back daily for any engagement. Check back daily, someone might have sent you a message or commented on a photo post and then respond to it. It also gives you great reports so you can look at it and see who is enjoying it, how your social media channels are growing and that sort of thing. So Hootsuite if you are looking at updating or being serious about your social this is the easiest way to do it. It is free for the first 30 days and then it’s $15.99 a month Australian and it’s highly beneficial, I would recommend you do it. You can also bring in team members if you want to have someone else do it for you and to bring in a team member it’s $15.99 per user. Alternatively like the other things they can also just log in with your login details, not that I told you to do that.
So that’s the marketing apps that I would recommend you to use, there are millions but let’s not make it too difficult on ourselves. These are the ones that save you time and keep you a bit more sane when it comes to your marketing.
Looking at the life section that apps that I think are great, Upwork. Maybe I should have put in in organisation but this is the best way for you to find staff who can do pretty much anything and make it easy for you to find and communicate with them. Upwork.com. Madison has started talking about outsourcing and they’ve started outsourcing the paraplanning, which looks like a great initiative. The other thing you can do is outsource for basically anything that is online, you can find someone to do that for you at Upwork.
For designs if you can’t get onto Canva or use Wordswag and you just need someone to do that for you it can be done here. Virtual assistants, proofreading, writing, any of those things can be found on Upwork. It is all in US dollars so keep that in mind when getting staff from around the world. Having a look at how much that would cost you VA’s can start at about $3.30 US an hour and can go up to about $50 US per hour depending on how technical you want them to be and where they live.
You can hire someone on a day to day basis or you can hire them on a project or ongoing basis. Let’s have a look at a VA and what they can do for you as I think even I struggled with this in the first instance. How can someone who isn’t beside you understand your business, what you need and what they can really do? Basically anything that is online they can do. It will save you time and that means you can spend your time with your family. If you look at the things you do on a day to day basis and were really critical with yourself you can create a list of things that necessarily don’t need to be done by you or by someone in your office.
If you’ve admin staff that are under the pump or paraplanners who are doing admin at the same time this is a great way to find people to do the things that don’t need to be done by people with your expertise. Things like email filtering, research, travel arrangements, booking appointments, doing file management, build your database for you, transcriptional, powerpoints etc. Any of those things can all be done by a VA and you can use Basecamp as we said to help manage them. If that is something that you’re thinking about doing I’d recommend jumping onto Upwork and having a look around to see what type of staff you can get and what they can do for you.
It is the most cost effective way to bring someone on without having to go full time as sometimes that’s a bit of a challenge that you’ve got a little bit of work but not enough to bring someone into the office full time. If you have any questions on that let me know. It’s a whole other topic I think but I did want to bring it to your attention to have a look because if you want to be more sane in your life and in your business Upwork can do that.
TED. TED is to feed your brain. TED is 15 minute talks on basically any topic you can imagine. It’s interesting and thought provoking. You can look online at TEDtalks.com or you can download the free app. When you’re searching on the app you can do content division or lucky dip, so if you’ve got time then give me something, I’ll have a look. An extra tip, if you like something that you’ve seen on TED then share it on your social even if it’s not finance related but is interesting and thought provoking. What it will do is enable people to share things that you’ve shared with them which gets up your engagement and all of the technical stuff on your account. If you see something you like on TED then sharing it is really good for your engagement on social media.
I did a bit of research on TED and found an article that has the 9 TED talks that financial advisors must listen to and having a quick look through some of them that seem interesting. One is by Shawn Achor talking about the happy secret to better work which is recommended. There’s Julian Treasure which is five ways to listen better and this will be good for your relationships I’m sure. There’s also Simon Sinek talking on why good leaders make you feel safe. Those three talks are recommended for you to have a look at. If you’ve never looked at TED it’s all about changing the way you think about things and making you dig a little bit deeper.
The last one for you is also kind of life and business. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but WotIf isn’t really last minute and it’s not really cheap anymore. HotelQuickly is an Australian app that started around 8-12 months ago and you can look at it at hotelquickly.com or you can download the app on iTunes or Google Play. They’re all based in Australasia so if you’re travelling around Australia, Asia or NZ you can book a hotel last minute. It’s really last minute and you can’t book anything more than 24 hours in advance, but it is super cheap and you can get 50-60% off your usual nights.
If you start using it and you really like it you can save your payment information securely into the app so that you can jump on and look where you’re going. It has about 3-4 choices depending on where you’re going, including Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast etc so you don’t get swamped with choices. You can select pay when checking in or you can swipe once your payment information is in there and book. I’ve used it and it was amazing how quick and easy it was. If you are doing some last minute travel remember Hotel Quickly because it is actually last minute now and it is good pricing and very easy to use.
That’s all of the apps I’ve put together for you today, as I said there are millions and we could get lost in them but if you are looking to have some extra time in your life then using 1-2 of these will really help you both in business and at home to be a little bit more sane and find some extra time. Does anyone have any questions about an app that they were hoping that I would be talking about, other than Box.com which I will find out about for you Kylie. Or perhaps an area where you are looking to save some time let me know and we can have a chat about it.
Bethany: Malcolm would like a dedicated session on virtual assistants and a separate session on Suite Box.
Jessica: I can certainly do virtual assistants. For Suite Box we may even need to get Chris on to it, but that is a pretty good idea Malcolm. Is anyone going to implement any of these, were they of interest to anyone?
Bethany: Mal’s definitely interested and there’s a couple of yes’s coming through, specifically for WordSwag and Canva. Apparently Box integrates with Office 365 so we will look into that.
Thanks for listening to today’s episode. For more information join us at knowledgecollective.com.au.