branding & marketing Resources for Small Business Owners

Time Saving Small Business Resources

You can find business applications, resources, discounts, training, stock photo websites, and templates that help me survive as a business owner managing marketing and branding. I will also share any freebies I have to offer you.

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*Affiliate links are noted below with an asterisk. However, I recommend apps and services that I use in my own business. Any affiliate income is an added bonus that helps me continue to grow my business.

Freebies

Below you will eventually find my freebies that will help you with everything from organizing your business to improving your branding. I recently released my first freebie- A Website Design Audit. This 7-minute website audit will help you understand if you aced the basics of design, content, and security on your business website.

Website Design Audit: For Small to Medium Businesses

This quick website audit will help you understand if you aced the basics of design, content, and security on your business website. If you didn’t, it will help you prioritize key items first.

Ultimate Small BIZ Branding Checklist

The 10 things every small business owner’s branding must have in order to attract a higher paying client. Plus, actionable takeaways that won’t add too much additional work to your already full plate.

Dream Client Planner

This planner will help you complete the most important action item when branding your company. Walk away with a full understanding of your dream client and exactly how to attract them!

Design Resources

Below you will find all the design resources for both designers and non-designers. They range from desktop design applications like Adobe to using social media design resources on my phone like Mojo.

Best Stock Photo Websites

Royalty Free Stock Photos

When browsing these royalty-free stock photo sites, be sure to check the license before using it for commercial. Licenses are often limited to personal use only. 

 

Stock Photo Membership Sites

It’s easier to pay for a membership with a smaller company where you know the stock photos aren’t overused online because they don’t come from the big guys. I have a membership with Moyo Studio, plan to get one for Eye for Ebony, and Atelier21 Co. With memberships, the libraries are streamlined, color-coded for branding purposes, and updated monthly. All of them give away freebies before you have to decide on membership.

 

Big Box Paid Stock Photos

The best tip I can give when using these big guys is to buy their photo packages to save money. Image licenses can add up the more photos you need.

 

  • *Shutterstock– I buy their image packages
  • *Adobe Stock– Do the 30-day free trial to see if you like it first. This one is my favorite at the moment.
  • iStock– requires a larger budget than the others and is usually my last choice

Pay-per-Photo & Membership Stock Photos of Minorities

Sadly, it’s hard to find great stock images of minorities, especially African American people. So I curated a list of the best-paid stock photo resources for minority photos. The websites with membership are a great bargain because the images aren’t oversaturated online, and the libraries get updated monthly.

 

Graphic Design (Non-Designers)

 

Graphic Design (Designers)

 

Color Palette Generator
  • Canva Color Palette Generator– lets you upload a photo and it generates a color palette based on the colors in the image
  • Coolors– generate color palettes at random or search by color to find multiple palettes that work with that color
  • Paletton– don’t let the cluttered interface discourage you. You can create gorgeous monochromatic color palettes using this tool

 

Website Design (Designers)
  • *Wordpress
  • Shopify– build client eCommerce stores and then turn over ownership to earn commission
  • *GoDaddy– domain names, website security, hosting
  • Webflow design websites and earn a commission hosting your client’s website
  • *Divi Builder– WordPress theme builder

 

Website Design (Non-Designers)

 

Fonts

 

Marketing & Business Resources

Below you will find some of the main marketing resources a small business owner will need covering everything from design to email marketing. This is a growing list so be sure to check back. The easiest way to keep up with new resources is to subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

Social Media Graphics (Mobile Apps)
  • Made– Instagram stories designs
  • StoryArt– Instagram story designs. It was worth paying for the Pro account
  • Mojo– Instagram story design. I also paid for the Pro version of this app. Totally worth it!
  • Over– Instagram post and story designs
  • Canva– you can create all social media graphics

 

Social Media Management Apps
  • Hootsuite– social media listening and management tool
  • *Tailwind– Instagram scheduling and Pinterest pinning tool

 

Business & Client Management
  • *Quickbooks for Small Business– I got the one that included Turbo Tax because I hate doing any extra work. Get 50% off with my link.
  • *Dubsado– the most affordable client management system (CMS) for creatives, freelancers, and small business owners. I use it for my contracts, communicating with leads, invoicing and collecting payments through Stripe and Paypal, it connects directly to Quickbooks, and I can create workflows for my proposals and onboarding process. Use it for free with 3 customers to see if you like it, and then you get 20% off your first month or year with my link.
  • Asana– project management tool. I use this to track my design projects, communicate progress and assign tasks to clients, and work with contractors without having to read 72 emails.
  • Trello– a simple project organization and planning tool. I use it to plan social media content in a visual way for my clients and my own business

 

Photo & Video editing (Mobile apps)
  • Lightroom– photo editing
  • Snapseed– easiest to use for spot editing photos
  • Videoshop– by far the easiest video editing app with the best quality. I paid for the pro version
  • Quick– GoPro video editing app (best thing ever)

 

Email Marketing
  • *Flodesk– Great alternative to MailChimp that doesn’t cost more based on your list size. Get 50% off with my link
  • MailChimp– I’ve been using MailChimp for years, it’s still a favorite of mine and easy to use
  • Constant Contact– Pricing is similar to MailChimp, so it can add up, but it’s a great program
  • Convertkit– If you hate all the WYSIWYG email platforms, then try this. I use Flowdesk now, but I loved Convertkit for it’s segmenting and automation.

 

Copywriting
  • *Grammarly– proofreading for grammar and spelling issues. I have the plugin added to Chrome so no matter where I’m typing on the internet, it shows me my errors. I use the free version but will upgrade when I start writing more blog content.
  • Google Keyword Planner– My clients always ask how they are supposed to come up with keywords when they don’t have a copywriter. Boom! Here you go.
  • Answer the Public– A visual keyword planner that is more fun to use than Google’s option. I use this to come up with blog content because it shows you all the questions people ask about a topic. If you pay they will show you search content by region.
  • Yoast– a WordPress plugin to make sure your blog and website pages are SEO optimized with keywords and a great readability score