Creative Business Must-Haves: The No-BS Tech Toolkit You Can’t Live Without

Disclosure:  Just a heads up, several of the links I share in this blog are affiliate links, which means when you click the link and make a purchase, it won’t cost you more, but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. I wanted to share this info with you in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on endorsements and testimonials. I promise I only ever share what I use and love, so I’d be sharing these with you anyway!

Imagine typing on a lagging laptop, watching the cursor sluggishly follow your thoughts. 

That was my reality, one year into freelancing, using the same laptop I had in college. Initially, it did the job. But as I took on bigger design projects and used more demanding software, it became painfully slow. Typing was a drag, and managing graphic design projects felt like a struggle.

Like many entrepreneurs just starting out, I was cautious with spending. I hung on to my snail-paced laptop, saving a bit from each job, eyeing a better laptop in the future. This is a common (and often frugal) path for creative entrepreneurs: starting with the basics and upgrading as you grow.

Eventually, I saved enough (good computers aren’t cheap!) and upgraded. 

The difference was night and day. 

My new computer was lightning-fast. I got more done in less time, and the quality of my work soared. That’s when I really learned how important it is to have the right tools – they make a big difference in what you can do!

My story isn’t just about upgrading a laptop. It’s about the transformative power of the right tools in a creative business.

In this week’s blog, I’m dishing out all the must-haves and favorite tools I use and recommend as a business coach and outsourced COO. Some are paid, others are free, but each one is a game-changer, setting you and your creative business up for success.

Build Your Creative Toolkit

I’m excited to share the hardware and software that have been pivotal for my clients and in my own creative business. I’ll introduce you to the physical devices that form the foundation of my daily operations and the digital platforms that streamline my workflow. 

These are the tools I personally use and trust, chosen for their power to increase productivity, spark creativity, and streamline both operations and communication specifically in creative businesses. 

Hardware Essentials

When it comes to hardware, I have to admit, I’m an Apple fan. What really draws me in is how effortlessly their devices work together. The seamless sharing means I can access anything I need, anytime, from any device. Here’s how each piece plays its part in my creative business:

MacBook Pro

This isn’t just any laptop– it’s a souped-up version with ample storage and memory. It’s my go-to for handling all sorts of business tasks with ease. Whether I’m crunching numbers or managing projects, it’s up to the task without breaking a digital sweat. No more waiting around for things to load or dealing with that dreaded spinning rainbow wheel (if you know, you know)!

iPad Pro & Apple Pencil 

More than just a tablet for sketching, my iPad Pro is incredibly versatile. It’s great for managing files, jotting down notes (love the pencil for this!), or even as an additional screen. This summer, at the shore, it was a lifesaver, standing in for my dual monitor setup at home. And when I add the keyboard, it transforms into a sleek, portable workstation. It’s my favorite way to stay productive while on the move.


My iPhone is literally the command center for both my personal and professional life. From scheduling meetings to responding to emails, it keeps me connected and organized no matter where I am.

All these devices are great on their own, but together, they create a cohesive system that helps my creative business run like a well-oiled machine. 

Whether you choose Apple or another brand, the key is finding tools that seamlessly integrate, making your creative work more efficient and your day-to-day business tasks easier to manage.

Internal Software and Platforms

In the world of remote work and solopreneurship, it’s easy to feel isolated and face communication challenges. 

Misunderstandings, disjointed email threads, and missed messages are common hurdles for many creative entrepreneurs. This lack of real-time interaction can quickly become a barrier to effective collaboration and productivity.

That’s where these trusted software and platforms step in.

Just like essential hardware, these digital tools are the unsung heroes of my business operations. They allow me to tackle specific issues head-on and collectively form the backbone of my daily workflow. 

Let’s dive into the software and platforms I use daily. I’ll show you why they’re absolute game-changers in keeping my creative business on track:


Dubsado is my CRM (Client Relationship Manager) of choice– for about 4 years and counting! While I know lots of creative entrepreneurs who use Honeybook (I’ve used it in the past!), I find Dubsado to be more customizable.  Dubsado is where all my client interactions come together. From tracking leads to managing ongoing projects, it keeps everything client-related organized and accessible. It’s like having a personal assistant for all my client management needs.


Flodesk is my go-to for dynamic email marketing. Its super simple and easy-to-use interface makes sending engaging emails a breeze. Whether it’s my weekly email newsletters or launch campaigns, Flodesk helps me connect with my audience with unique capabilities like workflows, automations, and features like checkout and landing pages!


ClickUp is the central hub for all my projects. It helps me keep track of tasks, deadlines, and team collaboration. With ClickUp, I’m always on top of my projects, and nothing slips through the cracks. I rave all about it in this blog post dedicated entirely to this platform if you wanna check it out! You can even grab my ClickUp templates here!


This is where I host all of my digital courses, tools, workshops, and downloads. It’s an all-in-one platform that handles everything from content hosting to payment processing, making the delivery of my digital products smooth and professional. Plus, Teachable even takes care of sales tax and paying my course affiliates for me– which makes me and my accountant very happy!


I’m a Dropbox OG. It’s never let me down! I have it installed on my computer to keep all my docs up to date. And I can easily access them from my phone or iPad while on the go, and share whatever I need (no matter how large the file) with my clients & team!


Tailwind helps me manage my social media accounts – specifically Instagram and Pinterest – so I don’t have to live on socials. I’m able to plan and schedule posts, ensuring my social media presence is consistent and engaging without taking up all my time. I especially like that I can visually see the grid, and set up hashtags to post in the first comment. 


This essential bookkeeping tool keeps my business finances in order. I have a crystal clear picture of my cash, profitability, and expenses all in one spot. The best part is my accountant can log right in.

Google Workspace

Google Workspace includes Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Gmail. These tools are central to my collaboration work. They streamline the process of working together with my team and clients. Google Sheets and Docs simplify sharing and editing documents, and the organized structure of Google Drive keeps everything in order. Google’s email system, Gmail, remains my favorite for its straightforward approach to managing, finding, and tracking emails, which helps me wrangle my always-crazy inbox

COO Tip: Even though my email address shows as my custom domain (, it’s Gmail that powers it on the backend. 

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe’s suite is my first choice for all kinds of creative projects. I got really good at using these programs during my graphic design classes in college, and even now, I find them faster and more intuitive than many other options. 

They offer the flexibility and control I need for my work, whether it’s with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, or Acrobat. You’ll often find one (or all!) of these apps open on my laptop at any given time!

Client-Facing Software and Platforms

Now that we’ve explored the hardware and internal software that keep the gears of my business turning smoothly behind the scenes, let’s shift our focus to the client-facing side of things

This is about the software and platforms that directly influence how I interact with and deliver value to my clients providing them with, what I like to call a “wow” client experience. These tools are the bridge between my work and my clients, ensuring that our communication is not just effective, but also personal, simple, and engaging. 

Whether it’s for coordinating with COO clients, hosting virtual coaching sessions, or managing client projects, these platforms help maintain the vital connection that is key to a successful client relationship. 

Here are 3 of my favorite client-facing software and platforms that are integral to my business:


For my COO clients, Slack makes team communication SO much easier, especially since we often work remotely and at different times. It simplifies team communication, cutting down on overwhelming email threads. What’s really great is how it enables smooth conversation and easy file sharing, making our work more streamlined and efficient.


This is a fave with my coaching clients and team! Sometimes you just need to hear someone’s voice! Voxer is a walkie-talkie-stye app you can download from the App Store or Google Play. It improves communication all around while avoiding unnecessary misunderstandings (a great way to reduce rework), and lightens up my email inbox.

COO Tip: Including Voxer access as an upgrade or bonus in your service packages is an excellent way to enhance client experience and make your offerings more distinctive!


This tool is essential for me when it comes to working together in real-time. It’s great for both one-on-one coaching and collaborative projects. With Zoom, I can see and talk with clients, which really helps us have good discussions and get things done effectively. It’s handy for making sure everyone feels connected and on the same page, even if we’re miles apart.

COO Tip: I use the paid version because most of my meetings aren’t capped at the 40-minute time limit!

By using these client-facing tools, you’re doing more than just improving communication. You’re enhancing your client experience by creating a space where creativity, collaboration, and teamwork can grow, no matter where everyone is located.

Your Tailored Toolkit

Every creative business is different, and the tools you use should be too. 

My journey began with an outdated laptop that could barely keep up, but now I’m equipped with tools that make my business shine. 

Your path may look different, but one thing’s the same: pick tools that fit the way you work and see how your business grows.

Take a moment to think about the tools you’re using now. Are they helping you move forward, or are they slowing you down? Is there a tool I’ve mentioned that could really make a difference for you?

Remember, there’s no need to overhaul your toolkit all at once. Start with one, see how it goes, and make sure it’s really working for you before jumping onto the next big thing.

To get you started, here’s easy access and links to all my faves!

Keep in mind, when you’re running a creative business, choosing the best tools of the trade is more than just an investment. It’s really about showing how dedicated you are to doing great work and making things run smoothly.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur looking to build a solid foundation for your business, starting with the right hardware and tools is just the beginning. 

I’ve packed a wealth of knowledge and strategies into my digital course, ‘Business Building for Creatives,’ specifically tailored for creative entrepreneurs like you to teach you step-by-step all the business stuff they didn’t cover in art school. 

Check it out here!


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