K.J.'s Top Business Tools

There are countless platforms, apps, and doodads to pick from when growing an online business or digital brand. I'm a minimalist by nature, so I tend to seek out the most efficient, all-in-one options for whatever my need may be. And by no means am I trying to convince you that the products I'm about to list are the very best out there. They may or may not help streamline things for you. But it serves as a glimpse into my virtual office to see which tools have been working for me.

Likewise, it should be noted that I have no personal affiliation with any of the brands or products listed. And, due to my care to not offend the creations of other human beings, I'll opt out from ranting about anything I dislike about them or the products and services which didn't live up to my expectations (despite their hype).

Inside the Office of K.J. Kruk

K.J. Kruk, Business Success, Fortune 500

Computer: Apple

My Mac Book Pro is the apple of my of eye. Though I'm not cool enough to rock its little wrist companion, I'll put it on here for the record that I also use an iPad and an iPhone.

Email: Gmail

There's no real reason on this one other than it's always been the email I've used after the death of AOL and LOL. (LOL is still very, very alive for me, however. LOL!) :-P

Virtual Office: Shift

I used to have a zillion-and-one tabs open in my browser alongside my emails and it was just maddening. Shift has helped to streamline all of my email accounts, team management platforms, apps, docs, and so much more: a solid workspace and document organization tool.

Team, Task, & Project Management: Asana, Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Forms

I'm a sucker for simplicity when it comes to management platforms. Asana has proved to be the easiest team, task, and project management platform I've tried (and I've tried 'em all!). However, I still stick with Google for shared documents, presentations, and forms.

Team Communication: Slack & Zoom

If you're still emailing your team back and forth, you're cutting off hours from your life and are more than likely annoying your amazing employees. Slack keeps task instructions and updates in a neat enough hub that'll free up your inbox for your actual work. Though I'm still rather awkward with the ins and outs of video calls, Zoom conferences are my go-to to meet and greet and follow up with my team.

Website Builder: Wix

By far the easiest web design platform I've ever used. It allows you to be as creative as you'd like and integrates most of the apps and features you could ever need (with, of course, some exceptions). Plus, it has a nice developer mode, for more advance coding needs (which is great for things like an interactive slideshows or flip-books, etc).

E-Comm & Point of Sale: Shopify & Wix

So I just use Shopify's Buy Button feature, which allows me to host my products on my website instead of purchasing one of their full-out web stores. This is okay, for now; but there is a big lack of capabilities here, such as a number of apps I can't use because and little to no design features for how my product page appears on my site. That said, Shopify has been pretty seamless for my merchandise orders and their Point of Sale app works great for in person sales (paired with their fun card swipe thingy). Yet, because of Shopify's unwillingness to stop pretending that Wix wasn't meant for it and just get hitched, I have to use Wix for any subscription orders (which lacks a number of desired customizable capabilities as well).

Dropship Merchandise: Printify, Printful, and Gooten

I use these guys for a number of my products, but—and I know I said I wasn't going to gripe—there's really no excuses here for the gap in organic, sustainable, and ethically sourced items they host. All three of these companies could benefit with having a stronger eco friendly sections, for hippies at heart, like me!

Accounting: Google Sheets

I don't really believe in accounting, if I'm being honest. I just use a simple Google Sheet to log things (which I can hardly ever remember to do).

Social Media Scheduling: HootSuite

I never post directly to any social media site, as I have the same message to say on each platform. Hootsuite has been fine for synchronizing my posts (and has a great scheduler option, if your cool like that). But I still can't understand why they can't all be friends with the image ratio requirement? Everyone needs to agree on one main image size to save the world a lot of time adjusting photos for each platform. Just silly!

Task Automation: Zapier

For simple web errands that don't need you, this is the best thing ever.

Thought Management: Notes, a Paper Journal, and a White Board

While I'm pretty organized, I'm not all that obsessive with micro-outlining every step of my life. So I'll just jot down what's important either in Notes (for small tasks), a paper journal (for ideas, larger projects, or future events) and use a big white board to highlight what's most important, such as my todo list or ideas I want to focus on next.

Time Management: iCal, a Paper Desk Calendar, A Paper Travel Planner, a Watch, and an Alarm

I suppose you could live life getting attacked left and right by a phone...but, unless I have a tightly packed, to the minute timed day, I simply can't be bothered with such buzzing. Even then, I'm usually able to track my minutes with a watch and/or an alarm clock. Which, by the way, I have finally found the coolest alarm clock of all time: the KOOKOO EarlyBird, birdsong alarm. My chambers are strictly free of wifi or any form of electronics (and I suggest that everyone on the planet do some research on why sleeping in a wifi-infused room or next to their cell is so quietly disruptive).

Media Creation: Canva

Flyers. Business Cards. Bookmarks. Posters. Magazine covers. Social media ads. You name it! This is where I whip up most of my magic. It's just super quick and easy to use. And, having tried both their free and paid versions, if you have good stock images, the free option is good enough.

Art & Logo Design: Adobe Photoshop, Indesign & Wacom Tablet

All of the logos and art on my website, products, and merch are made via plain old Adobe and a basic Wacom drawing tablet. And, another note on the tablet, it's much better than trying to scribble something out on the iPad.

Photos & Video: Canon E0S 80

Who would have guessed that I do all of my own photo and video work? That's right, so you can too! I would recommend purchasing the best camera you can and a professional backdrop and proper umbrella lighting if you're opting to do such work on your own. With a little research, you'll be pumping out professional quality images and videos in no-time. Tip: Just make sure to allot enough time to prep your studio prior to any live recordings.

Sound & Podcast Recordings: Blue Yeti with a Pop Filter

This is one thing that Mac can't do. Try as you may, your sound quality will always be at a lack without a proper mic and filter.