Apps & Software I Bought in 2020: The Good, The Bad, The Lame



I struggle with knowing what tools will work for my business, and I know I'm not alone. I'm rounding up my major app and software purchases of 2020 and breaking down what worked, what didn't, and what I'm still trying to figure out. 🤷‍♀️ I'm hoping this guide offers some insight into the overwhelming world of digital tools available to help make your business run smoother!


1. Honeybook - I've had Honeybook for one year, officially. I spent New Year's Eve 2019 setting up my account on the platform (true biz owner glam life right there). Honeybook is a contract/invoice/scheduling/proposal/client management tool. Previous to using Honeybook, I was emailing PDF invoices from Google Sheets to my clients, and hoping for the best. As I was setting my account up, I was planning to use the free trial and decide afterwards if I wanted to keep it. Yeah. Five minutes in, I knew I wanted to invest in it, so I bought it right then. I do not have enough words to tell you how big of a change it's made for my business. Worth everyyyyyy penny. And my bookkeeper doesn't hate me as much now, since everything is so tidy. The features I use the most are the Invoice and Proposal. The features that I use much less but make a huge difference for my brand are the Questionnaire (think: inquiry forms, onboarding new clients, getting feedback after a training session) and Scheduling links (which integrates with my Google Calendar, so I'm NEVER double booked)

I can definitely do a very detailed write up on Honeybook, but short answer: WORTH IT.

(If you use my affiliate link, you can get 50% off your first year on Honeybook)


2. Canva - Canva is my go-to for all kinds of design projects. Social media posts, print designs, email headers....you name it. I do so much design work on a daily basis, the Pro features made a lot of sense for me to purchase. It's worth noting, that there are a LOT of free features that are very robust. If you don't design too often, this might be a "no thanks" for you. But if you want access to a huge library of graphics, stock photos, stock videos, templates, and more, go Pro.

3. GoodNotes - You remember so much more when you write with a stylus or pencil, and @GoodNotes is made for digital note taking. I love the "convert handwriting to text" feature!


3. GoodNotes - I bought this app in the beginning of 2020, and I used it on my iPad a TON right after I got it. You remember so much more when you write with a stylus or pencil, and GoodNotes is made for digital note taking. I love the "convert handwriting to text" feature! Honestly, I haven't used it too much since March 2020, but the app is a one-time purchase (not an annual subscription) so I'm not too upset about that. Recently, I've started using it again to take notes for the Rapid Content Brainstorming Sessions I've started offering. It's a great way to organize your thoughts real quick before going live on social media, too! Then you can refer to your notes later for recycling that content elsewhere.


4. YouTube Premium - I do not use any other streaming service anymore due to slow home wifi (no Netflix/Hulu) so paying for YouTube Premium made a lot of sense for me. I watch a ton of YouTube when I'm working, and listen to a lot of "live" music on YouTube that's not on Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. etc. YouTube kind of became my hub for streaming this past year: videos, music, even some audio books! It's comparable price to other streaming services, and it's all in one. Love that!


5. The Noun Project - This is one I invested in last year, actually. The Noun Project is a site where you can search for and download icons and graphics made by artists and designers. For me, this was a great tool before I invested in Canva Pro. I could save time by using pre-made icon designs which in the end saved my clients money. The pro account on The Noun Project was very affordable, but now that I have Canva Pro and their huge library of graphics, this is a bit redundant.


6. Affinity Designer for iPad - First, this app has paid for itself x200. If you are looking to do digital design on your iPad and need to export to vector file types, this is your app. Crazy part? You can switch between vector editing and raster editing in the same document without exporting it. WUT?! Not a designer? Probably pass on this one. Although, I think this app is straight forward enough for anyone to learn to use!


7. ProCreate for iPad - I'm still learning my way around this fun, fun app. HIGHLY recommended app to buy if you have an iPad. Even if your work is not in the "design sector" doodling and playing with this app is great fun. You can use it to digitally enhance photos, do some lettering, make art, surface designs, sketch, or do small animations. Funny enough, I still don't think I utilize this app to its fullest potential. However, I have made the cost of the download back now thanks to putting some designs up in my shop on Society6 for print on demand.


8, MotionLeap (formerly Pixaloop) for phone - Yes, I paid for the premium features on this app. And, yes, for the first few months, I used the heck out of it. However, I'l be cancelling my subscription. Why? I just don't use it that much at all anymore. I do like playing around with it, but it's a paid for app I can definitely live without.


9. Ascend Upgrade for Wix - For years I've been doing just fine with the base number of emails I can send per month with Ascend via my Wix premium subscription. This year, it was time to glow up. I upgraded so I could have more emails per month and more automations per month. Some months I use all of my allotted emails, some months I don't, either way, it was a good investment. But it wasn't one I needed to make until this year!


What I'm still stumped on: finding the perfect scheduling tool for my social media posts. Currently I use a Hootsuite free plan, but I'm considering switching to a paid plan on Later. Main reason: being able to schedule my Story posts on Instagram and better analytic tools!


What apps and software did you invest on last year? What are you looking to invest in for 2021? Comment, email me, or send me a DM on Instagram or Facebook!


Stay Bad Axe!

-Carolyn

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