I am going to dive into all my top resources I use to run my illustration and design business as a full time entrepreneur. This list will evolve and grow as I do, but I've gotten to where I am through trial and error. I hope that what I've learned and the mistakes I've made a long the way can be helpful to you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Adobe Creative Cloud for Illustration
I use adobe creative cloud softwares on a daily basis! Specifically, Adobe Fresco, Adobe illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. If you are an aspiring digital artist or designer, this is a must. Invest in these resources as soon as you can!
I use Adobe Fresco on my iPad to do all of my illustration work. This is the app I am spending the most time on, drawing and coloring my designs.
I use Adobe Illustrator on my laptop to do final touches, add text, create patterns and download in a variety of file types.
I use Adobe Photoshop to create mock ups of my art on a variety of products like shirts, hats, beach towels, swim suits and more.
Procreate for Illustration
I pretty much just use procreate on my iPad to sketch out ideas before taking them into Adobe Fresco. I love the dry ink brush for this! You can learn more about my full illustration and design process here.
Honeybook for Business Organization
This one is huge for me. I use Honeybook to keep my entire business organized and flowing. Here are all the different ways I use this customer relations management app:
Lead Capture: Honeybook allows you to create contact forms that gather all of the information of an interested client. You can customize these lead capture forms to gather any information you may need. The form gives you a code that you can embed right into your website. All the information is organized into a "Project" for the client. That way, when someone inquires on my website and fills out form, Honeybook takes all their information and puts it together in an organized place for me. I can't stress how helpful this has been.
Questionaries: Once a lead has inquired with me and Honeybook has set them up for me as a project, I can go into our client portal and send them files. I like to follow up with a questionnaire asking them questions I need to offer a quote and get their project started. These questionaries are where I have clients get very specific on what they need in a design, and it's what I look back on during the creative process. It's incredibly helpful to have all that information in one place.
Contracts/ Invoices: Honeybook has contracts and invoice templates to use that allow you to get payment and digital signatures from your clients! You can use the contract templates they offer or add in your own contracts.
Time Tracker: Honeybook has a tool that allows you to track the time you are working on specific project. This is helpful if you charge hourly, or if you just want to keep track of how long projects are taking you.
Finance reports: Since I collect all my payments in Honeybook, I can access a full monthly, quarterly and annual report to see how much money I've had, what I collected in taxes and more. I review these every single month to keep track of all my freelance income.
Requesting testimonials: I use Honeybook to gather my leads at the very beginning all the way through to the end of the project to collect a testimonial from the client.
Long story short, you may find another platform that works better for you, but Honeybook works great for me for a variety of uses and I am always learning new ways to optimize it's tools for my business.
When you use my Honeybook refferal link, you can 55% off your first year and support me as well!
Trello for Business Organization
I've been using Trello to keep me organized! I use Trello boards to organized my weekly to do list and see where I am at with each of my clients. I can move tasks to the "Done" list when they are complete which is satisfying. It feels good to see a long list of things I've done!
I currently work alone, but Trello is a great resource if you are working with others. You can collaborate on to do lists and leave comments on different tasks. Someday when my team grows, this will be a resource I continue to use.
Wix for Business Website
There are many website platforms out there that allow you to host your site and share your work with the world, I personally use Wix and have for quite some time.
Wix is pretty user friendly and allows me to...
- Have an E-commerce shop
- Collect an email list and send email marketing newsletters
- Host a blog, like this one
- Point of sale tools for selling products in person
- And of course have a beautiful website with my portfolio, about, contact and embedded honey book forms allowing me to capture any leads that come through.
Printful for Selling Products
Another great part about Wix, is it integrates with my Printful account, allowing me to sell my art on products via a Print on Demand (POD) service, which is the best way to sell your own products.
Selling POD allows you to spend more of your time doing what you love- art. I've experimented with selling products POD and keeping an inventory and selling on my own. For me, personally, I lost money and time attempting to keep an inventory of products and deal with the fulfillment and shipping on my own. This is a separate piece of content on it's own that I will come back to soon.
Printful produces great quality clothing and art prints. Before selling a product, I like to make sure to order samples to test the quality before launching them on my website. They allow you to order sample products at a discounted rate each month. I then use these sample products to take my own photographs and marketing content for my website. They do offer mock ups, but I prefer to take my own photos that match my brand.
I've been using Printful for years now and can't recommend it enough. I dreaded shipping and fulfilling my own products. It took me so much time and it was difficult to maintain the quality of products too. Especially living in Hawaii, I would find that my prints and T shirts would morph, become discolored or even grow mold and I would need to throw them away. This was not sustainable. Not for me, my wallet, or the planet!
I also found that profit margins were not that different selling POD compared to having my own inventory. The cost of T shirts for example is so high and companies often charge a lot for low quantities. Between the cost of the products, shipping supplies, and my time, it wasn't worth it to me. I also dreaded dealing with shipping issues and damaged items. When you sell with Printful, they handle those things and offer great customer service. When I've had a customer receive a damaged art print, they send them new ones right away for no charge.
Since my Prinftul account is integrated with my Wix website, all I have to do in Printful is select my Wix site, select "add products" and starting creating. When I am ready to list those products, they are automatically displayed on my website. Printful integrates with other website and marketplaces like Etsy, as well.
Well there you have it! Those are all my major resources I currently use to operate my business. I hope this was helpful. I am always looking to further optimize how I organize my business. I hope to create an updated version of this in years to come as my list of resources grows and evolve.