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My business essentials

I've been in business for over a year now and I've started to learn what my business essentials are. Some of these essentials make my life as a small biz owner simpler and some of them make the journey more enjoyable.


First on my list of biz essentials is Canva. I actually feel like a bit of a numpty for not trying it out sooner.

When I first started my YouTube channel and promoting some of my calligraphy services, I created designs on Procreate. I tried my best but Procreate is not the correct tool for graphic design so they still looked amateurish and unprofessional; definitely not the image I wanted for my business!

You've probably heard of Canva already, but if you haven't it's a free graphic design service that let's you put together professional looking designs for a range of projects from A4 documents to Instagram posts.

Canva has a variety of ready made designs even on their free version. If you do opt for the premium version, you unlock even more graphic options, a background remover and a scheduler tool.


I'm a bit of a Trello fangirl. I've been using Trello for years now. I've used it for content planning and also for project organisation. For example, I've used it to plan out my most recent project - The Calligraphy Confidence Course.

For those unfamiliar with Trello, it's an organisation tool that's accessible and user friendly on both smartphones and desktop. It's almost a digital sticky note system but much easier to organise. It also allows you to label items with coloured labels which is great for people such as myself that love some colour coordination.


Making friends is tricky, unless you have a shared common interest. I have made lots of friends within the calligraphy community. This was aided by joining a group coaching programme for calligraphers. I have also made an active effort to connect with other calligraphers. You can learn how to make friends in business here.

Local networking has enabled me to connect with small business areas in my local area. From networking I have collaborated with other local biz owners.

Beyond this, I have also joined Bounce Business Club which is offers more than a chance to connect, it offers a chance to get feedback and ideas from discussing my business with other biz owners. I've also learnt things from how other biz owners run their business that I can apply to my own. I'm a found member of Bounce, and a big fan! Click here to learn more and join a free trial session.


I decided to trial Audible as they offer a free trial with access to their audiobook selection alongside a free credit (book) to new users. I went for IT by Stephen King (which is superbly narrated btw!) and quickly remembered why I used to listen to audiobooks a lot as a teen.

But how does this apply to business? Well back in October, I had to prep packages for Students of my Calligraphy by Christmas. There was lots to pack and it took around 2 working days! What made the experience much more enjoyable was listening to an audiobook. I was so immersed that I had fun with what would have been an otherwise labourious and boring task. In fact, it makes me sort of nostalgic thinking back to it now.

It's also great when you're doing tasks that don't require lots of focus such as actually creating calligraphy or even for personal chores such as tidying.

I was certain that I'd just opt for the free trial but ended up loving listening to audiobooks so much that one month's membership quickly turned into twelve and it's well worth every penny in my opinion.


Did you know that I've actually been a journaler for long than I've been a calligrapher?

It took a while to develop the habit but once I'd built it, I knew it was something that I was likely to do for the rest of my life. You can learn how to keep up a journal all year long in this video I made about lessons I've learnt.

Whilst journaling is great for various personal reasons, it's also great for business. You can use it for some practical purposes such as to-do lists, but more than this, it gives you a space to write down all of your dreams, challenges, frustrations, wins.

My favourite way to use my journal for my biz is for goal setting. I always created a mind map of goals I'd like to achieve for the year and although I don't always complete these, it's really interesting to reflect back on. You can learn about how I did with my 2021 goals in this YouTube video.

My favourite journals are Compoco as they create such a beautiful range of journals. They even have a nib and ink cover design for my fellow calligraphers.


Now I'm new to SmarterQueue but I can already tell that it's a powerful tool that's going to be incredibly helpful for my business. If you do give the free trial ago, use my referral link to double your free trial length.

It's a social media scheduler but not an ordinary one. The focus of SmarterQueue is evergreen content i.e. content that can be used time and time again. Frankly, I've started to really dislike dealing with social media in the last 6 months; SmarterQueue takes a lot of the pain away from it though. I created some evergreen posts that would usually disappear from Instagram feeds within 24 hours but rather than disappearing they move to the bottom of a queue so that they'll be repurposed at a later date.

After spending a couple of days on it, it now runs in the background without me thinking about it. It gives me breathing room in my business. I'm not constantly thinking about what to post as SmarterQueue uses repurposes content I've already created.

In addition to this, it's very easy to bulk create posts. Let's say you have 10 pictures of your calligraphy and 5 general questions/statements about calligraphy. Upload these into SmarterQueue and you'll quickly have 50 posts!

Be careful not to activate it if you already have posts scheduled as you risk duplication (I've accidentally done this!). One limitation is that your Instagram feeds can sometimes "lose their aesthetic" if you end up with two duplicate pics closely together, just something to watch out for.

It does take some initial setup as you don't want posts to be duplicated too often but over overall, I'm excited to fully setup and reap the benefits of a more social media free lifestyle where it runs more in the background.

iPad, Apple Pencil and Procreate

When I first started learning calligraphy, I quickly got absorbed into wanting "all the things", one of these things being an iPad so that I can do digital calligraphy. I put this on my xmas list and when I received it as a xmas present I played with it for a couple of months and made designs for Redbubble.

I discovered that digital calligraphy wasn't really my thing. My iPad was put away and I'm embarrassed to say - barely used. It wasn't until later that year when I started thinking about workshops that I picked it back up and made my first workbook!

As the years went on, I used my iPad more and more, creating workbooks for workshops and courses. My 4-week courses had workbooks that were 70+ pages. Being able to design these myself was incredibly helpful. If you only plan to create one workbook, I'd recommend outsourcing a graphic designer to help you make them on platforms such as Fiverr. If you plan on teaching being your speciality, I'd highly recommend an iPad. I've created around 20 workbook variations (maybe more!) and it therefore worked out much more affordable and flexible to create them myself.

There's a bit of a learning curve to create calligraphy on an iPad. If you want to get started, check out this blog post.


There are lots of different tools available for small business owners to make life a bit easier. Although I've listed some of mine which I think you may also love, I'm sure you'll also find some of your own too. Do you already have a loved biz essential? Comment below and let us know!


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