Small Business

5 business tools I use and could not live without

by Michaela fong

Small Business

5 business tools I use and could not live without

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I am a small European town gal with big dreams who immigrated to Canada and built a multi-six-figure business from my living room floor and kitchen counter! I accidentally grew it into a small business community and became a small business educator along the way.

Now am here to empower, teach & inspire you to grow your business and create the life of your dreams with strategy, confidence & without burnout.


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Ever wondered what tools I use for my business and how? You know, when it comes to productivity and marketing tools that save time and deliver results, I am all in! That’s why today I’m sharing five tools I love and use in my business, along with why and how I use them. 

From showing up more professionally online to connecting deeper with my customers, these tools have grown my business in so many ways. My goal is to either introduce you to a new tool or help you maximize the tools you’re already using, so you can grow your business too.

Are you ready? Let’s get into it:

01 – Flodesk for email marketing

To be honest, when I first started my business, email marketing wasn’t even on my radar. I thought no one read emails anymore in a fast-paced world! 
But because many other entrepreneurs recommended email marketing, I gave it a try with platforms like Mailchimp, and for some reason, I couldn’t stick with it. I found it too difficult to navigate!  Then came Flodesk, and everything changed.

I noticed other small business owners sending these beautiful, personalized emails that caught my eye. When I realized those emails came from Flodesk, I signed up for their free trial and got started right away. I love how Flodesk makes it easy to create a newsletter from their templates. And thanks to their straightforward automation tools, I felt confident creating automated sequences for my product business at the time.

In case you have no idea what the heck an automated sequence is, it’s essentially a pre-scheduled, pre-written email series that works on autopilot when someone joins your list. You only have to write and set it up once, which allows you to run your business more passively.

I used email automation to run limited product launches from my TikTok audience. And as I dove deeper into email marketing, I found plenty more ways to incorporate it into my business: 

  • From affiliate marketing promotions
  • To launch promotions
  • To Black Friday promotions
  • And small ticket resource promotions

Long story short, Flodesk became my go-to email marketing tool. It’s made a huge impact on my business and it helps that their customer support is also amazing. If you want to give it a try, use my 30-day free trial link and get 50% off the first year of your subscription

02 – Canva for graphic design

It’s safe to say Canva is on every small business owner’s list of favourite tools. And if you haven’t tried or don’t know what Canva is, I can almost guarantee it will become your favourite tool too! 

Canva is an easy-to-use online design tool that helps you create graphics either from scratch or from beautiful templates. I actually used Canva well before I ventured into business. I stumbled upon it while preparing for our wedding, and I’ve got to say, my mind was blown! Even their free version is super supportive for small business owners who aren’t good at technical design stuff.

Fast forward to when I started my business full-time, that’s when Canva became my go-to for marketing materials and digital product creation. Back when I had my product-based business, I used Canva to DIY my logo, website banner, business cards, thank you cards, greeting cards, marketing flyers, coupons, and so much more. I even designed my Etsy T-shirts and product mockups with Canva too. 

Did you know that many of the templates and digital products people sell on Etsy are created in Canva? Yup, it’s true! 

Now that I run the Small Biz Babes Community full-time, I use Canva to create graphics for Instagram posts, stories, podcast graphics, blog graphics, my course slides, ebooks, and freebies. 

All you have to do is drag and drop your brand colors and fonts to make everything look cohesive. I mean, can we just say thank you to the Canva creators for making our lives as business owners easier, smoother, and more creative?! 

I think I’ve swooned over Canva long enough. Let’s move on to our next tool.

03 – Flicktech for # research

I wouldn’t say that Flicktech is a tool I couldn’t live without, but it does still save me time and make my life a whole lot easier.

Flicktech is a hashtag research tool that also has an Instagram post scheduler and analytics feature. 

I know that hashtags don’t carry as much weight as they used to because of SEO searchability on Instagram posts. But hey, they still work! As long as the Instagram search tab for hashtags still exists, Instagram users can search for specific content through hashtags. That’s why I still use hashtags in all my posts! They connect you with people actively seeking your content, as long as you’re using the right ones. And that’s where Flicktech steps in.

Flicktech is my go-to for finding niche-specific hashtags with low competition. I create a rotation of hashtag groups based on my different content pillars. Flicktech makes it easy to save these hashtag groups directly in the app so I can input them into my Instagram posts. That way when I’m ready to post, I just have to copy and paste the relevant hashtag group without wasting time typing each hashtag for each post. 

Now, if your content is stuck on low views or hashtags feel too overwhelming, I wouldn’t worry about hashtags right now. There are other areas you can focus on when creating content that is a better use of time and will give you better results. Remember, hashtags alone won’t magically make your posts go viral. But they’re one of many ways to get your posts discovered by potential customers on the platform.

Keep in mind, Flicktech is a premium resource, which means it’s quite pricey. But Flicktech does offer a free 7-day trial for you to dip your toes in and see if it could benefit your business.

04 – ChatGPT to save time and brainstorm ideas

Or what I like to call my free AI personal assistant! When it first came out, honestly, I was a bit intimidated by this tool. I mean, artificial intelligence taking over the internet — sounds like straight from a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? But the way I see it, this is where technology is heading. Just like with any tech innovation, the sooner we can adapt to it, the sooner we business owners can use it to save time and energy in the long run. 

If you’ve heard of ChatGPT and still don’t know what it is, think of it as a smart chatbot or like talking to your computer. You can ask it for answers, to help you create content, or even help you brainstorm ideas. But it takes a bit to learn what prompts to use for the best results. It’s just like my husband says, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

If you’re vague with what you put into ChatGPT, it will give back vague answers.

So for example, if you’re trying to write a product description for your business, don’t just type into ChatGPT: “Write me a product description for a natural moisturizer.”

Instead, tailor it to your brand and audience by typing a specific prompt like this:

“As a skincare brand targeting health-conscious millennials who prioritize organic beauty products, write a product description that highlights the natural ingredients, sustainability, and effectiveness of our organic moisturizer set, while using a brand voice that speaks to their eco-conscious values and desire for a glowing complexion”

The more precise your prompt is, the better ChatGPT’s response will be. That way, instead of writing an entire description on your own from scratch, ChatGPT can help you write it in minutes (even though it will probably need a few tweaks of course!)

My favourite way to use ChatGPT is for generating podcast outlines, assisting with intros, drafting customer support templates, content repurposing — you name it!

But remember, don’t just copy and paste the exact text ChatGPT gives you. Some info might not be spot-on. Plus, you don’t want it to lose the personal touch of your brand voice. So while ChatGPT is an awesome tool, it shouldn’t replace the human element of your content and business. 

05 – Notion to stay organized and productive

If you’ve watched my Instagram stories, you’ve witnessed me go from a messy office with paper everywhere to finally getting organized with Notion. Now, I can proudly say that I’m officially a Notion girl. It’s worth the hype. Honestly, I don’t know if I could ever run my business without it.

Think of Notion as the ultimate all-in-one digital workspace. It’s a productivity-meets-organization tool you can use to systemize parts of your business (and even your life).

For years I tried different systems and planners to get me organized. It got to the point where I struggled with severe anxiety over it. The more my business grew, the more I felt overwhelmed.  I constantly hopped between platforms, had 50 tabs open at once, and left sticky notes literally everywhere. Then, enter Notion.

With Notion, everything in my business finally found a “digital” home. Now, I can find everything I need in a matter of minutes without having to scroll through hundreds of Google Docs or Dropbox files. It’s like the virtual hub for my entire business operations.

Like, for example, when I’m working on the podcast, I’ve got a single page with the podcast calendar, email templates, recording procedures, episode notes, blogs, and graphics all in one place. The same goes for Instagram and email marketing. I’ve even got pages for big-picture strategies that are hyperlinked to specific goals — it’s mind-blowing, really. 

I have to admit it was overwhelming to set it up at first. Learning a new digital system is never easy, and I wanted a setup tailored to my business rather than buying a Notion template. Once I figured out a blueprint of everything I’d need, over time, all the pieces fell into place. 

What I love most about Notion is how its automation feature makes repeatable tasks in my business smoother than ever. And it’s not just for business; I’ve incorporated my personal life into Notion too — from therapy notes to personal appointments, a reading library, and even a meal plan based on my cycle.

I’m deeply passionate about Notion as you can probably tell. I may be a paper-and-pen kind of gal, but having a digital place where everything lives has made business and life way less stressful. If you’re curious to learn more about Notion, let me know. I’m more than ready to chat about Notion and all things organization! 

These 5 tools will save you time and deliver results in your business

So, as a summary, these are the 5 tools I couldn’t live without:

Number one is my email marketing platform, Flodesk. Number two, Canva for graphic design. Number three, Flicktech for hashtag research and Instagram analytics. Number four, ChatGPT for content ideation. And number five, my all-time favourite organization system, Notion.

Learn even more about how I use these tools to save me time and grow my business by tuning into today’s podcast episode here 🎧.

Until next time, 


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DISCLAIMER: Some of the links you'll find in my blogs are affiliate links. If you happen to love something as much as I do and decide to give it a shot through one of these links, I might earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me keep creating my podcasts and blogs that I hope you enjoy and find valuable. I promise to only recommend products and services that I've personally tried and absolutely LOVE.

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