Total software cost: $164/month
You're a freelancer who wants to start an agency, or maybe you're an agency that's constantly busy doing mundane tasks that feel like a waste of time and should be a lot easier than they are. Well, this guide is for you. We're going to list a bunch of different software that we highly recommend you use for your agency if you want it to be scalable, retain employees, and give your clients an amazing experience.
Figma ($12/month): Figma is a favorite among most designers creating websites or mobile app designs. It's very user-friendly, web-based, and allows you to share designs for click-to-comment feedback. Most freelancers you hire (if you do) already know or use Figma, so it's quickly becoming an industry standard like Photoshop used to be.
Webflow/Framer ($23/month): Webflow will give you more customization options, but Framer will be a lot faster to get something out the door. I personally recommend Webflow because you can create a CMS blog on there, and that's important to growing your content strategy to generate inbound leads.
Remember, you don't need anything fancy for your portfolio. You need a list of projects, use cases, and a contact form (preferably live chat, though).
Queue ($19/month): You want to give your clients an amazing experience working with you. One way you do that is by making it easy for them to give you feedback on your work. Because at the end of the day, if they walk away with a crappy product, that's going to reflect on you when they don't hire or refer you to anyone.
Queue lets you send any type of file or website for click-to-comment feedback. Similar to Figma, it gives the client an amazing experience giving feedback and gives your team visual context on what needs to be done. Check them out here: https://usequeue.com.
Calendly ($12/month): Pick your schedule, Zoom or Google Meet integration, and drop this on your website to schedule meetings. By this point, everyone has seen Calendly, so they know what to expect. Make sure you enable email/text reminders so your prospect doesn't forget meetings. And you can integrate it with your calendar so YOU don't either.
Pandadoc ($19/month): With Pandadoc, you don't have to worry about printing, signing, and scanning documents back and forth. You can simply create your contracts online, add your client's details, and send it off for them to review and sign electronically. Plus, Pandadoc makes it easy to collaborate with your team members and clients, so you can quickly make any necessary revisions and finalize the contract in no time.
ChatGPT (Free): Of course, I'm going to include AI in this. We use ChatGPT every single day for engineering, design, and our blogs. Keep in mind that you should NOT use ChatGPT to write your entire blog, but instead tell it to give you ideas and inspiration. Think of it as Dribbble or Behance. You're not copying their designs. You're taking ideas to create your own.
HubSpot ($50/month): The great thing about HubSpot is that it's affordable and scalable. You don't need Salesforce for your agency, trust me. With HubSpot, you simply import your contact list and create sequences. Sequences let you automate emails so you don't have to spend all day on Gmail seeing if they responded and copy-pasting emails. I wrote a blog about how to do outreach that converts, so check that out. Remember to personalize the first email.
Notion ($8/month): Bear with me, I know Notion can be overwhelming. But I recommend spending an hour or two learning how it works and setting it up. Or, better yet, just use one of their templates. The way to use Notion is by turning it into a Trello-style kanban board where you can list out all your issues and who needs to fix them. Queue integrates with Notion, so that's a big bonus.
Queue (Free): Super quick setup and you can paywall your deliverables. The great part about Queue Deliverables is that you can upload all of your digital assets and paywall it. And soon as the client pays, it will unlock. They will also automatically remind your clients to pay invoices. They will also provide you with the tax documents at the end of the year.
Quickbooks ($15/month): Quickbooks is a bit complex and does have drawbacks, but the biggest value prop is that your account will like you as a person. Majority of accountants are used to quickbooks and it integrates with your bank account, so you can know what your P/L is and have a much easier time doing your taxes.
Discord (recommended): Discord is very flexible and 100% free. You can upload files, send messages, and have quick calls with your team. Only drawback is that most of your clients are probably on Slack, so when they add you to their Slack channel, it might get slightly annoying.
Slack ($6/month): Standard communication tool for most businesses now. A lot are moving to teams, but that’s mostly enterprise for now. If you keep your team on slack, it will be easier to add your clients to a channel when you’re working with them (which we recommend over email).
Loom(Free): With Loom you can screen record and send it via a link. This makes communicating extremely faster and easier. Visual context is important when communicating on how to do certain things, so this is where Loom shines.
Did I miss anything? Let me know and I'll add it to the list after trying it out!