No one knows what they are doing at first. That's ok. Here are some of our favorite business resources (with a special focus on locally-owned businesses) for figuring things out and getting things done.
BUSINESS WEBSITES + BLOGS
The Middle Finger Project gives off-the-cuff advice for business owners written in no-nonsense language, with a healthy dose of self-confidence.
Lucky Break Consulting offers webinars, classes, and resources to grow your business like a badass.
Trade Show Bootcamp offers webinar and in-person workshops to help small businesses prepare for the wholesale market and large scale tradeshows. They cover everything from booth logistics, product development, creating sales tools such as catalogs, order forms and line sheets, working with sales reps, feedback from retailers and the media as well as general business courses throughout the year.
Creative Live offers workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software training via
live online workshops — for free — which allow you to interact with instructors in real time.
Val Geisler knows all the tricks and tips to get the most out of popular online tools, like Asana (for project management and workflow), and shares her best strategies for taming your inbox. (not to mention her excellent free Gmail School)
Skill Share offers video-based classes in design, photography, business, productivity, food, and a bunch more. Each class is broken into smaller segments, so it's easy to learn bit by bit. Current offer is 3 months of premium access for free for new customers, and their normal fees are already totally reasonable.
Paul Jarvis - You can sign up for a helpful weekly email newsletter full of great freelancing advice.
APPS AND TIME MANAGEMENT
Drop Box The reigning king of file sharing and storage.
Stay Focused Fantastic Chrome plug-in designed to limit your time on the most time-wasting sites. You can set it for any website that suck you in and you can increase or decrease the time as it works for you.
Tailwind - An app that automatically posts to Pinterest from a queue that you set up ahead of time. It takes the guesswork out of when to pin for optimizing your views. Only $15/month, and their free trial is pretty robust too.
Right Inbox - This Chrome plug-in allows you to schedule a regular email for a specific time. Perfect for not letting people know that you write emails at midnight on a Saturday. The free version allows a set number of scheduled emails each month.
Pomodoro Easy management system, comprised of 25 minutes of work with a 5 minute break. Record what you work on to keep track of your productivity.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND GRAPHIC DESIGN
Pixelz This company was formerly known as Removethebackground.com, so you’ll never guess what they do! They have an even more full suite of tools than before, but the really killer use is to edit in a white background on any of your product photos.
Pic Monkey Easy, free photo editing.
The Point Collective Graphic Design firm headed up by Jaime Merz.
Flight Design Graphic design, branding, and business strategy by a small awesome team of like-minded creatives.
Liz Daly. San Francisco Bay Area photographer who offers full day product shoots. Great at prop styling and reasonable rates.
Melody Shirazi San Francisco Bay Area based photographer who offers both product and model shoots.
Kristie Krishnan San Francisco Bay Area photographer offering head shots and model shoots.
Whittany Robinson Offers makeup services for photoshoots
Greg Scharf. For web design, development, themes, and Big Cartel & Shopify customization
Squarespace. We like it, obviously. Easy to use, easy to customize.
Creative Market. For stock photos, graphics, fonts, and website templates
Tax Jar If you only need a bookkeeper to help you with your sales taxes, maybe you just need this! Syncs with most popular sales portals, and can even file your sales taxes for you, for a fee.
Go Daddy Bookkeeping (formerly Outright). You need this easy-to-use bookkeeping site if you are self-employed and like to keep things simple. Automatically connects with your business bank accounts, Paypal, Etsy, and more to cleanly categorize and organize your spending. Reports at the touch of a button, AND they estimate your taxes for your quarterly payments.
BenchWorks Cloud-based inventory management app designed for artists to manage orders and inventory (including consignment!). BenchWorks also creates line sheets and pricing models for your products. (Full disclosure, Bench Works was created by a husband of the CBL. This means it is very very awesome.)
PS PRINT - Local Bay Area print shop that can handle every printing need you might have. Quick turnaround, great quality, and excellent pricing, especially in volume.
Moo Everyone's favorite tiny business cards.
Greener Printer Our choice for eco-friendly printing options.
Fast Signs Great choice for sign banners.
Materials and Supplies
McMaster Carr If you like to build stuff, you probably already know McMaster-Carr, but if you don't, we probably just blew your mind.
Uline. For all your box needs
Clearbags. For all your clear bag needs. Also have some fantastic boxes for shipping art safely.
Kiffanie Stahle - Legal services for creatives. She can help you set up your LLC or S Corp, and can also tackle issues like copyright violations.
Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. Feeling frustrated by your lack of productivity or inability to get things done? This is your book. Fantastic system for making your ideas a reality, specially geared to the creative self-employed folks out there.
The Graphic Artist Guild's Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. This book is an absolute necessity if your work involves graphic art, illustration, or surface design. It has amazing legal advice, guidelines, and pricing ranges to help you quote those difficult to price projects. The book is also available as a digital PDF download, by chapter, so you can only purchase the sections you need.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. A potential game-changer for creating the life you want to lead. Easy to understand, with chapter outlines, this book will help you understand how habits get created and how to use habits to improve your life.
Daily Rituals : How Artists Work by Mason Currey. A fascinating glimpse inside the daily habits of your favorite creatives throughout history.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
E-Myth by Michael Gerber
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Fortune Cookie Principle by Bernadette Jiwa
ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
BUSINESS RELEVANT PODCASTS
Kale, of course.