It’s always been my dream to start my own content company, and I finally had the time during the pandemic. Danielle in Doodles came together organically — I drew a colorful doodle about my exes and posted it on my personal Instagram. People liked it, so I kept going. It grew to custom orders, videos, a lot of social media posts, cards, a book, and more.
I found myself needing to create a website, find a newsletter platform, schedule social media, edit videos, and conduct e-commerce. I’ve done a lot of research on each one. I have a background in content and marketing working at companies, but running my own side hustle is totally different. A lot of these tools I ended up paying for, and I’ll explain why. Deciding which tools to use was overwhelming and required a lot of research.
Here’s what I use — besides the obvious platforms like Instagram and Facebook — and why.
Wix for an all-in-one CRM, CMS, website, and newsletter hub
Finding the right web host was very important to me because I didn’t want to create my website twice. I’ve used WordPress before but decided against it because it’s more suited towards a true blog or news site and can require coding. I wanted to be able to make my site very custom and colorful and have it grow with me.
I chose Wix because I’ve already used it to create my personal site, it’s connected to a lot of apps, and most importantly, it has a good newsletter tool. Once I upload a cartoon to the blog, I don’t want to repeat that for another newsletter platform like MailChimp.
I got the premium subscription so I have no ads and the domain is more seamless.
I also looked at MailChimp and GoDaddy, which offer similar services. But, Mailchimp is really good at newsletters, not websites, and vice versa for GoDaddy.
I decided to host my website on GoDaddy just in case I didn’t like Wix. And I bought the domain www.danielledoodles.com as well, just in case I ever drop the “in” or if someone forgets it.
I also like that Wix connects with Google Drive, so it’s easy to upload images that I’ve stored there from my Samsung Tablet.
It’s not perfect — sometimes it's a little slow, doesn’t have everything I want, like embeds in the newsletter. But, overall, I’m happy with it.
It has a lot of add-ons I like and I might even make a separate post about that!
I use Google Workspace for a branded email address
I bit the bullet and bought a Google email through Wix. I could have done something@gmail, but I wanted to have the inbox connected to my domain. It helps separate everything and looks professional. Eventually, I’d like to have a more personal email, but each address costs money. So “hi” seemed general enough to use for everything, for now! I also like using Google Drive. I chose this instead of Office (what GoDaddy sells) because it integrates easily with my other platforms, like Wix, Canva, and my tablet.
I hired an amazing virtual assistant through iWorker
When I started working on my first book (a Haggadah, the book Jews read on Passover), I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Luckily, my sister had received an email from someone at iWorker, a social enterprise that has a team of talented remote global professionals available to help with various projects. I connected with someone in Spain and she’s been helping me ever since March. She has assisted with email outreach for my Haggadah, graphic design (she created my gorgeous business cards and logo), research, social media, blog posts, website maintenance, and more. Enrique, the coufunder, was responsible and helpful in matching me with the right person.
With Zoho social, I can schedule posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram
I found that I was spending a lot of time posting on social media — especially at the time I thought a post should go live. I was planning the day around it. Then I realized — I can schedule my posts! This is such a lifesaver.
I tried Buffer, but it didn’t post to Instagram. Later didn’t post to LinkedIn. (note: these services are always changing/adding new things, so this could have changed, and it’s too late for me!)
My virtual assistant from iWorker recommended Zoho. It’s basic — I can schedule posts — but does just what I need. I can only post a single image for Instagram, (I can’t do a slideshow), which isn’t ideal, but better than nothing. For more money, I could optimize posts for a better-performing time. Maybe one day!
ClickUp helps me manage all my projects and ideas
I used ClickUp before it started advertising all over NYC!
There are so many project management tools out there, but the format of this one worked the best for me. I didn’t like Trello’s format that is like a progressing wall of sticky notes. It wasn’t flexible enough for me. I think ClickUp does way more than I even know, but even at a basic level, I like it. I also like how you can see different views, like a list or a calendar. It sends way too many notifications, which I could probably change if I wanted to.
Canva is my go-to design platform for all graphics
I use Canva from everything from graphics to promote my newsletter to cards to making books! It’s very easy to use on desktop or mobile. I upgraded to Pro, which was totally worth it for resizing images and having access to all their graphics. I also paid to add my assistant to my membership, which is helpful for collaboration on graphic assets. I also designed and printed my business cards through Canva, and they came out beautifully!
I create digital drawings on my Samsung tablet
Most artists use an iPad with Procreate. I walked into Best Buy to purchase one. But to get what I wanted (the pro with the max amount of storage) would have been really expensive (like $1500 all in for the tablet, pen, case, and Apple Care) and I couldn’t justify the cost. So after a lot of research, I decided to start with a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, which is said to be comparable to the pro at about half the price. I use a free drawing tool called Medibang.
I liked that the tablet came with the pen and even though all my tech is Apple, I like the Android operating system. (Ok, it took a while to get used to and I still miss Airdrop to easily transfer files). But, this got me in the habit of saving everything on Google Drive, which is a good thing since I rely on it heavily since I’m collaborating with my iWorker assistant.
Videoleap helps me edit videos on mobile
A lot of my videos are short and basic, and I upload them to TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels. This is a really easy way to edit videos on my phone. Videoleap also has so many free stickers to include which adds an extra animated, visual element to make the videos more engaging. Here’s a good example. You can also add in text and transitions. I paid for the year subscription mostly so I could easily add stock music in the background.
When I need to edit a long video, I still use iMovie on my MacBook.
Even though anyone can start an online business, it isn’t as easy or as free as it seems. But finding the right tools helps. I hope this was a good starting point!
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