Design Agency | Nashville, TN | Small Business, Nonprofit Branding

Game-changing Free Resources for the Budget-Conscious Business

Owning a small-business means that some days you’ll get the glory of being a founder but most days you’ll be a jack of all trades and a master of none.

From graphic and web designer, accountant, to  customer service representative and office custodian—who else is gonna take out the trash?! Sound familiar?

It can be overwhelming managing all aspects of a business, especially when your experience in design, marketing, and project management is limited and you don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of each.

Not to mention all these responsibilities take time away from doing what you love—which is why you started this business to begin with! That’s why we’re big believers in capitalizing on the many free solutions and resources that exist. So, to take a task or two off your honey-do list, check out the fully vetted list of resources—our favorite “free-bees” if you will—to help clear up some space in your schedule. We’re confident that with the help of the platforms below you’ll be able to toss one of your many hats back on the rack. You’re welcome!

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Disclaimer: it’s always great to task a pro for your graphic design needs (cough, Honey Creative) whenever budget allows!  Interested? 

Design Resources: 

CANVA:

No graphic design budget? No problem! From social media posts and story templates to large scale presentations, flyers, and ad designs, Canva is a simple and user-friendly digital design platform that will elevate your design game without breaking the bank. You’ll have thousands of templates and layouts to choose from FOR FREE, as well as a simple drag-and-drop feature, and quality printing services at your disposal. We give it the HC stamp of approval, so fly on over to canva.com to see what the buzz is all about. 

Is premium worth it? Honey says: ? Canva’s paid, premium version is totally worth the $13/mo price if you’ve got existing standards. The premium options allow for saved font styles, color palettes, and auto-resizing from template to template.

OVER:

Another fantastic, must-have, free resource for designing cohesive brand marketing assets, especially on the fly! With Over mobile app, you’ll have access to hundreds of pre-designed yet customizable templates to create impactful content. Their essential layout tools, and image editing and filtering capabilities, will offer you all you need to share quality content with the click of a button. 

Is premium worth it? Honey says: ? The next pricing tier for Over’s app is $5/month. Although a small price tag, it’s for small features—you’ll only get the shapes tool and unlimited fonts. But, we think a monthly cup of coffee with your favorite client might be worth more.

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CREATIVE MARKET

An online marketplace of ready to use design assets sourced from independent designers…yes, please! You can find illustrations, icons, website themes, photography, presentation templates and so much more for an affordable price. Whether you’re looking to create an ad campaign, email newsletter, social media post, or full-on website design, Creative Market will come in handy when searching for beautifully designed graphics and themes that won’t stretch your budget. You might be thinking, that this marketplace charges per design, and we promised you free, don’t worry, we didn’t forget! All you have to do is subscribe to their newsletter to receive hand-selected professional design freebies each week! 

FONT FOUNDRIES: 

A consistent set of fonts says a lot about your brand personality! When a client engages with your brand, the style of font can evoke an emotional response. For example, an organization that benefits children will likely use a more youthful and playful font to convey their message where a software company will probably select something more modern and minimalist. Font choices help steer your audience to the headers, subtitles, and key buttons that are most important and are a true extension of your brand personality. That being said, custom fonts can be pricey so we’ve listed the platforms below to help you find high-quality, attention-grabbing, fonts to tell the story of your brand! Here are a few of our faves: 

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Honey-tip: Be sure the font is listed as ‘Free for Commercial Use,’ it’s best to play it safe with intellectual rights! To get some added freebies, sign up and subscribe to their newsletters, many premium font foundries will offer FFF (Free Font Friday) to their email list. 

Marketing Resources: 

PLANOLY:
If Instagram posting feels overwhelming, Planoly is the place for you! It’s a great visual planning tool to help create the cohesive, well-organized Instagram feed you’ve been drooling over. It allows Instagram users to build a social media calendar with their curated content. You can pre-write captions, add hashtags, schedule posts, and analyze your engagement. Their free option includes calendars for two of your social profiles (one Instagram and one Pinterest account) and 30 uploads per month per profile. Also, the free account offers basic analytics to help you track and grow!

Is premium worth it? Honey says: ? Planoly’s paid, premium version is totally worth the $7/mo price. You get the share to Facebook capability, advanced analytics, video and gif uploads and more. We say make the upgrade.

Did you miss our last blog about the importance of creating a content marketing calendar? Check it out here!

HOOTSUITE:
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive membership for your content marketing needs that includes social media management, we at HC are big fans of Hootsuite. It’s a social media management platform that covers many aspects of a marketer’s role from curating content and scheduling posts to managing team members and tracking ROI.

Is premium worth it? Honey says: ? Hootsuite offers several tiers for their pricing, the cheapest being $29/mo. It could be a good investment if you’ve got a decent team size and/or have a high level of content marketing.

Project Management Resources: 

ASANA:
Streamline your business with our go-to project management application, Asana. Designed to help your team organize, track, and manage your workload, Asana is an all-in-one task manager that allows you to plan, assign, and communicate outside of email. It’s simple to set up, really easy to use, accessible from any device, and allows up to 15 team members access, for free! We can honestly say that we make use of this application daily, so we know it will benefit your business and save you time as it does for the HC team!

Is premium worth it? Honey says: ? Asana’s free version is super robust. Unless you’ve got a big team and really crave that timeline view of your projects, we say you’re better off sticking with the no-cost option.

SLACK:
Ever looked at your email first thing in the morning to find your inbox overflowing with questions, changes, notes, and updates from your team? With all this back and forth, someone is bound to overlook valuable information. That’s why we love using Slack, a faster, better organized, and more secure way to communicate with your team. Say goodbye to an overwhelmed inbox and hello to a simplified connection tool for your team. Think of Slack as an old school Instant Messenger made new and more efficient! Chat, notify, share documents, and keep your inbox clean!

Is premium worth it? Honey says: ? Again, unless Accountant Dale is sending way too many dog gifs in a day, you likely won’t need the paid version of Slack.

Here’s to giving yourself and your team of busy bees a little break by introducing your hive to the resources above! We can’t say enough good things about this list, and you should know that we’ve only shared the ones that we’ve personally used for design, marketing, and project management. We believe these platforms and applications will save you time, money, and energy on a day to day basis and we hope you find them as helpful as we have!

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