Writing has always been a passion of mine because it allows me to express myself. Although while writing is something that I'm passionate about, I also enjoy expressing myself through various other forms like drawing, scrapbooking, and graphic designing. Recently, one area of interest in particular has caught my eye: embroidery. Not just the process of actually embroidering items, but creating digital embroidery designs for others to stitch out with their machines.
Since I own virtually everything Apple, iOS apps have become a major part of my life. There are many apps that I use for my own personal amusement, but most of the apps that reside on the home screen on my iPhone and iPad are there to help me run my small business online. Not only have these apps helped me to get started in doing what I love, they continue to help my business to grow larger.
My main go-to app is Etsy. I set up an Etsy shop a little over a year ago, and it has helped me to achieve more than I could imagine. Most use the Etsy app to browse for unique and handmade items to buy, but there’s another side to Etsy that few know about. With Etsy, I am able to view the essentials about my shop such as orders, revenue, and views, and I can also communicate with buyers through conversations directly on my iPhone. I receive notifications instantly, which ensures that my customers are always getting quick responses. Etsy even allows me to add new items to my shop, change its appearance, and do virtually everything the website offers. My favorite feature is that the app makes a “cha-ching” sound with each sale that I make, which always brightens my day.
When I hear that “cha-ching” sound, I often hear another notification along with it that belongs to PayPal. The PayPal app has vastly improved its interface since the release of iOS 7. It’s great to know when my sales are going straight to my account, but I use it for more than just the notifications. The PayPal app is now a virtual wallet that lets me check my balance and recent activity, transfer funds and request money, and even use my account at select merchants without having to carry around an extra debit card.
The next app that I use often is Camera+. It’s essential to take pictures of my designs after they have been stitched so my customers can see exactly what they are purchasing. While the iPhone does take relatively good photos, Camera+ helps make them look better and more professional. I can easily crop photos, adjust colors, add borders, and save everything directly to my Camera Roll. From there I can upload them with Etsy, share them instantly, or put them directly onto my Facebook page with the Pages app.
Of course, every business needs a way to manage all the numbers, figures, and spreadsheets. I currently use Numbers to handle all of my data. It allows me to access and edit spreadsheets across all my devices, and handles CSV files well. Numbers is also loaded with other features that I like; such as the ability to open files in other apps quickly, and organized and well-designed spreadsheets that are fully functional and look professional.
These are just a handful of the apps that I use the most often. There are many other honorable mentions like HootSuite for all my social media needs, Square for taking payments at craft shows, Pinterest for finding creative ideas as well as sharing my own, and Clear for managing my busy work days so I can accomplish everything without feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, the native apps have also helped save the day many times. I don’t know what I’d do without my calculator, mail, and calendar apps by my side.
It’s evident that apps have made my life a lot easier, and I’m sure that many other small business owners feel the same. The ability to quickly and easily handle all things business-related on a device that fits in the palm of my hand has helped my business and dreams to grow. Now that I've finally managed to score my own piece of cyber space by buying a domain, I hope that I can eventually have my own app that others will be able to love and cherish as much as I do all of these. Without the world of apps, I’m not sure that I’d be able to achieve as much quite as conveniently or quickly.