Monday, July 13, 2015

The Modern Life of The Vintage Seller : How I Use My Phone For Business

The nice thing about these...

is they don't do this...

But there is also so much more those old vintage phones don't do. Keeping connected with your customers and running your business efficiently is so important when running your own business. Your cell phone is the answer to doing that!

My phone broke this weekend (again) and it was time to get a new one. While going thru the delightful task of setting up the phone again with everything I need, in the way that I like it, I thought I would give you a window into how I use my phone for my business. Keep in mind that this comes from a Type A personality in overdrive who likes everything to be organized and running at peak efficiency at all times. So take away what works for you and leave the rest! 

The phone :

Allow me to geek out on you briefly. Nine years in the cell phone industry does have its effects. I have had a Note for years and Samsung for many more. Needless to say, I'm a fan. The Galaxy Note Edge was so appealing to my desire to have something new and flashy but eventually my practical side won over and the Note 4 found a new home. (See, that wasn't so bad) Must you have a Note 4? No. Almost all the ways I use my phone can be done on any Android or Apple phone.

Set-up : 
You know when you are on your home screen and you scroll to the right or left and there's stuff there? Yeah, you can customize what you want there. This keeps your apps compartmentalized and convenient to keep you from searching through a large list of apps every time. Resist the urge to add everything you've ever used and just stick to the ones you use frequently. That weird game you played once will still be there should you ever decide to pick it up again.

My home page houses weather, alarm, and my most used apps. 

Next screen over is all my business apps.

Next screen over is personal.

The apps : 
There are so many apps to use in the app store. Trying out apps that others use is a great way to find something useful to you. Otherwise, feel free to browse the app store and give something a try. If you find yourself not using it, you can always remove.

Business apps :
  • Social media : Oh yes, the SM word. You've got to do it, do it well, and do it consistently. Having your social media apps at the touch of a button allows you to post any time, on the go, waiting in line, or just watching tv. Of course I have Facebook Pages Manager, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more at the ready.

  • Photo Editing Apps : What do we want? Photos. When do we want them? Now. There are so many great photo editing apps to make sure your photos are fun. I use PicsArt, Rhonna, and Snapseed, to name a few.
  • Apps to run your business : There are lots of apps that make it easy to run your business right from your phone. Here are a few that I use.
    • Sell on Etsy : Super obvious for the Etsy seller. Keep up with favorites, new orders, conversations, and update listings right from this app. I frequently get appreciative comments from customers on how quickly I respond to their questions.

    • USPS Mobile App : Oh, the beloved postal service. Every night I set up a pick up for the days orders, to be plucked right from my front porch the next morning. This has saved me countless hours driving to the post office and the emotional scarring of dealing with postal workers. You can also track and look up prices from the app.

    • Credit Card Reader : The Paypal Here app is so easy and the card reader is free. It's really a no brainer folks. Whether you use Paypal or Square, you must accept credit cards at shows or you will lose money. Period.
  • Apps and features that keep things going : 
    • Camera : All my photos are taken with my phone and I don't do any editing for Etsy. As a vintage seller, I need items to be shown in their exact condition. With the Note 4 rocking a 16mp camera, I don't see a reason to drag out the old Canon and tripod. You should be snapping a photo at all times to use later on social media as well. All photos back up to my Google Drive, making it easy to post to Etsy from my laptop later.
    • Calendar : Things can get hectic. Everything goes on my calendar whether it's meeting with a friend or doing a show. All events are color coded so it's easy for me to know what is going on when.
    • Google Maps : What would we do with GPS? Sure, you might feel better printing out a paper copy of directions from Mapquest but what happens when you take the unexpected turn down a country road on the scent of a hot estate sale? This has gotten me out of a pickle on many occasions whether on the way to a new show, delivering an order to a customer, or hunting down a pick.
    • Mileage Tracking : When tax time comes, it sure is nice to just export a spreadsheet of miles used. Whether you realize it or not, you probably spend a good bit of time in your car for business sake whether you are running to buy supplies, ship an order, or head to a show or business meeting. It's so easy to take a sec before leaving your driveway to enter some mileage.
    • Music : I don't know about you but music goes a long way in keeping me moving and inspired. Your life needs a soundtrack.
Personal Apps : As a business owner, keeping your personal life organized can be just as important as keeping your business organized. As you know, they tend to blend together. I keep my banking app on the ready for account checks and super easy mobile deposits, grocery list app so I don't forget what I need, and my Starbucks app for when I need to be caffeinated (which is frequently). I keep entertainment and news apps like Flipboard, Netflix, and Redbox for those times you need to switch off the old brain.

Maybe you can see why my phone is my bff. Not only does it keep me organized and running smoothly, it allows me the flexibility to be on the go, meeting friends and taking care of family members while still taking care of business. 

Don't worry, there are still lots of fun uses for those land line phones.

I'm sure you've taken away more from this blog post than "this person is nuts", I'm sure. Right? Feel free to share how you use your phone for business in the comments!

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