Desk Essentials for Solopreneurs

by Kyndra Bailey

I'm not gonna lie: being a solopreneur is the hardest thing I've ever done. I often look back and think about how nervous I was to start this little entrepreneur journey of mine a year and a half ago. It was so scary back then; it's STILL scary, and honestly – it won't ever stop being scary! I will happily admit that. Because my little entrepreneur journey has also been the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. And the more I do it, the more experience I get under my belt, and the easier things get. Part of the reason it has become easier for me is that I've slowly been learning what works for me, in terms of systems, processes, and – my favorite – all the things I need by my side! (AKA: what this blog is all about.)

I divided this list into two sections: products and programs. Of course, it's in no way comprehensive, and at the end of the day, the best thing to keep by your side is hard work, dedication, and lots of coffee. Let's dive in!

PRODUCTS

1. Passion Planner Daily

I truly cannot say enough good things about my Passion Planner. I first bought one at the beginning of this year and it was a GAMECHANGER. What makes it different from your average planner, you ask? Well, for one, it allows you to separate work from personal, and has so much free space for notes, doodles, journaling, and everything in between. But what really sets the passion planner out is its passion roadmap. It encourages you to write down all your hopes and dreams, and then the planner is set up to help you take baby steps towards your goals every. day. As an entrepreneur with a long road ahead of her, I can't tell you how much this aspect has helped me.

I personally love the passion planner daily, because it has much more free space and room for reflection (i.e. it's my planner and my journal), but I also loved using the passion planner weekly.

You can shop passion planner here and get 10% off your first purchase, or if you just want to try it out, they have printable versions available for free!

2. Headphones and Chill Music!

This one feels fairly obvious to me, but might not be to people just starting out! When I first started working from home, I was really adamant about not listening to music. Even though I often wore headphones when I worked in coffee shops, I felt like I needed to work in silence at home. Idk, don't ask me.

Now, what I've learned, is that my productivity boosts even when I'm just wearing headphones. I literally don't even need to play music. It's like feeling headphones in my ears is a switch for my brain to go into work mode. So even though I could play music out loud, I always use headphones.

As for music choice, I love "chill vibes" playlists on Spotify for when I'm doing office work, and upbeat music when I'm fulfilling orders.

Some of my favorites: Starbucks Coffeehouse Pop, Spotify's Work From Home Playlist, Chill HitsModern Soft Pop, and Peaceful Piano (for those days when I really need to focus)

3. (A Cute) Wall Calendar

This one may not apply to everyone, but if your solopreneur life involves always being a step ahead of what's going on, a wall calendar is a must.

Example: for my product shop, I have to constantly be looking ahead for upcoming holidays, season changes, sale opportunities, etc. So at the beginning of 2020, I got a huge wall calendar and wrote in every important date, planned all my launches, and set every sale.

On top of that, I display the current month and the next one at once, that way things that are happening during the first week of the month don't sneak up on me. (I do this by cutting out the current month and hanging it above the calendar.)

Even if you have a planner that's dated and can use it to look far ahead, there's just something about having a huge calendar with everything on it that makes it a necessity for me. I love (and use) this one from Target.

4. Blue Light Filter Glasses

Another obvious, but maybe not-so-obvious one: blue light filter glasses. If you don't have any yet, GET SOME. Especially if you (like me) spend huge portions of your day staring at a screen. Your eyes and brain and mental health with thank you. Trust me.

I have these from Amazon, but can't wait to try out Felix Gray one of these days!

PROGRAMS

1. Quickbooks Self-Employed

If you have a side hustle of any kind, you must track every kind of transaction from that side hustle: all your purchases, sales, and anything in between. While you could take the complicated route and track things on paper, or with a file folder, I wouldn't bother, especially when there are so many solutions out there for tracking transactions.

Quickbooks Self-Employed is my favorite tool. It's hooked up to my bank account, and automatically categorizes my transactions based on rules I set. There's also a receipt upload feature, which has saved me more times than I can count. If you're not using a transaction tracking software yet, this link will get you 50% off with Quickbooks Self-Employed!

2. Flodesk

As an entrepreneur who lovessss connecting with her customers, I can't recommend Flodesk enough. I fully believe it's the future of email marketing.

They have tons of pre-built templates for sending out GORGEOUS emails, and it's super easy to customize them to match your brand. They're still fairly new, so they're always adding new features.

The best part? Their pricing model. It's $38 to start, and that never changes. Unlike other email marketing platforms, they don't change their prices depending on the number of emails you send or subscribers you have. For everything Flodesk brings to the table, this price is a steal. (Of course, they have a free trial option, but trust me when I say you'll want to keep your subscription with them.)

Wanna know what's even better about Flodesk? This link will get you the subscription for $19 (50% off!) forever.

3. Tailwind for Pinterest

I'll admit that I only just recently got started with taking KYBI's presence on Pinterest seriously. I've always known it holds potential, but I've never put too much effort into it. I recently invested in a Tailwind subscription, and ohmygosh you guys. It makes the idea of tackling Pinterest so. easy. Just yesterday, I was able to schedule a weeks worth of pins in less than an hour and a half. Like HELLO free time!

I can't say much about it since I've only been using it for a few weeks, but honestly, I love it so so much. I know there's so much opportunity in the Pinterest realm, and Tailwind has made it feel way less intimidating. Get started with their free trial here. 

4. Canva

Last, but certainly not least: Canva. There is SO MUCH POWER packed into this little program. And the best part? There's a free version!

Canva can be used to make graphics and videos of all kinds. Pinterest pins? Check. Cute PDFs? Check. Unique presentations? Check. Videos for IG Story? Check. Flyers, business cards and posters? Check, check, check.

I honestly don't think there's a single thing Canva can't do. It's so easy to use and it's really simple to customize to fit your brand. They're always adding new templates and graphics, so it's not like you'll ever be stuck reusing the same graphics over and over. If you're all about working smarter, not harder – Canva is just for you.

And while there is a free version, the paid version is just $13 a month, and it comes with a whole suite of tools that makes graphic design even easier.

Get started with Canva by clicking here, then thank me later. ;)

FINAL THOUGHTS

These are programs and items that help me in my day-to-day; it's no way a comprehensive list, and of course, what works for me may not work for you. And that's A-OKAY. As always, I invite you to try out lots of things until you find what works best for yourself. After all, the only way you'll figure it out is by trying different things.