Technology I Rely On to Help Run My Business

Being a business owner means that you have a lot of hats to wear and there are a lot of moving parts at once. It’s easy for things to get lost in the mix and when you don’t have a business partner like me, it can also leave you feeling a little cuckoo if you don’t have systems in place to help move things along.

I’ve decided to share all things technology related that really help me keep the ship moving. I love systems, I love structure and I could not live without some of these tech savvy apps. I feel really proud to say that my practice is completely paperless outside of the paper planner I still keep for my guilty pleasure and I’ve never felt better.

I’d love to hear what you use for your business or your day to day life. How do you ensure that you’re getting it all done?!


Systems

SimplePractice - This is my EHR (Electronic Health Records) system where I host all my client information, weekly appointments, billing information and where I file my weekly insurance claims. They’ve recently added features like secure messaging with clients and team members, video capability to conduct Telehealth sessions as well as a “journal” option for clients to use and share with you (their therapist). The best part about it is that it’s secure, HIPAA compliant and totally worth the monthly subscription fee.

Squarespace - There is so much you can do if you host your website on Squarespace, which obviously I do. You are able to sell products and services on your website and they just rolled out a feature where you can create and submit newsletters on their platform. I used to use MailChimp but the Squarespace templates are so much cleaner and modern in comparison to MailChimp. I love that you have full control over your website this way and it is very user friendly so if you ever need to make updates to your website then you can do it yourself within seconds instead of waiting on your web designer to do it for you. Their tech support is also really user friendly and offers clear step by step instructions on how to troubleshoot any issue you’re having. I give them a 10 out of 10!

Gmail for Business - For a small $5 monthly fee, I am able to communicate with key stakeholders in the community as well as clients using an e-mail account that has a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) which is extremely important as a mental health provider. Gmail has also recently made a lot of changes to their e-mail platform and has enabled a live task list, note-taking system and integrated calendar while being able to see your inbox all at the same time.

Apple iPad & Apple Pencil - While an investment, these two things have been vital in allowing my practice to go paperless. Not only do I use my iPad to take notes in sessions with clients, I also take it with me to CEU events, networking meetings, planning meetings, etc. I can easily pull up a video or article while in supervision and I love that it’s light and easy to carry with me anywhere. If you’re considering going paperless, I highly recommend making an investment in these two pieces of technology.

Slack - This is an app I use with my team of associate therapists, my clinical consultation group and the other therapists that office where I do. It’s a great way to communicate throughout the day about anything and everything. Are we out of toilet paper? Send me a Slack message to let me know! (Not kidding.) You can share files, images and links. You can also send direct messages to individuals or specific people in your “slack channel” if you aren’t wanting to communicate with the whole group at all times.

Google Voice - I use this app as my business phone line. I will likely be switching over to another system soon because my team is growing but for now, it works well.

Doxy.me - This is the app I use to meet with clients online for teletherapy. It works best when used on an iPad or phone. The desktop option tends to have connection issues but it has been a great free option until SimplePractice rolled out their teletherapy capabilities within their application.

Zoom - I just started using Zoom a few months ago for a wide range of business meetings. I don’t have much to say on it so far but I’ve found it to be really easy to use. It’s also nice that you can host several people on a call at the same time.

Organization

GoodNotes - Okay, I cannot tell you how much time this app has saved me. I use my iPad and Apple Pencil to take notes during client sessions and my notes are all in this app. GoodNotes allows you to create a mini electronic Moleskine for each project and/or client and then allows you to write notes in each little notebook. On top of that, the app also allows you to upload PDF documents, images, files, etc. from other apps on your iPad so you don’t need to print or have notes in multiple places. It can all stay together electronically. I love that you can annotate documents that you upload and it has options for you to color and highlight your notes within the app as well. I can’t say enough good things about this. When it comes to client notes, I always export their notes from each session into a PDF document and then upload them into SimplePractice for secure storing. BAM! 5 Stars!

Calendly - I just started using this app a couple of months ago because I was getting frustrated going back and forth in e-mails trying to nail down times for coffee dates, lunch meetings, phone intakes, basically anything that required scheduling. This app allows you to create calendars based on anything that would require scheduling of your time. For example, I have a calendar for 15 minute phone intakes, lunch or coffee networking meetings, 60 minutes business consultation sessions, 30 minute group/workshop intake calls, etc. Within each calendar I get to decide when those events can take place and for how long. Calendly also syncs up to SimplePractice and does not offer time slots that are taken up by what exists on my SimplePractice calendar so there is no double booking that takes place. It’s been extremely helpful and a time saver for my workflow.

Skedda - My team and I use this app to book rooms within our office space to meet with clients. It’s free and super easy to use. Everyone knows when rooms are booked and when they’re available so there is no confusion or double booking here either.

Asana - I love this app for managing projects within my business. It allows me to have a big picture view of all the things I’m managing and allows me to create a time sensitive task list for each one in order to ensure that things get done.

Google Drive - What can I say? I praise the Google Gods for all that this app has to offer. I use this for everything and one of the most important things I keep here is my Content Calendar for my social media accounts. This helps me plan out content weeks in advance without the headache of coming up with it on the spot. Aside from this, I keep all my files nice and organized by project and/or topic while being able to access everything on my desktop and my phone.

Money

Ivy Pay - My practice uses this ap for processing all credit card payments from clients. A huge draw for me is that the credit card processing fees are only 2.75% which is cheaper than others I’ve found and they give you your first $1000 worth of transactions for FREE! I used to use Stripe but it’s way more expensive. If you want a code to get your FREE money, send me an e-mail.

Quickbooks Self-Employed - Oh man. This. App. Is. Life. Changing. I started using this consistently about a year ago. It is connected to my business bank accounts and automatically inputs every transaction and withdrawal in real time. It allows me to categorize all my expenses and income on a daily basis and it provides me with a daily update on my numbers around business revenue, business profit and expenses. I can pull profit and loss reports and balance sheets whenever needed and it links to TurboTax for end of year taxes. Based on your cash flow, the app will tell you exactly how much to pay in quarterly taxes so there is not a question about whether you’re paying too much or too little. I got a huge return last year after using this app and I am forever grateful that I decided to make the switch from an excel spreadsheet to this.

Social Media & Photography

Instagram - My business Instagram account (@colorsofaustin) is the platform I use to share content that is true to me and my business. It’s probably the only place I share content outside of my website at this very moment. Another blog post coming on that later. Overall, I’ve had a lot of success with meeting other therapists all over the world, finding and contracting other small business owners to help me grow my business and simply being a place to have a voice in the growing mental health community. Social media is extremely powerful and I love being able to engage in a meaningful way.

Facebook - I’ll be honest. I don’t love Facebook. The older I get, the more I resent it. However, I am so thankful for all the business groups I’ve been able to be a part of because of this platform. I currently am in several specific to therapists and mental health and business so for those simple reasons I choose to stay on it and unless those groups move off of Facebook then I will likely stay connected in this way. Some of the groups I follow are: Austin Mental Health Professionals, Austin Therapists of Color, RISE Together, Abundance Practice Builders, The Group Practice Exchange, Telehealth Providers Group, Austin Hispanic Therapists, Private Practice Paperwork Party, Insurance Credentialing and Billing for Mental Health Clinicians and the list goes on.

Canva - This app has been so helpful when it comes to creating content for my social media accounts. While you can use most of its features for free, it does have a subscription plan that enables you to have access to more features within the app such as logo design, flyers, etc.

Pexels - This is another great app I lean on frequently for downloading clean and beautiful images for my Instagram account. You can use keywords to search for images that are specifically related to that word. The images are free and not copyrighted so it is totally okay to use them.

VSCO - This is one of my favorite photo editing apps. I love all the filters they have and options for photo editing. It’s user friendly and seamless.


In closing, for all of you who have group practices, stay tuned for a NEW web application that will change the way your practice runs and give you confidence in the foundation and systems your business is built on. Click here to stay updated on the beta release.

If you have any questions or thoughts on what you would like to know more about when it comes to running your business, feel free to comment below or send me an e-mail at hello@colorsofaustincounseling.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Big love,

Vanessa