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Four software tools I use to supercharge my celebrant business (and most are free!)

By Natasha Johnson

September 2, 2020

17hats for celebrants, celebrant business, celebrant business support, wedding celebrant business

If you didn’t know it already now is the best time ever to have a celebrant business (even if it currently doesn’t feel like it). It’s now easier than ever to get your celebrant business off the ground and to run your business with little fuss and with a tonne of business tools to make celebrant life relatively simple.

With my celebrant business spanning well over a decade, I remember what it was like when social media scheduling didn’t exist. WTH? When posting your posts live on social media was the only way to do it. So when you had to post something on Twitter, you’d have to actually go to Twitter and post it. Then you’d go to Instagram and post there and then go to Facebook and post there. Who still does this? OMG, even the memory of it still hurts.

I also remember when I used to send couples their booking agreement. I’d have to get them to print it off, sign it, scan it and send it back, which often took forever! I simply would not have the time or patience to do this now. But don’t forget if you still do this and you’re happy to do this, then we’re good!

When it comes to technology and tools available to us, our celebrant businesses can’t help but benefit. There is little excuse for not using the best (which aren’t even the most expensive) tools out there to help your business run more easily, efficiently and professionally. So I am sharing here the tools that I use which help me run my celebrant business like a boss. Yep, like an actual real-life business boss! 

17hats

I absolutely love love love 17hats. I love how it makes my business look, feel and run way more professionally than before I used it, and I also really love the team behind 17hats. It’s not a software product that they just made and left their users to get on with. They are constantly developing it, upgrading it, and adding new features all the time. 

In a really big nutshell, 17hats is a client management system but let me tell you, that very factual description doesn’t really give an inkling into what it really does. 

From the moment a couple contacts me via my website, 17hats is the one that takes care of pretty much everything. If I’m on my computer I’ll get an email about a new enquiry with all the details. If I’m on the phone, my email or the app (yes it has an app, too!) will notify me. Before I even need to physically get involved, 17hats has already sent out a response to whoever has been in touch, letting them know I’m super excited to hear more about them and their big day. 

Then further down the line when the couple want to book, 17hats will send out their booking agreement, invoice and wedding questionnaire, whilst I’m floating on my giant toucan in the swimming pool. I kid you not! And when the couple pay (directly via their online invoice!), it sends them payment confirmation and an adjusted copy of their invoice. 

Not to mention its fab inbuilt diary scheduling system that allows my couples to book themselves in on a video call with me and 17hats controls the dates and times and sends out confirmation with a link to my Zoom software. So good! It really is the best virtual assistant ever.

A few cautionary words, though. 17hats isn’t the only type of system out there like this. There’s Dubsado and Honeybooks and many others. But it’s the one that I use and love. Also, it’s not cheap but then for what it does, nor should it be! Expect to invest a couple of hundred dollars/pounds/euros a year on this software, which I do believe is worth every cent. 

If you’re happy with your current manual processes and systems then that’s great. But if you can afford to invest in software like 17hats I’d say to do it even if you’ve not yet got lots of clients, just because it’s a great system to grow with and to start looking super professional from the outset.

Otherwise a good measuring point to know when you’re ready for something like this, is when you have so many clients that the day-to-day management of them and the administration of their wedding affairs is too much to do manually. That’s when you know it’s time to get a system like this in place. 

If you’re interested, this special link of mine will give you 50% off of their annual membership subscriptions.  

Trello

I’m fairly newish to Trello but I do love it. Whilst I don’t use it at all for my celebrant business, I use it more for Celebrants Collective planning etc, many celebrants do use Trello and love it. Although it’s not a full substitution for 17hats, used well it is a great resource for organising your couples and planning everything from your work process with them to creating their ceremony. It might not be able to send out invoices for you, but you can use its systemisation to prompt you when you need to invoice a couple or to get info from them. You can create a card system for your couple and upload a photo of them and add everything you need to about them or for them to their cards. Some celebrants even create entire boards for their couples and share their boards with them to have a collaborative process for their ceremony creation etc.

There is a lot of great potential with Trello, especially as it’s free (but with scope to add paid ‘power-ups’ elements which allow your boards and cards to have added, suped-up features). And it’s definitely a good starting point for organising your couples and having a system in place before making a big investment into 17hats.

Check out Trello here.

Canva

I just think that Canva is one of the most exciting and innovative software products out there. This design platform allows absolutely anyone with zero graphic design or editing experience to create the most gorgeous social media graphics and post content and so much more. I use Canva for EVERYTHING that I possibly can. I create mood boards with it. I made my wedding sales brochure with it. All the Celebrants Collective e-books are made with it. Our course slides are designed with it and I even use its presentation feature to play slides as a slideshow and record them as a video tutorial. And just recently I made a Covid-19 infographic for my wedding couples about changes to ceremony practices. I shared it with members too so that they could use it as a template for their own couples.

I also love their commitment to diversity and inclusion too.They’ve recently uploaded a hell of a lot of ethnically diverse imagery to their stock photos as well as LGBTQ imagery too. So now in their wedding photo selections, brides are not all blonde and couples are not all heterosexual.  Thank you Canva.

I use the paid version of Canva and I‘ve honestly never been so happy to see money leave my account each month. Canva is the backbone of my business and an absolute gamechanger. But even on the free version you can get a lot done. It’s very generous.

You can use this link to sign up for Canva Pro and get started today with awesome social media posts and everything else.

Later

And lastly, I use Later to schedule my social media posts. Earlier I mildly joked about people still live posting on social media but of course, if you do this and are happy to do this, then that’s obviously fine. But for those of you who feel a bit stressed and anxious at the time you spend everyday creating posts for social media then maybe scheduling is the answer for you.

It allows you to batch create content and have it all set up and ready to publish on your various platforms at different times and days. And I love Later for this and it’s visual layout, which enables you to see how all your posts will look once published etc. I use the paid version of it to get great features like being able to post to both my celebrant business accounts and the Celebrants Collective accounts and being able to save my branding colours, but like with Trello and Canva their free versions are pretty generous.

I still occasionally post things live when I’ve run out of scheduled content or I need to change a post to reflect something topical, but having the majority of it scheduled frees up my time and gives me a presence on social media without actually being present on social media. Use this free social media planner that I created to batch create posts and set them up on schedule. 

If you want to start using Later, this special link will give you 10 extra posts a month to use across your different accounts. Nice!

So there you have it. Some of my favourite biz tools, which are game changers for my celebrant business.

And some final words. Please don’t feel software-shamed into feeling inadequate with what you have in place, or getting stuff that you don’t want or need. These are things I love and that MY business can’t do without.  It could well be that the systems and software that you have in place work perfectly well for you.

There will however perhaps come a time as your celebrant business grows, that you outgrow your current work practices and need to upgrade and make changes to make life easier for you and your business. And that’s what this list is for. 

Enjoy the business supercharging, whenever it’s right for you.


Please note: some of these software products contain affiliate links which means we’ll receive a small commission or extra credits at no cost to you.

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About the author 

Natasha Johnson

Natasha is the founder and co-director of awesomeness at the Celebrants Collective, with her business wife, Claire Bradford. When she's not overseeing celebrant development and supporting the hell out of their members, she can be found drinking fabulous Spanish wine, dancing to Beyoncé and hanging out on her veg patch, sometimes all at the same time. She lives in Malaga, Spain with her two favourite humans, three dogs, eight chickens and two giant African snails. (Don't ask!)

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