This is part 1 of an ongoing blog series called “The Tools I Wish I’d Used When I Started My Business”. When I first came up with the idea of this series there was zero hesitation about which tool I was going to put at the top. I might have been cheating a little bit since G Suite is actually made up of over a dozen inter-connected apps but my blog my rules!
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G Suite as it functions today isn’t the same as when I started my business, so some of the things I talk about below wouldn’t have been available if I went back in time. Basically if I was going to re-start my business today, this tool would be on the very top of my must-have list.
If I could only choose 1 of the tools in this list, G Suite would be it. And even for a small bootstrapped startup, $6/month is kind of a no-brainer. I’d happily sacrifice 1 grande white chocolate mocha a month to be able to utilize all of the combined power of the G Suite apps.
Back in the days of Microsoft
When I started my business I was coming from the corporate world so I got a license for Microsoft Office. I used Outlook for email. It constantly caused my laptop to crash because of the sheer amount of emails and attachments I dealt with. All of my files were stored directly on my laptop hard drive. I tried to use OneNote but it seemed easier to just use Word for note taking.
I needed a more light-weight solution for email, so I started using my personal GMail account and had my business emails forwarded there (note: don’t do that) so I could uninstall Outlook - and I had to go through the process of migrating all of my old emails and archives into GMail as well. It sucked. And of course, because I was replying to those emails the “from” address was my personal email - not very professional.
On the go issues
I was away from home enough that I started to need access to my files when I didn’t have my 40-pound laptop with me. I decided I should start using the 15GB of Google Drive space that came with my personal GMail. I quickly realized that I was going to be waaaaaay over the limit.
Between the email issue and the storage issue, I started wondering if I should just start paying for a business account - I could set up my actual domain email inside GMail, and I’d have 30GB of Drive space. Sounded great.
So I went through the process of migrating all of the business emails from my personal account into my new business account (ugh - I wish I’d just started with a business GMail account in the first place!), then I uploaded all of my files into Google Drive so they were on my hard drive and stored in the cloud. I was still using Microsoft files, but there are lots of plugins that allow you to edit MS files even when you’re working in Google Drive online. If I was on my laptop I’d just work with the files directly on my hard drive, but MS Office is a resource hog and my computer was starting to make weird sounds.
It wasn’t long before I’d already maxed out my 30GB of storage so I started looking into buying more space. My research revealed a shocker: files stored in Drive with a Google format (Google docs, sheets, slides, etc.) didn’t count toward the storage limit. Holy. Shit.
I started to convert all of my files to Google docs and sheets and slides. Pretty soon the only thing taking up space in my Drive were (for the most part) image files and PDFs and I was using less than half my storage space.
I can do anything?
G Suite integrates with sooooooo many other platforms. Here are just a few of the cool, convenient, and automated things I can do with it:
Send an email to Trello as a card
Schedule an email to be sent later
Set up email templates for common responses or requests
Have my phone send me a Cha-ching text message when I get a payment notification
Save email attachments directly to Drive
Reply to Google Doc comments directly in an email
Easily give my team members access to a single file, folder, or the whole damn Drive (and remove that access as well!)
Search Drive for keywords inside a document (not just the title)
Access & work on all of my business files/emails even from someone else’s computer
Turn emails into calendar events
Set up video meetings with a click
Have multiple aliases that all get delivered to my main email inbox
Auto-forward specific emails to my team members
Are you using G Suite for your business yet? If not, the link below gets you a 20% discount on your first year’s subscription!