Most Useful Apps for Parents, Entrepreneurs, and Everyday People

Jan 27, 2022 | Tips & Tricks

It’s probably safe to say that most of us own a smartphone at this point. I personally just upgraded from my trusty iPhone 8 to an iPhone 13 Pro (whoa, fancy!!). As I was setting things up on my new phone, I was looking through all the apps that I use on a regular basis and thought it might be helpful to share them with all of you. Some of these are great for entrepreneurs, some are good for parents, and others are just good for the average human. Take a look at my list and let me know in the comments if there are any apps that you just can’t live without!

Entrepreneur Must-Have Apps:

These are a sampling of the apps that I have found most useful in running my small business. I’m sure there are others out there that do similar things, but these are the ones I like. Feel free to shout out your favorites in the comments!

Google Calendar

As much as I love my old school paper calendar/planner (shout out Garden24!), I still need to keep much of my calendar electronic. For one thing, this means I don’t need to carry my planner with me everywhere I go. But the most important thing for me is that it ties in seamlessly with my client relationship management software, meaning folks can just take a peek at my calendar to schedule a time to chat with me and there’s no more back and forth! The app I’ve found that works the best for this as well as for sharing with family is Google Calendar. Now, generally speaking, I’m an Apple girl myself, but I just can’t deny that there are some things that Google just does better. The Calendar app is definitely an example of that.

Things I love:

  • I can easily access and share my calendar from just about anywhere. I use it on my phone and my computer. There are great Chrome plug-ins for keeping things streamlined on the computer side of things and the phone app works easily in the background.
  • I can have multiple calendars at the same time. I am able to see both my personal appointments and my business ones all in one place.
  • It ties in seamlessly with just about any other program or app you can think of.
  • I can easily share my calendar with family members for ease of scheduling.
  • It has customizable views that I can tailor to what I need to see.

Things I wish were better:

  • I realize this is nitpicky, but I really like how the Apple Calendar app shows the date on the app icon. I’m someone who can never remember the date and I like to be able to just glance at an icon to see the date.
  • I wish there was an easy way I could add some buffer time around some of my appointments without having to create a separate event in the app. I’d rather not have someone schedule a call with me when I’m driving home from an appointment.

ClickUp

ClickUp is one of those apps or pieces of software that is so powerful that I almost feel silly using it as a one-woman show. But I’ll tell you the truth, it’s so great for keeping me organized. ClickUp is a task/project manager that allows you to organize and keep track of pretty much everything you could ever want. Obviously, it’s just me over here at Crystal Berry Photography, but it also allows for tons of collaboration if you have a team.

Things I love:

  • The free version can get you really far if you’re working on your own.
  • It allow for integration with other programs directly or through tools like Zapier.
  • I can easily schedule tasks from anywhere.
  • The options for how you view things are endless.
  • You can include docs and spreadsheets within the app.
  • It is available as a website, desktop program, or phone app meaning you can access your projects from just about anywhere.

Things I wish were better:

  • Because it is so powerful, it can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Canva

If you have a small business or have worked for a business or just like playing around with graphic design, you’ve no doubt heard of Canva. Canva is a website, app, and desktop app that allows easy graphic design for all sorts of things that small business owners use all the time. For example, you can design flyers, business cards, Instagram stories, presentations, and lots and lots more.

Things I love:

  • It has templates for almost everything I can think of.
  • The pro version allows you to upload fonts and store custom colors and logos.

Things I wish were better:

  • The search function is utter crap. I find it very difficult to locate a template I’m looking for without spending a lot of time just scrolling through the options.
  • It’s a bit limited in functionality. Obviously Canva is not Adobe InDesign, but this is an instance where you get what you pay for.

InShot

InShot is a great app to help create Instagram Reels. I have made only a small number, but it’s something I should do more of. InShot is going to help me do that. I find the native Instagram Reels creator to be a bit clunky (maybe I’m just old), so InShot is a great resource for me. Truly, there is so much more to this app than I even know about.

Things I love:

  • It’s super easy to edit videos to be exactly how you want them.
  • You can add transitions and things.

Things I wish were better:

  • It doesn’t help me like making Reels. This one is all on me though.
  • Adding music is more difficult than I’d like.

Tailwind

For the times when I want to schedule social media posts, Tailwind is where it’s at for me. I know there are plenty of social media schedulers, but I went with Tailwind for a couple of reasons. I like that it integrates with Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I don’t use Twitter, so I don’t mind that it doesn’t integrate with that platform.

Things I love:

  • You can optimize when you post for the most reach using their SmartSchedule feature.
  • It will suggest hashtags for you and allow you to save groups of hashtags for future use.
  • You can post to your Instagram grid, Instagram stories, Facebook, and Pinterest.
  • It has tons of analysis features (especially for Pinterest).
  • There is a Create feature that allows you to design posts inside of Tailwind. I don’t personally use this much though as it doesn’t fit with my aesthetic.

Things I wish were better:

  • You can’t schedule Reels. This is an Instagram limitation though.
  • Instagram carousel posts and Instagram stories cannot be directly posted by Tailwind, so it is set up as a notification that will alert you when you need to post. It’s a little clunky, but I believe this is actually an Instagram limitation and not a Tailwind limitation.

Parents Must-Have Apps:

These are the apps I’ve found most useful as a parent at this stage of parenthood. When my kids were babies, I definitely had a few other apps that would have made this list, but I’m not including them here because my advice on those would be quite outdated at this point! But definitely feel free to suggest any that have made your life easier as a parent.

AccuWeather

You’re probably thinking, “A weather app? Really??” Ok, hear me out. The weather around here can have some wild swings. I would say it’s a Wisconsin thing, but it’s probably more accurate to say it’s a climate change thing. In any case, I would never know how to dress myself or my kids without this app. And when it comes to scheduling outdoor photo sessions, knowing the weather forecast is an absolute must. Sure, you can use the default weather app on your phone, but trust me when I say this one is better.

Things I love:

  • It’s super easy to read and navigate. I don’t have to search around to find the forecast for the next few days.
  • So far I’ve found it to be rather accurate as far as weather apps go. I realize that doesn’t sound like high praise, but come on. We’re talking about weather apps.
  • It has really helpful alerts. Specifically, there’s a “WinterCast” alert that shows how much snowfall is expected for your area. This is very helpful in Wisconsin!

Things I wish were better:

  • The free version has ads. And not like little static ads as you scroll down. They’re those annoying take over your whole screen ads that you have search for the “x” to close out of them. The paid version isn’t expensive, but they definitely push you towards it in a way my stubborn heart doesn’t like.

MyChart

Perhaps this is an obvious one for most folks, but if you don’t have the MyChart app and or don’t have yourself set up as a proxy for your kids, DO IT. Seriously, this is a must-have for any parent. Having everyone’s doctor and health information in one place on my phone is a lifesaver.

Things I love:

  • I can message any of our doctors or their offices easily at any time.
  • After visit summaries on every doctor appointment means less paper to lose.
  • Having vaccination records easily available for my kids means whenever their schools ask for them, I have them handy.

Things I wish were better:

  • It’s clunky. If you want to pay a bill, it takes you to a different site that you need to log into separately.
  • Here in Madison we have a number of different providers (UW Health, UnityPoint, etc.). It’s a bit of a pain that you need accounts for each one and you need to apply for proxy status for your children on each one.

Libby

Libby is amazing. Libby allows you to check out e-books or audiobooks (my personal choice) for free with your phone. All you need is a library card – which is also free. You can check out either type of book for up to 21 days. I haven’t had any issues finishing audiobooks in that timeframe, but I also haven’t tried listening to The Lord of the Rings or anything like that.

Things I love:

  • It’s free!
  • They have pretty much every audiobook I’m interested in.
  • The controls are super easy. I can change the playback speed, add bookmarks, etc.
  • It’s easy to add holds to books and then to manage them.

Things I wish were better:

  • Sometimes I don’t like waiting for a book that has a bunch of holds on it. That’s me being impatient though and I can usually find something else to listen to in the meantime.

Pocket

Pocket is a relatively new app for me, but I’m really liking it. We all come across things in various places on the internet that we want to come back to later. Maybe we don’t have time to read a certain article or listen to a certain podcast, and the list goes on. Rather than keeping a million tabs open in Chrome or just trying to remember all the things I want to check out later, I’ve begun using Pocket.

Things I love:

  • Pocket has an app for your phone and a browser extension for your desktop Chrome, making it easy to save things from wherever you’re browsing.
  • You can tag, favorite, archive, and otherwise sort and organize the things you save.
  • They have a great section of articles and things that you can discover in your own time.
  • They even have a feature that will read articles to you! This is perfect for people like me who like to do multiple things at once.
  • The free version is great!

Things I wish were better:

  • I often forget to use it. That’s on me though.
  • The paid version is more than I’d like to pay, but I find the free version is just fine for me.

General Must-Have Apps:

These are apps that would be useful for just about anyone. They’re the ones that will save you money, help you keep track of your health, or are just generally entertaining. I’m always in the market for more great apps, so please tell me which apps you love in the comments below!

Honey

You may have heard of Honey as a Chrome extension for your desktop (which I love), but now Honey is actually also available as an app for your phone. Basically, Honey finds the best discount codes for you when you’re shopping online. It also lets you earn Honey Gold which can be redeemed for cash.

Things I love:

  • I love a coupon code and with Honey, I don’t have to track them down myself.

Things I wish were better:

  • The app is not nearly as seamless for my online shopping as the Chrome extension.

Kwik Rewards

If you live in Wisconsin, you probably have a local Kwik Trip (or three). It only makes sense then to make use of the Kwik Rewards app. You just punch in your number at the pump or at the register and you can rack up visits that can be exchanged for rewards like food, drinks, or gas discounts. There are also “punchcards” for items that folks buy frequently.

Things I love:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • I go to Kwik Trip all the time since there about six locations that I pass on a regular basis.

Things I wish were better:

  • Maybe some better or more frequent rewards would be cool, but overall I’m fine with it.

Pocket Casts

If you have an iPhone and you love podcasts as much as I do, you probably know that the Apple Podcasts app is one of the worst apps around. The organization (or lack thereof) makes no sense. I used it for quite some time because I didn’t feel like looking for a different app and setting up all my podcast subscriptions again. Clearly, I’m a little lazy in this regard. But recently I got completely fed up and went searching for a new app. That’s when I found Pocket Casts. It’s so great. It’s easy to use, easy to customize, and it has almost every podcast I want to listen to.

Things I love:

  • The free version has literally every feature I could want.
  • The organization is far and away better than the default Apple Podcasts app.
  • You can customize so many things to fit your own specific needs.

Things I wish were better:

  • There was one podcast that I usually listen to that is not available on Pocket Casts. For me this wasn’t a dealbreaker since it wasn’t one that I listen to all the time.

Steps

So this app may not be useful for many folks that had Apple Watches and other fancy gear. However, I can be a bit of a cheapskate so I don’t have those things. But I do want to be able to track my steps because I find that when I move consistently, I feel better (pretty sure that is an almost universal truth). The Steps app is a no-nonsense step tracker that allows you to easily see your real-time information as well historical step information.

Things I love:

  • It’s so simple. Like ridiculously simple.
  • It has a great widget I can add to my home screen so I can just glance and see where I’m at for the day.

Things I wish were better:

  • I have to have my phone on me to count my steps. This is not the app’s problem – it’s mine because I refuse to get an Apple Watch.
  • There are probably other features on other apps that this one is lacking, but honestly this app does all I wanted it to do!

FarOut

If you like to hike, and specifically hike the Ice Age Trail here in Wisconsin, you need to check out FarOut (previously Guthook). It’s an app that allows you to buy and download specific trail maps for many of the larger trails in the country (and the world!). The Ice Age Trail is 1 of 11 National Scenic Trails so it makes sense that its map would be available. The Ice Age Trails is divided into four segments that you can purchase individually or as a bundle.

Things I love:

  • There are so many features to this app. But one of the best is the GPS aspect. You can find yourself on the trail super easily as long as you have your phone with you. You can also send your location to someone if needed, which is always a great thing when hiking.
  • The maps show all sorts of points of interest along the trails. It shows rivers and streams, paved roads, campgrounds, nice views, parking lots, glacial features, and much more.
  • You can track your hikes which is great if you’re attempting to segment hike the trail!

Things I wish were better:

  • They have quite a few trails, but the only one nearby is the Ice Age Trail. Perhaps there will be more in the future.
  • The maps aren’t cheap, but they also provide a ton of information so I do think it’s worth it.

WeatherX

This one may seem weird for those that do not suffer from headaches brought on by weather changes. Unfortunately for me, I am not one of those people. Since a young age, I noticed that I would get migraines when it was stormy or there were other sudden weather changes. These are brought on by the quick changes in barometric pressure. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll just say that this app is great for alerting you ahead of time when one of those pressure changes is coming!

Things I love:

  • The app will send an alert that a pressure change is headed your way. If it’s happening in the night, it will tell you beforehand so you’re not surprised by it.
  • You can change the sensitivity of the alerts if you know how sensitive you are to pressure changes.

Things I wish were better:

  • This app is tied to the WeatherX earplugs that are used to equalize the pressure in your head with the pressure outside your body. My success with the earplugs is hit or miss. But if nothing else, the alerts tell me when I need to have some painkillers on hand.

Goodreads

If you like to read and if you like data and reviews, Goodreads is for you. With all the audiobooks I’ve been listening to and the physical books I’ve been reading, it seemed like a good idea to keep track of them. Goodreads is a website and an app that you can track your books, book ratings and reviews, reading goals, and other things. You can also friend people on it to see what others are reading. I’m sure there are other features that I’m not even using!

Things I love:

  • I can keep track of what I’ve read and my thoughts on each book.
  • I can see what books my sisters read and how they’ve rated them! (I can also see what Rick reads, but I’m less interested in that 😉)
  • I like that you can add tags and other organization tools

Things I wish were better:

  • The app is a bit clunky and slow. I think the website is better, but I prefer to use the app for convenience.

Your turn!

Now it’s your turn. Which apps have made your life easier? Which ones can’t you live without? Which ones do I need to check out right now? Let me know in the comments below!

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Hi! This is my little corner of the internet. Have a little peak around to find all sorts of tips & tricks as well as family session faves.

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