I have a secret hobby.
I like to go to the App Store and have Apple tell me all the awesome apps people far cooler than me are using and loving. I favor the really obscure hipster apps, the ones that cost 4 bucks, have limited functionality, and really good graphic design.
(This is a spectacular way to avoid doing work, by the way. The App Store can keep you busy for HOURS.)
Recently the App Store had nothing to offer. I’d reached the end of their suggestions, completely uninspired. So I took to Google, to find “cool apps” that other people are using. I even searched it – see?
If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll notice a common thread – best this, best that, best the other thing – but I didn’t want the “best” apps. I didn’t want the apps that everyone and their basset hound was already using. I wanted new! cool! hip! fun! and instead I found nothing, because all the blogs hate me.
So! In response to this traumatic event, I have decided to channel my pain and boredom and tell YOU 5 cool underappreciated apps that I use nearly every day to make business easier.
Let us commence.
Cool App #1: Bonjoro
Bonjoro is a video messaging app designed to increase customer and/or subscriber engagement. It is pitched as a way to send personalized welcome videos to new subscribers. So, like, somebody comes on to your list, and you send them a little video welcoming them personally.
It’s not practical for me to use it for list subscribers, but I use it frequently for clients and for people in the Like A Boss group, or when I’m starting a new class. I make a video about a minute long from my phone (or you can use the web app) and the whole thing is done and wrapped in about 2 minutes.
I seriously don’t know why everyone isn’t using this. It’s amazing.
Cool App #2: Bear
Bear is a writing app for “crafting notes and prose”. It’s basically Evernote, but insanely beautiful. I tried to look up the features for you, but I got dizzy scrolling. I understood like 25 words of the description, and those 25 words were not consecutive.
I know Evernote is the 800-pound gorilla in the Writing Stuff On Your Phone sphere, but whatever. I have it. I never use it. Bear is the prettiest thing in the world. It makes me WANT to write things.
Cool App #3: Forest
Forest is a productivity app. You plant a little seed in your forest, and then you go to work for a specified period of time. If you succeed, your seed turns into a little tree. If you fail, your tree dies and you are sad. Plant enough trees, and you unlock snazzy features including backgrounds, soundtracks and even the ability to plant real, swear-to-god trees.
I have ADHD and serious authority issues. Normally, I don’t care what incentive you’re offering, as soon as I think I HAVE to work? I bail. But for whatever reason, those stupid little trees actually get me to go to work and stay there. For this, Forest can have all of my money forever.
(Incidentally, I used my points to buy the “Café in Paris” soundtrack, and it knocks my freaking socks off. I’m not really into forests and beaches and rain and such, but this lets me listen to a noisy café while I work, and it always works.)
Cool App #4: Revere
Revere’s a newer find for me. It’s like a customer relationship management tool except for people.
At the ittybiz level, almost all CRM software is completely unusable. CRM software operates on an infrastructure that presupposes a rigid AF sales cycle. They all allow you to customize the experience to your system, which is cool. Unless you don’t have a system. In which case you’re screwed.
Since Revere was made for people, not sales forces, it’s a much softer and gentler introduction to customer relationship management. I love the Siri integration, I love that it doesn’t have too many screens to click on, I love the complete lack of bells and whistles.
(The developers seem to be really, really into taking feedback, too, so props on that front. I get the feeling that if I write to Revere with my thoughts, someone who works for Revere will read my email and answer it.)
Cool App #5: Calm
Calm is a very, VERY popular meditation, sleep and relaxation app. Like, it-was-Apple’s-App-of-the-Year levels of popular. And I will admit, calling Apple’s App of the Year a “hidden gem” is a bit of a reach. But I stand by its placement in my top 5 for the following reason:
I don’t use it as a meditation app. I freaking HATE meditation. I use it for the sounds.
See, I am an absolute idiot when it comes to modern technology. My 4-year old nephew is FAR better at operating my iPhone than I am. So even though there are about a billion apps designed to play pretty noises into my ears, Calm is my favorite because it’s pretty and it’s easy. I use Forest when I’m at home and procrastinating on work. I use Calm’s soundscapes in pretty much every other situation.
Plane too loud? Try Snowflakes In Moonlight. Can’t calm down before bed? Try Evening Crickets. And Fireplace? I can find any excuse to play the Fireplace soundscape.
There’s a freakishly compelling breathing exercise. Mathew McConaughey & Stephen Fry will tell you bedtime stories. Elizabeth Gilbert will tell you how to stop being afraid. Oh, and there’s meditation.
This app seriously doesn’t quit. If you don’t have it, you might want to try it. You’ll need the premium version to get the juicy stuff, but if you don’t want to spring for it, maybe wait till Black Friday because they’ll probably have a killer deal.
So those are my cool apps.
I am ALWAYS looking for new ones.
So if you’ve got any hidden gems of your own to share, email me at [email protected] and I will check them out instantly.
(Unless I’m using Forest at the time. In that case, I’ll wait till my tree’s done growing first.)
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