In Part One: I love me some Evernote! I use it all day long. It’s almost a computer within my computer. Super tool. Can be a free forever tool.

In Part Two: I put Canva in the spotlight. This is the most comprehensive design tool and free works really well. My only complaint: I have a very hard time breaking away from wanting to create and create and create. It’s so much fun.

And now for the final tool

It’s not at all what you are going to expect. It’s not “cool”, it’s not sexy, and it’s not revolutionary. And yet 97% of those reading this uses this at least once-a-day. Some of us use it dozens of times a day. It’s easy to forget what a terrific asset this simple tool can be.

It’s your email inbox. (I said it wasn’t sexy!) And the best part is that you control its effectiveness in just a matter of seconds. You control, with very few exceptions, every moment spent looking through emails. And thanks to ongoing and ever-better anti-spam efforts in the industry, much of what is there is stuff you asked to see…

You are the curator, the judge, and the jury. You sign-up to get offers, information, and alerts from people and or businesses that you are interested in hearing from or who will help you get smarter, make more sales or save money, and so much more! You have complete control.

Just as easily as you join, you can unsubscribe from irrelevant, unworthy, and bothersome emails. It can take under 15 seconds to sign-up for most email lists and it can take even less time to unsubscribe.

I am taking a big risk here

There are plenty of sources out there that can bring you excellent information about how to run businesses. There are plenty of smart people who might take your attention away from my posts. But, I have to say, that if I only relied on a few sources, I couldn’t bring the information to my blogs that some many of you seem to appreciate.

Therefore, while I hope you will stick around and keep commenting and being part of my adventures, I have a short list of blogs to suggest for you. I have about 20 people I subscribe to, but they are not all very “small” business oriented. And many don’t apply well to the art industry. However, I hope that selection below will be likely to be useful to your various challenges.

Marie Forleo – she is super cool, very well-financed, however, she creates slick and sometimes gimmicky offers which make her feel a bit manipulative. All that aside…she is very smart about all things marketing.

MarketingSherpa – I am a big fan of this organization. It’s a bit jargon-laden and over-produced in some ways, but the case studies are always interesting. And they give some great advice that often has me saying, “wow… that’s so smart!”

Seth Godin – hard to compare him to anyone or anything. Just sign up. You will thank me. And buy his books. And just keep an open mind: it’s required in order to follow his genius mind.

Constant Contact’s Blog – Their blog is superior for its simple and down-to-earth advice for marketing small businesses. Small single-location shops. They really offer some of the very best tools. Of course, you can also benefit by using them for your email service – learn more here.  (Even the 60-day free trial will get you free phone access to their helpful marketing pros at their US call centers!)

I hope you will take advantage of the links above. Take a little time to investigate and invest some brain cells and check them out.

And I am sure you have some blogs you are already following and think are good sources – especially for artists. Feel free to put them in the comments!

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