“Yeah, I checked Asana for your message. I mean, Slack, I checked Slack,” said one of the Kinship team at our biweekly Monday meeting.

A few minutes later, another teammate chimed in: “Hey, can you check the TeamUp Calendar for tasks? No, I mean check Asana for tasks.”

And a little later: “Can you send me that file through Google Drive. No, I mean Dropbox! Ugh!”

“Ugh” pretty much sums it up.

Having a remote team has some clear advantages, but things aren’t always sunshine, rainbows, and clean co-working spaces either.

Why are there so many platforms out there, and what in the world are we supposed to do with all of them? We don’t even use our everyday tools to their full potential. There’s just not enough time in the day or days in the year to learn all of the ins and outs of all these tools online.

Running a small business goes like this sometimes: logging in with a slew of different passwords (at least one of which you forget and need to reset), and using one tool to schedule something on another platform that is reading data from yet another online tool. Sometimes, it’s just too much.

Take a breath, take a step back, log out, shut down, and focus on what we’re saying here.

You cannot be an expert at everything and shouldn’t feel the pressure to be. Being a small business owner in any capacity is hard work!

As you go through life as a small business owner, our advice is to pack only the essentials. And by that, we mean: don’t start new platforms or take on new tools and try to master them to feel “in.” Taking on each new platform takes time and energy, both of which are limited resources.

Don’t go for what all of the people in your Facebook groups have affiliate links for. Don’t pay for the software that “all marketing gurus” are using today! Doing that is like trying on someone else’s shoes hoping they won’t give you blisters.

What should you do?

Find the tools you need, do the research to understand if they will meet your needs, dive in, and use as much of that tool as is necessary for your business to grow. On top of that, only choose platforms, tools, online apps that genuinely fit your business goals and brand vision. Find the shoe that fits – regardless of what it looks like or what other people think about it. Find systems that makes things easier, not just better looking.

Near the end of the meeting Monday morning, we shared a laugh at the ridiculousness of our conversation regarding where, when, how to share documents and ideas, who to tag, and where to pull data. Then each of us logged off our meeting software and went back to the real world.

Slowly, through trial and error, we’ve found what works for us, even if there are occasional miscommunications. We listen to each other, figure out how to work together, and adapt new tools to meet our needs. It’s a constant process to step out of the web of chaos, swanky marketing, and smooth-looking interfaces, paring down to just what we need to do our work.

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