RAY SIDNEY-SMITH • 08/31/2022
Evernote celebrates the power of organized thinking and productive action to accomplish anything, and this is best exemplified in entrepreneurship. To transform the spark of an idea into a business that amplifies your talents, passions, or inventions is an amazing way to illustrate your vision and empower your community.
In celebration of Black Business Month in August, I spoke to two Black business owners who are using Evernote to invest in communities of color, and talked to them about how it helps them manage their work in unique ways. By sharing their stories, my goal is to seek out their best thoughts, tips, and techniques to help you harness your own creative spark, stay organized, and build on ideas to improve the world around you.
Joel Caston / Currency Catchers
Not many people start a political campaign (and win!), found and lead a peer mentorship program teaching financial literacy, and launch a business while incarcerated. But then, not many people are Joel Castón. I met Joel as a Pacific Community Ventures Business Advisor, helping him with his fledgling start-up “Currency Catchers.” He had just been sworn in to the Washington, D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) for Ward 7, becoming the first incarcerated person in the city to win elected office.
Juggling his new political life and business, I introduced Joel to Evernote and showed him how it could help keep his meetings and work organized. Ever eager to learn, Joel dove right into setting up an Evernote account so that he could take notes while in ANC meetings and conversations with his constituents.
“[Evernote] allows me to take notes and keep track of things,” Joel said. “So sometimes you don’t always have a pen handy. And even if you do have a pen handy, who wants to keep up with loose paper? It can become cumbersome. But what Evernote does is allow you not just to take notes, but organize your notes to be able to retrieve them when you need them.”
In late 2021, Commissioner Castón was released on parole after nearly 30 years and has continued his political and business work in Washington, D.C. He continues to use Evernote to remember everything that comes to mind or his attention so he doesn’t miss anything he needs to accomplish.
Troy Christmas / TaskClone
Several years ago, I met Troy Christmas, owner of Taskclone, a software solution that integrates your notes with your task management apps. Troy viewed Evernote as a “personal productivity platform” so that “everything connects to it.” His journey to becoming an Evernote ninja actually began when trying to go paperless.
“Interestingly, I got aware of Evernote, probably 2010 or so. But I was working in an entirely Microsoft shop.” But, Troy says, “At the time, Microsoft didn’t have an API and Evernote did. And so I just dove headfirst into Evernote, and then started expanding from that based on reading [about going paperless from] Jamie Todd Rubin. And that’s how I got involved in Evernote, both from the standpoint of the business but also just being more productive myself.”
From there, Troy endeavored to start some lifelog-ing in Evernote. He connected Evernote with IFTTT to capture articles, email messages, documents, and more from his work days automatically. This IFTTT applet gave him a primary daily note that he could add commentary to, journal, and review.
Another unique way that Troy uses Evernote is organizing user manuals. He finds that searching for them is always a challenge in his office, so he takes the approach of creating QR codes for each appliance that links to its user manual in Evernote. Then, he prints the QR codes and adheres them to the appliances. When he goes to look up the user manual, he’s a QR code scan away from them!
How Evernote Can Help Your Idea Become a Reality
Small businesses thrive on organization, productivity, and ideas as unique and diverse as the users who dream them up. Evernote supports small business owners in many ways, including:
Capture information in notes: Store ideas as they come up in handy notes synced across your devices, so you never risk missing that game-changing inspiration.
Group content with notebooks & tags: Keep the sections of your business separate with individual notebooks, like licenses and permits vs. payroll information. You can also tag each note to easily find everything related to ‘marketing ideas’ or ‘billing.’
Scan and save images with the document scanner: Photograph your bills, receipts, and business cards for a clutter-free workspace.
Stay on-track with tasks: By digitizing your to-do list, you can let Evernote remind you of important items and free up more of your brain to focus on what matters.
Sync your schedule with Google Calendar: Connect your Google Calendar with the integrated note function to be on your game at the start of every meeting and event.
Start ahead of Step 1 with templates: The Evernote template gallery has a wide variety of templates to better organize and streamline your business, from marketing strategy and business plans to project planning and budgeting. No need to reinvent the wheel!
Share your work with the team: Keep your employees in the loop on meeting notes, new hire information, supply orders, and more with shared notebooks.
Try Evernote for yourself today! If you’re feeling inspired but aren’t sure how best to begin, reach out to me via my website or connect with another Evernote Expert who specializes in Evernote for small businesses here.