In order to get things done in your business, you are going to need some tools along the way. So, I’ve curated a list of the resources I currently love and recommend.
Siteground – I moved my website from Bluehost to Siteground and I’ve never looked back. They actually migrated my website for me FOR FREE, which would have cost at least a couple hundred bucks if I’d hired a tech person to do it. When I was with Bluehost, my site had a ton of downtime and their customer service took a really, really long time, and honestly, weren’t always that helpful. Siteground has provided me with excellent customer service and I haven’t had any downtime thus far. And, the prices are GREAT.
Genesis Themes by StudioPress – I love Genesis Themes is you are the DIY type. They are super simple to use and have beautiful “child themes” to make your site look however you want it. I have used Genesis for about three years and plan to stick with them for the foreseeable future.
Pretty Darn Cute and Restored 316 – These are two different designers who build Genesis Child Themes that are really pretty and are easy to use. My site is currently built on The Market Theme by Restored 316.
Aweber or Mailchimp? Neither!:
ConvertKit – I switched to ConvertKit from Aweber and haven’t looked back. It does the more “advanced” features of software like Infusionsoft but is way more affordable and very easy to use and set up. Read my whole post on why I choose ConvertKit here.
For Invoicing, Contracts, and Bookkeeping:
17hats – 17hats does A LOT. It does invoicing, contracts, project management, email templates, light bookkeeping, and so much more. But, what I love the most about 17hats is the automated workflows that you can build. For example, you can build a workflow that sends your client the agreement, the invoice, and the welcome email with A SINGLE CLICK. It is nothing short of amazing. Click here to learn more about 17hats.
Project Management and Productivity:
Bullet Journaling – While I use Asana to keep track of big projects, I use a bullet journal for keeping track of the day-to-day. I love the flexibility of this style and that satisfying feeling of actually marking through the things I’ve done. I also keep a few “collections” that make things a bit easier for me, like my html color codes for my website and the crystals I want to buy next ;). This is the notebook I use.
Self Control App – This is a free app that you can add to your Mac laptop or desktop that will block you out of any site you want. I use this when I want to be sure to stay focused on the task at hand. I set it to block me out of Facebook and email. The awesome thing about this app is that once you turn it on, there is no way to turn it off until the time runs out, even if you uninstall the app! You can do as little as 15 minutes all the way up to a full day. Just be sure you really want to restrict your access for the amount of time you set. Click here to learn more about the Self Control App.
Zapier – The tech I use in my business makes things really automated and streamlined so I don’t use this one much. It connects apps that don’t normally integrate, so, if you are using a bunch of tech that doesn’t integrate, it’s great. I do use it for a couple pretty neat things, though. Like, when I star an email in gmail, it sends it to evernote. Very cool. Click here to learn more about Zapier.
Google Apps for Work – This is the paid version of gmail. You don’t have to have it, but, you can get a domain based email address, instead of using your host. Which means that if you ever transfer hosts, you won’t have to move, or risk losing, your business related email. Click here to learn more about Google Apps.
Boomerang – This is an add on for gmail, or google apps email, that does a couple of really cool things. You can write an email and have it send at anytime you want (rather than when you are writing it), you can “bring back” any email you don’t want to deal with (instead of leaving it in your inbox), and you can even use it as a reminder for recurring tasks. I find that boomerang really helps me maintain my precious inbox zero. Click here to learn more about Boomerang for gmail.
For Keeping Track of Stuff:
Evernote – I use Evernote multiple times per day for a multitude of reasons. I love it for planning content and courses, saving articles I want to read, keeping long term business related notes, and for doing my “homework” in the courses I take. I also have a notebook for each of my clients where I send their pre-work into my evernote so that it is all in one place. You can only do that part with the premium version but it is totally worth it. Click here to learn more about Evernote.
Dashlane (For Passwords) – This is a great app that remembers your passwords so you don’t have to. It will also tell you which of your current passwords are secure and will update them for you. And, it remembers all of your other data like credit cards, addresses, etc. and will generate strong passwords for new sites. It works for both desktop and your mobile device. Click here to learn more about Dashlane.
Invoicing and shopping cart:
17hats – As I mentioned above, 17hats does SO MUCH. It does invoicing, contracts, project management, email templates, light bookkeeping, and so much more. But, what I love the most about 17hats is the automated workflows that you can build. For example, you can build a workflow that sends your client the agreement, the invoice, and the welcome email with A SINGLE CLICK. It is nothing short of amazing. Click here to learn more about 17hats.
Send Owl – This is a great shopping cart with flexible and robust features AND it’s easy to use. I love that it directly integrates with my newsletter service (ConvertKit), can add a terms of service before purchase, and that it has the ability to do affiliate management if I decide to go that route down the line. Send owl integrates with both PayPal and Stripe. Click here to learn more about Send Owl.
Acuity Scheduling – This is another one of those things where I have tried them ALL. And Acuity is by far the most robust and flexible tool for booking your clients. It takes payment, two way syncs with Google Calendar, and have customizable email reminders and text messages for your clients. Here is a whole post I wrote Acuity.
For hosting course content:
Ruzuku – This is a great platform for hosting course content, especially if you are doing something with multimedia. I even have some clients and colleagues that use it for private online coaching. It is great if you are looking for an “untech savvy” way to get your courses up and running really quickly. It even takes payment! Click here to learn more about Ruzuku.
Scheduling Social Media
Hootsuite – This is actually not my favorite scheduling tool BUT it is the only one that does Instagram. Instagram is my “primary” social media so I use Hootsuite and it gets the job done. (Note: You can’t actually autopost to Instagram. You schedule it in Hootsuite and then it sends you a notification with the post at the correct time). If you don’t do Instagram, Edgar and Buffer are also great.
Canva – I create all of my images in Canva. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you get the hang of it, it is so awesome. I use the upgraded account because of the more robust features but the free version is still awesome. What I love about it is that you don’t need a degree in design to make beautiful images for your website and social media. You can even make flyers, posters, and presentations. Click here to learn more about Canva.
I typically use one of three different stock photo sites: iStockphoto, Stocksy, and Shutterstock. When choosing images that will be main elements of your brand, I do recommend that you use paid stock photos. But, for social media and blog post photos, there are some great free stock photo sites. My favorite free site is Pexels.
Courses for Building and Growing Your Business
When deciding to take business related course, I recommend that you get very specific help based on where you are now, rather than willy nilly buying all the programs. CreativeLive is a great resource for finding extremely affordable courses, with very specific outcomes, taught by amazing teachers. Some of my favorite CreativeLive Courses are:
Pinfinite Growth by Melyssa Griffin (not a creative live course)
Whoa! That’s a lot of resources. I trust that you have found this helpful.