Getting the right tools and software programs can make ALL the difference when you are trying to build your business. Different stages of business require the addition (or deletion) of different resources.
When you’re bootstrapping it, you can probably make do with leveraging a few core (free or low cost) resources. Below I will give you a look at what I use, have used and what I suggest. None of this content is sponsored. These are honest real life solutions.
Provides incredible templates. For when you have all the content but you are not a graphic designer. I can’t say enough great things about their products, services, and support.
Canva: Canva is an amazing tool for creating graphics. Use it to create your free products and lead magnets, presentations, images, social media graphics, logos, printables, workbooks, anything! Check out the FREE version to get you started.
I have hired people to build websites, hired SEO firms, built my own websites and watched a “few” youtube videos on how to drive traffic and how to monitor organic content.
Go Daddy – I use this website builder for my website and several client sites that I have built. I find this very easy to use. You can set up a domain, select a theme and publish your site in under an hour or two. There are also several different modules that you can add on to help with email marketing and ways to grow your reach and traffic. I recommend this for use of use and price.
WordPress — I use WordPress (self-hosted) as the platform for my site. (another business) I love the ability to make updates myself. I have hired people to build WORD PRESS sites and I have also built word press sites and made updates to word press sites.
Wix – I have not personally set up a WIX site – but I have helped people with their WIX sites. I would recommend a new business look at this as a possibility in addition to Go Daddy and Squarespace.
Square Space - I have not personally set up a Square Space site – but I have helped people with their sites. I would recommend a new business look at this as a possibility in addition to Go Daddy and Squarespace.
Google Cal— I use Google Calendar for all my scheduling needs. I love that I can share a calendar with someone, and create multiple calendars inside my main schedule. I have a main calendar, then a Family calendar, and calendars for each business.
Acuity – This is a new tool that I am using to help with scheduling clients. What I love about this – is the ease of use in setting this up. You can integrate this to other calendars like Google or outlook. Also, you are able to set up appointment types and set up schedules for each appointment type. This can easily be integrated to a payment system. I chose STRIPE. (More on that below)
Calendly – This is a tool that I have used in the past and love. The only reason that I moved from Calendly to Acuity is so that I am able to take online payments using STRIPE. Very easy to use and also easy to set up – in under 30 minutes.
Stripe — Stripe is a great option. It is very simple to setup and the STRIPE dashboard allows you to review everything at a glance. This is also a great option for those that prefer to not use PayPal. Additionally, it allows me to create recurring auto payments – which save time and money.
Harvest — I love Harvest for invoicing (and time tracking if you need it). Its low cost /month allows you to invoice, track your time, and create detailed reports and more.
Google Drive — I save everything in Google Drive. I create folders for each client, files that I use to manage my business, major projects that I am working on, and png and jpeg files that I will use for social media of long form content.
Dropbox — I love having Dropbox available on all my devices. I store files, course materials, and e-books. I also use it as a way to share big files with friends, clients, joint venture partners and vendors.
Last Pass — What did I do before Last Pass?
It creates a Password vault that allows you to save ALL your important passwords in once place. Plus, it generates complex passwords for you, and then allows you to save them right away (so you don’t even have to write them down). Then, when you go to log-in to an app, it’s remembered your password for you.
BASK —My computer back-up. This works in the background to make sure everything on my computer is saved in the Cloud. Also, they offer remote access and can d-bug just about anything. My computer crashed a year ago and I called them. They logged on and through some kind of magic, were able to restore everything.
Evernote — I have used Evernote for my project management. Whenever I create a new project, I create a new Project in Evernote. Then I can clip files, writing, audio notes into that notebook so they’re all in one place. I can also share a Notebook with any relevant people so they can contribute too.
Asana —I use Asana to manage my project and teams. It is very intuitive and simple to use. Bonus: it’s free!
Others include: Basecamp, Wrike, Podio, Workzone and many others.
Later: I used Later for Instagram scheduling (the free version). If you’re on a budget and can’t afford SmarterQueue yet, this is a great option! (See below)
SmarterQueue: I had tried many different scheduling tools for my Facebook pages and Instagram accounts, and although I did like some of them (like Buffer and Later), and I am looking forward to checking out SmarterQueue this year.
Email Service Providers
Convert Kit has great functionality for getting a lot more out of your list. I recommend this platform for anyone who is selling digital products (online courses, membership programs, etc) and you’re ready to get more sophisticated with your email marketing.
There is a reason why people recommend this.
Kartra:Another amazing product is KARTRA. I am investigating this platform and may be converting to this in the next year.
I hope that this information is helpful. Years of experience, trying several different solutions and learning from clients and colleagues has allowed me to compile this list. Reach out to me if you have any questions.