This is a basic guide of some tools and resources to help you get started with your business. I’ve indicated the ones
I use and the ones that are my favorites, but since everyone’s needs are a little different,
I’ve included some others as well.
I’m sharing these recommendations with you because they are the exact tools I have come to rely on and love and I know that they can save you tons of time and money and allow you to run your business from anywhere. Many of these are free or have a very low cost. For your information, some of these links are my affiliate links so if you purchase using my link I will earn a small referral fee (thanks in advance if you do, and it’s totally ok if you don’t).
For Organization and Productivity
- Asana® This project management platform makes it fun to collaborate with staff and it’s free! You can integrate Asana with loads of other platforms, quickly see what your priorities are for the day, receive updates on staff progress, and if it didn’t do anything else, it DRAMATICALLY cuts down on email communications. This alone makes Asana one of the most efficient management tools you can use.
- Google Apps for Work® (now known as G Suite) Powerful online office tools that allow you and your team to collaborate easily with professional email, shared documents, cloud storage, online spreadsheets, video chats and more.
- Evernote® Are you a big note taker like I am? If you are, you’ve probably heard about Evernote, or maybe you’re already using it now! It’s essential for research projects, setting up social media and marketing campaigns—basically anything that you need to gather information for. And once you have all that information, or even as you go, you can easily organize it all in one lace. Clip articles from the web, attach documents, photos, or handwritten notes. You can structure presentations and share with colleagues and staff! I use Evernote every day.
- Other great platforms are Teamwork, Trello, and Dropbox.
For Document Sending and Signing
- HelloSign® and HelloFax® There are several options for document signing systems out there, but bear in mind, they are NOT created equal. If you have numerous documents that need to be signed or transferred to other parties, HelloSign and HelloFax will make your life simpler. These products are cloud based, enabling users to review, fill out, sign, send, and save documents easily. No more using fax machines. When a fax comes in you’ll get an email with a PDF attachment.
For Client Management
- 17Hats® was created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. This is evident in its simple navigation functionality and multi-purpose capabilities. I use 17Hats for all new client intake. With this simple interface, we are able to do pretty much anything—send out questionnaires, intake forms, contracts, invoices, and more! It also integrates with Google Calendar and Email. You can structure and automate workflow, and on top of it all, it has quite an attractive design. The one feature many 17Hats users have been patiently waiting for is a scheduling option. This would make it the ideal platform for all your new client needs.
- Contactually® makes it easy to maintain and cultivate your existing business relationships. We all know how tedious it is to get your contacts uploaded to a new management platform. You have to sort and tag, and it can be time-consuming. With Contactually you can sort contacts using the Bucket Game. It makes inputting fun and easy! Plus, you can customize templates, pre-schedule and track opens. But I think the number one thing that separates Contactually from the rest is their stellar customer service. And let’s face it. These days, that’s hard to come by!
For Online Appointment Scheduling
- vCita® This client engagement platform offers a lot. With both text and email automation, vCita offers self-service appointment scheduling and easily integrates into any web or mobile site, email campaigns, and social media platforms. Sync it with your existing calendar and receive reminders and updates about upcoming, rescheduled and canceled appointments. Plus, you can personalize appointment reminders, confirmations, and follow-ups.
- Other online appointment schedulers you might want to look into are Acuity and TimeTrade. In addition, there is Calendly, which is simple to use—and free!
For Website Building
- WordPress is what I use and my top recommendation. You might also want to consider Squarespace, Strikingly, Weebly, and Wix. Strikingly is a great option if you’re just starting out because you can easily set up your own 1-page website in an hour or so. I had a Strikingly site for months while I was waiting for my site to be built.
For Online Meetings and Webinars
For Automated Email Service
- My go-to email service right now is Drip by Leadpages. It has all of the bells and whistles that the mega email providers have but it’s super easy to use which is a major plus for me. I’ve only been using it for a few months so I’m not using all of the features but I love the automation features and the integrations. To me it’s a perfect middle of the road option.
- AWeber® is an easy to-use email marketing and autoresponder service. This pretty straightforward system allows business owners to communicate more effectively with clients, send broadcast newsletters and special offers via email, implement web form tools so you can create easy-to-publish sign up forms, and so much more! Click here for my affiliate link for AWeber. Depending on your needs, you might also want to take a look at MailChimp, Simplero, Constant Contact, and ConvertKit.
For Virtual Administrative Support and Professional Services
- Upwork® allows businesses to post jobs and search for qualified freelancers. Through Upwork’s system, freelancers are designated a rating similar to Amazon, with feedback, work history, and a full portfolio. References are already verified, and there is a large variety of candidates to choose from in any area of support you can imagine—from general administrative, to paralegal, to website design, to marketing services. You can exchange files, pay for services, and see detailed tracking logs and screen shots all through one interface.
- Fiverr® is a global online marketplace that offers services at $5 per job performed— hence the name. If you have a quick job that you need turned about, Fiverr® is a great resource for creative and design freelance services. I’ve had the best luck with Fiverr for graphic and design products.
For Branding and Marketing Solutions
- Patrice Cameau, Strategic Communications Consultant. Patrice is a communications / media professional who will help you with anything having to do with branding, whether it’s a logo, a 1-5 page website, or a full branding package. Here is a link to her website: www.patricecameau.com, or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marcus McCoy is my go-to guy for all things marketing. Marcus does website development, search engine optimization, and social media optimization. Take a look at his impressive portfolio, then contact Marcus here or email him at email@example.com
- Brown and Duncan is a full service branding agency offering branding, collateral,
writing, and website services. You can check them out here.
- You can also find graphic design and branding solutions at Tailor Brands, Canva, Pic Monkey, and Etsy.
For Social Media Scheduling
- CoSchedule® is a WordPress plugin and social media calendar. I love it because it is so easy and allows you to schedule blogs, announcements, and all your social media content in one simple drag-and-drop calendar. Although it might not have all the bells and whistles that Edgar® and Hootsuite® have, it absolutely solves the problem of easy social media scheduling. Here’s my affiliate link for CoSchedule. Other options are Buffer, Latergramme, and SproutSocial.
For Landing Pages & Sales Pages
- Leadpages is one of the easiest and most popular tools you can use to help you create nice looking optin pages even if you aren’t a techie. I used it for years and built many pages to quickly create landing pages, sales pages and optin pages. Their template library and drag and drop features make them a leader in the landing page world. It’s perfect when you’re just starting out, even if you don’t have a website yet.
I recently left Leadpages when I signed up for Clickfunnels. CF has the same drag and drop and template features but the order forms and full funnels make it a much better option for me when it comes to selling digital products. Plus it integrates perfectly with Drip, making automation nice and easy.
For Digital Product Delivery
- There are many options for delivering digital products: GumRoad, Selz, and WooCommerce are all great for delivering digital products. I’ve used them and they integrate perfectly with PayPal and/or Stripe.
I use SamCart to sell my digital products because it was easy to set up and it allows so much flexibility for upsells/crossells/and order bumps which have worked well for me and increased my sales. The greatest part is they have a 14-day free trial so check them out and see how you like SamCart.