8 Resources That Will Transform Your Online Business
(This post may contain affiliate links, however, these are all programs that I use and highly recommend!)
Tech tools make the biz world go ‘round… especially if you’re an online entrepreneur! There are quite a few programs, apps, and tools that keep me sane in my business and I’d love to share my favorites with you today.
So, I am an online entrepreneur… what exactly does that mean?
I meet potential clients, make sales, and schedule meetings completely online. Every part of my business is done online! Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t meet with people face-to-face still. I definitely make a point to get out and meet with other local entrepreneurs because honestly, this online journey – although it sounds dreamy (and usually it is) – can also be really tough and sometimes lonely!
Being an online entrepreneur also means that I have to utilize lots of tech-y stuff… and sometimes the options can get so overwhelming! So today I’m going to share with you my top 8 business tools that make my life easier and keep me sane!
I LOVE my Squarespace website and as a professional graphic and website designer, I’ve designed my share of websites! WordPress, Wix, Weebly… I can say that Squarespace is my favorite. Not only is it EASY to use (like crazy easy), it is EASY to make it look great. I have clients with ZERO design experience making websites that look pretty awesome 100% on their own and that’s why I love it the most.
I can design a Squarespace website for a client knowing that they can maintain it completely on their own. They can easily make edits to text, pictures, and placement in no time. Plus, there is zero extra cost to maintaining a Squarespace website as Squarespace handles the tech support and maintenance. And as you know, if you run your own WordPress website, you need to be running backups, updates, and security plugins constantly… (OR paying someone to do this for you) Gah! Can you say OVERWHELM?!?
Squarespace has multiple plans; however, their basic plan is $16/month when paid month-to-month or $144/year ($12/month when paid annually). This cost includes all the templates, hosting, tech support, and domain name (if you buy the annual plan).
So, at the end of the day, you end up paying about the same amount for Squarespace as you do Wordpress when you consider buying a premium theme ($60), hosting plan (about $5/month), paid plugins (I paid about $40 for my faves), and maintenance support (about $20/month if you hire this out or less if you pay for your own monthly backup service that YOU manually backup)…
Actually, most of my past clients ended up paying more for a WordPress site than they do for Squarespace!
Ok, I know I’m biased about the important role that design and appearance have on your business, BUT Canva is totally awesome. Canva is making it possible for regular people (non-designers) to create AMAZING graphics in minutes.
I personally still use my Adobe Creative Cloud programs for design work… but Canva is my go-to program to whip something up super quick! Plus, as a designer, I can create a design for a client in Canva knowing that they can update and modify the design in the future… and if you’ve ever worked with a designer before, you know how big of a headache adjustments and changes can be! Every time you need a minor adjustment you have to hire and wait for your designer to get it done… NO MORE with Canva!
Want to see some of the social media graphics I have created for my clients using Canva??
I also have tons of tutorials showing you how to create your own amazing graphics in Canva in my Fearless self-study course that will be launching this fall! Or check out my tutorial on “how to DIY your logo” in the files section of my private Facebook group!
Want to know what makes it even better? It is FREE for their basic plan… however, if you want to use your own custom fonts, add your brand elements to their branding dashboard, AND download transparent background PNGs, then their paid plan is only $12.95/month and totally worth it.
Building an email list is a pretty easy way to begin building that know, like, and trust factor, and convert kit is my favorite email marketing software program so far. It makes it SOO easy to create different campaigns, set up an email funnel, and check the actual results of your efforts.
One of my favorite things about Convert kit is the quick at-a-glance reports on your main dashboard… you can quickly see how many people have joined your list in the form of a bar graph and you can check out each campaign’s conversion rate right there. They also make sending broadcasts to your people super easy!
And the icing on the cake is the extra features… they make automation SUPER easy! For example, when someone clicks a link you can tag them which adds them to an email sequence… once that sequence finishes up you can set another automation to immediately add them to another sequence if they did not click any of your sales links in the previous sequence.
Plus, you can easily A/B test each email headline. Woohoo!
It’s also very reasonably priced at only $29/month for their basic plan.
Tailwind is one of my new favorites! If you have a blog and want to grow traffic to your blog and website organically, then Pinterest is the place to be and Tailwind is the app to use.
All the experts say that if you want to grow your Pinterest then you need to be pinning daily. I’ve heard anywhere from 10-50 pins spread out throughout the entire day to your business account. (Crazy huh?!)
This would be absolutely CRAZY to do on our own! Thankfully, Tailwind lets you schedule HUNDREDS of pins in no time. I have scheduled out 3 months of pins within one hour before! It will also automatically select the best times for you to post pins based on your sites activity AND schedule the pins for those times for you.
This program is a MUST for bloggers and it’s not too expensive either. It’s either $15/month or $120 per year if paid annually.
Are you constantly trying to get on the phone with potential clients but the back and forth of scheduling a call is driving you crazy?? Good news! Acuity scheduler allows you to set your availability and allows your potential clients, current clients, or anyone you need to get on the phone with to schedule a time into your calendar that works for THEM instantly. Just send them the Acuity scheduler link OR embed the scheduler right into your website within just a couple minutes. They make it super easy and if you’re using Squarespace… it’s a synch to get your scheduler embedded into your site.
Acuity is completely free for their basic plan!!! However, you can only have one available calendar with the free plan… but their paid plan starts at only $10 per month (what I use) and allows you to set different availabilities for different calendar types.
For example, I have one calendar for prospective clients to book free calls with me and another calendar (with different availability) for my current clients to schedule their paid calls with me! It makes my life SO much easier!
Ok, to be totally honest, I have just begun to dabble in Dubsado. I was a long time Honeybook CRM user, however, once I looked into Dubsado, began watching training videos, and started a free trial to see what they were all about… I was HOOKED. Dubsado is your one stop shop for all things customer management, lead management, payment/invoicing/contract signing, and even client organization.
One of my favorite Dubsado features is their workflow automation… you can set up automations that make your life WAY easier (and right now I’m ALL about automation) based on any type of trigger!
For example, you can send a client a form (think new client questionnaire), invoice, and contract all at once (all of which you can create templates for to make client onboarding super quick and easy!)… Dubsado will then walk them through taking care of each item step by step. Then, you can set an automation that says once they have completed the invoice and signed the contract they are automatically sent their first welcome email giving them your call schedule link and “how I work” document (if you don’t have a “how I work” document I totally recommend it!!). Then, you can set up weekly recurring emails to touch base with your clients and you can set weekly workbooks to be sent automatically, etc. It makes it all so easy and you won’t have to wonder if you sent your clients something or not!
That’s only one of the awesome Dubsado advantages… for more info about how Dubsado works, check out these videos.
Drumroll please… Dubsado has a FREE trial plan that you can use for up to 3 clients!!! Woohooo!! At that point it is $25/month or $250/year.
Ok, I have a love-hate relationship with videos and Facebook lives. However, I KNOW that they are so important to building that know, like, and trust factor. There is nothing that gets a potential client connecting with you on a personal level like live video!
You may already know this, but I am ALL about reusing content. Like I am always trying to figure out new ways to use old content in a new way… And since I regularly do live videos and trainings in my group The Impactful LadyBoss Movement, I can download those videos from Facebook and edit them in iMovie to post them as a “vlog” OR add snippets of my group trainings onto my business Facebook page as a promo for my group.
So, here’s the thing… I usually ask people to comment on my lives and I tend to get distracted and ramble for a second when I see someone join me… so iMovie allows me to cut those snippets out and make sure my video is going to be applicable for the person who is watching the recording as well. I can edit it down to get straight to the point.
I have used many different professional movie editing software programs and iMovie is by far my favorite for simple, quick, and easy edits. Plus, iMovie is FREE for mac users!!! I LOVE awesome free programs that make my life easier.
Unfortunately, iMovie is for Macs only. Sorry PC users… if you know of a great PC movie editing program drop it in the comments!
Zapier is another program I am just getting into… but I LOVE the possibilities of it!! Zapier basically allows you to connect different programs together by a “zap”, hence saving you time and making your life easier.
- If someone buys a product from your store you can set a zap to automatically add them to your email list!
- If someone purchases your tripwire on Paypal you can automatically tag them in ConvertKit which will deliver your tripwire product straight to their email inbox AND then add them to your email sequence/sales funnel.
- If someone books a call on your calendar, you can set up a zap to automatically add them as a lead in your CRM.
Now Zapier is limited to specific programs, but there are over 750 programs available!... Including Mailchimp, Paypal, Facebook, Trello, Google calendar, Acuity, and many, many more! And they are adding new programs to their database regularly!
Zapier is free for their basic plan (which doesn’t include all of the premium apps) or it is $20/month for their basic plan including all apps, plus you can create 3+ step zaps with their paid plan.
What are your favorite zaps?? Tell me in the comments below!
Well that does it for today! There are a few other programs that I’m trying out and mulling over… so there may end up being a “part 2” to this post one day. ;)
But until then, I hope this was super helpful for you and if you walk away with anything… I hope it is a new-found motivation to begin searching for programs that will make your life easier and help you automate your workflow!
Always cheering you on,