It can be hard to know what tools you need in business or what services are great to use.
I have put together a list of my favourite business tools and services that I use to run my business!
Website & Hosting
- GoDaddy for domain names. I buy all my domains through them – they have fantastic customer service, the management system is easy to use and they regularly have coupon codes to save you money on your domain names!
- Hostgator for unlimited domain hosting (I use the Baby Plan). If you want to use self hosted WordPress I highly recommend Hostgator. Again great customer service and excellent value for money!
- No Stress WordPress course (free). If you haven’t a clue where to start with building your own self hosted WordPress website, you’ll love my free course 🙂
- Bluchic Themes. I am literally obsessed with their WordPress themes – they are so beautifully designed, easy to customise for a beginner but also easy to tweak if you dare to delve into the coding! Ever since I started using their themes I get people commenting on my website all. the. time! Excellent customer service too!
- Wishlist Member. If you want to create a membership site to protect your content to paid customers only then I highly recommend Wishlist. Sure there are free options out there (which I tried by the way) but they were a nightmare to set up and were quite limiting. Wishlist is super simple to put together and works like a dream 🙂
Behind The Scenes
- Evernote (free). This is my must have tool on all devices I own! I write blog posts in here, brainstorm new ideas, write to do lists, save articles I want to read later, save pdfs – it’s like carrying a dozen notebooks around with you without the bulk in your handbag! There is a paid version (which I use) but the free version is great and well worth trying out!
- Google Apps for Business. Like an office on the go! Get a business email (you at yourdomain.com) with the awesome features of Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive to name a few! I create all questionnaire forms, printables and contracts in Google Docs as it integrates with many services on the web and pulls my files in at the click of a button!
- Teamwork Project Management (free). Keeping your business organised is essential to avoid overwhelm. I use Teamwork to organise all the areas of my business I work on, I get task reminders emailed to me and when working with a virtual assistant you can give them a log in so you can discuss the work they will help you with in 1 neatly organised area.
- Acuity Scheduling (free). Quit playing email tennis just to set up meetings with people – use an online scheduler and let them book a time that suits them and also fits in with your schedule. It syncs with Google Calendar, automatically adds appointments to it and sends reminder emails to the people who booked – simple!
- Dropbox (free). No more losing USB sticks with important files on them. I store everything in dropbox so I can access wherever I need to, whenever I want. I also have Dropbox automatically back up the piccies of my little girl from my iPhone meaning that if I lost my phone, I haven’t lost my precious memories!
- HelpScout (free). If you run online programmes or provide a service and need to have a support facility you’ll love HelpScout. It automatically tickets every enquiry meaning nothing goes missing and it allows multiple people to help out and see the conversation thread. It also keeps your personal email inbox from getting cluttered too!
- You Need A Budget (YNAB). This software completely changed my life. It may sound cheesy but it’s true! As an entrepreneur I’ve always found it really difficult balancing my money with the feast/famine cycle that sometimes happens in business. I didn’t have a clue what money I had, where it needed to go or anything. It was stressful and nothing I tried worked. Fair to say I felt like a failure! I tried YNAB out from a recommendation and I genuinely thought “this will be something else that probably doesn’t work”. Well I was wrong. It is a fantastic system and I couldn’t imagine trying to handle my finances without it. I can record every transaction on my phone on the go and I know EXACTLY where my money is going. I saw an immediate improvement within the first 2 weeks! They do a generous free trial so just give it a go!
- Freshbooks (free). I love using Freshbooks for my business finances. It helps me to send someone an invoice within a matter of minutes, they can pay me online via PayPal and it even automatically chases up late payments for me! Very simple to use and makes tax time a lot less overwhelming!
Design & Graphics
- PicMonkey (free). Forget needing an expensive Photoshop subscription you can create your own fabulous graphics using this free online tool. There is a paid option which I use (you get some extra fonts and elements) but there is still a lot you can do with the free version!
- Canva (free). Very similar to PicMonkey and has built in stock photos if you need to add these to your graphics. It’s free for a lot of it’s elements and graphics but if you want any premium content like stock photos then it’s $1 per element.
- Creative Market. If you need to buy fancy fonts, beautiful elements or effects then Creative Market is the place to go! Prices range depending on the seller but the quality is fantastic.
- Dollar Photo Club. Some stock photo sites can be crazy expensive which is why I love Dollar Photo Club. I found most free image sites to be a little on the iffy side but DPC have fabulous images and, surprise, surprise, they only cost $1 each!
- Etsy. A great place to check out if you need anything creative like design work, images, elements, patterns, backgrounds. Warning: it gets a little addictive……….
- Fiverr.com. If you need quick jobs completing around design, coding, editing, etc then Fiverr.com is a great place to check out. Do be cautious though – there are some amazing people on there and then others who’s work isn’t that great. Look around for great reviews and if possible ask people for recommendations.
Email Marketing & Social Media
- MailChimp (free). Building an email list for your business is absolutely crucial! With the constant changes in social media and the web you just can’t guarantee that the amazing income stream Facebook brings you will always be there. By building your email list you can have more control over reaching your followers. Mailchimp is a great option to start with as they have both free and paid plans and it’s super simple to use!
- Master Your Mailing List. If you’ve bagged yourself Mailchimp but you don’t want send out emails that scream “I use Mailchimp and don’t know how to change the templates” then you’ll love my Master Your Mailing List class – you can set up your account and customise the emails so they look like a part of your business just as much as your business card does!
- Hootsuite (free). As busy mama entrepreneurs we just can’t spend all day every day on social media. You need to embrace tools that allow you to schedule content easily and quickly. Hootsuite will let you schedule content, check your feeds, reply to posts and keep an eye on stats all in one area. They also have mobile apps to so you can keep up on the go. They have a free and paid version – most people find they can get by on the free one!
- Buffer (free). The only thing Hootsuite (above) doesn’t do well is posting images to social media. They embed as a link and what you ideally want to do is have them stored natively on each platform. This is where Buffer comes in. Buffer also has a really handy queue feature so you can set up a schedule for posting links to other people’s blog content and then just hit a browser installation button to automatically queue – it will save you STACKS of time! Again this is free!
- Screenflow. If you’re creating videos for your business, you need to film your desktop and edit the footage Screenflow is the software for the job! I use this for all my videos!
- Google Hangouts On Air (free). If you want to hold video chats or host a webinar Google Hangouts On Air is a great free option if you’re not quite at the point where you can invest in professional webinar software.
- Wistia (free). If you’re creating videos as part of an online paid course you’ll need to host your videos on a more private platform than YouTube. Wistia is a video hosting service and the first 50 videos are free! You can customise the player to match your branding and it’s really easy to use and embed on your website.
Training & Education
I’ve taken a lot of courses over the last few years (my bank account is still in shock lol!) and my favourites are listed below. These I feel were truly worth the money I paid for them and provided the best results for my business.
- The Members Club by The Female Entrepreneur Association. A monthly fee members club – by far one of the best expenses in my business. I’ve met some amazing people and got so much value from it!
- Stress Less & Impress by Leah Kalamakis. If you have a service based business as a freelancer (web design, virtual assistant, etc) then you’ll love this course. Helps you to create an amazing experienced for your clients and keep things organised for you!
- The Virtually Anywhere Shoestring by Virtual Miss Friday. Without a doubt I would never have got my first online business out into the world without this course. Gives you step by step everything you need to do to set up your virtual service based business up.
My Kindle is bursting at the seams with all the books I’ve downloaded (it’s a bit of an addiction if I’m honest!). The books below were by far my favourites!
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. My number 1 recommendation and a book I’ve read countless times. If you have big dreams you NEED this book!
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Another of my absolute favourite books. If you’re exhausted and feel like everything is either “all systems go” or at a complete grinding halt you should read this!
- Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield Thomas. Not what you’re probably imagining! This book is all about changing your relationship with money, discovering and removing your money blocks and tapping into the law of attraction for your finances!
- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. A fantastic approach to your business finances to make sure you thrive rather than end up broke!
- Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk. I love me some Gary Vee – if you haven’t watched him on YouTube you should look him up – his energy is infectious! This book is all about making a living doing what you love!