I often get asked what tools and plug-ins I use to make my business function (as if I’m expected to have to have my “shit together” and the perfect tool or plug-in for every problem… which trust me, I don’t)
So I’ve gathered together a list for you of all the things I use.
I try and limit what I use in my day to day business life. I don’t use a million and one different tools as I find them overwhelming.
I also try not to get swayed by what everyone else is using. Take Evernote for example. For a long time I felt like I was missing out on the “Evernote Party”… as if everyone was using this amazing thing and that I should try it. When I went and have a look at it, I realised I already had tools in my business serving all those functions. If I downloaded Evernote too I would simply be adding another “thing” to the list of things I try and use.
Simplify your processes and systems. I choose to simplify mine by using as few tools as possible, and making sure that when I use a tool, it serves a specific purpose.
Disclaimer: These are the tools which work for me and my business. They may not always be the best option for you and what you are trying to achieve. Make sure you investigate the tool, it’s features and associated costs before investing. Some of the links below are affiliate links, but are all products or services that I personally use and love.
I want you to make sure that you have the right things for YOU.
On my Website:
WishList Member is a WordPress Plug-in that I use to create a membership area on my website. I chose WishList Member for many reasons, including:
– Integration (it integrates with every other tool or plug-in that I was already using)
– Ability to add lots of different membership levels
– Automated features
– Length of time on the market (WishList Member has been around for years and is well used)
For membership sites I also highly recommend Memberpress.
For drip fed courses Sensei is a great option, or you can use a plug-in like Zippy Courses.
There are lots of different email marketing solutions! Everyone has their own opinions about them and they all have their pros and cons. There is no right or wrong, choose one which works for you.
I’ve switched over to ConvertKit since the beginning of 2016, for many reasons. It doesn’t force you to build lots of different lists, instead having one master list and making great use of filters and tags. The upside of this is that each person on your list is only counted once, no matter how many of your things they want to subscribe too.
It’s cost effective, while having amazing options for content upgrades, tracking clicks, automations and much more. It’s well worth going and checking it out.
Prior to ConvertKit, I used MailChimp. I used it originally as it was a free platform and it came with all the functions that I needed. I’ve long since outgrown the platform, but it was a perfectly good place to start and served me well in the beginning.
If you are looking for something to get you started right at the beginning, and you really don’t want to pay for anything, it’s worth a look.
Popup ally pro
I’m going to start this by saying – I hate pop-ups…. But I know that they work.
I have a love hate relationship with pop-ups, but I know their value, so I decided to use Nathalie Lussier’s “Polite Pop-Up” as I loved the way I could control EVERYTHING.
I use the Pro version, and it allows me to control which pop-ups appear on which page, how often they pop up, how to make sure they don’t pop up if you’ve been directed there from an email and are already on my list, what they look like… and much more.
I have even used Popup Ally Pro to create my landing pages in the past, as it allows you to embed what would have been a pop up, directly into your page.
You can find out more about Pop up ally pro here.
(There is also a free version of Popup Ally, which you can find in your WordPress plug-in search area. )
I use King Sumo to run giveaways through my website.
Giveaways can be a great way to build your list, if you consider what you are giving away and make sure that it will attract your target market.
I looked into platforms like Rafflecopter and Gleam, buying rights to a plug-in, rather than paying a monthly subscription fee made much more sense in the long run.
King Sumo builds in all the components you want, like giving contestants extra entries for sharing your giveaway and giving you a better social reach.
Focus at will
I am a huge fan of Focus at Will and I’ve been shouting their name from the rooftops for well over a year now. It makes me hugely productive, and allows me to get massive amounts of work done in short periods of time.
Focus at Will provides music which is “scientifically optimised to boost concentration and focus”. That’s a big claim, I know, but it works for me.
The system allows you to choose the type of music you want to listen to, ranging from classical, to upbeat, spa based, techno and even coffee shop noise. You can also select the energy level of the music from low to medium and then high.
The final thing I love is the ability to set an inbuilt timer. It really pushes me to be more productive with my time. I stick my headphones in and smash things out.
Focus at Will has a free 30 day trial, and after that, starts at as little as $4 a month. It’s been well worth the investment and I use it on an almost daily basis to “get stuff done” in my business. (Plus you get a 10% discount for being friends with me 🙂 )
I use Trello to organise my life, several different businesses and an operations manager who is 50km away all through Trello.
It’s free to use and allows you to create boards, lists, notes and upload files to organise a project. You can add pictures and colour code task cards. You can also allow several members to see the same boards, and tag them in tasks that they are required to complete.
There are lots of other online task management systems to help you organise your business if you don’t like Trello. I’ve also used Asana and BaseCamp in the past.
However I like the ease of use of Trello and have returned to it every time. I have also installed the app version onto my phone so that I can see all the task lists wherever I am.
I use 3 different options for file storage depending on the client that I am working with.
Dropbox is one of the most well known online file storage systems. You can get access to several Gig of storage for free and share files or even whole folders with other people. This allows you to work on files in a collaborative manner and saves transporting files back and forward via USB or sending via email.
Sync is an alternative to Dropbox. It also allows up to 5 Gig of storage for free. It provides a much “safer” storage option, with all files stored in an encrypted format. It doesn’t have any access to your files at any point.
The only downside that I’ve found to sync, is that it doesn’t “sync” as fast as Dropbox (making it harder for several people who need access to the same file on the same day)
Google provides free online storage via Google Drive. Google drive allows you to create documents online and store them. You can then share access with certain people, who can look at and edit this document directly online.
I use Google Drives if I’m working on client documents with them, as they can see the progress and what work was achieved.
Canva is an online graphic design platform that allows you to create images for anything from social media, website headers, business cards, banner ads and much more.
I use Canva to create featured images for my blog and images for my website.
Canva also have a paid function now called Canva for Work, which allows you to resize images once they have been created to suit different platforms and to create brand restrictions is you have several people creating images for you.
Picmonkey is an online tool that provides an easy way to edit your photos. You can add filters, frames, text, and effects all for free.
You can also create branded quotes and images for your social media and website.