Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! Being thankful is the name of the game this month and I wanted to show my thanks for all the online business tools that have helped me maintain and grow my business over the past couple of years. Some of these are affiliate links, but I believe in these products so much and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Earlier this year I migrated my website to SiteGround for hosting. Not because I had anything wrong with my previous hosting, but because I was already updating my website and if I were going to make a switch this seemed like the logical time as I was also rebranding to vallemedia.com. I cannot say enough good things about SiteGround. Even though I am very tech savvy, I decided to allow them to help me with the free migration. I was so very impressed. They were prompt, helpful, and it was a completely painless process. I know I’ve never truly had a poor web hosting experience anyway, but site ground is definitely the type of host I don’t see myself leaving for any reason. Get massive savings on shared hosting plans – 70% off – starting Black Friday, November 24th, through Cyber Monday, November 27th. Click here for details.
I use Namecheap for purchasing domains. They’ve always been great about running deals throughout the year and this Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no exception. Expect crazy new offers every hour all day on Friday, November 24th and Monday, November 27th. Check out the deals here! I have also used Namecheap’s email service to set up email addresses from one of my domains. The rates were incredibly reasonable and the process was simple to set up.
It’s no secret that I absolutely love ClickFunnels. My list just wouldn’t be complete without this all-in-one solution for any business’ digital marketing needs. If you haven’t already, check out my free 5-lesson crash course on ClickFunnels to learn the basics. You can also take the software for a free 14-day test drive.
Now, I understand and will be upfront to say I do not use ConvertKit for myself, but that’s only because my email needs aren’t currently very high. I’m not quite ready for a paid system, but when I am, ConvertKit will most likely be my choice. I have used ConvertKit with so many clients and the ease-of-use is just incredible. It’s simple, yet powerful, and has a great support team. The latest feature is a new visual automation editor, for those of us that need to see things mapped out visually. Free trials don’t come often, but you can snag one on Cyber Monday, November 27th at this link here (this link will only work on Cyber Monday!). ***UPDATE! THIS IS NOW STARTING FRIDAY, 11/24/17 THROUGH MONDAY!***
I currently use and love MailerLite for my email service provider. I’m also a huge ConvertKit fan, so when it’s time for me to move away from MailerLite’s free version, I’m really torn as to whether I’ll switch to ConvertKit or stay with MailerLite. They’ve both treated me really well. I love that MailerLite is free up to 1000 subscribers, and no matter how many lists a subscriber is on, they only count as one person. MailerLite has also made it really easy to add optin forms on my website along with Automations to deliver different types of email sequences. MailerLite is fairly new to the game, so its name isn’t as well-known as a lot of other services, but it’s very comparable to all the others, in my opinion. It even has landing page builder capabilities (not as easy-to-use and customizable as ClickFunnels, so I’ll stick with CF, but still pretty good, especially on the free plan!)! Try MailerLite out for free here.
I love 17hats for sending proposals, contracts, invoices, questionnaires, time-tracking, and more. It’s a customer relationship manager I can’t live without. This is the one program I decided to splurge on and pay for from the get-go of my small business. It’s since developed a free version for people to test out, and this week it just released a new client portal feature. Try out 17hats for free here.
I use Acuity in my business for scheduling appointments. It’s an amazingly seamless system and syncs to my calendar, so I never miss a meeting. People are able to schedule different types of appointments, with different forms and questionnaires, and Acuity can even take payment if it’s for a paid training. I couldn’t run my business without Acuity. The time it saves from going back and forth emailing is incredible. Time is more valuable than money in this business and Acuity helps me save a ton of time! Get your very own Acuity account here.
Zoom is a video conferencing software and has been a great purchase as I run an online business. I once had this truly embarrassing moment when on a paid training. Since the person I was training was using Zoom on 2 devices, there were a total of 3 on the call, so the meeting shut down at the 40-minute mark (you only get 40 minutes for more than 2 people in a meeting on the free version). I was mortified! By purchasing the paid version, I never have to worry about meetings suddenly ending and have great extra options, like cloud recordings. Zoom gets daily use in my world, and you can set up your very own account here.
Digital data is everything in my business and Dropbox, a cloud file-storage system, helps me back up every file to the cloud so I never have to worry about my computer crashing and losing all my data. Dropbox has been amazing in helping me keep files safe and even being able to easily share them with others when I need to. Try Dropbox out for free here!
Loom is a FREE screen-recording Google Chrome extension software that I’m quickly learning I can’t live without. I absolutely love teaching others and tech can sometimes be difficult to describe. Loom allows me to record a quick video and send it to others in just a few clicks. If you refer Loom to a few friends you’ll get unlimited storage space and unlimited time for your videos. You can also organize your videos in folders, comment on the videos with others, and more. I don’t know how this program is free, but it is. If you don’t have this extension, you’re missing out! From what I hear, video editing is coming soon, but that will probably be a paid feature. Get all Loom’s free features here!
For more formal video recordings, I prefer Screencast-o-matic. Screencast-o-matic also has basic editing features, making it the simple choice for someone who doesn’t make a ton of videos. The paid version is $15/year, although I can get you 20% off. Click here for details.
Adobe Photoshop is another tool that gets daily use in my business. Whether it’s creating the latest featured image for a blog post, or creating a gif to add pizzazz to a sales page, Photoshop is my go-to tool for photo editing and graphic creation. With the photography plan, you can get Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99.
I have a terrible habit of hopping around when it comes to project management systems. I can never quite find the one that’s just right. Well, I think my days of hopping are over. I’ve currently settled on Trello and I’m loving it! Trello allows me to visually lay out all my information on different boards with lists and cards. Everything is so very easy to move around. I can share boards with others for collaborative project management, or just for my person use. I even set up a board for my person life! Christmas shopping lists have never been easier for me! Trello has a lot of paid features, but its free version is incredibly powerful. Give it a try here!
Honestly, I use a ton of tools in my business. These, however, are clearly the ones I use the most and keep my business running like a well-oiled machine. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions on these tools at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re looking for a more in depth tutorial on some of these programs, let’s hop on a training call and get you to master status sooner, rather than later!
What tools would be on your list? Share them in the comments below!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!