Wondering what you need to run your business?
Here is the comprehensive list of my favorite tools & resources...
Many of these links are affiliate links, which means I will get a commission or credit if you purchase. However, none of the fees have been increased to compensate me.
TOOLS TO KEEP YOUR WEBSITE RUNNING
WordPress is a free content management system. It's a great way to house your website and blog if you have one. It's been around for years and is quite robust. It also has some fabulous 3rd party plugins that really make it sing (see the other apps in this section).
I've tried several website hosting providers throughout the years and Siteground is my favorite. It's easy to install WordPress, their customer support is excellent, and they have the infrastructure to make websites super speedy.
Thrive Suite is a suite of WordPress Themes and Plugins. Pretty much everything you see on this site was built with the plugins in Thrive Suite. I even built the Coaching Genius Type Quiz with their Quiz Builder plugin (saving me $80 per month). All of their plugins are focused on helping small business owners create beautiful high-converting websites. They have a ton of ready-to-use templates so you never have to start a page from scratch. For all that you get, it is well worth the money.
ITHEMES + BACKUP BUDDY
Backup Buddy is an easy to use plugin you can use to back up and restore your website quickly and easily. You can create a schedule so it backs up your site regularly, so you never have to worry about losing the content on your site. I also used it to move my site over to Siteground and when I've wanted to create a test site before going live.
Pretty Links is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to shorten links, even ones not on your website. It works similar to bit.ly, except you use your domain name. This way you can make sure the link is personalized to your brand. To set up Pretty Links, just go to the Plugin section of the backend of WordPress, search "Pretty Links," install, and activate. And you're ready to go!
TOOLS TO COLLECT, MANAGE, AND SAVE MONEY
Stripe is a merchant account. It is my favorite because it is easy to get set up, easy to integrate with other apps, and easy to use.
Thrivecart is the shopping cart I use for my business. As of right now, you can buy it for a one-time investment (no monthly fees). It's not inexpensive, but when compared to $100 / mo charge for similar apps, it pays for itself in just a few months. You'll be able to easily hook it up with Stripe (and Paypal if you use it). If you sell anything other than coaching, such as courses, workbooks, etc., then definitely consider Thrivecart. And as an added bonus, for a couple hundred dollars more, you can add their Learn+ membership portal to it. It's where I house my courses, workshops, and alumni membership program.
YNAB is a personal finance app that I actually use for my business as well. I've had to tweak a few things to make it work for business, but I couldn't be happier with it. It has a tiny bit of a learning curve, but once you understand it, it will be easy to get and keep your personal and business finances organized. AND save you money. They also include a generous 34 day free trial so you can really try it out before you decide. I saved more than double that the first month of using it. You might find you do the same.
Appsumo is a company that works with other companies to create fantastic deals on business related apps. Most of them are lifetime deals. It's highly worth getting on their email list to get notified of new deals. It can save you a ton of money. If you use the link to the right, you'll get $10 towards your first app.
TOOLS TO HELP YOU COMMUNICATE
Spark is a free email app for Apple products and Android, with Windows coming soon. It has a Smart Inbox, Smart Search, email templates, email signatures, and my favorite, Snooze. The snooze feature allows you to file the email away until you're ready to see it. Just let Spark know when you want it to show up in your inbox again.
Zoom is a video conferencing app. It is what I use for all of my coaching calls, as well as my enrollment conversations. The free version might be perfect for you. If not, their smallest paid plan is still quite affordable.
Acuity Scheduling is a scheduling app that allows you to embed a scheduler on your website, send customized confirmation and reminder emails, and hook to a calendar you already use. It also allows you to hook to Stripe so you can collect money for your coaching.
Cloze is a robust and easy-to-use Client Relationship Management tool. I use it to keep track of all client and potential client communications. You can set it up so that all your client emails come through it allowing you to see every conversation. It also has templates and a Kanban type board to allow you to see where someone is in your coaching framework, or you sales sequence.
Slack is a communication tool you can use with your team if you have one. It beats the heck out of email. And their free version is quite generous. Depending on how big your team gets, you may never need a paid plan.
TOOLS TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS
Flodesk is the email marketing service I use for my business. It's not the most robust tool out there, but it is super simple and fun to use. The email editor feels like a note taking app, it's that easy to use. I've never seen that with any other tool. And since the majority of what I use the tool for is newsletter emails, I love that it's quick, easy, and beautiful. If you use the link to the right, you'll get 50% off. Nice! There's also a free 30-day trial so you can give it a shot before deciding.
Mailer Lite is another inexpensive, intuitive, and easy to use email marketing service where you can send out newsletter emails, set up email campaigns, and even create websites. It's not quite as easy to use as Flodesk, but it has more features. If you're looking into doing a lot of email marketing, then definitely make this one of the contenders before you decide. Plus, you get quite a bit with their free version.
ConvertKit is another popular and fairly easy to use email marketing service. It's pretty comparable to Mailer Lite. It's really just a matter of preference. They also have a free version, although it isn't quite as nice as Mailer Lite. However, there are a ton of business owners who swear by it.
Groove Digital is a new all-in-one tool that includes email marketing, check out pages, membership sites, a help desk, and video hosting. Much of it is still being worked on, so you may not want to put your business on it yet. But they are having a special introductory deal. Right now you can purchase it at a one-time price (no monthly charge). Look into it if you know you're going to be building a business that includes coaching, courses, and online marketing. Investing in it with the lifetime deal could save you a ton of money in the future.
Later is the tool I use to post on all my social media platforms. It allows you to schedule and post to several platforms at once saving you a ton of time and headaches. It also has an incredible free option (the best I've seen), so depending on how often you post, you may not need to pay for it.
VideoAsk is a way to interact face-to-face with your community. You can use it to survey your community, gather testimonials, and get feedback on your products and services. All using video. Your community members have the option of replying to you via video or text. I've seen an increase in my survey and testimonial responses since I've been using it.
GOFULLPAGE - FULL PAGE SCREEN CAPTURE
Full page screen capture is a Chrome extension that allows you to capture an entire webpage. You can save the page as a PDF or PNG file. I use it to capture swipe files of marketing and business pages I love for future inspiration.
TOOLS TO KEEP YOU PRODUCTIVE & ORGANIZED
Notion is the tool I use to organize everything in my business (and life). I use it to take notes, keep files, and generally just keep me sane. All the pieces of my business and life are in here and I know exactly where to go when I need something.
Xmind is a mind mapping app that I use during my Coach Action Plan calls and whenever I need to get my creative juices flowing. One of the best parts is that it switches over to an outline when I'm ready to get things organized in a linear or hierarchical way.
Zapier is a tool that allows one app to talk to another. This is great for automating pieces of your business so you don't have to manually copy and paste information from one app to another. There are so many uses it's hard to list them out here.
Things is an intuitive task manager made for the Apple suite. I use it for all of my project and task management. It's so incredibly easy to use it that it just becomes an essential part of your toolbox. And if you're on a Mac, you can set it up as a widget (right side notifications area), and see all your tasks for today in one clear place.
VIDEO SPEED CONTROLLER
Video Speed Controller is a free Chrome extension that allows you to speed up videos in increments of 10%. Most video hosts only allow you to speed videos up or slow them down by 25%, if they have that feature at all. I always use Video Speed Controller when I'm watching training and other videos. It allows me to save time and retain more because my mind doesn't wander as much.
TOOLS FOR READING & WRITING
Instapaper is a great way to keep newsletter emails and blog articles for reading later. Let's face it, we can't always read a fantastic article when we want to, so sending it to Instapaper ensures we never lose it. It's there waiting for us whenever we have the time. The free version is probably all you'll need, although the premium version has some pretty cool features.
Readwise is a tool that allows you to connect Instapaper, Kindle notes, and a few other tools to Notion, Evernote, etc. It can take your Instapaper highlights and transfer them to your note taking app of choice. It also has a feature where it emails you some of your notes on a consistent basis, which helps you retain information you've read. Use the link to the right and you'll get a free month if you decide to try the premium version.
Grammarly is a Chrome extension that highlights all your grammar mistakes as you make them and gives you suggestions for what to change. I won't lie, it's sometimes annoying, but super helpful.
TOOLS FOR THE CREATIVE STUFF
Canva is an easy to use graphic design tool that allows you to create professional looking graphics for your business in no time. It's got a slight learning curve but nothing you can't handle. You'll be amazed and proud of the graphics you come up with. The best part are the hundreds (if not thousands) of templates to choose from. You'll never again have to design something from scratch. Time saver! If your budget allows, I also highly recommend the pro version. You'll be able to schedule your social media posts right from Canva, easily resize graphics for different social media platforms, create multiple brand kits with your brand colors and fonts, and a bunch more.
See how I put the homepages of all of these tools in this cool graphic of an iMac? I did that with Smart Mockups. Choose the mockup you want to use, upload a screengrab or picture to Smart Mockup, and it pretty much does the rest.
Creative Market is a website that allows you to purchase already designed resources for your business -- social media posts, presentations, brochures, freebie giveaways. Everything is designed for you. You just need to add in your content.
If you create videos of any kind on a regular basis, you are going to want to get Descript. It saves me HOURS a month. It allows you to edit videos using the transcript of the video. No more trying to find the exact place in the video file to edit it.
Otter is an AI powered tool that allows you to transcribe your audios and videos. Honestly, you don't need it if you get Descript. But if you don't need Descript but still need things transcribed, then Otter is a great tool to use. And they have a free account that allows you so many minutes without charge.
Fiverr is a great place to find inexpensive help for a variety of tasks for your business -- designers, writers, etc. It usually takes a couple of days to get things back, and you may need to go back and forth a bit, but often it's way better than doing it yourself.
Unsplash is a source for freely-usable images. They're beautiful and free. What's not to love? They're my first choice for grabbing beautiful graphics for my courses and marketing materials.
Deposit Photos is another photography site. Not free, but sometimes I can't always find an image I'm looking for on Unsplash, so I use Deposit Photos to fill in the gaps.