I get this question (or a variation) a lot:
"What apps should I be using to grow my business?"
This question often comes after someone has done a ton of research and has gotten so wrapped up in a knot they don't know which way is up.
And I get it.
I was there, too.
In fact, if you are a customer or client of mine, you know that I switched my own system just this week.
What you may not know is that it didn't take a week.
It took more like a month.
Because I have different groups of people that get different information.
And I keep track of different things.
Like what product or service they've purchased.
Whether they're a one-to-one client of mine.
Their coaching genius type, plus their biggest struggle, which means that one contact has one of 16 different tags. For example, Explorers who struggle with finding clients.
So, yes, there were a few times where my brain just wanted to slide right out of my body and take a vacation.
I tell you this not to gain sympathy (although a sympathy card and chocolate would be much appreciated).
I tell you this for a couple of reasons.
First, keep your business processes, offerings, and marketing as simple and streamlined as possible for as long as possible. And base them on where you're at in your business.
As part of the research process, coaches can become overwhelmed by all the options.
And because a lot of coaches have about a thousand ideas for what they could do with their business and what they ultimately want, they start thinking about creating courses, and doing workshops, and coaching groups, and so on and so on before they've had their first one-to-one client.
Second, I want to offer up some recommendations for what apps to actually use in your business depending on where you're at in your business and what your goals are.
So here goes...
Brand New Coach
Here's what I recommend if you're just starting out. Maybe you've got 1-2 paying clients or none at all.
WordPress + Mailchimp + Acuity Scheduling (Calendly is also a nice option)
WordPress: You do need a website, and more importantly, an opt-in page so you can gather emails. WordPress is free. Can't beat that. And there are plenty of videos online to show you how to get a site set up easily.
Mailchimp: Mailchimp is an email service provider. It has a free version that allows up to 2000 email addresses. It's a great way to start building those emailing muscles without spending any money. And it has opt-in forms you can create to embed into your WordPress website.
Acuity Scheduling: Acuity is a scheduling app that allows clients and potential clients to easily schedule calls with you. It hooks up to Stripe so you can collect payments.
Next Level Coach
Once you've gotten a few paying clients under your belt and your marketing is starting to get some traction, you may want to consider setting up an autoresponder.
An autoresponder is a series of emails that get sent out after someone has opted into your list. It's a great way to nurture your incoming community members so they can get to know you faster.
While Mailchimp does have the ability to send out autoresponders, in my opinion, it's not the most intuitive.
At this point, you may want to replace Mailchimp with ConvertKit.
ConvertKit allows you to set up autoresponders pretty easily.
And it's pretty easy to export your contacts from Mailchimp and import them into ConvertKit.
You may also want to consider an app like 17 Hats at this point. It's a client relations manager. It's a great way to keep track of clients and potential clients. It has a scheduler that can replace AcuityScheduling. And a client portal to keep track of documents. I tried 17 Hats for a couple of months. The scheduler caused more problems than it solved. Definitely think about a client relations manager once you get to the point of having a lot of clients and potential clients to keep track of. Right now, I've switched to Cloze, but I haven't been on it long enough to give it a glowing recommendation. So far, so good, though.
Coach and Course Creator
The apps above are absolutely all you need if you want to stick to coaching and coaching only.
If you've been coaching for a while, you may start getting the itch to create a course.
If that's the case, then you may want to consider an all-in-one option.
One app that allows you to sell courses and coaching, send newsletter and autoresponder emails, and house your courses in a members area.
While the jury is still out on whether Kartra will be my permanent solution, so far I feel like it's a pretty good option for those of us who provide coaching and courses.
Along with the things I mentioned above, it also...
- allows you to create pages — sales, order forms, etc.
- houses videos, so no need for another app such as Vimeo
- houses files, so no need for another app such as Amazon S3
- has a help desk. Nice to keep track of questions.
- email campaign templates so you don't have to start your autoresponder from scratch
It even has a scheduler, although I don't use it because it's not that great right now. They are working on improving it, though.
Whether you take my app recommendations or not, please do consider keeping your business as simple as possible for as long as possible.
You won't regret it.
Don't ask me how I know. 😉
With love & joy,
P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?