Episode 59 – 10+ Business Tools I Use To Run My Online Business
I’m often asked which tools I use in my business:
How did I build my website?
How did I make my launching soon page?
Where do I get my ‘iPad’ graphics from?
Which calendar software do I use?
So here are the online business tools I use to run my coaching and consulting business.
They aren’t the only ones available by any means but they’re the ones I use, know and love.
I choose tools that help me run my business more efficiently and save me time and money.
Some of them are free.
Some of them aren’t.
I think they’re all pretty awesome. Some I’ve had since the beginning and some I’ve changed to recently.
A Website That Gives You Control, Flexibility And Good Looks
My website is build on the platform wordpress.org.
I consider this to be the best platform to build your website on because you own all your content and have total control over the setup.
There is a caveat here though – because WordPress.org gives you more flexibility it can be more complicated to use than other platforms.
Squarespace or Wix will make the design process easier, so if you are someone who wants to set up a website quickly and don’t care about adding on lots of extras and you just need it to be easy one of these two is likely to be your best option.
I am a total tech geek so I build things to add into my site but I recognize that is not the path for everyone.
When you use wordpress.org you need to install a theme. The theme controls the design of your website. Some themes are drag and drop and flexible. Other themes are rigid and you have to stick with their layouts.
I did A LOT of research when I started my business and went with Headway.
This was great until the theme stopped being updated. I then changed to Beaver Builder. I got the Theme, a layout manager called Themer and also their page builder plugin.
I got this based on the fact that I saw they have excellent support and their system enables you to make pretty much any design. My dream developer also uses this platform so I wanted to be prepared for as little disruption as possible when I feel like I want a refresh.
This is not a cheap option though.
Both are intuitive and enable you to build pretty much whatever you want without coding – YES!
Landing Page Software
Landing pages are the pages where you offer your free downloads or webinars or quizzes. These are pages that have no navigation or distraction and are about getting your users to take one action only.
Software to make landing pages can save you time and often it comes with extra functionality like split-testing so you can see which page gets better results with visitors.
At the very beginning of my business, I got Leadpages as I found it hard with my theme to make good looking landing pages and I’ve been using them ever since.
Leadpages has a raft of high converting templates that you can use so it makes the whole process easy.
You can literally plug in your graphics and text and away you go.
A 1 minute landing page is all yours.
Like this one.
Basically any page that needs a great conversion rate or in my case, where I see there’s a Leadpages template for it, so I decide to save myself some time.
2 Tools To Create Amazing Images And Graphics
Canva is great for creating quick graphics and if you use your own elements, like your photos or screenshots from your website, it’s the basic version is free.
Boxshot King is my go-to tool to make my iPad/eBook images.
You can create the cover yourself in the program or you can upload your own images and it will put the image in an iPad/computer screen/book/cd/anything you want.
It’s a little clunky but it’s cheaper than paying someone to do it for you and the results look great.
I love the way it makes my Business Idea Starter Kit look in the iPad frame.
An Easy System To Collect Payments
I use Thrivecart because their cart works well, is easy to use and has a lot of features that help with conversion. It also hooks up easily to Stripe.
If you are new in business rather than getting order form software and then a payment gateway I recommend Paypal for collecting payments.
While yes, all of these tools take a cut of the revenue, waiting for bank transfers and creating invoices is messy and complicated and has the potential to get in the way of the sale so I don’t recommend taking that path to save money because it will likely cause you to lose rather than save money.
A Way To Manage Your Calendar
There are many great calendar software options out there.
I’ve tried quite a few different ones.
I use ScheduleOnce which has now been rebranded as OnceHub.
It’s very simple and it seems to handle the time differences better than other calendar software.
I’m in Australia and I often when I see clients say on my Thursday it’s Wednesday for them, so it’s very important to me and my clients that my calendar knows what day it is for who and reminds everybody at the right time.
With other software I’ve had it happen that when I book in with someone I chose one day, it allows me to choose a time, then I show up on that day and I’m a day early because their calendar software couldn’t handle the time difference elegantly.
ScheduleOnce is also inexpensive, it’s smooth for people booking in with you – which is super important when speaking with prospective clients – and allows you to customise questions to ask people as they are booking in.
Client Call Software
Skype was where it was at for me for a long time. It’s still great and it’s free.
If you prefer not to use a phone, want to easily video call or share documents it can be a great option.
I’ve now switched to Zoom. The main reason for this was some people had difficulty booking in with me because they couldn’t remember their Skype ID or had issues logging in or just didn’t have Skype.
With Zoom whoever is booking in with you doesn’t need a login and just click a link so it’s much easier and if you are someone who does sales conversations you are going to lose fewer people if it’s easy to get into the call with you.
Email Management Software
I use Infusionsoft. I use it because it integrates well with a lot of other software so it allows me to seamlessly email clients, keep track of client records and co-ordinate permissions for memberships sites amongst other things.
Mailchimp is also an option if you want to get started very low cost or free.
None of these other than Mailchimp were available when I switched. So much to choose from now!
Track Those Stats – Google Analytics
I use the industry standard free Google Analytics to track everything on my website.
As soon as you have a website you should get yourself a code from Google and install the analytics plugin.
You can only track from when you install it so put it in as soon as you can.
Then you get to actually find out what people are doing on your website.
I use Google Drive for sharing documents.
Google has a whole suite of tools that allow you to update documents, spreadsheets and presentations collaboratively.
You both can be editing at the same time in Google docs AND see what the other one is doing, which is pretty amazing.
Project Management Tools
When I was essentially a solopreneur I just used to keep track of projects in Microsoft Word.
Now I have a team where tasks might pass between different people so I need software tailored for this.
I use Monday.com I like it because it’s fun and colourful and highly customisable.
It allows us to get things done and have conversations inside the tasks so we are not constantly switching between software to deal with tasks and talk to someone else involved in tasks.
Internal Team Communication
Another one that you may not need yet but it’s good to know what’s coming up.
We use Slack.
Slack enables us to chat with each other in a way that’s quick and accessible and so much easier to follow and deal with than email.
It’s like instant messaging for work.
So those are the tools I use in my online business
I find everyone loves what they use. So there are other options out there that some people might like better.
I do regular audits to see if it makes sense to switch. We were using Asana for Project Management as an example and then we moved to Monday.com.
The key is to get started and set up tools as you need them and not before.