I often get asked what tools I use to run my online business, what I recommend and what I really think about certain systems… so it’s time for me to share with you my favorite online business resources.
These recommendations will save you time and frustration, and make you money in your business if you put them to good use. For many of these I’ll earn a small commission if you sign up, but I don’t recommend anything I haven’t used or gotten a ton of value from personally.
Business Planning Resources
Best Paper Planner For Entrepreneurs: I’m a big fan of using pen and paper to plan and map out my year, quarter, month, and week. Check out the different options available to us as creative business planners!
Create The Best Website For Your Business
WPEngine: If you’ve outgrown Bluehost and you’re getting a lot of traffic, then I recommend and personally use WP Engine. It’s a great WordPress specific host, where a lot of the technical stuff is managed for you. No need to be a tech wizard, and they have incredible support staff, too!
Bluehost: I highly recommend Bluehost for people who are just getting started online with their first website. You can have a WordPress website up and running within 5 minutes of checkout, and you get a free domain name with registration.
BackupBuddy: If you have a WordPress website, and it’s not hosted on a platform like WP Engine, then you need this plugin. You could rely on your host to make sure they have backups on hand in case anything happens, but having your backups on a local computer means you can be back up and running faster if you need it!
Securi: Again, if you’re not hosted on WPEngine then I highly recommend you invest in this plugin to ensure that your site is safe and sound. I’ve seen way too many business owners have their sites hacked, get weird pharmaceutical links placed all over, and it’s just not pretty. Take your business website’s safety seriously, because it’s much easier to prevent than it is to resolve after something happens.
PopupAlly Pro: If you want to create customized opt-ins (both pop ups and embedded opt in forms) that match the look and feel of your web site… then look no further. It’s got all the features you’d expect like split testing, exit intent popups, opt-in bars, and granular polite features to decide when and where these opt-ins show up.
LeadPages: If you want to create simple and beautiful opt-in pages and sales pages, this is the system to do it just 5-10 minutes. I’ve been using LeadPages to create webinar invitations, opt-in pages, and thank you pages in my business and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s great especially if you’re not techy but you like things to look professional!
MeetEdgar: This social media sharing tool helps us schedule tweets and Facebook messages and graphical posts with just a few clicks. It builds up a database of blog content, recommended articles, quotes and graphics you want to share on your social media profiles, and publishes for you on a regular schedule… It’s amazing how much time it’s saved us on social media!
AccessAlly: If your business runs on Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, or Drip, and you plan to release more than one digital product or online course… then you need AccessAlly. You can set up several online courses inside one simple members area, and bring in the affiliate referral details, client payment, and so much more all under one roof.
Google Analytics: Ahhh, if there is one free tool I can’t live without it’s this one. Having Google Analytics installed on your WordPress site means you’ll know who is coming to your website, how long they stay, where they came from, and whether they joined your list and bought or not. This is all priceless information!
Tried & True Programs
B-school: I’m definitely biased when I recommend B-school because I’m one of the guest teachers of the program, and because some of my best clients and friends have come out of doing B-school. It’s THE top shelf program that I recommend for people who are getting started online, or who have an existing business they want to grow using a rocking web foundation. Oh, and you get a delicious dose of Mama Marie Forleo, and she kicks butt.
Lucky Bitch Bootcamp: Once you’ve done B-school, you need to have your money foundations set straight. I’ve found such tremendous value out of Denise Duffield-Thomas’ books and programs, and I highly recommend them to all of my clients. If you want to clear your money blocks and get some traction, it works.
Become Your Own Business Adviser: Hiro Boga is nothing short of an inspiration and masterful spiritual business strategist. This program is all about discovering what your own business wants to grow into, and learning to listen to this deeper knowing to expand your divine business plans.
Online Business Resources For Email Marketing & Shopping Carts
ActiveCampaign: This all-in-one CRM and email marketing platform comes at a pretty affordable price point. It’s extremely easy to set up and use, while still retaining the ability to perform the more complex functions like automated tagging and email sequences.
ConvertKit: This is the preferred email marketing system for bloggers and serious online business owners. It allows you to use tags to segment your email list and create useful automation sequences, so you can follow up with subscribers in a smart way easily.
Infusionsoft: This is the platform I use to run my online business ecommerce, email marketing, and customer database. It’s infinitely flexible and it has awesome features for segmenting people based on their actions, and it has great automation built in. Getting set up with Infusionsoft can take awhile, but they do have great training videos and support.
Ontraport: Ontraport has come a long way since it started off as an email management system. It now has amazing automation sequences, 1-click upsells, affiliate management and payment integration. It’s a full-fledged system with amazing customer service, and a built-in landing page builder. Get the full review of Ontraport versus Infusionsoft here.
Aweber: Aweber is the first email marketing service I ever signed up for, and I stayed with them for many years before making the switch to an “all in one” system. It’s dependable and delivers your emails, plus it’s pretty straight forward to set up. I feel like it’s the system that grows with you.
Mailchimp: This is a great service to get started with for free, when your list is less than 2000 subscribers. But it does have some downfalls, like list segmentation, and designing opt-in forms that are easy to use and that match your site’s designs.
Software & Tools To Keep Your Business Humming
Asana: Oh, if I could write a song about one tool that has made my days more productive and fun to collaborate with my team, it would be all about Asana! You can read my full Asana review and watch a preview of how it works, but the best thing is for you to try it because it’s totally free.
Confluence: Confluence is a wiki for your company. We use it to house company operations procedures, meeting agendas and notes, planning documents and more. While Asana is for project management, Confluence is for ongoing knowledge management and overall company communications.
1Password: In our hyper-connected world, there can be way too many passwords to remember… and each service you use online should have its own password. If one of the websites you login to gets hacked, your other accounts might also be compromised. With 1Password you’re able to keep all your passwords secure, come up with new ones for each service, and just have to remember the main password.
Scrivener: I’ve been using this program since it first came out, and it’s one of the few pieces of software that I have open 80% of the time. It’s where I write my video scripts, my sales letters and emails, and my books. It’s great to help you map out sequences of emails, and keep track of a ton of research all in one place. It’s also pretty minimal, with a lot of functionality under the hood.
You Need A Budget: I’m a recent convert to budgeting. You might think that when you’re making a lot of money in your business you won’t need a budget, but the philosophy of knowing where each dollar goes is way more empowering. I use this software on all my devices, and to organize our family budget with my husband. It’s got cool chart features that show you fun metrics, too.
Screenflow: If you’re on a Mac, this is one simple piece of software that can help you record training videos for your own online courses. I use it for all of my screencast videos, and it has served me well over the years! It’s also a super simple video editor, where you can add titles and animations, too.
Dropbox: If you collaborate with others online, Dropbox is a great way to share documents. We use this platform to upload all of our videos before they’re ready to go onto YouTube, and we also use it for documents of all types. It integrates beautifully with Asana, and connects to all your devices, too!
Echosign: If you have a lot of documents that need to be signed, this one service could save you a lot of time and paper, too. I’ve found that we can save at least 10 minutes per contract when we use Echosign, and it makes me feel good that we can do business with people quickly without cutting down more trees in the name of the law.
Apple Pages & InDesign: If you’re looking to design professional looking PDFs, flyers, or gorgeous documents… then you need to take a look at these two applications. One of them is for Mac platforms, and the other is available for Mac and PC. I feel like you have an edge when you have a great looking set of documents to offer your audience!
Recommended Business Books
This site has a dedicated resource page just for recommended business books, that’s kept fresh with ongoing book reviews.