Online Business Tools and Resources
What I have kept quiet and only shared with my 1:1 clients, I now want to share with you because I realise the value of a solid recommendation and I want to reach more people to help make their business and life as easy as possible. Go through and pick and choose what you need. I hope that this list of tools and resources provide you with incredible value. I will constantly be updating and adding to it, so add it to bookmarks for future reference.
My word is everything I have, so don’t take what you read on this page lightly. In some fortunate cases I have had the opportunity to sign up to become an affiliate, so on a couple of recommendations, both you and I can earn some bonuses from the already brilliant platforms that these online business tools and resources already give. I’d be recommending them even without the incentive.
Domain Names: Crazy Domains
I love Crazy Domains. Considering how important domain name brand protection is you want to buy your domains through a company that are easy to use. I’m certainly not tech savvy but this I could easily figure out, and I currently have over 40 domains with them. Crazy Domains also sell domains in the top 4 address endings I recommend all of my customers and clients have: .com, .com.au, .net and .net.au, as well as a wide variety of alternatives if you’re after something different. They also have a great customer support system, so everyone has your back.
Website Hosting: Siteground
This one took me a while to find a company that understood my non tech background. I tried Hostgator and although my site didn’t have any hosting problems with them, they spoke too technical for me, it was like trying to talk to someone who didn’t speak English. Then I moved to VentraIP, being Australian based I thought I was on to a winner but their user interface was hard for me to work out, and I felt weird about paying more for better service.
Enter SiteGround. Not only are their prices exceptional but their service is out of this world. I had someone in chat support for over an hour (that actually felt more like a chat between friends) for something that turned out to be already done. When I realised and apologised, he actually apologised to me for not understanding my request sooner. I was genuinely impressed and if I had socks on they would have been blown right off.
Check out their hosting packages here. If you have more than one site, or have big dreams in the next 12 months with website traffic, go for their Grow Big plan.
Website Platform: WordPress
WordPress in my opinion are by far the superior platform to host any website. A few of the many benefits of WordPress websites are Google loves WordPress so your site is easier to find and rank in Google. You have unlimited options for themes (how the site can look) and it is super easy to upgrade as your business or blog grows, plus it looks so much more professional. Adding blog entries and new pages is ridiculously simple and honestly the hardest part is probably installing it, which is only a challenge because it’s the first time you’re seeing it. If you follow instructions, you can’t fail. Their support base is also up to date and for everyone to view, for free. Just make sure it is WordPress.org you install and not WordPress.com – there is a difference!
Mailing Lists: Mailchimp
Like anything, there are a few options when it comes to what platform to have your email list with, but I have only tried one. Mailchimp. I joined them because (honestly) their site looked prettier than the rest and they had $0 (no fee) accounts for up to 2,000 subscribers. They also have a chimp for their attractive character. Who can say no to that? I have found them really easy to use, and their support is really helpful. I have only needed to contact them for one problem that was in their code and that was fixed instantly. I highly recommend setting up auto-responder emails which you can’t do with the free account, but the plans start at $10 per month, which is nothing in the long run for your business, and you can upgrade (and downgrade – depending on your list size) at any time.
Check them out here. If you end up signing up through this link Mailchimp will add $30 in MonkeyRewards (credit) to your account and mine. Score!
Online Storage: Dropbox
Mercury Retrograde (an astrological event that happens 3 – 4 times per year that messes with your technology and communication) can be a huge PITA. So can kids. It’s so important to have everything you do backed up. Knowing this, and not doing anything about it, I lost a lot of files when my computer died one day out of the blue. Everything I do is saved into Dropbox now by default, nothing is stored on my computer anymore, and I can access Dropbox anywhere I go. The desktop application makes it really easy to use offline.
Start using Dropbox here. Bonus alert! If you sign up through this link for a Basic account (free) you’ll get a bonus 500MB and if you sign up for a Pro account (the paid ones, starting at $10 p/m) then you’ll get an extra 1GB.
SEO: WordPress SEO by Yoast
Before you cringe and dismiss SEO as being too hard, Yoast makes it all really simple, and dare I say it, fun? This is a wordpress plugin that you can install for free, and with an average rating of 4.7 stars from over 4,500 people, you’d be crazy not to. SEO is great to be found by Google and ultimtely your tribe of people all looking for the solution to their problem that you have.
Online Payments: PayPal
I just use PayPal for all of my payments, and if any of my customers or clients don’t have PayPal, then they have the option of choosing to pay by credit card using PayPal’s services without actually having to sign up for an account. This saves me paying for an eCommerce program to run a shop, merchant numbers, credit card processing and everything else that seems just too hard. I’m not here to reinvent the wheel, and neither are you, and while I will most likely upgrade when my business gets larger, PayPal is easy to use and already does everything I need. You can find just about how to do anything with PayPal by their help system, contacting their customer support, watching a YouTube video or Googling it online.
Sign up for free here, and if you have a business make sure you get a business account. You’ll have to scan and send some paperwork to them to prove you’re legitimate but it is worth it for the extra options to have.
I have a confession. When it came to bookkeeping I would put all of my receipts into a plastic inbox and that would be it. I had no idea what my books looked like, if I was making any money, if I was losing any and in what areas. I didn’t even have a spreadsheet. I was completely clueless and a huge part of this was because my money mindset was living in fear. I thought that a bookkeeper would be too expensive, I thought the software would be too hard to figure out, and I honestly didn’t want to look at my figures. I ignored them. If I could have a do-over, I would start up with Xero from the second I decided to go into business. It’s easy to use, it is not expensive and you can get help (highly recommended) for less than you most likely think.
You can figure out Xero on your own, but if you want to take your business seriously, I highly recommend speaking to a few bookkeepers who use Xero to help you out with some training.
I started out with Jill from Zero Effort Bookkeeping and if you are only just starting to take your books seriously then I recommend having a look at how she can help you. You can find Jill here.
Once you have your Xero account set up and Jill in your back line to help with any questions you have, get some training. I recommend Jeri Murphy and her Be Your Own Bookkeeper (BYOB) self paced online training course with facebook support. You can find her Xero training page here.
Lastly, if you are drowning in a pile of old receipts and just the thought of tax time makes your skin crawl because like me this area of your life is a total mess, then hire someone locally to take that pile of paperwork away and sort it out for you. Get 3 quotes from 3 different bookkeepers and go with who you feel best felt your pain and can help you out of it. The money it costs to have this done is worth every single cent. Believe me. I know! Once you start to communicate better with your money, you are in a much better position for a lot more conversation. CHA-CHING!
Affiliate Software: WP Affiliate Program
It seriously doesn’t get much easier than this. If you want to offer an affiliate program to help get the word out about your products, and put a bit of money back into your loyal and wonderful tribes pockets, then check out WP Affiliate Platform. I first came across this as a user, someone else I admire had it within their own website for their program, and I loved it. It was a refreshing change from InfusionSoft and Ontraport (2 of the biggest CRM – customer relationship management – platforms on the internet), without the price tag. It also integrates with WP eStore (below) so it is seamless to set up and automate sales and affiliate payments. Can I get a hell yeah!?
Head over to Tips and Tricks HQ and get this set up on your website. This is what I would call a no-brainer purchase. You can find them right here.
Automation and Scheduling
Calendar: Google Cal
Google Calendar all the way. You can use it for free, put it on your phone, and in most cases it will sync with any and every other online scheduler there is so if someone books an appointment with you, it automatically comes up on your Google Cal. I am always checking my phone app when making bookings outside of work, to make sure I am available. Don’t now how I lieved before it to be quite honest.
You need a Google account to have a Google Cal but who doesn’t have one of those these days? Get your organisation on right here.
Online Appointment Scheduling: TimeTrade
This is huge when it comes to freeing up time and going pro. If you take any kind of bookings then it is so simple to get rid of the pen and paper and sign up for an online scheduler. I personally use TimeTrade. It syncs with my Google Cal so all appointments are automatically added in and I have a hard time forgetting them, and it also blocks out time if you’re already busy. It’s easy to setup and simple to put on your own website with a little code copy and paste. The only issue I have had with TimeTrade was when Google did an unannounced update to their software, which threw a lot of software like TimeTrade off and they had to work double time to upgrade their own.
Auto-Responder Emails: MailChimp
See Mailchimp under mailing lists above!
Product Download Security and Shopping Cart: OPTION #1 E-junkie
If you sell anything digital then E-junkie is for you. Admittedly I knew about E-junkie long before I signed up for it, and the reason why I didn’t sign up immediately was because their website is, how do I put this nicely… hard to look at? I searched around for another program that would allow me to upload my products and protect my work from free distribution (by giving buyers link and time limitations – this means that whoever buys can’t forward your sales link to all of their friends). I couldn’t find anything that was in my price range. Then it hit me, I knew E-junkie did what I wanted it to do, and I knew from a customer’s perspective it was simple to operate, so the only thing holding me back was my own sabotaging behaviour over how aesthetically pleasing it was. I signed up and figured out what I needed to do in no time.
Product Download Security and Shopping Cart: OPTION #2 WP eStore
Depending on where you are at you may want to consider this diamond in the rough. When Michelle (below) showed me this option I was blown away by how cheap yet significant this plugin is. Why is this product flying under the radar? I have no idea, but it sure is worth shouting from the rooftops about. You can basically sell anything from it, digital products, services, tangible items, you name it and just like E-junkie it gives customers link limits and expires after a number of days (you choose these limits). Not only that, it automatically subscribes your customers and clients onto a chosen mailing list, so you can set up automation emails and follow up with them and how they are going. It also integrates well wil WP Affiliate Platform because the same people made both products. I now use WP eStore over E-junkie, because that’s my preference and my priority is building relationships with those who want to make big changes in their lives rather than a sell and forget approach.
I highly recommend checking out WP eStore and giving it a go. It is easy to use and if you get stuck their service is fantastic. Click here to have your mind blown and business boom.
Time Management and Organisation
Time Management: ClearFocus App
The ClearFocus Android app is based on the Pomodoro technique for working for 25 minutes and then having a 5 minutes break before restarting all over again. This is the most simple and effective app I have found for Andriods. If you want to record your bursts of progress, then check out ClockWork Tomato so you can better calculate your time sheet (below).
If you have an iPhone then look at the Pomodoro Timer by NASA Trained Monkeys. Apart from having a cool company name, the design looks super simple and effective.
The pomodoro technique has been the best tool I have come across to getting stuff done and powering through with my to-do list that I hardly stop to take my 5 minutes, and I hope it is for you too.
Organisation: Business in a Spreadsheet
I am going to toot my own horn here and say that I didn’t find anything online the really suited my style to keep all my thoughts, progress and tracking all together and easily accessible, so I created my own product to do just that. And because I have had great success with it, I am turning it into one you can have too. For anyone who wants to be more organised in their business, this is for you. It is simply called Business in a Spreadsheet because that’s exactly what it is.
In it you’ll find already set up sheets and formulas for your Goals, Income Goals, Product & Business Ideas, Success Tracking, Blog Ideas, Action Items, Income Tracking, Expense Tracking, Time Management (where the ClearFocus or Clockwork Tomato app comes in handy!), Blogging Schedule, Planning Marketing Cal and Monthly Growth Tracking. Being an Excel spreadsheet it is easy to fill out and you can edit the text fields as you need. Customise it to work for you and your own business. Because I am awesome and love to deliver, all of that the data calendars inside the spreadsheet always have over 2 years worth of space for growth, and you can add more as you please.
Business in a Spreadsheet comes with a video tutorial on how I use it within my own business, and how you can too for maximum results.
You can purchase your Business in a Spreadsheet VERY SOON for only $39.00 and it will be delivered to you instantly. The sooner you get started with it the better, and you’ll soon find it is the first thing you open each morning to start your work session focused and on track. If you have ever wondered how I do so much in my business with 3 small kids, this is it.
COMING SOON. Sign up to my mailing list for updates.
Rachael McDonald and Tara Bliss’s Spirited and the Spirited Companion
A co-creation from beauties Rachael McDonald and Tara Bliss, Spirited and the Spirited Companion is all about coming home to your truth and then stepping out in clarity of living that truth. I love how raw these books and worksheets are put together, to cut away from all the crap and hype you’ve grown up believing and to really get to your heart. I love even more that they encourage you to look at your shadows, your dark corners of your soul to investigate what’s stopping you, and embrace them, because they make you YOU.
Fortunately, you can buy both books in a bundle pack and I encourage it highly to read their stories, and then from this day forth make your own worth telling. Click here to check them out in full detail but just be warned that they are absolutely beautifully designed, so you will fall in love instantly.
Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life Planner
Leonie’s wild gift is being able to get stuff done and she is incredibly motivated by her passions. Her best work in my opinion is getting you to do the same. Her Amazing Biz and Life Planner dives into the nitty gritty and cracks of seeing that dream vision you have, come true, and thousands upon thousands of women each year (myself included!) buy this product from her to have that guiding post to come back to. This gets more popular every single New Year but in all honesty, whenever you are ready to move out of where you are into something better, then grab this planner to help you do just that.
Click here to grab your hands on the 2014 planner, or stay on my mailing list and I will let you know when the 2015 one becomes available the very moment you can buy it. Believe me on that one, cause I am itching to get my hands on it myself!
Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map
Danielle LaPorte is the creator of The Desire Map and when you read this book you have no choice but to sit back and take it all in. Her words hit you like the missing piece of the puzzle and goal setting (so important for success) becomes so much less about embracing stuff as it does to embrace the desire and result of what that stuff actually represents. My mind was really blown away with this for 2 reasons, Danielle’s concept to goal setting is remarkably simple and I was surprised that it has taken this long for someone (in my orbit) to identify and speak out loud the reason why we set goals in the first place. And secondly, the workbook takes what you have just learned and gets you to identify your own Core Desired Feelings. Since reading this book making decisions on what I say yes and no to are easy. Do they line up with my Core Desired Feelings, or don’t they?
If you have a goal, no matter what it is, you can help yourself reach it so much faster by getting and reading Danielle’s work. What you learn you can never unlearn and that is a gift in itself.
Denise Duffield-Thomas’s Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp
Everything starts with awareness, including money. In Denise’s 6 week Lucky Bitch Bootcamp she guides you to wake up to what is going on around you with your money, which is a good thing! This can be terrifying, especially if you were like me and hated opening the mail and anxiety gripped you when another invoice arrived. Once you have that awareness, you can start making changes, and with Denise and her community of Lucky Bitches lighting that path for you, you’ll begin to see, feel and attract abundance like it’s nobody’s business. Or your business. Cause you know… it is!
This course will only work for you if you are really ready to change your money story, and when you are, you’re in good hands. Not only will she make you laugh, Denise has a gift of making everyone feel accepted and normal for where they are at, yourself included, and there is absolutely no judgement. I love this woman to bits so much that I have interviewed her for my signature program Build a Soulful Business, and together we’ve shared the difference between earning money vs making money. (It’s awesome!)
Check DDT and her bootcamp out, and let her shine her genius into your life. You’ll never look at money the same way again. Promise.
Sandy Forster’s Inspired Spirit Coaching Academy
I get asked a fair bit where I did my coach training. What attracted me to Sandy’s academy was that it was all online, the calls were weekly (you can dial in from anywhere in the world!), and there really wasn’t any schoolyard pressure to be right. It was also relatively short compared to other courses. What actually made me enrol was that the entire program revolves around the Laws of the Universe and focuses on getting into alignment so clients come to you rather than trying to push your work onto people who might not want it. The only downside I had with Sandy’s academy was that sometimes it became hard to reach her staff, which I just rectified by tagging her in the ISCA Facebook group. When there is a will there is a way, amiright?
You get tools, scripts and resources to get you coaching immediately, because you will only ever become a professional coach by experience, there is no delay in making that happen. In her community of students you get to coach and be coached on what you are learning with others for free so that when you do start charging for your prices you are doing so with confidence.
Check out Sandy’s ISCA here and read up on the bonuses she offers all of her new students plus get intimate with the details of all her training modules. They are pretty awesome if I say so myself.
On a side note, for a more in depth look into coaching on it’s own, have a look at Julie Parker’s Beautiful You Coaching Academy. I have NOT done this training yet but it is on my list to do so I can grow my skills and provide even better quality and clarity within my Build a Soulful Business tribe. I do personally know a lot of women who have undertaken Julie’s training and emerged exceptionally better off, and I can not wait to be one of them. Have a look here to see what it’s all about.
Marie Forleo’s B-School
Marie’s B-School program was the first big investment in my business. The price tag is $1999 so it was a huge decision to make since at the time it took me a while to make that kind of money. I joined when I had my first business, Farrah Fair, and it was doing the work through B-School that I realised a few very important truths. The first being that I wasn’t in the business that was going to see me soar so I really had to work on what my goals were and where I wanted to be, do and have. The second was learning the importance of implementing and consistency because no matter how many courses you do, unless you do the work nothing is going to change, and lastly, the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people. All are a critical key to your success.
If my Build a Soulful Business program isn’t for you, and Marie’s program is, then I encourage you to put your name down to be notified when enrollments open up as they only open once a year. You can do that right here and I’ll be super excited to see you inside the group!
My Dream Team (aka: Hire These People)
Web Design / Development: Michelle Millichip
I can not stress enough the importance of open and effective communication when it comes to getting what you want. After a horrible experience of realising that the first person I hired to design my website wasn’t quite fitting into (and executing) my vision, and then crying buckets of tears into my pillow, Michelle enters my life. Admittedly she was there to help me communicate better with the original designer, but after that failed, she took over and has created the masterpiece you see before you (+ she’s currently working on the Build a Soulful Business membership portal… how exciting!). To be openly honest, it was worth the thousands I paid the first designer to have it fail just to get Michelle on my team, even if that wasn’t the primary intention. So take note, everything happens for a reason.
When you are looking to hire someone, make sure you know if you need a designer or a developer. There is a difference. A designer makes things look pretty, and a developer makes the website work. Both are equally important but do know there is a blurred line where most designers and developers know enough about the other to serve you, but ask that question. If you can, hire Michelle. Michelle is a web genius and I am so thankful for her. If every online business owner gets to experience the same relationship and quality of work that I have experienced with her then the would would spin a whole lot more smoothly and lovingly.
Design: Stacey Jessop from Cottontail Creative
Stacey Jessop is incredible in her work, and she can hit tasks out of the park as soon as you tell her where to hit. Stacey has created my website header, and is currently working on some quote images for Instagram for me, as well as graphics I am using to market my products. Just as I was saying with your website, quality is so important to stand out online, and it must be dripping from all of your work because it speaks volumes to anyone watching. It is critical to have something that not only you are proud to put out into the world but your customers and clients are thrilled to receive. If you embrace professional design into your eBooks and courses, it becomes a tangible take-away from what can at times seem like a very screen focused and untouchable world.
You can most certainly DIY design with sites like PicMonkey and Canva, but I really recommend getting a pro like Stacey in to do the job for you so you can focus your time on doing what actually makes you the money (+ in your zone of genius). You can find her online home right here and make sure you tell her I sent you! She’s lovely, you’re lovely and I just know you’ll get along famously.
Copywrite with Kate Erlenbusch from WordLove
Kate had an About Me page copywriting limited offer for 10 people that I emailed her about. When I didn’t hear back from her I thought I had missed out, and had almost convinced myself not to worry, and that I could work it out myself. Turns out Kate just had a small bout of email trouble, and I am so glad I went with my guts on this decision and didn’t let my Ego convince me to DIY. While my About Page has changed a bit since Kate sprinkled her magic all over it, it was her original guaidance and exceptional creativity that helped me put it all together. This was my reaction to her when I receive the first draft of the original copy: “Oh. My. God… Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the ground and wipe away the tears. When I got off the call with you I thought “Well I eff’ed that up. How is she going to understand what I am on about when I hardly know myself?” Reading what you wrote felt like you reached in, gave my heart a cuddle and whispered “I heard you”. I am honestly speechless. I don’t know what to say. Does thank you even cut it? I hope so, a hundred times THANK YOU, for seeing me, hearing me and pointing the dirty mirror I showed you, back to me all crystal clean and sparkly new again.”
Everything related to LIFE with Gabrielle Bernstein
While you can’t specifically hire Gabrielle to work on your business with you, you can most certainly get your hands on her books to help you improve your life, which in this industry, are one of the same. I found Gabrielle Bernstein when she had just published her book Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness and it was her that opened up my world to all that it is now. Gabrielle Bernstein is the catalyst for believing in miracles. She to this day continues to inspire me not only to live my passion but to forgive the rest. She has grown into such a powerhouse speaker, teacher, and role model not just for women and our girls but for everyone. She practices what she preaches and reminds us all that we all have the same power and choices as everyone else. If I become half the inspiration that Gabby is then I would be deeply grateful and humbled.
She’s my spiritual mentor from afar, and I love her to bits for all that she is and does in this world. I really am at a loss on what to say about her, except to go and check her out. Her story is humbling and proof that miracles do in fact exist and are available to everyone. (Plus her hair is always perfect, what’s with that?) See for yourself right here and I am so excited to meet her in January 2015. Can. Not. WAIT!
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas
May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein
Money: A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want by Kate Northrup
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks
Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World (Perigee Book.) by Chris Guillebeau
A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn
You Were Born Rich: Now You Can Discover and Develop Those Riches by Bob Proctor
Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition by Napoleon Hill
Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams by Jeff Walker