This resource guide is divided into categories so you can quickly see what tools and resources I use and recommend. There are a few options in each category as every business and business person is different and needs slightly different tools.

(Full disclosure: a few of the links in this page are affiliate links, meaning I may make a small commission if you click on that link and become a customer. It’s enough to keep me in coffee (so long as I don’t go overboard), plus you’re not paying any more for using my link rather than a link through Google. And, I hope you know already, that I’m not here to make a quick (coffee) buck. I’d never recommend a dud tool or resource if I hadn’t personally tried it and liked it.)

Website platforms / E-Commerce / Online courses

WordPress

WordPress all the way, baby! Seriously, if you’ve been in business for a couple of years and you’re not a complete Luddite, you need to be using WordPress (WordPress.org not WordPress.com). Why? Because it’s the world’s most popular website content management system, it’s infinitely customisable (from small and simple to very large, complex sites) and it’s not owned by anyone, which means you’re not beholden to your website design company forever after and there’s a small nation of highly skilled WordPress developers worldwide.

I host my Hustle & Heart program on a separate WordPress website, using the LearnDash plugin.

Squarespace

For those just starting out in business or who aren’t technically minded and don’t want to engage a website designer, Squarespace is a straightforward, (fairly) easy, low-cost option. Squarespace uses templates so it’s not fully customisable (that’s part of why it’s easy to use).

Weebly

Weebly is a drop-and-drag affair that has a free plan as well as a low-cost monthly options. It’s great for those new to business who aren’t ready for the full might (and potential confusion) of WordPress.

 

E-Commerce / Online courses

Thrivecart

I hook up my WordPress with Thrivecart as my e-commerce provider. Thrivecart is pretty awesome, which is also why I’m a proud affiliate. One of my favourite features is how easy it is to quickly customise your checkout page, by adding features such as testimonials or up-sell offers. This means, in effect, if you don’t have or want a sales page, if your website is a word-in-progress or too painful to update, you can bypass this and design your Thrivecart checkout page as your sales page, with more detail for clients.

Thrivecart also handles affiliates (ie: you can quickly and easily set up other people to sell for you) and also coupon codes, as well as a full course platform included in the price. Seriously, this is next-level e-commerce with all the bells and whistles, but on a really easy-to-use software platform.

Website Hosting & Domain Registrations

Crazy Domains & Ventra IP

I use and recommend Crazy Domains for domain registrations and use and recommend VentraIP for Australian website hosting. There are lots of great website hosting companies though (and plenty of bad ones too!). Other good value, good quality options include Flywheel and Netregistry. I recommend you host your domain separate to your website as it lowers your risk (if one company goes down, you haven’t lost everything).

 

Email hosting & email marketing

G Suite

To host your professional email address (ie: yourname@yourbusinessname.com), you can’t go past Gmail, known by its fancy-package-name as G Suite. I’ve used them to host my professional email addresses for about nine years now and never had one issue. Plus, they’re super cheap and you can add as many email addresses as you like, as your business expands.

Reach Mail

I use and recommend Reach Mail, which is owned by Hustle & Heart. Clients login online, create, test and disseminate their mass email marketing campaigns and it also has nifty automation features, so you can set up sales and marketing funnels and even sell automated online courses (or give them away for free).

Active Campaign

Eventually, I outgrew Reach Mail as my business got more complicated. I needed to be able to sync several different software tools together and get them to talk seamlessly. Enter, Active Campaign. Active Campaign is (relatively) easy to use and allows all manner of fancy integrations and automations with different software, multiple users and all kinds of whiz-bang features that I haven’t yet explored.

Mailchimp

Of course it’s hard to beat free, in which case, you want Mailchimp, which has a free account if you have less than 2000 email records and have recently upgraded their free plans to include access to automation features.

Organising & Planning

Acuity Scheduling

I don’t have a lot of patience for back-and-forth emails about something as boring as scheduling. Acuity Scheduling is a godsend for this – I add my available times per month (if you want, you can just create this once only, to show the same availability for all weeks) and then set up appointment types. You can integrate forms, to collect information from prospects and clients before you meet, and even add your payment processor to collect payments, including allowing people to check your availability before they pay you (so they’re not disappointed and asking for a refund). It’s made my life so much simpler.

Asana

I use Asana to record all ideas, tasks and plans and ascribe them to different team members. You can create notes, links and deadlines for tasks and it’s nice and neat, which appeals to my left brain. Plus it has an awesome free plan and a mobile app too, for capturing those ideas-on-the-fly.

Buffer

Life’s too short to sit on the couch until 9:19pm so you can post to your Facebook page. Get organised and schedule in advance with Buffer. Free accounts allow for just one social media network. Or pay a tiny fee and link up all your social media.

 

Communicating

Zoom

I use Zoom for one-to-one business coaching, group coaching calls and technical training (with its nifty screen share function). The automated recordings are great too, because it’s easy to forget to click ‘record’. If you’re exasperated by Skype’s drop-outs and low-quality connections, then give Zoom a go.

Loom

Loom is AWESOME! I use it to give instructions to my team, to give clients’ feedback on websites and other documents, and to create SOPs (standard operating procedures).

Bonjoro

Bonjoro is a video app for your mobile and desktop that enables you to quickly and easily record and email people personal videos. Pretty cool when you want to make your email far more personal.

Money & Business Accounts

Xero

I used MYOB for many years, so changing to Xero wasn’t a decision I made lightly. Xero’s automation tools help me keep my books up-to-date, with feeds coming through from my business trading bank account, my business credit card, PayPal and Stripe. This means that doing my books is really simple and quick. 

Rounded

Australian software company Rounded is especially for soloists, freelancers and small business owners who don’t need all the bells and whistles of inventory and payroll, etc. but want to manage their books and send invoices. You can use my coupon code BrookMcRounded20 on any annual plan for Aus and NZ customers to nab 20% off your plan for the first 12 months.

Hnry

New Zealand company Hnry is an all-in-one accounting service for those who don’t want to have anything to do with tax and bookkeeping, without being bitten on the arse when their tax liabilities are due. It automates your financial admin, with all deposits into your Hnry account being automatically deducted for your tax, before being moved into your business traditing account. As a special offer for the Hustle & Heart community, you can sign up to Hnry using the promo code HUSTLE&HEART to get $2500 worth of invoices processed for free to try out.

Stripe

Stripe is not intuitive nor easy to set up, but it does have lower transaction fees than PayPal and another major benefit – funds are deposited directly into your bank account (after Stripe holds onto them for about 3 days). I use Stripe to process credit card payments for my public courses, Hustle & Heart program and other online transactions.

Square

I haven’t yet used Square but have heard only good things from people ‘on the ground’ using it to take credit card payments in shops and on the go.

PayPal

PayPal is useful for those new to online business and one of the world’s largest Internet payment companies. You can send and receive money easily, accept different currencies, set up payment subscriptions and also set up payment buttons for your website. Your clients don’t need a PayPal account to pay you via PayPal, but they need a credit card.

 

 

Video hosting

Vimeo & YouTube

You can upload your videos directly to your website but why would you, when you can upload them to Vimeo or YouTube (or both!) and embed the code from there into your site. I use and recommend both Vimeo and YouTube. You can ‘lock’ your videos on Vimeo by password-protecting them (in the case of a paid course, for example), which I do for my Hustle & Heart program.

Design

Canva

After many years of using and training others in the Canva free account, I’ve finally upgraded to a paid account and am loving it, particularly the ability to copy and resize various designs (for example, to duplicate and resize social media graphics for different channels).

File management and file sharing

Dropbox

I use Dropbox pretty much every day. My website is backed up automatically (by Updraft) and the backup files are saved there. I store all my important information there (just in case my computer or external hard-drive goes awry) and I also create folders for clients to share files with (such as business coaching marketing plans and call recordings). At AU $129 per year, it’s well worthwhile. Plus, it keeps my computer running smoothly as it’s not being slowed down with too many overly large files.

Google Docs

Google Docs is another free tool which allows you to upload documents and create documents from scratch that are available online anywhere that there’s internet. I use Google Docs to collaborate with other business owners on projects (such as courses or events) and to share homework and action plans with my business coaching clients. I’ve seen other business owners use Google Docs in place of a fancy membership site for online courses and programs, instead using folders and documents to share course information and homework tasks.

 

Forms & Surveys

I love me a good form, especially as a business coach. And surveying your clients and prospects is not only smart business, it’s essential to better understand what people want, why they buy from you (and why they don’t). There are plenty of great (free) forms and surveys out there, including …

Typeform

However, my current favourite is Typeform, for its gorgeous, intuitive design. It’s not perfect though, so for some types of questions I use:

Wufoo

Wufoo’s interface is a little more complicated than Typeform’s but they have more options for styles of questions. You can embed both Typeform and Wufoo into your web pages if you like, or you can send people straight to your form, hosted at Typeform or Wufoo.

Analytics

There are so many different types of free and low-cost analytics programs out there, but for most business owners, these are simply distraction techniques (ninja-level procrastination). Most importantly, you have a weekly or monthly routine to check your key analytics, and you make an action list (that you actually do!) based on what you discover.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is still free and totally wonderful. All website designs that my team and I do include linking up your Google Analytics account (or creating one for you if you haven’t already got one).

Google Search Console

Google Search Console works in conjunction with Google Analytics, is also free, and enables you to see specific issues on your site and to prioritise them for you, so you know what to do first! Pretty cool.

(Full disclosure: a few of the links in this page are affiliate links, meaning I may make a small commission if you click on that link and become a customer. It’s enough to keep me in coffee (so long as I don’t go overboard), plus you’re not paying any more for using my link rather than a link through Google. And, I hope you know already, that I’m not here to make a quick (coffee) buck. I’d never recommend a dud tool or resource if I hadn’t personally tried it and liked it.)

Is there something missing here that you think I should know about? Drop me a line and tell me what and why.