Tools & Resources

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

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 veritable small nation of highly skilled WordPress developers worldwide.

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 great, 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.

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).

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.

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

WordSwag, Typorama & PicMonkey

Good graphic designers are worth their weight in gold! Don’t underestimate the value of good design in communicating the value you offer. However, not all things need designers. For example, social media marketing. To add text to images and create quick and easy promotional pieces for my Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels, I use and recommend WordSwag mobile app (iPhone and Android), Typorama (iPhone and iPad only), and PicMonkey website (for creating graphics on your computer, not phone). Some people swear by Canva, but I don’t find it that easy and intuitive, and I’ve got little inclination to spend time figuring it out when I have those other awesome options.

Organising & Communicating

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.

Zoom

I still use Skype but Zoom is worth the US$10 a month I spend because the quality of video and connection is better. Even without listing any other features, this makes it worth the investment for me, considering that 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.

Slack

I first started using Slack in about 2013 and didn’t like it at all. However, it’s improved a lot and is now my go-to application to communicating with my team members that are in the UK, the US and Thailand. You can create separate channels and invite one or more people to participate in the channel, you can pin important information so it doesn’t get ‘lost’ in the stream of communication, and it helps keep you out of your email inbox, with its many distractions. Plus, it has a mobile app, which is good for me if I’m waiting for a response from my designer when she wakes in the UK and I’m getting ready for bed in Australia.

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.

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 great 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.

Accounts & Money & Record Keeping

Xero

I used MYOB in my business and on behalf of other businesses that I worked for for many years, so changing to Xero wasn’t a decision I made lightly. However Xero has been fantastic for helping me keep my books up-to-date with its nifty automation. I have automatic feeds coming through from my business trading bank account, my business credit card, PayPal and Stripe. Which means that doing my books is really simple and quick. Plus, I can run reports far more often, knowing that my accounts are (more-or-less) up-to-date. It’s $50 a month and well worth it.

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 7 days). I use Stripe to process credit card payments for my public courses, Hustle & Heart program and other online transactions. I use SendOwl and Stripe together for credit card payments through my website as it makes it easy to add products and services and change things quickly.

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.

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, all of which are great.

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.