Despite a few career changes in my life, I have spent most of my working years being self-employed. I’m a chronic entrepreneur!
Before becoming a Blogger, NLP Practitioner, Author or Podcaster in England, I was a Registered Massage Therapist with my own Wellness Centre in Canada for 16 years.
Entrepreneurship seems to flow in my veins!
When I began blogging in 2016, it was to share my experiences with 10-years of child abuse, and the steps I took to find my strength, value and worth afterwards.
The response was so powerful that I quickly realised that this needed to be my business on a larger scale. I just wasn’t exactly sure how, but I knew I would find my way.
I began offering a coaching program, webinars, workshops and courses. Eventually, I began speaking at events. The next thing I knew, I had written and published my book, and my story was being picked up by newspapers, radio stations, podcasts and magazines across the globe!
Now I’d like to share with you all the things that I’ve found very helpful in building my business – things that now help me up-scale what I do, adding to my team and allowing my business to grow with relative ease.
Of course, I’m bound to leave some things out my sheer error. I’m also bound to need to revisit this list, changing it as I add in new software, equipment, etc… I think it’s also important to note here that I’m Not a techie.
Seriously, computer programs, apps, equipment and everything in between are not in my comfort zone. So, when I’m saying that I use these things daily, believe me when I say that it has to be user friendly enough for me to be able to use without pulling my hair out!
Lastly, most of the links below are affiliate links. Purchasing any of them using my links will not cost you any more money. One of the ways I help you to empower yourself to overcome obstacles, including starting or running a business, is to teach you your value, including how to make money from the work you do. Affiliate links are a simple way to do that for so many of us, so why wouldn’t I follow my own advice?
I’m sharing these products with you because they honestly and truly help me with my business every single day. There are many others that I’ve tried out over the last few years that didn’t make this list because, for whatever reason, I just didn’t get on with them. The point of this blog is to present you with options that will help you build your business with more ease, not more stress.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Building & Hosting a Website
There are many options for you out there, and like with everything else, you should do a little research to ensure you choose the best options that meet your needs.
That being said, my website is a wordpress site, which actually doesn’t offer an affiliate program. I’m still promoting them because I find adding pages & making changes to my own website simple. That’s important to me as I make a lot of changes each month, and like I said early, I’m not a techie.
I use Blue Host as my hosting platform. I find them to be efficient, inexpensive, and helpful any time I’ve needed to contact them for help.
Building an Email List
Hands down, this was the single most important decision I made when starting my business – I invested in ActiveCampaign and began to collect the emails of those who wanted to hear from me!
Now, I’m not going to say I haven’t had challenges with this software, because it does offer so much that I find it difficult to keep up. But, now that I’ve grown, this is something my team uses now on my behalf, and they love it.
Here’s a classic example of how we use this: You read this blog and find it helpful and decide you’d like to subscribe to my blog. After filling out the brief form (made in ActiveCampaign), your details are entered into a blog subscription list, which adds you to a campaign. This campaign is set to simply send you an email to let you know when I’ve posted a new blog.
Now, I personally like using pop-up forms that I can customise in a larger way, in order to offer deals to my followers, and capture their details. ActiveCampaign is limited with this function, so I use the MailOptin plugin on my wordpress site. This is awesome because I can set them to pop up after someone is on my site for a certain amount of time, or after they’ve scrolled through a certain amount of content, or when they go to leave my site.
And that’s just the start of its features! You can choose from a wide range of templates, as well as types of forms. For example, do you want your form to come up along the very bottom or top of your site, or as a larger square in the centre? Pretty much whatever you want, you’ll be able to make happen with MailOptin.
I have this set up to run MANY campaigns -most of which send a series of emails to make you feel welcome and encourage you to engage. This has had a profound effect on my business because it allows me to deliver impactful emails to my base. I send them free gifts like meditations and past online workshops.
I also send them offers and special discounts on tickets to my appearances, and many of my offers, like NLP sessions, workshops, and more. Many of these are offers only given to them – they are not released on my social media pages or in my support groups. People really appreciate this!
Staying on Track
Now let’s face, whether you are a business of one, your team is growing, or you are a massive conglomerate: You need to stay organised!
I’m no different. Writing blogs, keeping track of everyone enrolled in my 3-month NLP coaching program, ensuring I meet deadlines for guest blogs and applying for speaking ventures, can get messy. Add to that all the things I need to keep track of for the Life, like you mean it! Podcast, and there is the potential for many sleepless nights.
Not with Wrike. I started using Wrike just this year (2019), after using Asana for a few years. There were just a few limitations with Asana that Wrike resolved, so I switched. And the great thing is, switching all my tasks over to Wrike was easy – even I could do it!
Let’s use the podcast as an example. Someone expresses an interest in being on the show, and there are a whole host of things that need to happen. Research needs to be done on the potential guest to ensure they are a right fit. A conversation needs to happen to determine what they’d like to talk about – which category will that topic best fit with? Of course, they have to schedule their recording slot.
They are then prompted to send in a bunch of information for us to use for promotional materials. We need to keep track of whether or not they’ve provided all that we have asked for, and then someone on my team begins to write out possible questions to ask and a rough opening for the show.
After we’ve recorded, someone completes the opening and closing, based on what we actually ended up speaking about! I then record the opening and closing pieces and select which ads will fit best with the content of that episode. It’s always important to me to have a free offering of some sort as one of my ads, so I choose which of those fits best too.
Next, the entire episode needs to be edited and the promotional materials need to be made, and then sent to the guest along with the release date and link.
If any one of these things are missed, we can’t continue on business as usual until it is corrected. Wrike allows for all these tasks to be entered and assigned to a team member, along with a deadline. That way, we don’t miss a thing, and everyone knows exactly what they are doing and when it needs to be accomplished. That’s priceless!
Another product I have fallen in love with, helping me to stay on track, not just with my tasks but with my goals – allowing me to keep a vision for my business and our future together, are these amazing planners from Dailygreatness.
I started with the business planner, and it was a game changer. They also have planners for parents, wellness, success and yoga, along with their original planner. They are a little pricier than your average planner, so I recommend starting with the one you feel most drawn to, even if it’s not business.
You see, these planners help change your habits. Of course, they aren’t miracle workers – they can’t do the work for you. But if you’re serious about getting your act together, and you invest in a planner in this price point, then you’re much more likely to actually use it.
And since habits for success are transferable anywhere in your life, it really doesn’t matter which one you start with. Implement what you learn using your planner each day to any area of your life. But if you’re like me, whichever one you choose, you’ll be coming back for more!
So, you’ve figured out what your business will be and what you can offer people. Now you need to decide on the best way for your customers or clients to pay for those resources. When I first started out, I was simply using PayPal. It seemed easy enough, and it did work well, until I realised how much money I was losing.
I have people purchasing my offerings from all over the world, and the charges were killing me. I refused to up my prices to offset this, so instead I did my research.
Now I use Moon Clerk, which is linked to Stripe. Of course there are still fees involved, but they are much more reasonable. Plus, while PayPal allowed me to create invoices, I was very limited on making enough changes to it to compliment my brand. In fact, I simply couldn’t, other than adding my logo. With Moon Clerk, I have the ability to change everything!
You can use the link for the invoice you’ve created, or you can embed the invoice directly into your website. This way, people don’t need to leave your site to complete their payment.
Also, you are able to integrate Moon Clerk with ActiveCampaign, so when someone purchases something, you can set it up for them to be entered into a campaign. This allows you to collect their details, and get them into your mailing list so they can learn about all the other amazing things you do to be in service to them.
If you’re running meetings as part of your business, then I recommend Zoom.
I use Zoom for my NLP coaching sessions and group coaching calls, for my free discovery calls, to record my webinars and workshops, and for recording my podcast. I literally couldn’t run my business without this tool.
What I love about Zoom is that I can choose to record the sessions, or not. I can work my settings so that people who enter the meeting do so muted, and with their video off. I can control whether I control their mic, or they do.
This means that when I hold a group coaching call, everyone enters the call on audio only, with their mics off. They use the chat box to tell me if they’d like to be unmuted so they can engage in the call. I go ahead and unmute them so we can all hear their input, and when they are done, I mute them again and unmute the next person.
Best of all, there is a free version for you to use that is completely capable of giving everything you need, as long as your meetings are only 45 minutes.
There are so many different apps to use to schedule your social media posts. Personally, I use Buffer, who don’t have an affiliate link.
Now, Buffer is able to schedule for both Instagram and Pinterest, but I prefer to use Tailwind for these.
There are a few things I love about Tailwind. First, I can see my whole schedule pictured in front of me, for as long as I’ve scheduled – which can be months in advance.
Second, I can create smart loops which allows me to put certain posts on a loop. For example, I offer a free 30-day challenge that runs all year long, but has the best engagement on January 1st, because people are using it as part of their new year’s resolution plans. So, I set it up in a loop within Tailwind to start being put back into my schedule in October, gearing up for the new year, and it stops in mid-January when the excitement of the new year is already forgotten.
Third, Tailwind has an awesome treat in the form of Tribes, which are groups of like-minded people who all agree to share out other member’s posts when they themselves post within the Tribe. This ensures a much higher rate of engagement.
For example, one of the Tribes I have joined reshared out my content, increasing my reach my 119k. That’s one group, over just a couple weeks. Considering the bulk of my web traffic comes from Pinterest, it’s a no-brainer!
Lighting & Sound
Everyone seems to be on social media nowadays. It seems for your business to be successful, no matter what business you have, you must have a social media presence. So, let’s make sure your pictures and videos are up to snuff!
If you’ve watched any of my videos, you know that most of them have pretty darn great lighting. Whether it’s day, night or somewhere between, I always have my dimmable studio light on. The only exceptions I make are when I’m on the move. If I’m recording videos, then my light is shining bright.
Another thing I’m not without when recording video is my Snowball microphone. If you do research on the best microphone, the Snowball isn’t going to be at the top, but neither is the price tag. It sounds a world apart from my computer mic, that’s for sure!
So, let’s talk about pictures. I usually use my phone for both videos and pictures, because the quality of both is great, for what I need. I struggled for a while with using self-sticks. That’s because the one I was using was super cheap, and it effected its performance.
So, I invested in a better one: The ATUMTEK Bluetooth Selfie Stick. This one is special because the holder can rotate around easily to shoot in vertical or landscape. It also functions as a tripod, which is a vast improvement and allows me to set up for videos and pictures without the need for me to carry a large tripod around with me. Of course, it collapses down to be compact enough to throw into your handbag, or even your back pocket.
After taking those pictures and video shots using my phone (or Zoom), I use Animoto to edit amazing looking and sounding videos. This includes all my YouTube videos, my “opener” which leads all my videos, any promotional videos I create, and even my course videos.
Animoto is awesome. Out of everything on this list, this makes my business life so much easier, while making me look so professional. There are loads of royalty free songs for you to use, you can edit your colours, and you can choose from numerous templates or start from scratch and build your own.
If you want professional looking videos, this is definitely for you!
Hosting your Webinar
This can be quite bespoke, but I’m a big fan in offering my followers free stuff that will be very beneficial to them. For me, this includes webinars.
I have two, both serving abuse survivors, empowering them to move forward. One is 30 minutes and the other is 45 minutes. Each outlines 3 steps for the viewer to take – these are tangible steps they can take today to begin to make huge changes in their lives.
It is priceless, so I offer it for free. The call to action at the end of the webinars is different – one is for a free discovery call with me, and the other is for a 6-week online course I have available.
To host these webinars, I use Stealth Seminar. They provide the landing page that I choose from the long list of templates. I write up the content I want on the landing page and load it into their platform, along with the pictures to use, the video I’m using, and the call to action, including links and timings for when I want it to pop up.
I’m also able to integrate the attendees with ActiveCampaign, so they become part of my mailing list and don’t miss out on any of the other amazing things I offer.
As mentioned earlier, I offer different online courses to empower people to move forward and build the life they deserve. I host both on Teachable.
I did a lot of research before choosing Teachable. The main defining factor for me was three-fold. One, they have a free version. Two, it’s very easy to navigate and create courses with all the content needed. Three, they offer coupons and affiliate links.
I don’t mean this affiliate link that I’m using here. I mean that once you’ve created your course, you can have affiliates working for you! Simply find the people that you believe will help you promote your course and give them their affiliate link to use when telling people about it.
Each time someone signs up for your course using their affiliate link, they automatically get paid whatever it is you’ve pre-determined. That can be a percentage of the sale, or a fixed amount.
I realise this last category is more bespoke, as many of you are not podcasters, but since I am, I would be remiss if I didn’t include it.
I’ve already mentioned Zoom for the recording of my podcast, and the microphone I use during the recording. To edit my podcast, I use the free app Audacity. I’ve needed to search for videos on how to use it to its full capacity, but once I did, it all made sense.
I did a lot of research when it came time to select a hosting platform. Podbean was the best option for me. I like the price, the ability to select and adapt my theme, and that they include an app and will push out my episodes to all the major players.
They also have a pretty cool option to monetise your podcast: crowdfunding! This let’s your podcast fans to become patrons, allowing you to generate monthly income with their support.
And there you have it – all the major things I use in my business every single day to make running my business easier. I hope you find this blog helpful, and all the resources within!
Freebies For You!