there are so many tools out there for business growth. so. many. i have tried them all in an effort to grow my business, get organized, streamline my finances, and make more revenue and impact. this robust list of resources is intended to guide you when it comes to managing, streamlining and growing your business.
My go-to CRM option when it comes to processing payments, contracts, lead communication, and client management. For $35 a month, you get a suite of incredible tools (that expands regularly), amazing customer service, and a truly simple program. As a marketing consultant, I use this to invoice my client for one-time services, as well as monthly services. They allow for auto-pay which means a majority of my clients are set up on their retainers to pay on the same date every month, keeping it simple for them and myself. The workflows are another fabulous tool I use when someone reaches out on my website for services. It walks people through an email flow, my online calendar booking system, and expectations. I still have a few things I’d like to learn about their system, but for the basics, you’re covered! You may like Infusionsoft or other programs that have email marketing embedded into them, but this is a fantastic option for service-based businesses. Learn more here.
This was a recent discovery from my amazing accountant and financial coach, Stephanie Majeran of WellRun Results. For literally 59 American dollars a year, you get a full suite of spreadsheets that link to your bank accounts, do magical spreadsheet wizardry that I would never know how to create on my own, and keep me in check. From tracking your spending (and categorizing it) to managing taxes (wooooof), these spreadsheets are seriously too dang easy not to use. Since I no longer use QuickBooks in this business (we actually love it for Brand Launch), this is the best option! Again, I cannot believe how affordable it is and how easy it is to use. I do not use classic Excel spreadsheets; I only use it with Google Sheets. Learn more here.
Launch a Blog
Step by step courses designed to help you launch a successful blog. These are easy to understand and can help you succeed with your first blog! Learn more here.
I blog about affiliate marketing and how beneficial it has been to my business and life right here, but this is a quick overview of why I absolutely LOVE this Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing e-course. Michelle has been blogging a long time and now earns $100,000 per month with her content. By understanding how she creates content that adds value and teaches people how to monetize the value they put into every single blog post, not only do readers benefit but bloggers can too! Learn more here.
Learn how to obtain sponsors with brands that you care about! This easy course Making Sense of Sponsored Posts breaks it down and teaches you every step of the way on how to score your first sponsored post and capitalize on increased earnings.
I will always be a huuuuuge fan of Google Calendar. I particularly love the Zoom integration piece for my client meetings through Chrome. This syncs wonderfully to my iPhone and by adding additional calendars from my spouse and Brand Launch business partner, my admin and team can see exactly where meetings will fit and how to schedule. It’s free and it’s the best. Learn more here.
Now this is an area I have a lot of experience with! I have tried Calendly and Dubsado calendar system and ScheduleOnce is the best offering out there IMO and for a really competitive price. If you put a lot of meetings on your calendar and need people to find dates/times that work for you, I find this program to be the most robust, yet simplest to manage. You can send follow-up texts/emails to remind people of calls and also redirect them after they book their meetings with you to other pages. Hands down this is my favorite option when it comes to online bookings. Learn more here.
email + email marketing
While I only use the Google Suite when it comes to emails (sorry Office lovers), Spark has been an absolute game changer when it comes to inbox management. This platform pulls in all of my different email addresses into one inbox that lives on my desktop. Just like Google, I can create multiple signatures, canned emails, and see what’s going on right now in all of my accounts. I personally prefer to have my emails in one spot versus multiple tabs open where I can’t tell one Gmail account from the other. That way I can close the app when I’m not feeling like diving into emails quite yet. The best part? It’s free! No hooks or limited timeframes to try it out. Learn more here.
This is what I use on my iPhone. I keep it really limited to how many inboxes I have access to, mostly just my personal and my Brand Launch email in case a client meeting gets canceled when I’m on the road or have issues finding a location, etc. I’ve deleted email from my phone and then kicked myself when things come up where I need a digital ticket or something in an email folder.
I’ve been in all the email marketing systems you guys, all of them. This one is by far my favorite. From creating automations to offering simple opt-in forms to allowing you to tag people in really common-sense ways, ConvertKit is my go-to option for anyone looking for an email marketing option/solution. Learn more here.
While I only use Bluehost for my IOWANDERERS blog, I can’t recommend this enough for people getting started on a website that want something really simple. I ended up working with Illuminated Development to host this website because I am slowly working on outsourcing parts of my business I am simply not the expert in! But for the first five years of my blogging journey I have used and loved Bluehost to host my websites. Learn more here.
A handful of my clients use Squarespace and find it to be an incredibly savvy and quick way to build a website. It is a great solution for people who have fairly static websites. I say that because at the end of the day WordPress has thousands of plugins that you can add that really accommodate website growth in a way Squarespace cannot. If you envision yourself doing a ton of different things on a website, go WordPress. If you want a clean, classic go-to spot, I would definitely choose Squarespace. I love GoLive HQ for designs/templates and Brighten Made for design. Both are more in the female design space, so if that’s not your jam, just ignore that recommendation! Learn more here.
Since I became a working adult back in 2013, I have been using Asana for community projects, nonprofit boards I’ve been on, events I co-coordinate, business tasks for my VA + OBM, and day-to-day reminders for me and my spouse. Similar to the scheduling programs, I have tried every other project management system offered. I always come back to Asana because of how simple, yet robust the program is and can be. The free option is absolutely worth your time diving into and if you want to upgrade for your team, that is also a great tool! From lists to project boards, Asana has continued to innovate that platform to meet the everyday needs of teams and business owners. Learn more here.
I have been a big brand advocate of Day Designer for a long time. Yep, this is your good old fashioned paper planner my friends! I’ve been gifted one every year by my mom (such a great annual gift) and it sits by my desk every single day. While my day/life is truly guided by Google Calendar and Asana tasks, I find it really nice to jot down quick, random thoughts and also map out my schedule to see it in a different way than digitally. I don’t tend to carry it around with me around town because it is pretty heavy, so it sits at home and I get the satisfaction of checking off meetings and some bigger (or very small) tasks that pop up that aren’t worth putting into Asana. Learn more here.