My clients often ask me, “What tools should I use for my business?” If this is a question you have too, then roll up your sleeves because I’m finally putting together my “must-haves” for you.
CREATING A BUSINESS PLAN
You wouldn't build a house without a plan, so don't start a business without one either. Before I share my other favorite resoures, start here.
Eye-Dropper Color Picker Tool.
This is FREE. This handy chrome extension makes it easy to grab the exact color codes for anything on your screen. So if you’re trying to come up with your branding colors and all you have is a bunch of saved images on Pinterest, now you can grab the exact color code from those images so you don’t have to guess what color it actually is. All of your branding can finally have the same color palette! You can also drop that code into your Canva
account so your images have a consistent color.
Branding Kits. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay a graphic designer, but you still want a classy and cohesive look to all of your images and workbooks, purchasing a branding kit could be perfect for you. They are inexpensive Canva templates that you can edit and customize even if you aren’t techy. Many include templates for Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, lead magnets, e-books, and more. Here are a few that you can explore.
If you are at the place in your business where you are ready to invest in a brand designer and take your images and branding to the next level, here are a few of my favorites:
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
- This is a marketing tool for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram that allows you to schedule posts and plan out your content. It also connects you with “tribes” or other users that will pin your posts and you pin theirs. This feature is incredible for increasing engagement and visibility of your pins. I especially love that you can use the FREE version for a long time. If you are just using Instagram every 3 days or so, you can use this at no cost. (My Top Recommendation!)
- This is FREE. Create shortened links that are trackable. Any link on the internet can be turned into a bitly link so it is not so long. For example, if you keep forgetting your Zoom link, turn it into a bitly link that you can easily share with people.
- This is FREE with paid options. This is a Facebook Messenger marketing tool that allows you to create bots that convert users into subscribers. This allows your audience to still get common questions answered without having to wait as long for you to respond.
There are SO MANY different website platforms out there including Wix
(great if you need a free site), Squarespace
(awesome for photographers), and Shopify
(fabulous if you sell products).
However, my favorite is Wavoto
(that's what this site is built on!) If you have an essential oil business, they even have a partnership with doTERRA. This means that you can get access to specific pages, funnels, forms, and newsletters for your audience.
Within Wavoto you can create newsletters, set up email marketing campaigns, create sales funnels, create and host courses, create a business calendar and schedule meetings, create a store, have a membership space, and so much more. They absolutely have the best customer support I've ever worked with.
If you aren't ready for a website yet, but you need an email service, you might love Flodesk
. It's BEAUTIFUL and inexpensive. Note: if you are in network marketing, they don't love working with MLM's. I've seen clients get their accounts closed because network marketers statistically don't get great engagement with emails. So if you plan to use this service, be sure you have everyone opt in before you email them.
DATA COLLECTION TOOLS
Crazy Egg collects data that helps you gain insights into your customers through testing. This service offers a range of tools to their customers, including click reports, heat maps, user session recordings, A/B testing tools, and scroll maps.
Google Analytics is an oldie, but a goodie. This is a free service offered by Google that allows you to track and analyze customer data. This is the most used data collection tool because of its ease of use.
Hot Jar prides itself on being different from other data collection tools because this service offers information on what customers do on your website rather than just the number of visits or number of clicks. Hot Jar offers tools such as heatmaps, session replays, form analytics, on-site polls, and surveys.
BUSINESS & SELF DEVELOPMENT BOOKS
I love that when Kalli Wilson
starts coaching someone, she often asks, “What is the latest business book you’ve read?” She knows that if they are not investing in their continued growth and learning, their business will stall. So here are a few goodies that you can start with.
Tip: If you’re like me, sitting down to read a book is really hard with all the demands on my time. That’s why I am an avid audio book or podcast girl. Stick those headphones in and enjoy a book while folding laundry, driving to the dentist, or doing yardwork.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
- Simon Sinek’s mission is to help others discover work that inspires them. He uses the successes of great leaders and real-world examples to show how they communicate and how others can adapt their mindset to lead and inspire.
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
- The main idea of this book is that you can change the behaviors of others simply by changing your own. This book will teach you how to better understand people, become a more likeable person, improve relationships, win others over, and influence behavior through leadership.
First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham
- This book will teach you how the best managers attract, hire, focus, and keep their most talented employees.
The Four-Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss
- In this brilliant book you will discover a step-by-step guide to freeing yourself from your corporate job, creating a business that will fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live like a millionaire without having to be one.
Everything is Figureoutable, by Marie Forleo
- In case I haven’t already convinced you that Marie Forleo knows her stuff, this book will definitely convince you. This book is a collection of practical insights and actionable discipline that will serve as an effective approach to all things in life, not just business matters.
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, by Brene Brown
- If you don’t know who Brene Brown is stop everything now and go Google her! Her work is absolutely amazing, she has done Ted Talks and has a special on Netflix. In this book she dispels the common myths about modern day work culture. Dare to Lead is will inspire you to lead with vulnerability and to create value, trust, and resilience within your business.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, Chriss Voss
- Voss is a former international FBI hostage investigator, in this book he will teach you how to take control of conversations that impact your life and business, and how to never compromise again.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
- This book is a deep dive into how habits are at the core of everything you do. He gives you the techniques to change your habits and the impact creating good habits will have on your life, business, and society.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizbeth Gilbert
- Elizabeth Gilbert provides insight into her creative process, how to be creative inspire of your fears, where creativity comes from, how ideas work, and how to foster a relationship with creativity that will keep your creative ideas flowing.
The $100 Start Up, by Chris Guillebeau
- This book will guide you on how to start a business by combining your passion and skills, and then he tells you how to do it with 100 dollars or less. It is his belief that through the power of the internet you can create a full-time income by following his guidance.
MARIE’S EPIC LIST
If you want the most epic list of paid and free resources, Marie Forleo has this incredible spreadsheet full of resources for every category you can think of. Get Marie’s Tools List Here.
One of the many reasons people like Jenna Kutcher, Brandon Burchard, and Marie Forleo are so successful is that they don’t practice gatekeeping. You’re probably wondering, “What the heck is that?” In short, it’s what people do when they hold back all of their knowledge and tools without sharing it with others.
To clarify, yes, you should absolutely own your paid products and services. Don’t just give those away for free. However, some of the most successful business owners are those who make it a point to constantly add value to their audience. This could be in the form of free downloads, webinars, advice, and more. I promise, the more you give, the more will come back to you.