These are some of the brands that I refer to colleagues and clients when they ask for suggestions on which tools they should use. I happily pay for and use each of these services. Some of these companies reward me with some affiliate commish (at no extra cost to you) if you sign up using my links below. Most offer free plans or trial periods. If any work out for you, let me know here.
I’m newer to the Leadpages platform but have already grown quite fond of it. It’s where this very website is hosted. Leadpages helps small businesses (like me) connect with an audience (like you), collect leads, and close sales. You can easily and quickly build websites, landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and more with very few design skills. They also have a great work culture and are always dropping helpful tools and tricks so that you get the most out of the platform. Check it out yourself and get your first 14 days on me with no pressure. I think you’ll really dig it.
I found Teachable by accident and it's one of the newer kids on the block. On their platform, anyone can create and sell online courses in minutes. It’s what I used to launch The Smart Brand Masterclass. Their knowledge base and helpful content are impeccable. For my money, they’re the best in the biz by a wide margin. If you have some skills to share, consider becoming an online course creator yourself. Oh, and did I mention you'll get a free 14-day trial on me, no credit card required? Get started here.
Canva is a graphic design platform that allows you to create logos, social media graphics, flyers, presentations, posters, and much more by integrating with millions of images, fonts, templates, and illustrations. It's also a thorn in Adobe's hip because it's totally disrupting and democratizing the design game at a fraction of the cost. It's most def one of my very favorite tools and I highly recommend you try out their "free forever" plan ASAP. And if you want more as I did, upgrade to Canva Pro via a monthly or annual plan.
The more you learn, the more you earn. A key part of growing a business is knowing what your tribe prefers. IMO, Typeform is unquestionably the best surveying platform for learning what people want and need, key insights in my profession. If you want to truly get to know your customers (which will help you serve them better), you must ask them questions. This baby’s got the beauty, and the brains like you’ve never seen. Great tools and integrations with a very people-friendly touch make this an impeccable tool. Get a taste from their “free forever plan” and upgrade when you’re ready to power up your surveys.
You ever wished that when you land on an unfamiliar website or an online store, that the business owner or a salesperson would “greet you at the door” and offer guidance to get you where you’re trying to go - just like in real life? VideoAsk makes that dream possible by acting as the human version of Typeform. The best interface is your face, and you can use yours to survey visitors, qualify leads, schedule calls, and quiz prospects using pre-recorded conditional logic. This lowers that trust barrier for your audience tremendously while you get to create VideoAsks for all types of scenarios. Pricing ranges from $0 - $40/mo, so check it out here and see an example of how I’m using this in action.
As a decade+ solopreneur, I have trouble trusting others to help me run my business. Delegation is way more than tasking people with stuff, and relinquishing control isn’t easy. Fortunately, Acadium is a great segway into getting used to hiring extra hands. For just $499 every 3 months, you can onboard a dedicated apprentice who’ll give you 10 hrs of their time each week, in exchange for 1-2 hrs of mentorship per week. That’s a more-than-fair trade, IMO, and it’s giving me the experience I need to eventually upgrade to outsourcing a freelancer or team, which I can also do through Acadium. If you're a business, try it for yourself here, and as a welcome gift, you’ll get $100 off your first membership. Alternatively, if you’re a marketer or freelancer, you can join Acadium as a contractor who works with businesses like mine. Get started here.
Calendly has quickly become the gold standard for me in scheduling meetings and sessions because they make it so damn simple to implement and use. As a consultant, I can set up multiple schedules, notifications, and time blocks with cushions before and after my booked events (in case they run over or are delayed). Furthermore, Calendly plays nice and integrates with most other tools I use, so set-up is a breeze, and clients love it. This thing even automatically creates Zoom meetings for specific events and accepts payments for others without meetings overwriting one another or becoming double-booked. And that interface is crazy-clean. Get your first 14 days on me and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Loom is easily the most straightforward, most relaxed way to create tutorials, product demos, online courses, and more. You can record your screen, what your camera sees, or both as quick video messages to post publicly or privately. It’s great to add a little more personality to what you’re trying to communicate or if you don’t like typing long messages. Loom also makes it easier to “say” what could be hard to express in copy form, like conducting a website audit for a client or walking someone through a virtual presentation. Perhaps best of all, Loom is *fun* and friendly to use, in the same way, that apps like Slack and Toggl are. Fantastic pricing and dope features seal the deal for me. Try it for yourself for 14 days risk-free. I bet you’ll thank me later.
When I need to share content in webinar format, this is my #1 go-to. Firstly, the interface is *crazy* clean for both hosts and attendees. Secondly, there’s no software to download! This makes it even easier to connect because my audience is able to join in with a simple link - no passcodes or installs required. And thirdly, webinars on Demio just feel… fun. Love being able to set up my courses on-demand, on-repeat, or as one-and-dones. That flexibility for my audience (and myself) is paramount. Enjoy 2 weeks on me and then choose 1 of 3 plans they offer if you love it as much as I do.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Zoom? If you knew nothing about it pre-covid, you sure do now, I bet. For my 1:1 consultations, intro chats with new colleagues, and group sessions, there’s just no better, more reliable solution for online conference calls. Only problem is, they know this now which is why they did away with their unlimited two-participant calls on their free plans, ugh. Still love them though! I invite you to save 30% off your first year of their new Pro Annual plan when using my special link. You’ll need an upgrade like this if your meetings typically go longer than 40 minutes so just go ahead and do yourself the favor.
Shopify kicks major ass and I’ve been using their platform for all online retail businesses I’ve built or created for clients. It’s the world’s leading multi-channel commerce platform that’s helped over 400K businesses sell over $34B (billion with a ‘b’!) worth of products. They really care about sellers and have too many benefits for me to list here. Do yourself a favor and test-drive their platform for yourself. You’ll see.
DesignCuts is my go-to resource for licensing graphic assets to use throughout my work. I don’t always have time or energy to create designs from scratch. Instead, I look to the full-time artists who design and sell fonts, icons, patterns, photos, mockups, and more through DesignCuts, freeing up my time to grow my businesses in other ways. They have a slick marketplace, low-priced bundles every two weeks, and their customer service rivals Zappos'. Check out their latest deal here.
MailerLite helps you optimize your email marketing with some of the most affordable pricing in the game. Their platform is super clean and their drag-and-drop builder is a true delight to use. Plus, they’ve got an amazing company culture over there. I have an account with them and it’s great to be able to use most of their features without being constantly nudged to upgrade my account. I encourage you to check them out as a very formidable alternative to MailChimp and ConvertKit. And when you’re ready, get on their Premium Plan for as little as $84/yr, which is insane. Get started for free.
I don't remember where I learned about Grammarly, but now that I have, I can't live without it. As a brand strategist, I write and clean up a lot of copy for different contexts. And while people appreciate my work, I regularly make mistakes. Grammarly helps me reduce those mistakes considerably. My #1 personal AI writing assistant helps me write more clearly to get the points across with less fluff. And what's noteworthy is that you can tell it's continuously being improved and tweaked by humans, not computers. The way it recognizes tone, intent, and fluency in one's writing is superb. (Grammarly even tightened this here paragraph!) Check it out for free for as long as you like, and then upgrade like I have if you want to supercharge your writing.
My colleagues know I go hard on Apple products. So I need great non-Apple software to keep my computers tidy and running smoothly. MacPaw meets the challenge by making lovely apps that compliment and improve my daily workflow. My favorite product of theirs is CleanMyMac. This bad boy basically keeps my devices in tip-top shape by removing all the junk that accumulates from site cache, email attachments, duplicate photos, large attachments, etc. You may not realize it, but your devices pile up unnecessary stuff without you even noticing it. If your computer’s been lagging lately, a good clean-up job by CleanMyMac (or CleanMyPC for my PC-users out there) could do the trick. Learn more and download your copy here.
If you’re like me in that you want your money out working for you rather than just sitting there collecting dust, consider getting a high-yield online savings account like Marcus by Goldman Sachs®. Zero fees. No withdrawal limits. No minimum balance or deposit amount. Same-day transfers. Slick interface. Helpful tips and tricks. APY of 0.50% that compounds daily. What’s not to love? For a limited time, when you open an online savings account, we’ll both get an additional APY of 0.20% for up to 3 months. Oh, and did I mention you get *compound* interest on your money? Get your free high-yield savings account today and thank me later.
By using a credit card responsibly and wisely, you can literally lean on other people’s money to fund your lifestyle, while you stack dough and earn rewards. Capital One’s Platinum CC helps me do that by being a great starter credit card with no annual fees and a free weekly credit score. If you’re trying to rebuild or establish credit (like I was), Capital One offers three (3) cards and you can see which one(s) you’re pre-approved for without any impact on your credit score. And when you prove your worth, you get automatic credit line increases and discount offers to places you already shop. Learn more and see what’s available to you here.
When it comes to designing merch, I depend on Printful to create my products and fulfill my orders. They do it all: posters, apparel, mugs, bags, and other accessories. I store my layouts on their server and when an order comes in, Printful picks, prints, and packs the item which is then sent to my customer. All of this is done automagically without me having to warehouse any stock or pick up the phone. It’s the scalable business model and they’ve got my endorsement. See for yourself.
Legalizing your business can be tough. Fortunately, the folks at IncFile.com have your back. They helped us form LETELLIER and keep us current with the requirements in our state. Due date reminders? Check. Clean dashboard? Check. From LLCs to trademark searches... from annual reports to filing business taxes and everything in between, they do it all. I highly recommend using them to keep your business incorporated and compliant. Get started here.
Square democratized POS credit card processing. They did it before everyone else and kept innovating with beautiful hardware, marketing tools, and capital to help you run your business. I encourage you to try Square as an alternative to PayPal to see if it’s right for you. You’ll enjoy free processing on up to $1,000 in credit card transactions for the first 180 days. Afterward, it’s just 2.75% per swipe for all major CC’s. Sign up for free here.
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