In this day and age there are no valid reasons preventing you from growing an online business. I hummed and hawed for months on how to get a website up — if this is you, don’t do that. It’s easier than you think.
Here are a few tools I use and love. Some are affiliate links — if they’re helpful and you sign up with these links, I make a small commission. Others are free because sometimes free is the best (and only) option — believe me, I know.
Tools & tech I use and recommend
For email, docs, calendar & more
Starting at $6/user/month, you'll have a professional email address because you mean business (and so should you). G Suite comes with Google Apps, and an all-in-one solution for your email, calendar, and documents.
For email automation
After starting with MailChimp (free) I switched to ActiveCampaign for more features like growing two email lists using one account. Don't underestimate customer support and this company does it well. Starting at $9/month, ActiveCampaign is accessible and can grow with your business.
For note taking
Ever wonder where to put all those random notes to self and interesting things you find on the web? Evernote is perfect for storing ideas, plans, summarized notes and much more. Organize them by notebooks, notes, stacks, tags and likely much more than I'm aware of. Starts free.
To grow your email list
Here's the trick to blasting popups without pestering people (too much). OptinMonster allows you to collect email addresses in the most unlikely of places: anywhere. The key is to do it so playfully that people volunteer their email addresses multiple times. Starts at $9/month. Money well spent for anyone who wants to make an impact.
For graphics and PDFs
You don't have to be a graphic designer to make beautiful PDFs and graphics. I like Google Slides and Keynote because they're user-friendly, free, and have 'snap to grid' features. Keynote allows you to use custom fonts and add letter spacing which is like swimming in a giant tub of gelato for nerds like me.
Squarespace is an ideal all-in-one solution to get a professional e-commerce site up and running quickly. Once my business took flight, I wanted more customization so I switched to WordPress (.org not .com). WordPress has a learning curve, requires TLC and can be pricey so know what you're signing up for first. I built this site with a Genesis theme and Beaver Builder on Flywheel hosting.
Free downloadable guides
A few books that have influenced me
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
It’s difficult (if not impossible) to create real, lasting work as an amateur. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves, consistently do the unglamorous work and turn pro.
Do Purpose: Why brands with purpose do better and matter more.
Good brands make you feel something because they have something they want to change. They bear their soul. Purpose runs deeper than transactions — it attracts a like-minded team and customers who are in it for the long haul.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
It doesn't take a big social media following (or social media at all) to be successful. Deep, focused work that a tween can't easily replicate is what moves the needle.
Everything is Figureoutable
As a proud student of Marie Forleo's online programs, I’ve adopted Marie’s resourceful and people-centered way of doing business. Everything is Figureoutable deconstructs how to move forward with your seemingly most impossible ideas.
Start With Why
When you, as the leader of a company, inspire others to act, you won't need to rely on incentives like discounts. You'll create a following of customers who act not because they are swayed but because they share a mission or a belief system. You'll always go further with loyal customers than continuously acquiring new ones.
The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A close friend gave me this book when I first moved to Italy. Both taught me that life can and should have a light-hearted, playfulness to it.