When I started my business, I spent so much time spinning my wheels trying to figure out which business tools to use, what certain programs even were (landing pages really had me confused!), and what was the best way to spend my money. I basically signed up for every trial of every program online and slowly but surely figured out what was best.
Luckily for you, I’ve tried them all and figured out the ones that are essential to helping you run your business day-to-day. On the one hand, you don’t need everything on day 1 that you start your business. On the other, there are a few essential programs you’ll need if you want your business or side hustle to grow.
Here are the 6 essential business tools and programs I use everyday to run my business…
1 // ConvertKit
[email, landing pages, email sequences, forms, etc.]
Like most, I started out using MailChimp for email list building and quickly realized it wasn’t going to fulfill all of my needs. When I found ConvertKit, it was like watching all the stars align. It does SO many of the things I need, all in one place.
Before I found ConvertKit, I was so overwhelmed looking for a landing page program, e-mail marketing program, form creator, sequence emails, etc. But no worries, ConvertKit has you covered for all of those things.
I create all of my landing pages (pages with a form to giveaway one of your freebies, like my Legally Legit Guide for Online Entrepreneurs) on it, all of the opt-in forms you see on my website, email sequences, and weekly email newsletters to my tribe through ConvertKit.
One of the best things about ConvertKit is that it counts people as 1 person for purposes of counting your email subscribers. So, if you have one person who keeps opting in to your email list each time you put out an amazing new freebie, she will only count as 1 person. This is super important since most email services’ pricing depends on the number of subscribers you have.
You can also track nearly everything and anything your email list subscribers do within your email so you can send future emails to those who are interested in specific things. For example, you can tag people who click on certain links as being “Interested in ____” so in the future, you can send those specific people more emails about ____.
ConvertKit also just rolled out a chat support feature, which has made it super easy to get help on the fly when you have a quick question.
You can get a free month to test ConvertKit out, too!
2 // Calendly
Instead of emailing or texting back and forth to schedule appointments, free consults, or coaching sessions, use Calendly to set your schedule and allow your clients to book appointments with you. I can’t tell you how much easier this app has made my life.
It’s super easy to use and my clients seem to love it, too!
All you have to do is setup your days/times that you’re available for appointments and share your link! People will get confirmation emails when they schedule, automatic reminder emails before their appointments (you can send as many as you’d like, when you’d like), and they can even reschedule or cancel their appointment without ever having to go through you.
Another thing off the list!
3 // Canva
My love for Canva is real, you guys. Canva is an online graphic design tool you can use to create graphics, social media posts, headers for your email newsletter, Facebook group/page, and so much more! I even create all of my freebies and opt-ins there, too!
There’s always a time and place to outsource this type of work when it’s not your thing. But if you outsourced every post or blog graphic, it would cost a pretty penny! Canva is a great answer to your basic design needs. I hope you love it as much as I do.
4 // Screencast-o-matic
- Record a video of your screen
- Record a video of your screen, while also recording yourself on camera
- Record yourself on camera
You could use Screencast-o-matic to send videos to your clients, record yourself reviewing their documents or notes to you, or to record a tutorial. You can save the file and easily upload the video to Facebook or YouTube. Best of all, it’s free! There is a paid version, but I get on just fine using the free one.
5 // G Suite (GoogleDrive + Gmail for business)
Until I got G Suite, I had to use that dreaded email service that’s provided by your host or domain servicer when you first purchase your website. I tried using Outlook, but it’s expensive and I didn’t love the complexity of some of the features. I love using my personal Gmail account, so I was super excited to find out that G Suite gave me the capability to use my business email address (@samvanderwielen.com) on Gmail’s amazing platform.
That’s right, with G Suite, you get custom email (you can use your @domainname.com email address) on Gmail’s platform! Super simple.
Besides the fact that it’s only $5/month (for solo entrepreneurs!), I also get 30 GB of cloud storage on Google Drive. This is where I store all of my documents for the business, host my guest post articles, and create client folders to put all of their documents in. That way, all I have to do is share the link to a document with someone, and they can access, edit, and print it (if I give them permission, of course!).
I can’t recommend G Suite enough. It’s super simple to use and their customer service is always accessible and easy.
6 // CoSchedule
Last but not least, I love using CoSchedule to plan and auto-post my social media and blog posts. If you use WordPress, there’s even a CoSchedule plugin you can use that will show up at the bottom of each of your blog posts. That way, when you’re done drafting a post, you can just pop down and schedule when you’d like it be posted on all your different social media channels. I usually schedule it for the day of, a few days later, one week later, and to be posted again the next month. It’s so much easier to take care of this all at once!
So what am I missing? What are some of your favorite go-to tools you use in your business? I’d love to hear about yours so I can try them out, too!