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I’m not sure about you, but when I first started my business, I was completely overwhelmed! I started out as an admin Virtual Assistant, and I thought it would be easy. Create a website, make my social media profiles, set up my business with the IRS, etc. You know, the basics things needed to start a business.
What I didn’t consider was all of the valuable resources that were out there to be successful. I was a pen and paper person, and I still am. However, when you’re helping others run their business, that may not always be helpful. I had to quickly pick up other resources, so I and my clients could thrive better.
But…. There are sooo many resources out there, it’s hard to choose! You may see an influencer in your industry using one thing, but then you learn of another system from someone else that seems popular. You try out both then you learn that you don’t care for either and try to find the search again.
Yikes. Been there, done that. As someone that gets anxious easily, I’ve decided to compile a list for you to help you on this business journey. These have been tested personally, and I think you will like them too!
I’m going to start off with website tools and end it with other tools that will be helpful for you now or down the road. Let’s get started, shall we?
Namecheap– You have your business name and you want to build a website. I highly recommend using Namecheap to purchase your domain. Not only is the pricing super affordable, but their customer service is also top-notch. It’s also really simple to transfer your domain to different host through them.
Siteground– A lot of the website builders today have built-in hosting (like Squarespace or Wix), but if you are planning to build a site on WordPress, Siteground is the way to go! Like Namecheap, their customer service is what drew me in. They make it simple to build your site and are always there if you need a hand. The only thing you should be cautious of is after your first year, the yearly rate increases significantly.
WordPress.org- This was something I wish I had known when I started out. After you pay for hosting through Siteground, you can build your WordPress site for FREE! Yes, there are other places that give you “free” sites, it is super limited and there isn’t a lot of room for growth. Then, when you realize it, you are paying $160+/year (on the lower end) just to have some of the basics this site comes with. Don’t get me wrong, WordPress can get costly depending on what your needs are and what plug-ins to use, but I’ll save that for a future post. Overall, if you’re on a tight budget and want a website, start here. I promise it’s worth it in the end. However, if this is still confusing to you, check out my blog post comparing Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.
Wave Apps- Quickbooks will always be highly recommended, but it was a little confusing (for me) when I first started. I found Wave Apps to be super simple to use and it’s a great accounting system to have in place when you are starting out. Best of all, it’s completely free!
Quickbooks- Now that I’m over my fear and took the time to check it out, I fully realize why Quickbooks comes highly recommended by almost everyone when it comes to your bookkeeping. You can choose a plan that works best for you (I just use good old Quickbooks Self-Employed). Keep track of your miles, business expenses, taxes, send invoices, and more, there’s a reason why this is a must-have for your bookkeeping needs! Best of all, if you use my link, you can get 6 months half off!
Hubspot- As you start getting clients, you are going to need something to keep them organized. Hubspot is a great FREE Client Relationship Manager to have in place. You can keep your leads/clients together and keep track of communication all in one spot.
Dubsado– Where do I start. This is one of the recommendations I received when I started my business that I do not regret one bit! This is an all in one CRM (Client Relationship Manager). To keep it short, if you are looking to simplify the number of applications to use in business, please consider Dubsado. From keeping up with your leads/clients, creating forms, one spot to send and sign contracts, bookkeeping, sending invoices, workflows, scheduler, etc, this is one application I would say to invest in as you grow. There is a learning curve with Dubsado, so people tend to find it daunting at first. Luckily, they have amazing customer service and a very active Facebook group that will help you along your journey. Plus, they give you 3 clients free, so you can play around with it before deciding if it’s worth it.
MailerLite– I’ve been recommending Mailerlite to those that are new (or on a tight budget) to email marketing. Not only is this free (you can send 12,000 emails/month to be exact), they aren’t as limited with their options as other systems. Best of all, you can still create workflows (automated emails) with Mailerlite. If you need a crash course or need help deciding on what kind of opt-ins to create, don’t forget to book a consultation call with me.
Aweber– I had to add this in. Since July 2020, they have stepped their game up. They also offer a Free plan for users and you can even create workflows. This is another amazing system to go with when it comes to deliverability and more. If you weren’t a fan of MailerLite, check out Aweber here. I’ve also partnered with this company to provide training and more during the new membership program we have. You can learn more about the membership here.
Acuity- If you are looking for a robust scheduling tool, Acuity is your tool! It syncs with your electronic calendar and auto-fills as you get appointments. Not only that, you can create questionnaires, create coupon codes, send text reminders, sync Acuity with other apps (like Zoom Video), and allow payments when others book you. While there is a free plan, I would recommend going with the Emerging Entrepreneur plan.
Canva- New or looking for an easy way to create designs? Canva is one of the most popular (and easiest) ways to create designs for any occasion or marketing purposes. With many different templates, stock photos, fonts, etc to choose from, it’s no wonder many business professionals use Canva for their graphics. Canva is quickly evolving as well by adding printing features and even ways to make videos. Best of all, there is a free version you can use! As you grow, I would suggest going Pro. There is a lot more to choose from among other great perks of going Pro. Since I last wrote this, they’ve added in a Social Media Calendar, so you can design and schedule directly from their site. Make sure to head over to Canva if you haven’t already!
Adobe Spark- Another designing application, Adobe Spark has many different templates, stock photos, etc for you to choose from. I fell in love with application because of the quick and easy marketing videos I was able to make. Like Canva, it’s best to get the paid version of Adobe Spark. Edited to add, now that Canva allows you to create videos and more, I no longer use this program. However, it is still amazing if you are looking for an alternative!
Click-up- The home of my SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), Team Management, Referral Program, and so much more! As you can tell, this application is pretty robust. It is a powerful project management tool that continues getting better and better. I highly recommend you give Clickup a try for free.
Asana- Another great project management tool. If you are familiar with Trello, it’s similar, but it allows you to choose from the card layout and list layout among other great features and integrations. They are also upgrading their current features. Try them out for free here.
LastPass- Lastpass is my favorite way to save usernames and passwords. When you plan to outsource when you grow, this is great for sharing with your assistant. Not only can you safely secure your passwords, but you can also share your credit card information (if you outsource social media ads or anything else that may require payment) without the other person knowing any of your information!
These are just some of the many applications that I’ve tried out. Keep an eye on this post! I will be editing and adding more throughout the year! I hope this helped a bit on your journey. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about what you read today or simply leave a comment.
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Last edited May 21st, 2021