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As you might imagine, there’s quite a bit that goes into running a business and keeping it afloat, even one that’s online. Whether you’re a one-woman business owner like me or you utilize the services of a VA (virtual assistant) or have a big team, finding strategic ways to do what needs to get done behind-the-scenes is a must. That’s why I’ve been scoping out and implementing various systems and tools over the last year to minimize the stress on me, serve my clients more efficiently, and scale my business with ease.
I’m happy to share these same tools and resources with you because the faster you can incorporate the right systems into your daily operations, the better your biz will run and the less overwhelmed you will be. So here’s the insider scoop of the bells and whistles I use.
Online Scheduling Calendar
I am truly thankful for each of my one-on-one private coaching clients. I’m also thankful they can schedule their own appointments because it makes it easier for them and me. With Acuity, my clients can see when I’m available, select a day and time that’s best for them + sync it to their personal calendar in one fell swoop. Soon after they schedule their appointment, it syncs to my calendar as well.
As you’ve probably heard, building an email list is crucial to your biz. And having a service that helps move subscribers through your funnel is just as important. For me, Aweber is the best email marketing company hands down. Their monthly price is a few dollars more than others but they offer 24/7 customer service, and that, my friend, is well worth the extra few dollars.
Case in point. When I first started my business I used Mailchimp as my provider because they were free up to 2000 subscribers, which they still are free. But you get no support with free accounts so you’re left fending for yourself. And when you don’t know what to do – like I didn’t – you just stay stuck. When that happened on more than one occasion, I knew I had to make a change. And that change was with Aweber.
Whether I’ve reached out at 3:00 a.m. (I’m a night owl so that’s an optimal time for me to contact them) or 3:00 p.m., they’re always there to lend a hand or provide an answer.
Start your free trial by clicking the image below.
Social Media Scheduling
Zoho Social (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn)
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a solopreneur, so until I hire a VA (virtual assistant), which I hope to do soon, I do everything myself. Therefore, I have to make the best use of my time. One way I do that is using Zoho Social and Tailwind for my social media marketing.
With Zoho Social, I schedule unlimited posts to go out across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Zoho also offers the option to send to Instagram but I’m the dud who doesn’t have a biz account yet. Anyway, not only does it schedule posts but I get important analytics to help me see which post is performing better on a particular site, and it allows me to engage with readers without having to visit each platform directly.
Tailwind for Pinterest
I love Pinterest! If you’re not familiar with what Pinterest is, they define themselves as “a visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration, and more. With billions of Pins on Pinterest, you’ll always find ideas to spark inspiration. When you discover Pins you love, save them to boards to keep your ideas organized and easy to find”.
So search for what you want for anything from A to Z and you’ll find thousands of tips, articles, courses, videos and more.
With close to 300 million people who use this platform each month, Pinterest is a great place to market and grow your biz. And for me and many biz owners, Tailwind is a godsend. I’m able to schedule multiple pins to multiple boards in seconds, which saves me time and headache from scrolling through the feed to find single pins to pin.
You also have the ability to see all your scheduled pins and the boards you’ve got them assigned to so it’s easy to ensure you’re not overly pinning to one board at any given time. Another benefit is that you can join tribes to find and pin content, which can help boost traffic to your site.
Social Media Pop-Up Tool
MiloTree is an WordPress plug-in that I stumbled across that I wish I would have found sooner than I did. It is a tool that helps you grow your social media followers on various platforms or just your regular subscribers.
The way it works is you connect the accounts you want to your smart pop-up, download the zip file they send to your email, and then upload the file as a plug-in on your website. While that may sound complicated, it only takes two-three minutes, if that.
Like magic, the pop-up will then show each time a visitor lands on your website. And if they visit more than once, the tool will show a different platform each time.
It literally is the best less intrusive pop-up that helps build your tribe effortlessly.
Try it for 30 days free.
Credit Card Processing
PayPal and Stripe
I use both third-party providers for processing my client’s payments. This allows more flexibility to my customer base.
Accounting has never been my area of expertise, but with the help of FreshBooks you’d never know it. From invoicing to tracking projects/sessions to bookkeeping and more things in between, all I have to do is click here and there, fill the requested info into the block, and voila I can create professional forms + have a big-picture view of my biz’s financial health. So it’s like I have my own personal accountant but without paying thousands of dollars throughout the year.
My 1:1 private coaching sessions are held by phone, Skype or Zoom. Skype and Zoom are both video conferencing providers, and while there are a few differences they have many similarities.
Free Conference Call
There are many webinar providers out there, but FreeConferenceCall is the best option for me. Their features match those of the “top” platforms while saving ya cash by not having to pay a monthly or per-service fee.
I like having a dedicated business number so I opted to purchase a Skype phone #. Using the app, I can either answer calls on my computer or on my phone. Or I can send calls to voicemail too.
Each month, I pay a small fee for the phone number and also pay a quarterly subscription fee.
This tool gives valuable insight into the visitors on my website. Meaning it shows the pages they visit, how long they stay on a page, demographics and other info that I then use for retargeting ads on Facebook and other purposes.
Canva is amazing for creating graphics. While I have the paid version, the free plan offers everything you’d want and need to make beautiful designs for social media posts, your freebie, resources, etc.
Even if you’ve never created a graphic before, with the hundreds of templates you can select from, you’ll still come away with a beautiful finished product that you can be proud of.
I’m not even sure how I learned about Canva, but I’m so glad I did.
Both of these sites are handy tools.
With PDFescape, I can turn my online resources into fillable forms. And with ILovePDF, I can compress the size of my documents. Which makes it easier to send a larger file by email and also helps the document to load faster when my clients access the file. These are just two of the features I love with these respective companies.
So there you have it.
What about your biz? What tools and resources do you use to help run your biz and keep you productive?