This list is for those of you who are just starting out with online business, so if you’ve been around for a while you can probably skip reading this post, unless you want to see if there’s something better out there you could be using.
A Google account:
This might seem obvious to some, but it’s not to everyone so skip this part if you know this already. Google is great for so many things but here are my favourites:
Google Calendar (Sync up with your scheduler and you’re good to go!)
Google Maps (how else will you know how to get to those networking events?)
Google Drive (for all of those spreadsheets and documents you want to type up and work on)
If you’re starting a business you need a newsletter. If you’ve been in business for a while, you need a newsletter. And you should be sending it either once a week, or once a fortnight at a minimum. For software a lot of people recommend MailChimp, but I didn’t personally like it, it’s simple and starts out with a free plan but your options are limited if you want to set up a simple welcome email and sequence, those are paid features. Instead if you’re starting out I recommend ConvertKit – you can automate your emails and integrate it with different apps as well. Click here to see a MailChimp vs ConvertKit comparison.
Now that you’ve got that newsletter set up, here’s how you actually get people onto that newsletter (no point in having a newsletter and no one to send it to right?) It can seem like a pricey option especially if you’re in Australia at about 35 clams a month if you go for the monthly price but you’ll still have to pay for a years worth up front. If you don’t have the cash to front a whole year you’ll be looking at around AU$50 a month (US$37). While there are cheaper options out there LeadPages is by far the easiest option especially if you hate tech.
Here’s a quick thought on what you use these LeadPages for:
Usually, you want to entice people to sign up by offering something for free that is of value to your audience. Don’t have a clue what to offer? Come and join my Facebook community and ask there for suggestions.
An accountability buddy or a
The hardest thing when you’re starting a business is that your motivation will wane at times, you’ll feel fear, you’ll have it as a friend in-fact, probably forever. So you need someone in your life who gets what you’re trying to do, and someone who’s going through what you’re going through to kick your ass when you need and to bounce ideas around once a week. No, this can’t be your mother unless she’s an online marketing business superstar which I’m guessing she probably isn’t. Don’t know where to get one of these beginner-business-buddies? Join a group – start with mine, the Barefoot Hustle and ask around and see who’s keen to connect with you.
Ugh. One more thing you need to master? Sorry but yes. You must young padwan. If you thought this whole running a business thing was goign to be a walk in the park, think again. The amount of links, ideas, projects, connections, and images that will start to spill out of your brain like that time you ran a bath and it flowed over the edge and ended up filling the hall and soaking into the carpet. Yep, you’re going to need somewhere for all of that overflow to go – and Evernote is where you put it. It will keep you feeling sane and keep everything easily organised. Plus it’s free – it’s a win win.
You’re going to need a way to grab testimonials and feedback from your customers, doing this research is numero uno and not just if you’re starting out. Most people recommend Survey Monkey but since I’m a designer I like the feel and flow of things and Typeform looks great, it’s easy to use, and has great functions for when you’re ready to get more involved like take payments and it has a logic jump feature with the questions – which basically means it’s like Goosebumps choose your own adventure, so each choice can lead to a different question which makes for a great experience for your customers. If you want to see one in action you can look at mine here.
This is something that seems obvious but I still see people getting it wrong. You need a Facebook BUSINESS page, not another personal page that you’ve named your business. One of the biggest reasons is that you’ll need a busines page so you can run ads in the future to sell your products or get people signed up to your list / general advertising. Also make sure you link your personal page to your business page, another mistake a lot of people make but is a simple thing you can do to make sure when people are checking you out that they can see what your business is.
An email signature:
I use this site – took me forever to get this one set up but once you do it that’s it. It’s such a simple thing you can do to keep your business looking professional and branded.
There are a multitude of things you can use your smartphone for, personally I have an iPhone 6 (and a glass cover so when you drop it it won’t smash).
Biggest thing you’re going to want a smartphone for is live video, recorded video, Instagram + Instagram Stories, creating graphics on the fly, recording notes for yourself, setting reminders (oh yeah and making phoncalls) and probably a whole host of other things I can’t remember right now. So no, you don’t need to go out and buy that expensive DSLR mirrorless camera just yet, the video on an iPhone is all you need.
There are quite a few different apps and ways you can make calls online with your clients or customers or mastermind buddies, but if you’re new you can start with a Skype account. If you want to have multiple people on a call, you can use Zoom or Google hangouts.
People will forgive bad video but they won’t forgive bad audio. If you plan on live streaming any video on Periscope or Facebook Live you’ll want this little portable mic with you, it’s perfect for travel and you can use it to record training videos too – this mic is the only mic I’ve had and it’s perfect. Get this one first and when you want another one you can upgrade.
If you’re planning on starting an online business chances are you’ll be talking to people in different timezones, and once you try and attempt to do this yourself it’s like trying to figure out Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as soon as you look at the time difference your brain will start to melt. So just use the scheduler and save yourself the brain cells.
You’re going to need to store all of that content you’re going to be pumping out like a frozen yoghurt machine and Dropbox is the place to do it.
Lastly, you’re going to want to keep your books in order, and to do that I recommend Xero. They have a 30-day free trial so there’s nothing to lose. Best part about Xero is that you can hook in your bank feeds (basically, this means every transaction is recorded through Xero) and it makes reconciling your accounts a breeze and you can tell at a glance what money is coming in and what’s going out. After all, you are running a business cash flow is pretty darn important, and if you pay $25 a month for the software that makes understanding your cash flow easier, it’s a no-brainer purchase.
Now, I wasn’t sure if I was going to include this one on the list because it’s not actually totally essential that you have a whole website set up right from the get-go to make money, you can start building your list with LeadPages and no website at all. But, you’re going to want to grab your URL even if you’re not ready to build your website yet so you should probably get webhosting anyway because you’ll get your proper email address and hosting comes with a free URL anyway so I’d reccomend it. So here’s who I reccomend:
I recommend SiteGround – great customer service and up time. I used to use Bluehost but after having to wait for around 30 minutes every time I needed a little help I made the switch. SiteGround can migrate your website for you too, if it’s less than 1GB it’s free, if it’s bigger it’s $50 – a no brain spend (I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t have a clue how to migrate a website over to a new host.) Plus is you sign up with my link you’ll get a cheap deal! ($4 per month I believe it is?)
So that concludes my list of resources you should check out if you’re just starting out in the crazy online world of business.
Leave a comment and let me know if there’s anything you’re considering getting for your business I’d love to hear what you’re planning!