The 20 Tools I Use to Run My Business 2019 (TPL 015)
I’m a systems geek at heart, so I wanted to give you an updated rundown of the best business tools I’m currently using and share a little bit about them.
Learn about the 20+ business tools I’m using in 2019. Some of them might surprise you!
I am so excited to be talking to you about the different apps and software I use to run my business, because I am a systems geek at heart.
And in a way, I'm nervous to tell you the different systems I'm using right now because sometimes, I'm experimenting and trying out new things.
So, of course, they may change over time.
You can always go to my Resources page, to get the up-to-date list of what tech I'm using in my business.
I'm always updating that page as I try new apps, as I buy new stuff for my office, as I'm using new tech.
So, if you want just like the in the minute, up-to-date list, if you're really anxious for it, you can go there and get it.
But I think this is gonna be a great list to kind of answer some of your questions about what tech I'm using and maybe give you some good ideas for some different apps, software, or tech that you might want to incorporate in your business.
All the resources I mention are going to be linked here in case you want to learn more about all the different tech that I'm using.
Okay, so let's dig in.
Tool #1: Squarespace
I'm gonna start with my website. I use Squarespace for my website.
I used to actually be a website designer and I've absolutely built websites from scratch on WordPress. And I'm not like a WordPress hater by any means.
I just find that I can do the same stuff really quick on Squarespace and have to do less researching for new widgets, updating, security concerns, worrying about my admin login.
It's just all so much easier on Squarespace, which is I switched several years ago and, I mean, gosh, a long time ago now.
And I'm just an avid Squarespace fan. I love it.
They're always releasing new features and making the experience even better as a user, so I'm a huge Squarespace fan.
Tool #2: Fomo
If you've ever been on my website, you might have noticed that I have a little popup coming up in the corner. It's technically considered social proof when you are seeing people's recent purchases and enrollments.
And so, that is an app that I use called Fomo and I really enjoy it.
It's been really easy to use and it just pops up in the corner. I have used a more expensive alternative before called UseProof. It might actually just be called Proof, I don't know, but I think the website is UseProof.com and that is a really great platform too.
I actually like them both. I just found that Fomo was more affordable and I only wanted to pay for the features I was using and Fomo kind of did exactly what I wanted.
So, I use Fomo to get those little popup notifications when someone enrolls in my programs and add those to my website.
Tool #3: ConvertKit
For my email list, sending out emails, automated emails, all that good stuff, I use ConvertKit.
I actually have a blog post about why I switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit. I’ll link it here:
I did make that switch several years ago but I still think it stands out pretty well for the benefits of switching to ConvertKit.
I love them so much, I go to their conference every year and it's the only conference I consistently go to. I love them as a company, I love the people, and I love the product. It makes my life so easy.
I think I talk to all of my one-on-one clients about switching away from something like Mailchimp. I get that it's affordable, but it's just so complicated to do things that ConvertKit makes so easy.
ConvertKit just does what I want and I think the pricing's really reasonable, and you can actually get a free month if you go to MeganMinns.com/ConvertKit. Usually, the free trial's only 14 days.
You can get a full month just trying it out if you go to that link.
So, I'm a huge ConvertKit fan. I love it because not only is it easy to use, you also have full capabilities regardless of what payment plan you're on so you can do all of the advanced automations regardless of how much you're paying, which I really appreciate and value about the company.
They also make it really easy to send free downloads to people when they opt in to your email list.
They're just one of the best way to grow your email list is to give a freebie and ConvertKit makes that really, really easy to do. It's built-in to their forms that you can just deliver a freebie when someone opens the email. Just so, so helpful.
And I also really like that they have the option to do landing pages.
So, if you're just needing like a quick and dirty landing page, ConvertKit has some great templates.
And they actually just released, at the time of this episode, a ton of new template options that are truly beautiful and can add a lot of text and features and imagery.
So, they're just always improving and adding new stuff.
So, huge ConvertKit fan if you're looking for an email management, some place to store emails and send emails.
Tool #4 Bench
Okay, for bookkeeping and finances, I use Bench.
So I really love having Bench because not only is someone else doing my books every single month, but part of this is beautiful software that you can log in to and they have a feature called polls where you can see exactly how much is in your bank account right now and the last four weeks, how much money has come in and how much has come out, and what the net is there.
And that is something they rolled out within the past few months that has been really, really helpful for me as a business owner.
They obviously run your books every month, so I can see really good reports on a monthly basis.
But since it's in this really intuitive piece of software, I can also see a lot of advanced reports for the month, the quarter, the year, multiple years. I can go in and make comments on different transactions and my bookkeeper will change it.
It's just been a really great experience, and they even offer monthly calls with your bookkeeper.
So I'm a huge, huge fan of Bench. And if you go to MeganMinns.com/bench and you sign up, you can actually get one month for free.
So I just wanted to make sure I mentioned that since I want you to be able to take advantage of that.
Tool #5: Zencastr
Okay, so recording my podcast, I use Zencastr to actually record the audio.
And I really love it for when I am interviewing guests.
It's really nice to be able to just send them a link. We can be both on there, and it's really easy for everyone to use.
I also use it even for my solo episodes because that way it's instantly in a cloud, and my team can access it. So I don't have to download something, export it, upload it somewhere, then tell someone it's ready.
As soon as I'm done, it's in the cloud and my team can log in to Zencastr and download it right from there.
So it just saves me time and it helps me know that that file is saved in the cloud right when it's happening and not potentially getting lost on my computer somewhere.
So I love using Zencastr.
Tool #6: Buzzsprout
For hosting my podcast, I use Buzzsprout.
I love Buzzsprout because it's a really great interface. It's so easy to use.
They made it really easy to set up the podcast and push it out to a lot of different platforms which honestly overwhelmed me at first, and they make it really easy to see different stats, average stats, see how each episode's doing, and go in and make updates to each episode if I need to go in and make any tweaks.
And they just have some cool features like allowing you to have chapters on your episodes.
You can go ahead and get transcriptions through Buzzsprout for only 10 cents a minute compared to other services that are a dollar a minute.
So it's a cost savings for me that we take advantage of, and I just love Buzzsprout.
Tool #7: Deadline Funnel
For automated funnels and timers, I am using Deadline Funnel.
So I didn't really know how to categorize this because it's more than a countdown timer, but if you've opted into maybe one of my free downloads, you might have been presented with a limited time offer to purchase one of my products at a discounted rate for like 15 minutes or 30 minutes.
And you can just add Deadline Funnel to any pages, so it could be Squarespace, it can be Thinkific, it can be WordPress, it can be Teachable, it can be anything that you're already using.
You can just add it to and it will track how long someone's been there and redirect them after.
That way it's a really ethical offer. It really is only available there for that amount of time and it will redirect people for you.
Now, Deadline Funnel is also what I've used with clients and in previous jobs where we were building really complicated funnels, Deadline Funnel is the tool that actually closes things down and redirects you.
So love Deadline Funnel and highly recommend it for funnels, for countdown timers, and even for like open and closed offers.
You can still use Deadline Funnel for setting a specific date of when an offer ends, and it'll have a beautiful timer, and it'll redirect people for you.
Tool #8: MoonClerk
For coaching payments, I currently use Moon Clerk.
I recommend Moon Clerk if you just need a payment processor that can do recurring payments, one off payments, deposits with different recurring payments, and subscription based or one time.
It really does all of the different payment options you could ever want while being secure, really simple to use for you and for the user and just the right amount of customization.
And it is really great pricing as well 'cause its just based on the volume that you take each month.
So it'll just change based on how much you've charged and build and collected that month.
Tool #9: ThriveCart
For my membership site and payment processing for all of my products, I'm using Thinkific right now.
I wanted to make sure I say right now for both of those because I did actually just purchased ThriveCart, and I intend to switch my payment processing to ThriveCart eventually, but like I just can't be bothered to do that right now.
I wanted to get ThriveCart before their pricing changed and I want to switch there but it will be a little bit of mini project that just isn't in my 90-day action plan right now.
So we've got it there. We'll come back to it later, but I will eventually switch to ThriveCart.
I love that platform.
But for right now, coaching is through MoonClerk and all of my products are being done through Thinkific and that is also where all my courses and products live.
Tool #10: Thinkific
So if you've ever bought one of my courses, you're logging in to a Thinkific membership site to access all of the training materials.
I have used Teachable before as well. I recommend both of them. I have heard from a lot of people that they think Teachable is a little bit easier to use and more aesthetically pleasing. So feel free to do that.
I'm just currently on Thinkific and I'm not having any issues with it, so I'm not going to switch unnecessarily to another platform.
But I have used both.
I recommend both and I think everyone should have a membership site on one of these two sites because it just makes your life so much easier for delivering content and allowing your students to track their progress and it's beautiful.
So that's what I use for all my courses and products.
Tool #11: Plann
For scheduling and planning out Instagram, I use Plann.
And I started using Plann a few months ago, and I love it.
It's so feature-rich that I can't even list it all out, but my favorite things are that you get a really great preview of your grid and it'll tell you when it is the best time for you to post, which I really appreciate on each day of the week.
And you can also store your hashtags in there, and it gives you analytics on each hashtag on whether it's a good hashtag to be using or not, which is huge and so helpful.
And the other thing I really like about it is that you can reply to comments in a really easy way in the app as well.
So I love to reply to comments on my desktop and it's so easy to do that through Plann.
Now they do have tons of other features where we can upload media in there.
You can have themes to your grid. You can plan your stories.
And, gosh, you can do so, so much.
I feel like I've barely even done anything with it and just what I have done has been so powerful and helpful for me as I'm starting to focus on Instagram.
Tool #12: Evernote
For creating content, like at the baseline stage, capturing ideas, drafting emails, internal notes, planning out staff. I've been using Evernote, which might surprise you.
I'm such a huge Google Drive, Google Docs advocate. And don't worry, we're still gonna talk about that.
I still do stuff, like everything happens at Google Drive, but I found recently that I was just kind of playing around, like, gosh, six months ago and I just found that it was much easier for me to get stuff out of my head in Evernote than it was in Google Drive for some reason.
I don't know why I think the doc maybe just felt like I needed to worry about the way it looked a little bit more, and Evernote just felt like I could just create something willy-nilly and it can be like one line, but I can easily find it.
And there's just, it's just its own little ecosystem.
So I actually now create everything in Evernote.
It's where I outline my podcasts. It's where I actually draft emails. It's where I type out Instagram captions. It's where I capture ideas.
I'll actually record a voice memo straight into Evernote. I'll upload photos. I'll save all, like, inspiration. Like if I see someone's sales page and then love something they did, I'll take a screenshot and upload it to an Evernote note, and it's been so great.
I've really, really enjoyed it for just getting stuff out of my head doing the initial draft and creation process. And it's been great.
So I use Evernote for that, and I'm obsessed with it.
Tool #13: Google Drive
I still use Google Docs for all final product and file storage.
So Google Drive is where I store all of our actual files and any final creative, like any PDFs, any shared Google Docs, all of my, like coaching client folders and docs are in Google Drive, so that's kind of where I still share all of my files.
That's where I keep things organized. That's where the final record of everything goes. That's where all shared files go. That's still my home base.
Evernote feels like it's just been added on, so I use it kind of at the initial stage of the process. And Google Drive is where everything lives throughout the process.
So my team, when they're editing the podcast, is operating exclusively in Google Drive. I'm just operating in Evernote at stage one when I outline it.
So yeah, so for file, storage, and sharing, I'm using Google Drive and I'm creating Google Docs as well.
Tool #14: ClickUp
Okay, here's one I'm nervous about, you guys. For project management, I'm using ClickUp.
Now, I know I've been an Asana advocate for so long. I have a course on Asana. I still recommend Asana, and I still 100% believe in Asana as an incredible platform.
So by using ClickUp, I am not saying anything bad about Asana or that you shouldn't use Asana. I still recommend it. I am, like I said at the beginning, just experimenting with ClickUp.
A lot of my friends who are also systems geeks were talking about ClickUp a few months ago, and I just was intrigued.
And I really wasn't experiencing any pain points with Asana, which I usually don't recommend switching platforms or software unless you're experiencing any kind of pain point or you can't do a feature you wanna do, but earlier this year, just everyone's talking about ClickUp and I experimented with it.
And it had a lot of unique features that I did really like. It has the ability to have goals in a really fun way. So it just does a lot. It's very complex, and I mean that in a beautiful way.
Like you can use it in as simply or as complex as you want. It does feel like a little bit of an overwhelming software to pick up from scratch because you can do so much that you kinda have to like figure out what you wanna do before you start building stuff.
But I really have liked it, and I actually, one of the first things I had my virtual assistant, Bev, do once she started working with me was, like, hey, experiment with ClickUp and build stuff out in there that you want.
And it's kinda fun because in my whole life I've always been the one managing projects, the one creating things. I always owned Asana or whatever project management system I was using with clients.
And for the first time I was like, hey, why don't you own our project management system. And it's been really cool.
So we're still using ClickUp. We still really, really like it. I definitely think we're still figuring out kinks. Like, should this be a sub task or should this be a task? And, oh, that assigned comment, I didn't see it in the view I go to to check my task. So maybe we don't do that anymore.
So we're still figuring out the kinks. I'm not at the point where I would be comfortable teaching ClickUp or sharing how I recommend you set it up, but I do use it.
So that's been fun. We'll see if we keep using it how it evolves overtime.
I still recommend Asana. Unless you're having a major pain point with Asana, then maybe explore something like ClickUp, but Asana is just really easy to get started and very simple in a beautiful way.
So that is my project management situation.
Tool #15: Slack
For team communication, I use Slack, and I do use Voxer a little bit. So we mainly use Slack, that's our home base, that's where we're chatting periodically throughout the day.
And I love Slack because it's just such a great and fun platform. It's so fun to add reactions to things and share GIFs. And it also integrates with pretty much everything.
So we have different notifications pop up when someone buys something or someone applies to work with me, and it just makes it like the pulse of our business.
And so I really love using Slack for our team.
Tool #16: Voxer
For client communication I use Voxer.
So my team communicates with my clients through email but I communicate with my clients outside of our coaching calls through Voxer.
And I love Voxer. It's like a walkie-talkie app. And while you're talking, they can hear you, and that's really fun.
You can see someone is listening. And when they've heard it, and you can save messages, you can recall messages if you've upgraded.
You can also chat back and forth so it doesn't have to always be voice memos.
And what I really appreciate is that you can speed up messages. So someone can kinda do a five-minute Voxer and you can speed it up 2X and get through to it much quicker, which is so valuable for time-saving purposes.
So I love communicating with my clients through Voxer. It's kinda like you get to do a mini coaching session in between your calls.
I did kinda mention that I talked to my team through Voxer as well. And I don't talk to the whole team on Voxer but my right hand girl, Bev, I do talk to her on Voxer sometimes.
And I usually send her message in flak when I'm like, I need to just verbally process something with you for a second, can you go check Voxer.
And that's usually what we use it for is just when we need to have a conversation without jumping on a call, and if one of us doesn't feel like typing. So that's kinda what that looks like.
Tool #17: Calendly
Okay, last few systems here. For scheduling calls, that is calls with friends, that is podcast interviews, that is my clients, all of that is done through Calendly.
I love Calendly. I talked about it in episode 12 when I was talking about how to create a schedule and how to work four days a week.
And one of the tips that I gave was creating these boundaries and making it really easy to stick to your ideal schedule, and Calendly is my gift for that because specially when I have client calls and external calls, being able to send them just the link to whatever that is.
So I have different types of scheduling links for external calls, for client calls.
They all have different rules. They have different lengths of time, different permission settings.
And I can just send those to whoever needs them and magically get to hold boundaries to my ideal schedule without having to feel awkward or have any kind of guilt around it.
So it's been amazing, and it's a really great experience for your clients and your friends also because no one likes going back and forth. Just they really don't. It's not fun.
So, yeah, definitely love Calendly.
Acuity is a great alternative. I find the backend of Acuity a little complicated and like overly so.
I just find Calendly so easy to use, so that's what I do. And I also use Calendly for my 90-minute one-on-one intensives.
People actually pay me through Calendly for those.
Tool #18: Google Calendar
For Calendar management I use Google Calendar. That is my home base for what's going on in my life and my business.
Everything is on a Google Calendar.
So absolutely live and breathe in my Google Calendar. I even plan out what I'm doing throughout the day like on Google Calendar. My ideal schedule lives in Google Calendar.
If it's not there, it's not happening.
Tool #19: Streak
For my inbox, I use Gmail. So that's where I have my personal emails, all support emails are in Gmail. So I'm a big Gmail fan for the inbox.
And for organizing our emails, we use Streak.
So that allows us to see when people have viewed or opened emails.
It allows us to just organize emails in a really nice way and it's free, so definitely check Streak out if you ever heard of it.
It's a great way to just take the basic Gmail inbox and make it really easy and powerful, and you can do so many cool things with it.
You can have different stages of, like, a lead cycle. You can organize emails in a lot of different ways.
So sometimes my assistant and I will actually like, I'll be able to leave a comment on an email, which is just really cool and nice to be able to do that when you are having someone else in your inbox.
Tool #20: Zapier
And last but definitely not least is Zapier.
I use Zapier for integrating every single thing I just listed out. I have a lot of zaps in place that just helps streamline the process.
So when someone applies to work with me, Zapier takes that name from the spreadsheet and post a notification in Slack to let me know and gets them tagged in ConvertKit for what segment they need to be in.
And that's just one example.
So we're using Zapier all the time. It's just a great middle point between all of your different software that maybe they don't natively communicate but through Zapier they can communicate.
So if someone purchases something, they can get added to your email list. If someone does a certain interaction, they can get pushed over to Asana as a new task.
Who knows? Anything and everything if someone schedules something on your calendar, you can get a text notification.
I mean, truly you can just do a lot. I do my favorite zap is that I have a text message for every single sale that I make.
So every time someone buys a product or enrolls with me, I get a text notification.
That's just like, I'm so happy and grateful that so and so just enrolled in Asana HQ, and I have a little fun emojis.
And it's just such a delightful experience to see and to just appreciate that the money is coming in, and that, all positive money vibes. And it's just really exciting.
BONUS Tool #21: LastPass
I use LastPass to save all of the logins I use for every site.
And the really beautiful thing about LastPass is that you can securely share login information with your team without them ever seeing your passwords!
And when you update a password that you’ve shared, it updates automatically for them.
Adding team members to your business is already a big vulnerable task, but sharing passwords is a breeze with LastPass.
With the LastPass Google Chrome extension, you just type in the website you need to log in to, and boom, you’re in because it auto-populates your username and password with what’s saved.
It’s a beautiful tool.
So that is the rundown. Those are all of the apps and software used to run my business and a little bit about why I use them and what I like about them.
What did I miss? What business tools are you loving right now? Leave me a note in the comments or find me on Instagram!
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