Here is a list of the tools I use the most in my business. I decided it would be useful to put together a quick reference guide of all these links. There's some really good stuff here and I recommend bookmarking this page for quick reference anytime you need it. Enjoy!
Many of these links are affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you decide to purchase from them. However, this is at no additional cost to you. I only recommend resources I've tried personally or believe will add value to the Dream Job community.
TOP 5 TOOLS I RECOMMEND MOST:
If you don't have time to look through this list, these are the top 5 tools I use the most often in my business to help it run smoothly.
1. SET UP YOUR OWN WEBSITE:
In order to create your own website, you will need a web host and a website design platform. The domain host is where you will purchase your domain name (ex. www.yourname.com). The design platform is where you will create & design your website. Here are some of my favorites:
WEB HOSTING SERVICE:
- BLUEHOST: The first thing you need is a domain name set up so that someone can find you in the first place! (Our domain name is www.thedreamjobshop.com for example.) You can purchase your domain name from a webhost like Bluehost. What's great about Bluehost is they charge as little as $3.95 a month and have lots of tutorials to help you out.
WEBSITE DESIGN PLATFORM:
- SQUARESPACE: I LOVE Squarespace! This website is created using the platform and I also created my husband's art website using Squarespace as well. They have lots of templates for you to choose from. Then, to customize your design you just need to drag and drop elements you need. It's so user friendly. You can also purchase your domain from Squarespace as well.
2. CREATE YOUR OWN BUSINESS EMAIL ADDRESS:
- If you want to create an email address that uses your own domain name (ex. firstname.lastname@example.org), you will set that up through your web hosting service like Bluehost. The process for setting it up is pretty easy with lots of tutorials showing you how. I'm a big fan of having your email address hosted this way (rather than a hotmail account for example) because it looks way more professional. You'll be able to do this when you purchase your domain name.
3. START A MAILING LIST:
A mailing list is one of the only assets you own when it comes to contacting your customers. By that, I mean you can access your email list any time you want. Social media is constantly changing, along with its algorithms. Your followers no longer see all of your posts! The mailing list is one of the only things you still have quite a bit of control over:
- MAILCHIMP: This is what I'm currently using because of its user friendly interface. I use mailchimp to send out all of my business newsletters. I also use it to collect subscribers for my mailing lists. Mailchimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers. If you sign up for a paid subscription using this link, you'll receive $30 in Monkeyrewards towards your account!
4. STAYING ORGANIZED FOR TAXES:
- FRESHBOOKS: It's not the easiest part of running a business, but it has to be done. In order to organize your income, expenses, and all your receipts, you'll need an easy accounting software. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very good at this stuff so I need something that is user friendly. I like this company for that reason. Freshbooks lets you track expenses, snap photos of your receipts, track mileage, and send invoices. You can also send invoices to your clients. It's nice because you can access it from your computer and your phone if you need to.
- PHOTOSHOP: A great tool for any of your photo editing needs. In the past, Photoshop used to be quite expensive, but now they have a month-to-month option which is much more affordable.
- PICMONKEY: If you're a beginner to photo editing, Picmonkey is a great option to get started with. It will help you edit your photos, add text, and create photo collages. Plus it's free! This will be useful to edit photos for product listings, or to create new promotions.
6. HIRE A DESIGNER FOR YOUR BRANDING:
- 99 DESIGNS: One of the more frustrating things about running a business is that you want it to look professional, but you still have a small budget. 99 Designs allows you to work with a designer to create logos, business cards, banners, promotions and more. With this company, you create a design brief, and then designers who are interested will apply with concepts. Then you pick your favorite and pay that designer. It's a really great way to get work done professionally but at a more affordable price.
- CREATIVE MARKET: For those who are already familiar with Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign, Creative Market provides awesome ready to use graphics, tools and templates for your business. I go here often.
8. TRACKING YOUR NUMBERS:
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS: This will help you track your website, blog, and social traffic so that you can know what's working and what isn't. They also have a nifty getting started tutorial as this stuff can definitely be confusing at first.
9. PROTECTING YOUR SITE:
Did you ever watched the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie doesn't back up her computer and loses all of her work? That's not cool. You know if it's happened to you. If you're spending all this time and hard work on something, you want to protect it from any possible problems! You can do this by backing up your work and protecting yourself from hackers.
- WP PASSPORT: This is an easy way to back up your computer. It's also a great way to free up storage on your computer if you need to clear some space. You can buy one from Best Buy or other tech store near by.
- DROPBOX: It's a good idea to back up your computer to a few different sources. Dropbox is a great tool to keep you organized for that. It is a secure file sharing and storage system for you and your employees.
- 1PASSWORD: All your other passwords and important information are protected behind your Master Password, which only you know.
- SUCURI: It can be really scary and stressful when someone hacks your site. Especially when you have a lot put into it! Sucuri is like an insurance for preventing that, giving you security and peace of mind. They provide security scans, malware protection and blacklist monitoring.
10. HIRING HELP:
There comes a point in one's business where you can't do it all yourself anymore. The sites below are good for outsourcing certain tasks of your business to others. Some examples of things you could outsource would be customer service, writing, design work, SEO, marketing, and social media. An easy way to get started is to see what others are getting help with and how they're writing their job postings. You'll find this information on each one of the sites below.
- UPWORK: Upwork allows you to hire a freelancer for specific tasks in your business. Their website is easy to navigate and helps you with suggestions on specific tasks you can use to outsource.
- FIVERR: So Fiverr's big thing is that you can get someone to do a task for you for 5 bucks. People will do all sorts of things on there for you. It might be a good option for smaller tasks, but probably not the big stuff.