Everyone always asks me how I get so much done all the time. I love that people think I’m superwoman, but the truth is, it’s not all skill. Being productive isn’t about how many hours you put in, it’s about using the right tools for the right job. If you try out the new hot program every time it comes out, you’ll spend a lot more of your time testing software than you will running your business. (Note: if you do love testing out new software, then that’s a business too, just a different kind. E-Mail me if you want to know more about it).
Almost all of the thousands of women I have worked with over the years struggle with knowing what needs to be in their toolkit. Each business will have different requirements, and in the Social Strategy Squad I can advise you on the right tools for you specifically. I will never recommend anything that I haven’t seen in action and consider to be an efficiency booster. If you have a tool that’s amazing that you’d like to see on this list, feel free to submit it for review!
Just so you know, I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post, but it won’t affect the price you pay at all! All opinions are my own and I only recommend products I have tried and loved. I have a full affiliate disclosure that you can find here.
Interact Quizmaker: Interact allows to create personality quizzes, giveaways, and assessments to generate leads it integrates into website, social channels, and marketing automation system for easy implementation. I used it to make my Find Your Business Blocker quiz.Increase your conversion rate with quizzes. They’re fun, quick and easy to put together and quizzes have a significantly higher conversion rate than traditional lead magnets.
Picmonkey PicMonkey is an online photo editing and design service. It can be accessed from a web browser, or through the PicMonkey mobile app. It has a ton of features and is an all purpose graphic tool for any business owner. This is a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of time learning a big complicated system, and would rather focus on creating relatively quick and easy graphics without a lot of fuss.
Canva: Canva is a tool loaded with enough easy-to-use features and functionality that anyone can create a variety of engaging content that gets shared. For ease of use, I prefer this tool over PicMonkey. It’s a lot more user friendly and quick to pick up. A huge selling point for me on Canva is that you can use it to create quick and easy lead magnets without having to use Adobe products.
Adobe Creative: This is a big package, and includes many different programs for video, audio, graphics, etc. This suite is the most powerful and effective tool out there, but it does have a very steep learning curve so I usually don’t recommend it unless you really want to get into graphic design. I like to put it out there though because it is what I use, and I love it. But it’s not the best tool for everyone, so unless you want your life to become about media creation, I would recommend using the other options. But if you do decide you want your life to become about graphics, send me a PM and lets talk!
Video & Live
Screencast-o-Matic: Screencast-o-matic is a free screen recorder with a budget friendly paid option of $1.65/month. It’s a small piece of software that will record your desktop and can be used to do light edits to any pre-recorded video. If you have spent any time on Youtube, you’ve seen videos that were created with Screencast-o-matic. It’s very simple to use. You don’t need any high-tech hardware other than a laptop with a decent built-in laptop speaker.
Wondershare Filmora: A step above Screencast-o-Matic, Filmora is a more traditional video editing software that will let you create polished and professional videos. It features a ton of pre-made effects like lower thirds, title cards, and filters. If you’ve ever edited video before you can pick this up in no time, if you haven’t then it might take you a little longer, but they’ve prioritized user friendliness over complexity, so is worth the effort. It’s cut my video making time by over ¾. Check out a couple of samples. (thriveLIVE Promo Video, Target Audience Training)
Wave.video: Wave.video is an Online Video Maker and Social Media Marketing tool for creating social videos in minutes. Create videos using tools like drag-and-drop for importing media files and design videos with 100+ predefined templates, text, fonts, and text effects, animations, and stunning transitions between the clips. The software lets you resize your projects and ads to 30+ popular formats, and can access to 200 million videos, images, and audio clips. Wave.video has full integration with Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Hubspot, Wistia, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Vimeo, where you can post directly on these platforms with just one click. This is my goto for quick videos like this one.
BeLive Production Studio: The main reason to use software like Be.Live is because when you have a fluctuating audience a lot of time is wasted on repeating information you’ve already shared. This makes the stream repetitive and boring for viewers who join at the beginning and confusing for viewers who join in the middle. It’s also frustrating to have to repeat yourself multiple times in an hour. Additionally, production studio software allows you to put a lot of information on the screen, making streams visually interesting. My favourite feature is the extremely simple and easy interface to schedule live streams long in advance so that you can market them directly to your audience.
Make your customer’s lives easier (and yours) by signing up for one of these calendar systems. There’s no reason for us to go back and forth over email trying to find a time that works when you can simply send someone your link and they can pick a time that works for them. Moreover, if you run a business where you frequently need to meet with clients this is a more effective way to manage your schedule. These are similar programs.
Acuity: This is the more expensive option, but has a lot more very cool features. If you have a lot of group classes or need granular control over your schedule, this is a good option. This is a great option for coaches.
Calendly: This is a light version with less bells and whistles, but more cost effective and easier to use. I prefer this option both for cost and convenience. I started out with Acuity but quickly realized it was overkill for my business, even though it’s an amazing program. You can’t go wrong with either one of these options.
Healthy Business & Efficiency
SecretLab Chair: I have chronic pain and for much of my life was at 9 on the pain scale. It took me several years to realize that as long as I was in pain, my work product was going to be subpar. I spent twice the amount of time making something better. I wouldn’t have needed that improvement if I hadn’t been distracted by pain. One of my first steps to reduce my work time and improve the amount of work to come out of each session was to get myself an ergonomic chair. I did a lot of research because this is an expensive piece of furniture, but so worth it. It’s no coincidence that since I changed up my ergonomics I clock out at 6pm every night.
Erin Condren Planners: I’m gonna come right out and say it. Whether you think you’re a planner person or not, you need some sort of time structuring system. Until you have a method of structuring and organizing your day, you will always feel behind and you will always be overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be a planner. It can be a calendar online. Or some other task/day organizer.
You need to know how much time you have, how long things take, and how much you can get done in a day to be efficient. That only happens when you catalog your activities and plan them out. Erin Condren planners are the most versatile, they’re pretty – which I like, and they are simple. I don’t need to write down 1,000 reflections each day. Instead, I can simply use it to do what I need it for: organize my time and tasks so I can clock out at 6pm.
Tailwind: I use Facebook Creator Studio to schedule all my Facebook Business Page posts, but for Instagram, Tailwind is my jam. I write my posts, but I outsource scheduling and hashtags. Tailwind allows me to work with my social media marketing manager without much disruption. It also works well as a planner for your posts. You can upload batches of pictures at a time and write captions for them on the fly.
E-Mail & Landing Pages
aWeber: AWeber offers a service to help businesses communicate more effectively and profitably with prospects and customers. I have tried a lot of different email systems from MailerLite to Mailchimp to Drip. I found each of them lacking in some area. aWeber was the first program to cover every need. It’s a full service email marketing program that includes landing pages so you don’t need to spend extra money. I loved it so much I become a certified expert to help support other users. That’s how good the program is. If you need step by step instructions on setting up your aWeber account, and what kinds of emails you should be writing, we have a full training in Unit 33 and 34 in the Social Strategy Squad.
Podia: If you’re a coach, this is one where I’m going to really hammer it home. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do your research before selecting a course program. My first software cost me over 10K over two years and was a complete disaster. I learned so much from that experience, but I hated that I had to learn that lesson. I chose Podia after that disaster for a few reasons. First, they were simple, easy to use, and weren’t trying to be all the things. They do courses and memberships, and they do them well. Second, their customer service is stellar. Third, they are making their product for people like us, not to show off their tech skills. So it’s simple and easy to use. With the recent addition of Webinars, I cancelled another $1K worth of software.
Namecheap: In full disclosure, building a website is a bit more involved than simply getting a domain name, and if you’re new to it can seem like an alien land. There are two ways to use this information. The first is if you wanted a simple redirect. This is where your domain name auto forwards to whatever website you want it to. The second is when you purchase a domain name, www.whatever.com and in addition, you build a website or a blog for it. I use Namecheap for both of these use cases and have for almost 20 years. Their customer service is incredible and they have a very high quality product. If you want to create a full website in addition to purchasing a domain name, you can learn how to do that here.
Legal & Compliance
Lisa Fraley, Legally Bare: If you are like me, you probably have NO idea how to legally protect your business. I truly had no idea what to do or where even to start. I had no idea that I was leaving my business legally naked from every angle without even knowing it. I thought that covering my buns would so expensive. And HARD! But, then I heard that Lisa Fraley, Attorney & Legal Coach, created DIY documents that are a fraction of the price of her one-on-one services and I was so excited! Lisa has created DIY Legal Templates for the most important legal steps that most of us entrepreneurs need so we can feel protected, confident and empowered in both our business & our brand.
Create Affiliate Income
Affiliate marketing is essentially promoting products/services for a company that you’re associated with. You can find and join almost any affiliate program that fits into your blogging category/niche. You’ll apply to the program that you want to join and then wait for approval by email. To learn more about how to use affiliate marketing for your business, join the Social Strategy Squad, and lets make a plan for your business together!
Share-a-Sale: ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network. They pay commissions to affiliates based on sales. As an affiliate marketer, you can choose from more than 2,500 programs that allow you to earn these commissions. In addition to the network of affiliates ShareASale also operates a network of merchants. Whenever I find a new product that I love (not on Amazon), the first thing I do is check to see if they have a share-a-sale account. Then I can start getting affiliate income for something I use and recommend already.
aWin: Similar to Share-a-Sale. It works with a different set of merchants. These are different from Share-a-Sale so I have accounts with both of them. There are plenty of others. If affiliate marketing will be a major part of your income, then you need a library of affiliate programs.
Let me know what you think!
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