Here are some of the tools that we use to drive our businesses.
Hello and Welcome!
Starting and running small businesses is oftentimes a daunting task. People ask how we built our businesses, and are very surprised to learn that we have created virtually everything ourselves. It's not easy, but it definitely teaches you about your business.
We have listed here many of the apps and tools that we have either tried, used, or currently use to run our businesses. This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything you need to start your own business. These are the tools and apps that we currently use to run our own businesses, as well as others that we tried, considered, or simply were not best suited for our needs.
That's the most important takeaway here. This is a great list to get you started. If time is of the essence to you, you can use this page to get most of what you need to get your business up and running fast.
Ultimately, your business is going to have it's very own set of needs and priorities. You need to find what works for you. One word of caution for you - do not get stuck down the rabbit hole and get caught up in the process instead of the goal. You could spend MONTHS checking each app, signing up for trial periods and setting each one up. Ultimately you have to simply make a decision and move on to the next problem.
NIKE had it right: Just Do It!
All the best on your road to entrepreneurship,
Tony Fisher & Andrea Eppolito
Ontraport is one of the most powerful all-in-one marketing platforms available for small businesses and entrepreneurs today. It is an incredibly powerful marketing platform that encompasses email marketing, landing pages, forms, membership sites, and much more in one complete package. We utilize Ontraport for all of our businesses and it has proven to be the engine that ties everything together.
Kajabi is the premier online course platform available to small businesses and entrepreneurs today. Incredibly feature-rich, it also provides for landing pages, pipelines, and email marketing capabilities. I use Kajabi to host multiple online courses for my businesses because it provides the best UI and allows me to tailor the course appearance as I see fit.
Most everyone has heard of PayPal, and probably has used PayPal. It is a trusted payment gateway that your customers will feel comfortable using.
We utilize PayPal as one of two digital payment methods for our online transactions (Stripe is the other). Paypal allows you to collect revenue from over 200 countries amongst a host of other features.
Square is actually more than just a payment gateway. More than likely you've used square recently. They provide Point Of Sale solutions to small businesses and incorporate payroll services into the suite of solutions.
We do not utilize their POS solution, but do utilize their app at tradeshow booths, and while accepting payments with clients directly.
Stripe.com is one of the easiest payment gateways to use. It is also one of the most prevalent and trusted.
Stripe integrates with almost all marketing platforms, and we use Stripe with both Ontraport and Kajabi for our businesses. Stripe provides mobile apps for both account access and charging clients.
As with PayPal, you are able to collect revenue from numerous countries and currencies.
GoDaddy made it's name on domain hosting. it has now expanded and offers virtually all web services your business may need. All of our domains are hosted on GoDaddy, as well as our business emails.
A newer feature, they have now partnered with Microsoft Office to power their new email accounts.
Squarespace was one of the first cloud-based platforms (besides Wordpress) that allowed users to build their own websites themselves without the need for significant coding. It is the platform that has powered all of Andrea Eppolito's websites for almost a decade now. They are simple to use, and you are able to update and change your design pretty much at will.
Quickbooks is one of the oldest accounting programs available today. If you use an accountant to do your taxes, there's a good chance they use Quickbooks.
We currently utilize Quickbooks for our businesses. It has apps for your phone and tablet, and we run multiple LLCs from it. It also integrates with many of the tools that we use listed on this page.
Xero is another option for accounting software. We've used Xero, with no issues to report. They have apps for your mobile devices and we had multiple LLCs operating in it.
Ultimately, we had to choose one software and Quickbooks was the choice. If Xero is the choice for you, there should be no problems.
If you absolutely hate accounting, there are companies that will do the heavy lifting for you. Bench.co is an example of that. Bench.co provides bookkeeping services for small businesses.
You are assigned a team of bookkeepers. They reconcile all of your statements and create a monthly set of reports for your business. At the end of the year, you simply provide all of these to your accountant to help complete your taxes.
If you are going to be producing ANY amount of video content and need to record your computer screen, this is one of the most popular software programs for Macs.
This is not a subscription software, the pricing is for a one-time purchase of the program. Be aware, you will have to pay to upgrade in the future.
iMovie is included with Macs for free. It is basic video editing software and does virtually everything you need to edit a video and post it online (YouTube, etc.).
There is a plethora of software programs available for editing, we use this because we are not tech-nerds and we know enough about iMovie to effectively edit our videos.
Acuity Scheduling is actually owned by Squarespace now. We use Acuity for some scheduling automations for Lead Consultations, One:One Meetings, and have integrated Acuity with Zoom and Ontraport in order to accomplish those tasks.
We allow Leads to book a consultation right from our website, with email and SMS confirmations that follow.
We also have automated scheduling One:One consultations with students who complete some of Andrea's educational courses. Emails are auto-generated prompting a scheduling link for students.
TubeBuddy is a browser extension that integrates into YouTube to help you run and optimize your channel. Popular features include bulk updating your videos, competitor and keyword research, keyword explorer, SEO optimization, basic thumbnail generator.
TubeBuddy offers a free plan with limited access to basic features, as well as three priced plans. The link behind the thumbnail is an affiliate link and TFG is compensated for the link.
TubeBuddy is the primary reason why we have grown Andrea's YouTube Channel from 150 subscribers to almost 550 subscribers in less than six months.
For many applications and platforms, you will encounter various limits and restrictions on the file size of videos that you are able to upload.
Handbrake.fr is one of the most common tools used to compress the size of video files. It actually allows you to transcode to various file types and resolutions as well. Best of all, it's open source, works on Mac/Windows/Linux, and it's FREE.
Zapier is one of the most popular online integration tools that help you tie together various apps your business uses to help automate processes for you.
They offer several plans, with a basic "free" plan offering limited "zaps" and limited number of "tasks" a month. More than likely, you will need to use an integration tool in order to connect some of your business's apps.
The Future is Podcasts! Just kidding, but not really. Andrea has built her business gradually over the last ten years and one of the cornerstones of her online presence is her Podcast.
Her Podcast has allowed her to expand her audience in ways that she has never imagined. The reach is absolutely amazing! Her podcast alone has directly resulted in course sales from other countries!
You will need a Google Account. Learn from my experience - create a separate one for all your business logons. Keep your business and your personal separate.
You can create a Google Drive for storage, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Tag Manager. It will become your logon for YouTube (owned by Google).
As small business owners, we like a good deal. AppSumo is a website that provides limited time deals on software. Sometimes they are Lifetime Deals (LTD), sometimes they are for a year or two.
We currently utilize six or seven tools that we purchased directly via AppSumo. Besides PromoRepublic, we use LiveWebinar, Audio Hero, Shorby, RelayThat, and Clearout.io amongst others.
Best part about AppSumo is the 60 money back guarantee on all products. Can't really beat it.