Often times I am asked what tools I use or what tools I recommend. Since this is a frequent question, I thought it would be helpful to create resource page to benefit everyone. I will continue to update this page in the future as I find more helpful tools. I recommend bookmarking this page for your reference.
Please note some of the links below contain affiliate links and at no additional cost I earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. As a matter of fact many of the links give you a discount for using my link. I am recommending these companies because I have used each one in the past and have found it useful in building my business. I would not recommend a product or service if I did not feel it would help you reach your goals. If you would like any more details about any of these services feel free to ask.
Website and Web Hosting
I have over 5 years of direct experience in the web hosting industry and learned so much information about server management, resources, website management and more. I also learned so some of the best web host are to use.
BlueHost: I have watched this company steadily improve over the years. If you are just starting out price may be a factor for you so Bluehost would be a good place to start.
Site5: I like site5 for one main reason and that is the fact that use the datacenter called the The Planet which was bought out by Softlayer. All that means is there servers are reliable and will remain online.
WP Engine: I tend to judge hosting companies based on their service and WP Engines service is top notch. Their primary focus is hosting wordpress websites only. Though they are one of the best they are also more expensive than the others I mentioned.
WordPress: This began as a blogging platform and it has now evolved into one of the best content management systems (CMS). There is a hosted version and a download version you can use to build a website. I recommend the downloadable version.
Email Newsletters and Marketing
MailChimp: Online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. This is the email marketing that I use.
AWeber: Another email marketing service similar to mailchimp. Some prefer to use them because of the features they provide.
OptIn Monster: This is a great tool that can be used to build an email list online. One of the most effective ways to keep in tough with your audience is through creating an email newsletter. Click here in order to see this tool in action.
Ouibounce: This tool is similar to the functionality of OptinMonster. When you decide to exit a page, a popup overlay is trigged prompting the user to enter their email address. This tools is free but it requires a bit of coding knowledge to implement this on your website.
Subbscribe: I have do not have this tool integrated into my website yet but I plan to because it is a simple and useful resource to generate leads on a website. This tools is tailored to work with MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.
Selling Products Online
PayPal: One of the largest payment processing companies that are available on the market. PayPal is an eBay company and allows you to process payments via invoice, debit/credit card use for a small processing fee.
Square: This is a credit card processing and business solutions company whose main focus is point of sale, invoicing. They have greatly improved their service and in many ways have been more responsive than Paypal.
Gumroad: This company specializes in disturbing digital products and they make it super easy to get started, they also can handle physical products as well. I use this service to deliver my own products and I have also implemented them for clients as well.
Selz: This is a newer service that I have been experimenting with. It is very similar to gumroad in its functionality but I have found they have made some improvements that gumroad does not yet have.
Docracy: This website has an open collection of legal contracts and grants you the ability to sign your contracts electronically through their system. You can also create your own account and store your own contracts and policies on the website. They have a signing service as well.
Shake Law: A technology platform that was designed to make creating contracts and signing legal agreements simple and convenient. They also have the added benefit of a system to sign documents digitally.
IRS.GOV: When it comes to law sometimes its best to go straight to the source and read the official documentation from the federal government (U.S.)
Audio & Video
ScreenFlow (Mac): Screencasting software that includes an editor for your video and audio.
Screencast-O-Matic: This software works through the browser or you can download it to your computer. Allows you to quickly create a screen cast and capture your voice as well as your computer screen for tutorials and walk-through. (Free and Paid versions)
Canon Rebel T3i (This is My Camera): If you are thinking of getting serious about creating video I would definitely say to start with this camera. The model I have has been updated to the Canon Rebel T5i version. You can flip the screen out so you can view yourself while you record so you know where to position yourself. If you’re ready to use this I found a great tutorial to get you started.
Adobe Premiere Pro: This is adobe’s video editing software that comes with the Adobe Creative Suite. It is simple enough to create the videos I use and powerful enough for cinematographers to use when they are editing feature films.
Adobe Audition: That allows you to record, edit, and create audio content. This is the program I use to edit podcast and videos, with it I can increase the volume of voices, remove background noise and even remove unwanted buzzing from audio. The best thing is it works with all the other adobe products seamlessly.
Audacity (Windows): If Adobe Audition is too expensive and you are looking for a free alternative this is a great solution to use until you can move up. (free)
Garageband (Mac): Program that is normally used to record and mix music but can also be used to record voice as well.
Website Visitor Tracking
Google Analytics – this is a free tool created by Google that allows you to see detailed stats about your website’s traffic and visitors. I feel every website should use this at the least. (free)
Clicky: This is very similar to Google Analytics as far as website tracking except they allow you to see what is happening in real time. (free & paid)
Freelance Jumpstart Video Crash Course: I am often asked my questions about how to start your own business, what tools to use and how to market a new business. This is a free course I created which covers a wide range of topics and help you quickly begin your own business.
Keeping Track of Finances – Accounting & Bookkeeping
Wave Accounting: This is a free software as a service that honestly should not be free, because of all of the benefits they offer. One of the few free bookkeeping tools that offer the financial statements for your business: cash flow, income statement, etc. For this to be effective you have to be faithful to recording all of your income, expenses and assets for your business into this application.
Nutcache: This is an invoicing and time management tool that helps you to remain organized for business. They are relatively new in comparison to some other tools. It also integrates with PayPal as well to help you get paid faster.
Go Daddy Bookkeeping (formerly Outright.com): Outright helps small businesses and those who are self employed with online bookkeeping through their exceptional accounting software. This is what I use, because it is so simple.
Asana: This is a task management tool, where you can write out each task or steps of a project and schedule them on a calendar. This helps with meeting deadlines and being aware of what you have or have not completed, great for teams or individuals.
Basecamp: This is a software as a service project management app. I would have to say that this software sets the standard for all other types of project management tools online. You can handle employees, deadlines, files & assets, email communication and more all in once application. They make project management simple. Basecamp used to be called 37signals and have many other products as well but they dropped all their other projects so they can focus solely one Basecamp which means they have great support.
Podio: This service is a freemium cloud-based collaboration service. This can be used as a project management tool and you can keep all communication with your clients in once central location. You can add invoicing, to-do list, employees, timesheets and more. I like to think of it as the free version of Basecamp.
Toggl: Allows you to track time, you can think of it like an organized stopwatch system. Helps with productivity and determining billable hours.
JoinMe: The basic plan is free to use and share your screen with others. This is great to showcase a design or project you are working on and want to share your screen. You can share your screen or see the screen of someone else that is a part of the meeting. I like to think of this as the free version of GotoMeeting.
Screen Leap: If Join Me does not work for you and you are still looking for a way to share your screen with someone you can setup an account with screenleap and select their free plan which let you share your screen with up to 8 people for 1 – 2 hours a day.