To run our businesses effectively, we need to invest in tools that help us do that. The goal is, as your profits increase, to hire other professionals to make some of these tasks easier. As you work your way to that point, here are some resources that may help you run your business, and develop content, and manage your systems. I always like to use FREE services when possible, and then move to paying products that align with my immediate goals. The following list is not exhaustive, but rather some of the tools I am familiar with or have used myself, or have been recommended to me :
Highrisehq.com – Free software to easily log client information and set up reminder tasks
Less Annoying CRM – A great name, and a great tool because you can create custom lead/funnels!
Contactually – A step up from Highrise, but comes with a fee – still a standalone CRM product
Infusionsoft – Combines CRM with your newsletter, and offers robust client management tools. Hefty investment though.
Quickbooks – Use the ONLINE version – much easier than the desktop software. You can share a view with your accountant – offers robust reporting so you can know your profit DOWN TO THE PENNY.
Wave – Free accounting software
EchoSign – excellent for easily sending and storing contracts you create and sign with your clients.
You need to be able to accept payment by credit card. This will require you to get a merchant account. Being able to process a credit card directly rather than sending a PayPal link is a must. You need to process cards securely, and, ideally, have an easy way to create a recurring payment/payments for you clients on a payment plan.
Mailchimp – Offers a free version, and the starter version with automation is only $10/month. EASY templates and setup.
Constant Contact – More robust than Mailchimp, however, I find the learning curve steaper, and it’s a bit harder to use, and more pricey.
Infusionsoft – Also a newsletter tool – very steep investment, but highly utililized, and robust support options. Very steep learning curve.
Acuity – Much less overwhelming than Schedulicity if your needs are simple, offers time zone support, and text messaging.
Schedulicity – Very robust tool, allowing individual and class signups. You can even take payment through the tool. Allows your clients to reschedule their own sessions. However, does not have time zone support.
VCita – Another way to handle online scheduling, with some great additional features
TimeTrade – The least expensive, but very archaic layout – not pleasant to use, and least favorable client experience
Content Development Tools
Sound Forge Audio Studio – Ideal for recording your voice for MP3 files that you can distribute, such as meditations, or an audio course, or a CD.
Condenser Microphone – A good investment for quality audio recordings. Works much better than a headset or a microphone that comes with a computer.
Camtasia – Fantastic screen capture software. Use it with your condenser microphone to create training programs, review presentations, help your clients perform an online search, etc. (It’s what I used to create the welcome video on your homepage!)
Webcam – You can use any version, and you don’t need to spend a lot. This camera can be used with Camtasia to insert video of YOU into your screen capture as well!
Movie Studio – If you don’t have a MAC your computer may not have come with video editing software, or it may not be robust. This is an inexpensive option to edit videos. A bit of a learning curve, but once you figure it out, you can put together some great home-made videos!
HD Camcorder – You can use your iPhone, but if you plan to make a lot of your own videos, it’s worth investing in an HD Camcorder.
Studio Lighting – If you are doing your own videos, you absolutely must invest in studio lighting. It does not have to break the bank! Here is what I bought many years ago, and you should be able to find something similar.
Lavalier Microphone – Another MUST investment for video is a lavalier microphone. This is what allows for EXCELLENT sound as opposed to scratchy, far-away sounding quality. This is the one that I use, the idea is to have a piece that plugs into your camera, and another that you attach to your clothing.
Leadpages – Despite a lack of full customization capability, this product will make creating landing pages, and sales pages a BREEZE. Highly recommended!
Teleconference and Videoconference
Free Conference Call – Allows for recording, breakout rooms, and muting and it’s free!
Maestro – more robust tool ideal for coaching calls if you want to be able to create breakout rooms and move from one room to the next
Anymeeting – allows for screensharing. FREE if you support ads. I have found that sometimes callers have trouble dialing in. Allows meeting scheduling
Join.me – simply EASY – great for screensharing, and setting up on the spot calls.
GoToMeeting – great for teleconferences, though not free. Limited screen/video sharing
Google Hangout – free video webinar software
Webinar Jam – a Google Hangout Add-on to maximize attendee experience, and gives you robust reporting and control tools
Blab – The latest and greatest (as of 2015) in video sharing tools!