No one wants to spend money on tools to run their businesses. It’s like putting fuel in your car (gas if you’re from the states), it seems kind of pointless because you feel like you get nothing for it. Your car runs of course but you can’t “see” the fuel you bought. You don’t really get to enjoy it.
Tools for running your business are the same. There are months where I look at the list and think “holy peaches, that is a lot of coin!”. The reality is that without these cool and very useful paid tools my business would be slow, clunky and lack automation. It would also require more of my time to manually handle tasks meaning less time to market and make money. Kind of counterproductive right! Save money on tools…. lose money on sales…that makes no sense!
I want to show you the list of tools I use for my business and give you an idea of why they are valuable. I am very focused on my cash flow, you can be assured that if a tool is listed here I see value in having it. I have weighed up the cost vs the benefit and it’s not a lazy subscription (like the gym membership I recently cancelled, it was lazy because I wasn’t using it).
Now don’t freak out! You absolutely do not need all of these paid tools. Remember that I have been building my online business for 3 years now and it is 90% of my revenue.
Xero – AU$50/month
I use this program to manage my bookkeeping. It is AU$50 per month and allows me to easily track my income vs expenses. I always know exactly how much I have spent on Facebook Ads, the income my products and services have generated and how much I owe the taxman. I could use Excel Spreadsheets but it would take me at least 3 to 4 hours per month. Xero requires an hour at the most. Investing $50 to save 3 to 4 hours is well worth it for me. I spend that time managing my marketing instead! The more I put into marketing, the more moula I make!
Facebook Ads – AU$500/month
An average month for me would be around $500 on Facebook Ads. If I am launching a new product it will be higher, if I am in maintenance mode (some months I feel like I just need to re-group instead of growing) it might be less than $100. Generally, it is around $500.
If you’re one of those people who say “Facebook Ads just don’t work for me” you probably have the formula wrong. It isn’t as simple as paying for likes, or boosting a post. Like any marketing/advertising you do there is a strategy behind it. Ads also require consistency, many women in business will throw $100 at ads and then complain that their sales didn’t increase so they never try again. Marketing and running ads for any business in any industry is a little hit and miss to start. You have to test and measure what works for you.
Thrive Themes – USD$149/year
I use Thrive Themes for so much of my online business. Everything from my theme to countdown plugin is from Thrive Themes. The thing I love the most is you join up for a membership which gives you access to all the new stuff they launch. They are continually creating new plugins for online business owners and improving the ones they already have. I currently use:
+ Thrive Content Builder – a drag and drop page builder
+ Thrive Ultimatum – countdown timer for sales pages
+ Thrive Ovation – easiest way to collect awesome testimonials
+ Thrive Leads – build lead/opt in pages and boxes (and so much more..)
+ Thrive Theme – I use Pressive
MemberMouse Membership Plugin – USD$20/month
I started out with a platform called Rainmaker but moved over to WordPress + Thrive Themes + Membermouse to create my online course portal. I find this the most cost-effective and flexible option for my business. I love that I can drag and drop the components that I love from Thrive Content Builder (video, download buttons etc..) and then secure the page with MemberMouse.
Post Cron – USD$15/month
Post Cron is a social media scheduler, one of the very few that allows you to post into your own groups (not into groups you’re not at admin of). It is super simple to use and allows you to schedule posts way in advance. I don’t use it a lot for my Facebook Business Page posts as I prefer to do those weekly via Facebook.
Active Campaign – USD$80/month
I love Active Campaign. I moved over from AWeber and could not be happier with how easy it is to create email marketing funnels. One of my biggest frustrations with AWeber was having multiple lists. You also have to pay for every person on every list, so if someone signs up to 10 of your list you have to pay for 10 “people” even though there is only one! Active Campaign treats each email address as one person no matter how many lists they’re on.
Amazon S3 – USD$1/month
I use Amazon as my cloud storage for all free and paid resources. I still don’t really understand much about it other than the basics. I am sure it can do a whole lot more than I use it for but it is cheap and makes downloading lightening fast and easy for my Profit Lovers.
I also back up my WordPress websites to a file using Amazon S3.
BackBlaze – AU$5/month
This is an automated program that backs your computer up to the cloud. Should your office burn down, computer crap out or cyclone hit you have a backup that can be installed on another computer. I do find it slows my internet down if it is running while I am working but I just hit the pause button when I need to.
If you don’t have a backup running you’re nuts!
Zoom – USD$14/month
Zoom is an online meeting tool that you can use for webinars and well… online meeting! I use it for Group Coaching calls and one on one’s. I love Zoom because all participants can have their camera’s on, meaning I can see all of their lovely faces! Visual connection is important with my clients and webinar participants so I love this feature.
Dollar Photo Club/Adobe Stock Images AU$11.99/month
Sadly Dollar Photo Club has closed its doors and moved over to Adobe Stock Images. I was lucky enough to be able to get a special deal for switching over. Once the deal is over the price will increase quite a bit.
I use Canva at least once per week to design my social media and blog images and my downloadable resources. Before Canva I was limited to the only design program I had a vague idea on how to use, Photoshop! Canva can be a little overwhelming though! You really need a brand guide to start with so you don’t end up with a brand image that is all over the place!
Holy peaches…. do I need all this cyber junk too?
Nope. You don’t. You might use less, you might use more. Do you need to spend $500 per month on Facebook Ads? Nope. You might need less, you might need more! Do you really need to buy stock images? Maybe yes, maybe no!
I certainly didn’t start out this way, I used a WordPress Website and aWeber. My first launch I spent $200 on ads and used a free GoTo Webinar trial to run the live component. I had no fancy plugins or landing pages. I only had 400 people on my list so a total cost of $30/month. As my revenue increased I invested in tools to make my life easier and to automate my business.
My biggest bit of advice I can give is to be careful what you spend your money on. Utilise the tools you have, don’t let them sit around. Make them work for you! If you’re not using something ask yourself why? Is it because you haven’t prioritised setting it up? Or is it because there is no way to make it work for you? I often see people cancel memberships because they haven’t made it a priority to set the tool up. Then they complain that their business is hard work. they never have time to market and they don’t make money!
p.s Some links are affiliate links, I will get paid for referring you. I don’t recommend anything I haven’t tried and tested myself. I would never refer anyone to a platform just for the affiliate commission. That’s just not how I roll…