Business Resources

My clients are always looking for great solutions to day-to-day business problems… everything from taking a screenshot of something on their computer to a scheduling service that accepts payments.

This page pulls together my favorite resources in many areas. I’ve used all of these in my business, and you won’t find anyting on this page that’s not worth your time.

Many of these resources are free. Most of the ones that are not free are inexpensive. In some cases, I might be an affiliate… usually that means a get a small amount of what you pay for letting you know about the product or service. In most cases, I get nothing. Nothing on this list is here only because I am an affiliate. If I recommend it, I’ve tested it.

As I find new resources I think you could use, I add them to this page, so check back!

Passwords

LastPass:  Plagued by passwords? There are 3 easy solutions. Two of them are mistakes.

1) Create weak passwords that you can easily remember…  123456, password, the name of the site you’re on — or my favorite — SecurePassword. If this is your plan to keep your data safe, you’re making a big mistake.

2) Create one strong password that you memorize and use it everywhere. This means that once the burglar can open one door, he can open them all. And don’t count on the strength of your password — inserting a capital letter and a number isn’t enough.

3) LastPass. My website security expert turned me on to LastPass. I can’t say enough good things about it — but this is where remembering ONE strong password really works — LastPass does everything else for you and keeps your sites organized so you can always access any site easily with unique, really strong passwords. Go get the free version NOW and don’t look back

Appointment Booking Service

It saves a lot of time when you decide your schedule and let your clients see it and choose when they want to come. Most schedulers connect with your Google Calendar and send confirmation notices to you and the client.

Timetrade: I used TimeTrade for a long time. When I switched (to Acuity), it was because TT didn’t do such a great job of showing my schedule to people around the world in their own time zone. If you have a local practice, this is not an issue for you, and TimeTrade is a good solution. It’s less expensive than anything else I’ve found, easy to use and allows you to have multiple appointment types.

Time Trade does not support client payments; it won’t work for filling a class and it doesn’t work well if your clients are not in your time zone.

Acuity: This is a more complicated system than TimeTrade. There’s a free version;  the paid version costs more than TimeTrade and you can do more with it:

  • Take payments at the time of booking.
  • Let more than one person sign up for a slot (think “fill a class or workshop”).
  • Gives accurate time for your client in every time zone around the world.
  • Create coupons and vouchers (think “Gift Certificates”) for special offers.
  • Create a schedule for more than one person… if you have a center, everyone can be on the same account.
  • Sell products and packages.
  • Embed your appointment calendar on your website.

Aside from knowing that my clients always see the right time, how I can make the calendar look and the fact that I can give coupons if I want to offer someone a special incentive. Their support is more responsive that TimeTrade.  I highly recommend it, if you need more than TimeTrade offers.

Newsletter Platform

MadMimi:  You need a newsletter and that means you need a newsletter platform. There’s no question about that. The rules are too complex and it’s too easy to get blacklisted or banned by your own personal email provider for sending emails that don’t “meet the rules.”

I used to use another service, and I hated it. It was too hard to use, took too many computer resources and was frustratingly glitchy.  When I found MadMimi, I knew I had discovered gold.

For one thing, Mimi is free. Not for one or two months, but until you reach 2500 subscribers or want to use premium services. That means that you don’t have to worry about your “trial” subscription running out before you muster the courage to send your first email. You have plenty of time to get your feet wet, learn the ropes and get used to the idea of sending regular emails that will really help you grow your practice.

If you decide you’re ready for the services they charge for, you get just about everything they offer starting at just $8 a month (the price depends on how many subscribers you have). It’s hard to beat, and their 24/7 support is friendly and super-helpful.

Probably the best thing, though, is that they offer a limited number of themes, and no templates that tempt you to load up your email with crazy design elements that make it hard to read, and impossible to read on a phone (which is where about 75% of emails are read now.)

I can’t say enough good things about it — you should just experience it for yourself. If you don’t have an email platform yet, go get MadMimi right now.

Scheduling Blog and Social Media Posts

CoSchedule: It’s free to start, but once you see what it will do for you, you won’t mind paying for it. It changed my life because it’s interactive — it sits inside my web site, and every time I write a blog post, it’s waiting on the same page to create social media posts that will drive traffic to my blog.

It links to pages and groups on Facebook, Linked In, G+ and Twitter. It gives me suggestions about my own posts, tells me how I’m doing and. My visibility increased from the first week and by the second week I was hooked! Read my blog post about it here.

BufferApp: BufferApp is a social media sharing tool that allows you to queue up posts to “drip” out to your platforms over time. You get a free queue of 10 posts, but if you use the link here, we both get an extra one. This is handy if you want to sit down once a week and create posts for your Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn pages, your Twitter feed. Each feed has it’s own schedule, and you can queue up to your limit in each one. It also works together with CoSchedule, it you want to hook them together.

Editorial Calendar:   Free plugin for WordPress sites. Find it by searching plugins. I used it for a long time, but was never consistent with it. It’s appealing because it’s free, and you’ll do the heavy lifting of keeping yourself organized and moving forward.

Filesharing

Dropbox: You’re probably aware of Dropbox, and maybe you already have it. If not, it’s a great way to share large files with other people — everything from articles you want help proofreading to audios and videos — and the photos you take with your camera. It’s so easy to get them onto my computer — I never even have sync — set it once, and all my photos and videos are automatically uploaded to my computer as soon as I take them.

If you don’t have it, you can get it free, and if you use the link I gave you, we both get the extra space.

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