Running a business but feel like you’re pulled in too many directions? It’s time to systematize, my friend. Here I share my comprehensive list of programs and services I use to run my business like a tight ship:
Me on the interwebs
My WordPress-based website is built on the super-dynamic Thesis theme which allows me to do pretty much anything I want with the look of my site AND is flexible enough to grow and change with my business through any number of website reincarnations. Another major benefit is that their support is top notch.
Weekly love letters to the Republic
My newsletter service is Mailchimp which is free up to the first 2000 subscribers and I find ridiculously easy to use. They also have an amazing support desk, which for me is always a deciding factor.
Scheduling and gettin’ paid
For scheduling clients I use Satori which not only automates all of my billing, it automates all of the paperwork as well! A real dream. Lachlan the developer is extremely responsive and building in new features all the time based on customer feedback. I’m not sure if the system is useful for people other than coaches, but if you’re a non-coach and use it, please comment below and let us know.
For any billing outside of Satori (for my Adventure Reboots for example) I use Paypal to generate invoices. Easy and fairly universal.
Live calls and client sessions
If someone doesn’t use Skype or if Skype craps out on us, I use a Magic Jack Plus for phone calls. The Magic Jack allows me to have a permanent Toronto phone number that people can reach me at (even though I live in Peru) and I’m able to call anywhere in Canada or the US for free for up to 1.5 hours at a time. Not bad!
Social media management
For social media management I largely rely on Hootsuite (the paid version). Most of the time I post things myself, but sometimes it’s way easier to schedule a batch of tweets about an upcoming event so that I don’t need to think about it any more. Hootsuite is awesome for that.
For delivery of online course I just started using Ruzuku and so far so good! Their help desk is also amazing (note a trend here?) and they’re constantly adding new features.
Organizing and recording thoughts, ideas, and blog posts
For organizing my thoughts, notes, things on the interwebs I want to refer back to (and even stockpiling future blog posts), I use Evernote.
For capturing my thoughts before they escape me (usually a blog post idea) I use Dragon Dictation for iPhone which is free but requires an internet connection to capture and transcribe what you are saying.
Another program I use for capturing my thoughts (that does not transcribe) is Voice Memo for iPhone which is a built in app that comes with your iPhone.
For simple graphics for my products or website I LOVE Pixlr – an online free program that has many of the features of Photoshop but is simpler to use. For more complex projects, I either hire out or use Photoshop if I’m feeling crafty.
Getting other people to do stuff I don’t have time for
For hiring out small jobs I often use Fiverr which is an awesome, low-cost way to get odd jobs done fast.
For more complex stuff like larger transcription work or website tasks I can’t be bothered with, I hire from ODesk.
HOWEVER, I recently took the plunge and hired a Virtual Assistant to handle a big chunk of my business which feels amazing. How did I find her? (I know this is a tough one for people) I found her by taking note of other people’s VAs that I loved working with as a customer and then approached one of them to see if she had space in her calendar to start working with me as a client. Boom! And I love her. The end.
I use Quickbooks. (the Canadian version) It’s a biatch of a learning curve in the beginning but worth it when tax time comes. Oh yes.
And finally, I recently brought in an amazing Google Analytics guy to interpret the numbers for me because I just can’t be bothered to learn myself. In the first year of my business I fell into the trap of trying to do everything all by my loner, but in year two I’m all about delegating. What a game-changer!
Ok world-changers, your turn! You’re not going to have time to spin your magic if you’re down in the trenches so let me know what you’ve used to systematize your business. And if not, which one of these resources are you going to test drive to create more free space in your life?