If a successful business owner tells you they’re doing it all by themselves, they’re lying. No one gets anywhere without the support, help, insight, or resources of the people and platforms around them. While I’ll pat myself on the back for finding all of the below wondrous help and support, I still need them/it all to thrive!
This is the sixth iteration of this series, and I’m so happy to share who and what I recommend when it comes to propping your business up with all it needs to shine.
Here are The People & Platforms That Help Me Do It All, as of November 2019!
Behold: the keepers of everything When I Grow Up Coach website-related! These guys make sure all my website needs are met in a gorgeous, timely manner, allowing me to update my posts, change or launch my offers, switch out graphics, shine-up my banners, and so much more technological magic I don’t even know about!
Not only is Kate an incredible virtual assistant and project manager hybrid, she is also a former client of mine and thriving business owner herself! Having Kate on my team ensures my PM is on point. She helps me manage and elevate all kinds of detail-oriented tasks like newsletter campaigns, launch details, and scheduling mania. God bless her and her organized beautiful brain!
I began working with Jamie what feels like a different business-lifetime ago. She started out as my right-hand lady and transitioned into full-blown copywriter, launching her own business along the way. She specializes in creative, branded, and social copy for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and today helps me craft stellar blog and newsletter content (like this!) and keeps my social media game strong.
A real When I Grow Up Coach ride-or-die. As I mentioned the last time I did this, everything you see from me that looks pretty as heck is from Bekky. This includes sales pages, blog images, Facebook ad graphics and so much more. She’s been my one-and-only designer since 2010 and I’m continuously impressed and amazed by her talent!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate math but I love knowing my business numbers. Stephanie makes sure I understand my finances, growth, dips and successes in a way that feels great for my brain without the 8th grade algebra test anxiety. With her help, I can step fully into my business owner-shoes with the real numbers in my tool-arsenal!
My Mastermind: Tiffany Han, Laura Simms, Molly Mahar, & Tanya Geisler
Business coaches often need business coaches. (If you didn’t know, now you know.) In lieu of my own business coach, I’m hanging tightly to my incredible mastermind — a group of business savvy women who have acted as my compass and guiding light throughout my When I Grow Up Coach journey (yes, *over 10 years* ago)! We lean on each other’s shared business knowledge and resources to help boost each other up and hold each other accountable. They’re incredible, brave, talented women and I am so lucky to have them!
*It’s worth mentioning that everyone on the team is a freelancer and not a full-time employee. This means their schedules are flexible and benefits are not given by my LLC.
The Products & Platforms (don’t go down the rabbit hole too far!)
For CRM (Customer Relations Management) + contract signing + scheduling + automatic workflows: Dubsado*
Last year, I jumped on the Dubsado train and man, I’m SO glad I did! This is the power system of my dreams, replacing the estranged organizational programs I was Frankensteining together, like Batchbook, HelloSign, TimeTrade, and e-junkie (which I all recommend – I’d just much rather have an all-in-one system!)
For anything more robust than your own spreadsheet, jump on the Dubsado train. The $25/month is a bargain considering everything it replaces. You can use it to make selling and on-boarding seamless and automatic, and you can craft client portals. (Hi, impressive!) The new scheduler feature is a breeze, too!
* The Dubsado link above is an affiliate one. Should you sign up for an account you get 20% off your first month OR first year! Huzzah!
Still going strong! Like I mentioned in Volume 5: “I really like ActiveCampaign because it’s so robust, yet the interface is pretty user-friendly and the automations you can do with it are really impressive.” I love its capacity to distill and filter email lists and it’s easy to navigate grouping and scheduling features. Not for nothing, their customer service has consistently been top-notch, too! I used to recommend Mailchimp as the newsletter platform for all new business owners, but because of some recent changes over there I now recommend AC (as I call it) for *all* business owners ! It’s super user friendly and the low cost makes it an easy “yes” for me. (If you want more options, I’ve heard good things about ConvertKit, too! That’s my other new-biz-owner recommendation right now.)
Ugh, here’s the thing, I’m still stuck on Buffer but I’m looking forward to changing this soon! To be frank, Buffer is Buggy with a capital B. I initially was drawn to its ability to schedule multiple social media accounts, including various Facebook groups, Instagram, and Twitter, but it just ain’t cutting it. It regularly “eats” my posts without telling me, and has the annoying habit of changing any hyperlinks to a buffer-based URL. In its place, I’m currently eyeing up Later, Planoly or Tailwind, as I’m transitioning away from FB anyway and excited to get more active on Instagram!
I know. Duh. My personal and business accounts are still here and I like being able to keep them separate. Google Docs is pivotal to my work with my freelancers and all things G-Suite feel intuitive, clear, and, well, popular!
Reminder: This one ain’t for beginners! If I launched my business in the last 3-5 years (instead of in 2008), I would be on SquareSpace – and that’s what I encourage all my clients to do. I’ve yet to see a SquareSpace site not look professional, and that’s without any professional design or development help. And the drag-and-drop interface is about as easy as it gets. I just stick to WordPress because it’s not broken for me so I’m not looking to fix it, and said developers keep it easy-breezy for me.
I love Zoom! I find their connection and recordings to be super reliable, and love the option to dial in on your phone or use a laptop. Users can choose whether they want to turn their camera and microphone on or off, or communicate in the easy chat feature. You can conduct 40-min calls for free, too! The paid version is well worth it, though. (It is WAY more reliable than Skype, that’s for sure.)
The Wing is *eVeRyThInG*, you guys. This female-driven co-working and networking space is so beautiful, I would say it’d be hard to get work done because I’m too distracted by how Pinterest-worthy it all is. However, because it’s made up of inspiring, amazing professionals, I get so.much.done when I go into NYC to set up shop! I like to say it’s an impressive setting to do impressive work. The events are amazing and the membership perks are always relevant and exciting, too. Truly can’t say enough wonderful things, and I’m always super proud to bring clients there for in-person work!
This is a great resource for any small business owners or new entrepreneurs! The *free* tier I recommend allows you to create heatmaps and user tracking for any website page you want, allowing you to see how people are interacting in real time on your site. Easily identify which places they are pausing on and which spots they are jumping over so you can strengthen your message and marketing!
Loom. is. my. bae. This platform makes it so, SO easy to record a fast video that allows me to get all my thoughts out in one quick swoop rather than sitting down to draft long, complicated emails. I use it primarily to make easy videos for clients or prospective clients, and the great news is they do NOT need to be uploaded anywhere – you just share the link they give you when you’re done! I can also give feedback to my team and clients in real time, because I can record myself and my screen together. Loom is free up until a certain number of recordings, and if you do find you need more the cost is very manageable! Hot tip: This is a consistent “wow!” from prospective clients, allowing me to personalize our communication after they fill out an application. It takes it all to the next level while making it easier on my end. Nothing to complain about here!
I used to use Facebook Groups for any program that needed a community site, but I’m officially jumping off that bandwagon. Today, I use Mighty Networks in its place to facilitate all of my groups, since it’s *so* much more organized and easily searchable than Facebook (and way less of a time suck)! If you sign up for a When I Grow Up Coach program, you’ll be placed in a Mighty Networks group where all of the goods and need-to-knows will live and thrive. This is also where you’ll find other members in the program and have access to me, too! I’m in each group 2 to 3 times a week where I give feedback, support, and share resources. #HiveMind for the win!
As always with any kind of project management research, check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you’re spending most of your time as a new-ish or aspiring business owner researching and setting up your systems and processes it’s time to put the computer down. Like I’ve said: these programs are meant to support you and your business, not get in the way of you doing your true work!
For more resources and guidance on how to boost your business, applications will be open for my Build Your Client Base mastermind on December 3rd for anyone on this list! Spots will be super limited *and* early bird pricing will be *on*, so give yourself an early holiday gift this year and sign on up!