As an entrepreneur, there are vital tools that help to continually propel your business forward.
I love it when someone I follow posts on what they use to help their business run smoothly.
I'm sure I found out about 1 or 2 of these tools from other entrepreneurs, even.
Their lists helped me, so I'm going to pay it forward.
Snag my 12 tools (and comparable tools for all users if I've listed an Apple-only product—I won't leave you hanging, promise) and see if you can apply any of them to your business.
Get a more productive business in 5 days or less.
Grab my 5 super-simple efficiency hacks you can apply in 10 minutes or less. [ Includes the exact list of tools I use to grow + maintain my business with. FREE ]
*This article was written for the purpose of sharing the tools I use which help me grow my business. I was not commissioned to write it, nor was I paid by any of the product manufacturers (other than myself) on this list.*
1. OmniFocus (2) Task Manager
When everything is out of your head, thinking clearly is a much easier task to accomplish.
I use OmniFocus for Mac and iOS although there are some close alternatives for PC users, too.
OmniFocus for iOS and Mac allows me to "brain dump" into the inbox every week, then organize these tasks in my ongoing projects, and tag them with contexts to keep them organized. It's a big contributor to my time management, for sure.
OmniFocus is also a home to all my content planning, blog post ideas list, project ideas, editorial calendar display, and more.
I'd recommend it to any entrepreneur using Apple products.
2. MacBook Pro (Laptop Computer)
Really, having a laptop, iPad or tablet—most smartphones now are big enough and capable—are sufficient mobile working tools.
(I'm all about flexibility and being able work anywhere I want or need to work.)
I chose Apple for what I feel are practical reasons:
Retains retail value well
Fast/quick start-up and loading
Great battery life
Clean, simple user experience (UX) and interface
The best (biased opinion) programs and apps for creatives
All of our family products are Apple (iPhones, iPads, iMac, Apple TV) so everything syncs up
Easier and simpler for me (and my family) to use
Fantastic customer service (although not all Apple owners will agree with me here)
And more resilient to being dropped—oops—or used as a seat by a 32-pound toddler
Although you may disagree with me, it's one of the tools I use.
(And I did promise to share them all with you.)
Check out what Apple has to offer here »
3. Squarespace Website Platform
The Squarespace website platform is awesome, I must say.
I use Squarespace to:
manage and maintain my website on
write and maintain my blog content on
quick-tracking of analytics/visitor engagement check
develop and maintain online courses
host my online store
have the convenience of included hosting
have one "free" domain name
4. Google Analytics
Google Analytics helps me keep track of my audience engagement.
It's great for:
seeing "where" my blog traffic is coming from
tracking how many visitors are on my site at one time
tracking how long visitors stay on my site
tracking visitor bounce rate (according to Google, "bounce rate" is how many people go to only one page of your website without clicking through any other links or pages)
tracking how many pages visitors click around on
With this information I'm able to analyze which posts my audience enjoys most so I can continue to produce the content that visitors actually want to read and engage with.
5. The Content Strategy Planner
Although I heavily rely on OmniFocus, there's still nothing like the simple focus of paper and pen. Especially when it's guided and thorough.
(Man do I love paper.)
If you do too, check out these paper and PDF planners »
The Content Strategy Planner helps me to keep everything all in one place:
- content planning and development
- email marketing mapping
- online strategy development and ideation
It also comes with the videos from the Content Planning Workshop to assist new bloggers in figuring out what to write about and who to write for, as well as help seasoned bloggers to revamp their plan and process.
6. ConvertKit Email Marketing Platform
Although it's not priced for the new or unsure entrepreneur, it's one of the most versatile email marketing platforms I've ever encountered.
I use ConvertKit to:
manage my email list
send out weekly emails to my subscribers
engage with my subscribers through a simple, content-focused email
schedule campaigns for as far out as I can create them in advance
provide email courses and educational emails to new subscribers or other opt-in forms
create all of my opt-in forms on my website (modal, on-page, etc.)
I know there's so much more, but this is what I'm currently using it for.
I won't say that you should "start small" if you're planning on making your blog a profitable avenue for yourself.
However, if you're not planning to profit from your efforts, I'd recommend starting with a lower cost (to free) platform like MailChimp.
7. Pages Word Processor (for Mac)
Okay, one more... But, of course, there are PC alternatives to Pages, too.
I use Pages to:
build all printable items in my store
create workbooks and guides
create eBooks and even books
Admittedly, I liked the Pages '09 version better than the presently used '14 version. But it gets the job done and I love using it as it works with on iOS, too.
8. Pixelmator Design App (for Mac)
Although I'm addicted to quality—sometimes no matter the cost—I can't justify spending $10 to $20 (or more) a month on Adobe subscriptions.
This decision was made easier after I moved away from designing websites and graphic design (for customers, at least), and redirected to information sharing—what I lovingly coined from Regina Anaejionu as an infopreneur.
I no longer needed to pay the monthly subscription when I had Pixelmator for the cost of a month or 2 of Adobe's services.
I use Pixelmator for:
creating blog title images, banners, and more
all of my image needs
eBook and book covers
all cover images
all my graphic design needs
9. Pomodoro Timer
When I become entranced with what I'm working on, breaking out of that—for anything—becomes a difficult task.
My stomach could be grumbling with hunger, but I convince it to hold off for "just 5 more minutes".
Well, when 5 more minutes becomes 3 hours, I realize I'm not taking care of myself.
And as much as I love my work, if I'm neglecting my health, everything around me is being neglected, too.
Hence why I love the Pomodoro timer (app).
It prompts me in the set time I ask it to, to tell me to stop, as I'm able to then break out of my severe concentration and move onto another project or tie up any loose ends with that last project after taking a brief break.
I can get up and take a walk, time myself while working with the kids—so they're not neglected—and better balance my "mompreneur" -ness.
10. Google Sheets
Google Sheets is my go-to for any spreadsheet-related needs.
It's free and it can do so much. Admittedly "better" than Apple iWork Numbers, Google Sheets is another business necessity.
I use Google Sheets for:
income and expense tracking (with only 10% of my income coming directly from working with customers, I can swing spreadsheets for tracking my finances)
my social media schedule
other tracking and planning needs
(Man does that make it easier on me.)
Can you imagine retrieving each and every notification manually?
I'm very fortunate for Squarespace's on-board capabilities, however, Gmail's simple and organized interface allows me to give my customers and followers personalized attention.
I can customize my email signature and syncing up my professional email address (my alias) was easy.
12. My Power Partners
I have a great friend who's a wonderful brand ambassador for me.
She helps to promote my brand and message to help her entrepreneurial friends, team members, and followers in their businesses.
My husband, Brian Goff, is my technical advisor—you know, when I decide to break technology... Oops.
He's also a great sounding board for my business.
Between courses, books, and topic ideas, I run almost everything through him, or my professional group of friends, my customers, and sometimes close acquaintances to make sure I'm producing content, products, and more that people actually want.
Next, my team of testers.
Generally volunteers, early adopters, and non-entrepreneur friends (to make sure my content, analogies, and metaphors makes sense to them, too).
And amazing customers I never mind giving away free things to—they all test my products, courses, and more, as a value-check for me.
I'm totally grateful to these wonderful people.
And although you may not realize it, you're my Power Partner, too.
Every page you visit, read and share, every question you ask, course you take, and product you buy all helps my business grow.
As I grow I'm able to bring you as much valuable content as mom-ingly possible.
(I know, I just made "mom-ingly" up. But it's definitely more accurate than "humanly" in this case, huh?)
I truly appreciate you.
Thanks from all sections of my heart.