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Tools I Use In My Business

There are many tools available to help you run an online business. Here are some that I personally use and recommend.

NOTE – In the spirit of full disclosure some of these are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small compensation (enough to feed my coffee addiction) if you purchase the product. However, I never recommend any product just for the purpose of receiving commissions. I either know the person behind this product, have tested or use it in my own business.

WEBSITE TOOLS

Did you know that you’re responsible for your own backup? WordPress doesn’t offer any backup service and if you are counting on your website host to help you with restoring your site, please reconsider. It will be very complicated. Luckily there is BackupBuddy to guarantee peace of mind! It has saved my life many times already! This is one of the few paid plugins that are an absolute must for every website owner! (add link to blog post)

I’m quite picky when it comes to web hosting and have tried different hosts over the years. First a local Swiss host (bad customer service), then Hostgator (too much down time), and I’m now hosting my site at Siteground.com. I’m very happy that I’ve switched to them. They have an extremely helpful & qualified team, and the site has rarely been down again since I switched to them. Or if it has, they have taken care of it immediately. I recommend them but please be aware that site speed doesn’t just depend on the host, but mainly on your site’s structure.

I use this tool to keep my website safe. Every week it will scan my site and send me a security report and alerts in case something needs my attention.

This is the plugin I use on my site for the multi-lingual feature. It’s a great tool and I’ve recommended it to many clients who needed a website in more than 1 language.

PODCASTING TOOLS

 

 

 

I use Libsyn to host my podcasts. I love the fact that they distribute my episode to my different social media channels.

 

 

 

My VA Mara uses Repurpose.io to share our podcast on the various Social Media channels.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

I’m not an advocate of Social Media automation, but for some tasks IFTTT comes in handy. For example whenever I publish a new blog post, IFTTT automatically shares it on Twitter. Best thing? IFTTT is totally free !

My VA Mara uses PostPlanner to schedule out our podcast episodes on the different channels. We have the smallest paid plan.

ONLINE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT TOOLS

 

 

I use Trello as my project management tool. On my own or together with my Virtual Assistants. I even use it as a community board, instead of a Facebook Group. Love it !

If you don’t have a Dropbox account yet, you need one NOW! Everything I do is backed up several times. And one backup is directly on Dropbox.

I used to use this tool for time management. Paymo is a simple online project management tool for small & medium businesses and includes task management, time tracking and invoicing features.

I use Roboform to manage all my passwords. I would definitely be lost without this.

LastPass is another great password manager. It’s acutally a bit more modern than Roboform and most of my colleagues use this tool, which is why I recommend it.

I love WiseStamp‘s paid version for my e-mail signature. I can use custom social icons, premium templates and no WiseStamp Branding. For $4 per month it becomes a mini-marketing tool because I can also add extensions that send people to my latest blog post or Freebie for example.

Ah, I absolutely LOVE Zoom! I barely use Skype anymore. The quality is so much better and I use it for my one-on-one client conversations as well as group coachings. And they even offer webinars which I haven’t tried yet, but will surely check out as well.

If you need translation, copywriting or proofreading, try this service.

 

 

 

 

Online accounting software for small businesses. Xero is my tool of choice.

 

 

 

ThriveCart is my absolute favorite shopping cart. Even after switching to Kajabi I’m still continuing to use ThriveCart. It creates the absolute best shopping cart pages, where you can even include a video. They are still in beta and on invitation only. The link is my invitation/affiliate link. This gets my highest recommendation.


I use Loom all the time for my LinkedIn Profile Video Reviews and short videos to send via email

 

 

 

 

I use Rev.com for video captions and for podcast or other audio transcriptions. They are fast and very accurate! My link gets you $10 off your first order !


This tool filters out the non important emails into a different inbox they call SaneBox. Love it!

I just received the stats for this week and it said that I received 349 emails last week, but was only interrupted by 170. Which according to them saved me 1.5 hours! Yay!!

They gave me a $5 gift code to share with you (yes, it’s also an affiliate link) so if this sounds like something you could use, check it out at the link below:

P.S. I have the yearly appetizer plan for only $24 per year

 

 

I use Zapier to integrate many of my tools. For example ThriveCart with Kajabi. Or Acuity with Trello. So many possibilities.

EMAIL MARKETING & LISTBUILDING

 

 

 

I moved everything to Kajabi in 2020. My courses, my list, my landing pages, my automations. It was a big move but I’m excited to have everything (or almost) in one place. I love the company and their values.

​​ActiveCampaign was my e-mail marketing tool of choice. I switched to it at the end of 2015 when I needed to create more complex sales funnels and stayed with it until my recent move to Kajabi at the beginning of 2020.

If you are new to E-Mail Marketing and lists, you can start with Mailchimp which is a great tool. It’s free for smaller lists and you can use it to send out regular newsletters. If you want to build a bigger, more complex list and send automated emails, I recommend you start directly with Aweber.

Aweber is what I’ve used for my newsletters and all my automated e-mails for about 4 years. It’s a tool that grows with your business and I appreciate the friendly and helpful customer service team.

In order to grow your e-mail list, you need people to sign up. Thrive Leads is an awesome plugin that helps you create opt-in forms for your website.

Pop-up Ally has a great free version, to create 2 simple pop-up opt-in forms for your site, and an even better paid version. I used this in the past and liked it.

LANDING PAGES

Thrive Themes And Content Builder is a simple landing page builder that fits even smaller budgets. I use it for all my landing pages.

The other landing page builder I would recommend is Leadpages. It’s definitely more robust so if you have the budget go for this one. I use it for all my program and webinar sign-up pages now. I have the $25 / per month version.

WORDPRESS PLUGINS

Simple Podcast Press is the podcast player that I’m using on this site. Love the share buttons and the e-mail optin!!

APPOINTMENT SETTING & SCHEDULING TOOLS

I tested various different scheduling systems, did a ton of research about the functionalities and this is the winner: Acuity Scheduling. I use it for my onboarding process because it lets you create very detailed intake form questionnaires. Love it!

2 Comments

  1. Andre Pilon on August 22, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    Always a great input for suggestions.
    Some products I know about,
    some were recommended by other successful business persons too.

    If I may, MAYBE, since you share a very rich list,
    group the products by type of service?
    You may have done it but it’s not apparent to me.

    Also,
    Have you ever thought about ‘coaching’ those interested by the Affiliate route?

    Keep up, you’re very generous and welcome.

    I bought the 14-days LinkedIn Kickstart Toolkit. Good stuff. ***

    • Sarah Santacroce on August 23, 2020 at 8:01 am

      thanks for your feedback, Andre. Glad it’s helpful. I grouped them into different types of tools: Website tools, Podcasting tools etc. Not sure what you mean by ‘types of service’. I have definitely worked with clients on Affiliate Marketing before. Email me at sarah@sarahsantacroce.com if you’re interested in learning more.

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