The 20 Tools I Use to Run My Business 2019 (TPL 015)

– Welcome to The Productive Life. In this episode, we’re
talking about the tech, apps, and software that
I use to run my business on a daily business. (inspiring music) Welcome to The Productive Life podcast, hosted by me, Megan Minns. This is the podcast for entrepreneurs who who wanna be more productive in their business and their personal life. Because as a business owner, your business and personal
life are connected and we can’t talk about one
without talking about the other. Each week, you’ll learn
about productivity, organization, personal
development, self-care, business strategies, and more. And now, let’s get started. (upbeat music) I’m recording this episode
from my home office here in Houston. I am actually standing
on a little rock mat, which is fun to kind
of keep the energy up. And I’ve got a cup of tea, and it’s raining outside. (exhales deeply) It’s very lovely. And I am so excited to be talking to you about the different
apps and software I use to run my business, because I am a systems geek at heart. And in a way, I’m nervous to tell you the different systems I’m using right now because sometimes, I’m experimenting and trying out new things. So, of course, they may change over time. You can always go to my website,, to get the up-to-date list of what tech I’m using in my business. I’m always updating that page as I try new apps, as I buy new stuff for my office, as I’m using new tech. So, if you want just
like the in the minute, up-to-date list, if you’re really anxious for it, you can go there and get it. But I think this is gonna be a great list to kind of answer some of your questions about what tech I’m using and maybe give you some good ideas for some different apps, software, or tech that you might want to
incorporate in your business. Before I dig into the list
of everything I’m using, I wanna go and let you know now that I will link to everything
beneath this podcast in case you wanna learn more about all the different
tech that I’m using. Okay, so let’s dig in. I’m gonna start with my website. I use Squarespace for my website. I used to actually be a website designer and I’ve absolutely built websites from scratch on WordPress. And I’m not like a WordPress
hater by any means. I just find that I can do the same stuff really quick on Squarespace and have to do less
researching for new widgets, updating, security concerns, worrying about my admin login. It’s just all so much
easier on Squarespace, which is I switched several years ago and, I mean, gosh, a long time ago now. And I’m just an avid Squarespace fan. I love it. They’re always releasing new features and making the experience
even better as a user, so I’m a huge Squarespace fan. If you’ve ever been on my website, you might have noticed
that I have a little popup coming up in the corner. It’s technically considered social proof when you are seeing
people’s recent purchases and enrollments. And so, that is an app
that I use called Fomo and I really enjoy it. It’s been really easy to use and it just pops up in the corner. I have used a more
expensive alternative before called UseProof. It might actually just be
called Proof, I don’t know, but I think the website is UseProof and that is a really great platform too. I actually like them both. I just found that Fomo was more affordable and I only wanted to pay
for the features I was using and Fomo kind of did
exactly what I wanted. So, I use Fomo to get those
little popup notifications when someone enrolls in my programs and add those to my website. For my email list, sending out emails, automated emails, all that good stuff, I use ConvertKit. Love ConvertKit. I actually have a blog post about why I switched from
Mailchimp to ConvertKit. I did make that switch several years ago but I still think it
stands out pretty well for the benefits of
switching to ConvertKit, and I love ConvertKit. I love them so much, I go to
their conference every year and it’s like the only
conference I consistently go to. I love them as a company, I love the people, and I love the product. It makes my life so easy. I think I talk to all
of my one-on-one clients about switching away from
something like Mailchimp, which is just, I get it’s affordable, but it’s just so complicated to do things that ConvertKit makes so easy. ConvertKit just does what I want and I think the pricing’s
really reasonable, and you can actually get a free month if you go to Usually, the free trial’s only 14 days. You can get a full month just trying it out if you go to that link. So, I’m a huge ConvertKit fan. I love it because not
only is it easy to use, you also have, like, full capabilities regardless of what payment plan you’re on so you can do all of
the advanced automations regardless of how much you’re paying, which I really appreciate
and value about the company. They also make it really
easy to send free downloads to people when they opt
in to your email list. They’re just one of the best
way to grow your email list is to give a freebie and ConvertKit makes that
really, really easy to do. It’s built-in to their forms that you can just deliver a freebie when someone opens the email. Just so, so helpful. And I also really like
that they have the option to do landing pages. So, if you’re just needing
like a quick and dirty landing page, ConvertKit
has some great templates. And they actually just released, at the time of recording, they released a ton of
new template options that are truly beautiful and can add a lot of text
and features and imagery. So, they’re just always
improving and adding new stuff. So, huge ConvertKit fan. If you’re looking for an email management, some place to store
emails and send emails. Okay, for bookkeeping and
finances, I use Bench. So I really love having
Bench because not only is someone else doing my
books every single month, but part of this is beautiful software that you can log in to
and they have a feature called polls where you can see exactly how much is in your bank account right now and the last four weeks,
how much money has come in and how much has come out,
and what the net is there. And that is something they rolled out within the past few months
that has been really, really helpful for me as a business owner. And be on that they obviously
run your books every month, so I can see really good
reports on a monthly basis. But since it’s in this really
intuitive piece of software, I can also see a lot of advanced reports for the month, the quarter,
the year, multiple years. I can go in and make comments
on different transactions and my bookkeeper will change it. It’s just been a really great experience, and they even offer monthly
calls with your bookkeeper. So I’m a huge, huge fan of Bench. And if you go to and you sign up, you can
actually get one month for free. So I just wanted to make
sure I mentioned that since I want you to be able
to take advantage of that. Okay, so recording my
podcast, I use Zencastr to actually record the audio. And I really love it for when
I am interviewing guests. It’s really nice to be able
to just send them a link. We can be both on there, and it’s really easy for everyone to use. I also use it even for my solo episodes because that way it’s
instantly in a cloud, and my team can access it. So I don’t have to download
something, export it, upload it somewhere, then
tell someone it’s ready. As soon as I’m done, it’s in the cloud and my team can log in to
Zencastr and download it right from there. So it just saves me time
and it helps me know that that file is saved in the cloud right when it’s happening and
not potentially getting lost on my computer somewhere. So I love using Zencastr. For hosting my podcast, I use Buzzsprout. I love Buzzsprout because
it’s a really great interface. It’s so easy to use. They made it really easy
to set up the podcast and push it out to a lot
of different platforms which honestly overwhelmed me at first, and they make it really
easy to see different stats, average stats, see how
each episode’s doing, and go in and make updates to each episode if I need to go in and make any tweaks. And they just have some cool features like allowing you to have
chapters on your episodes. You can go ahead and get transcriptions through Buzzsprout for
only 10 cents a minute compared to other services
that are a dollar a minute. So it’s a cost savings for
me that we take advantage of, and I just love Buzzsprout. For automated funnels and timers, I am using Deadline Funnel. So I didn’t really know
how to categorize this because it’s more than a countdown timer, but if you’ve opted into maybe
one of my free downloads, you might have been presented
with a limited time offer to purchase one of my
products at a discounted rate for like 15 minutes or 30 minutes. And that is being run by Deadline Funnel. And you can just add
Deadline Funnel to any pages, so it could be Squarespace,
it can be Thinkific, it can be WordPress, it can be teachable, it can be anything that
you’re already using. You can just add it to and it will track how long someone’s been there
and redirect them after. That way it’s a really ethical offer. It really is only available
there for that amount of time and it will redirect people for you. Now, Deadline Funnel
is also what I’ve used with clients and in
previous jobs where we were building really complicated funnels, Deadline Funnel is the
tool that actually closes things down and redirects you. So love Deadline Funnel
and highly recommend it for funnels, for countdown
timers, and even for like open and closed offers. You can still use Deadline
Funnel for setting a specific date of when an offer ends, and it’ll have a beautiful timer, and it’ll redirect people for you. For coaching payments, I
currently use MoonClerk. I recommend MoonClerk if
you just need a payment processor that can do recurring payments, one off payments, deposits with different
recurring payments, and subscription based or one time. It really does all of the
different payment options you could ever want while being secure, really simple to use
for you and for the user and just the right
amount of customization. So I love using MoonClerk and
it is what I use right now for all of my coaching clients. And it is really great pricing as well ’cause its just based on the volume that you take each month. So it’ll just change based
on how much you’ve charged and build and collected that month. For my membership site
and payment processing for all of my products, I’m
using Thinkific right now. I wanted to make sure I say
right now for both of those because I did actually
just purchased ThriveCart, and I intend to switch
my payment processing to ThriveCart eventually,
but like I just can’t be bothered to do that right now. It’s just on my, I wanted to
get it before their pricing changed and I want to switch there but it will be a little
bit of mini project that just isn’t in my 90-day
action plan right now. So we’ve got it there. We’ll come back to it later, but I will eventually
switch to ThriveCart. I love that platform. But for right now, coaching
is through MoonClerk and all of my products are being done through Thinkific and that
is also where all my courses and products live. So if you’ve ever bought
one of my courses, you’re logging in to a
Thinkific membership site to access all of the training materials. I have used Teachable before as well. I recommend both of them. I have heard from a lot
of people that they think Teachable is a little bit easier to use and more aesthetically pleasing. So feel free to do that. I’m just currently on
Thinkific and I’m not having any issues with it, so
I’m not going to switch unnecessarily to another platform. But I have used both. I recommend both and I
think everyone should have a membership site on
one of these two sites because it just makes
your life so much easier for delivering content
and allowing your students to track their progress
and it’s beautiful. So that’s what I use for
all my courses and products. For scheduling and planning out Instagram, I use Plann, that’s P-L-A-N-N. I have used Plann only. I have used, gosh, like
other Instagram apps. I’ve used nothing. And I started using
Plann a few months ago, and I love it. It’s so feature-rich that I
can’t even list it all out, but my favorite things
are that you get a really great preview of your
grid and it’ll tell you when it is the best time for you to post, which I really appreciate
on each day of the week. And you can also store
your hashtags in there, and it gives you analytics on each hashtag on whether it’s a good
hashtag to be using or not, which is huge and so helpful. And the other thing I
really like about it is that you can reply to
comments in a really easy way in the app as well. So I love to reply to
comments on my desktop and it’s so easy to do that through Plann. Now they do have tons of
other features where we can upload media in there. You can have themes to your grid. You can plan your stories. And, gosh, you can do so, so much. I feel like I’ve barely
even done anything with it and just what I have
done has been so powerful and helpful for me as I’m
starting to focus on Instagram. For creating content, like
at the baseline stage, capturing ideas, drafting
emails, internal notes, planning out staff. I’ve been using Evernote,
which might surprise you. I’m such a huge Google
Drive, Google Docs advocate. And don’t worry, we’re
still gonna talk about that. I still do stuff, like everything
happens at Google Drive, but I found recently that
I was just kind of playing around, like, gosh, six months ago and I just found that it
was much easier for me to get stuff out of my head in Evernote than it was in Google
Drive for some reason. I don’t know why I think
the doc maybe just felt like I needed to worry about the way
it looked a little bit more, and Evernote just felt
like I could just create something willy-nilly and
it can be like one line, but I can easily find it. And there’s just, it’s just
its own little ecosystem. So I actually now create
everything in Evernote. I’m actually looking at an
Evernote note right now. It’s where I outline my podcasts. It’s where I actually draft emails. It’s where I type out Instagram captions. It’s where I capture ideas. I’ll actually record a voice
memo straight into Evernote. I’ll upload photos. I’ll save all, like, inspiration. Like if I see someone’s sales page and then love something they did, I’ll take a screenshot and
upload it to an Evernote note, and it’s been so great. I’ve really, really
enjoyed it for just getting stuff out of my head
doing the initial draft and creation process. And it’s been great. So I use Evernote for that, and I’m obsessed with it. I still use Google Docs
for all final product and file storage. So Google Drive is where I
store all of our actual files and any final creative, like any PDFs, any shared Google Docs, all of my, like coaching client folders
and docs are in Google Drive, so that’s kind of where I
still share all of my files. That’s where I keep things organized. That’s where the final
record of everything goes. That’s where all shared files go. That’s still my home base. Evernote feels like
it’s just been added on, so I use it kind of at the
initial stage of the process. And Google Drive is where everything lives throughout the process. So my team, when they’re
editing the podcast, is operating exclusively in Google Drive. I’m just operating in
Evernote at stage one when I outline it. So yeah, so for file,
storage, and sharing, I’m using Google Drive and I’m
creating Google Docs as well. Okay, here’s one I’m
nervous about, you guys. For project management, I’m using ClickUp. Now, I know I’ve been an
Asana advocate for so long. I have a course on Asana. I still recommend Asana,
and I still 100% believe in Asana as an incredible platform. So by using ClickUp, I am
not saying anything bad about Asana or that you
shouldn’t use Asana. I still, still recommend it. I am, like I said at the beginning, just experimenting with ClickUp. A lot of my friends who
are also systems geeks were talking about
ClickUp a few months ago, and I just was intrigued. And I really wasn’t experiencing
any pain points with Asana, which I usually don’t
recommend switching platforms or software unless you’re experiencing any kind of pain point
or you can’t do a feature you wanna do, but earlier this year, just everyone’s talking about ClickUp and I experimented with it. And it had a lot of unique
features that I did really like. It has the ability to have
goals in a really fun way. So it just does a lot. It’s very complex, and I
mean that in a beautiful way. Like you can use it in
as simply or as complex as you want. It does feel like a little bit
of an overwhelming software to pick up from scratch
because you can do so much that you kinda have to like figure out what you wanna do before
you start building stuff. But I really have liked it, and I actually, one of
the first things I had my virtual assistant,
Bev, do once she started working with me was, like, hey, experiment with ClickUp and build stuff
out in there that you want. And it’s kinda fun
because in my whole life I’ve always been the
one managing projects, the one creating things. I always owned Asana or whatever
project management system I was using with clients. And for the first time I was
like, hey, why don’t you own our project management system. And it’s been really cool. So we’re still using ClickUp. We still really, really like it. I definitely think we’re
still figuring out kinks. Like, should this be a sub
task or should this be a task? And, oh, that assigned
comment, I didn’t see it in the view I go to to check my task. So maybe we don’t do that anymore. So we’re still figuring out the kinks. I’m not at the point where I
would be comfortable teaching ClickUp or sharing how I
recommend you set it up, but I do use it. So that’s been fun. We’ll see if we keep using
it how it evolves overtime. I still recommend Asana. Unless you’re having a
major pain point with Asana, then maybe explore something like ClickUp, but Asana is just really
easy to get started and very simple in a beautiful way. So that is my project
management situation. For team communication, I use Slack, and I do use Voxer a little bit. So we mainly use Slack,
that’s our home base, that’s where we’re chatting
periodically throughout the day. And I love Slack because
it’s just such a great and fun platform. It’s so fun to add reactions to things and share GIFs. And it also integrates with
pretty much everything. So we have different notifications pop up when someone buys something
or someone applies to work with me, and it
just makes it like the pulse of our business. And so I really love
using Slack for our team. For client communication I use Voxer. So my team communicates with
my clients through email but I communicate with my clients outside of our coaching
calls through Voxer. And I love Voxer. It’s like a walkie-talkie app. And while you’re talking,
they can hear you. And that’s really fun. You can see someone is listening. And when they’ve heard it,
and you can save messages, you can recall messages
if you’ve upgraded. You can also chat back and
forth so it doesn’t have to always be voice memos. And what I really appreciate is that you can speed up messages. So someone can kinda
do a five-minute Voxer and you can speed it up 2X and get through to it much quicker, which is so valuable for
time-saving purposes. So I love communicating with
my clients through Voxer. It’s kinda like you get to
do a mini coaching session in between your calls. I did kinda mention
that I talked to my team through Voxer as well. And I don’t talk to
the whole team on Voxer but my right hand girl, Bev, I do talk to her on Voxer sometimes. And I usually send her message in flak when I’m like, I need
to just verbally process something with you for a
second, can you go check Voxer. And that’s usually what we use it for is just when we need
to have a conversation without jumping on a
call, and if one of us doesn’t feel like typing. So that’s kinda what that looks like. Okay, last few systems here. For scheduling calls, that
is calls with friends, that is podcast interviews,
that is my clients, all of that is done through Calendly. I love Calendly. I talked about it in episode
12 when I was talking about how to create a
schedule and how to work four days a week. And one of the tips
that I gave was creating these boundaries and making it really easy to stick to your ideal schedule, and Calendly is my gift for that because specially when I have client calls and external calls,
being able to send them just the link to whatever that is. So I have different
types of scheduling links for external calls, for client calls. They all have different rules. They have different lengths of time, different permission settings. And I can just send those
to whoever needs them and magically get to hold boundaries to my ideal schedule without
having to feel awkward or have any kind of guilt around it. So it’s been amazing, and
it’s a really great experience for your clients and your friends also because no one likes going back and forth. Just they really don’t. It’s not fun. So, yeah, definitely love Calendly. Acuity is a great alternative. I find the backend of
Acuity a little complicated and like overly so. I just find Calendly so easy to use, so that’s what I do. And I also use Calendly for my 90-minute one-on-one intensives. People actually pay me
through Calendly for those. For Calendar management
I use Google Calendar. That is my home base for
what’s going on in my life and my business. Everything is on a Google Calendar. So absolutely live and
breathe in my Google Calendar. I even plan out what I’m
doing throughout the day like on Google Calendar. My ideal schedule lives
in Google Calendar. If it’s not there, it’s not happening. For my inbox, I use Gmail. So that’s where I have my personal emails, all support emails are in Gmail. So I’m a big Gmail fan for the inbox. And for organizing our
emails, we use Streak. So that allows us to see
when people have viewed or opened emails. It allows us to just organize emails in a really nice way and it’s free, so definitely check Streak
out if you ever heard of it. It’s a great way to just
take the basic Gmail inbox and make it really easy and powerful, and you can do so many
cool things with it. You can have different stages
of, like, a lead cycle. You can organize emails in
a lot of different ways. You can leave comments on emails. So sometimes my assistant
and I will actually like, I’ll be able to leave
a comment on an email, which is just really cool and
nice to be able to do that when you are having
someone else in your inbox. And last but definitely
not least is Zapier. I use Zapier for integrating
every single thing I just listed out. I have a lot of zaps in
place that just helps streamline the process. So when someone applies to work with me, Zapier takes that name
from the spreadsheet and post a notification
in Slack to let me know and gets them tagged in
ConvertKit for what segment they need to be in. And that’s just one example. So we’re using Zapier all the time. It’s just a great middle point between all of your different software that maybe they don’t natively
communicate but through Zapier they can communicate. So if someone purchases something, they can get added to your email list. If someone does a certain interaction, they can get pushed over
to Asana as a new task. Who knows? Anything and everything if
someone schedules something on your calendar, you can
get a text notification. I mean, truly you can just do a lot. I do my favorite zap is
that I have a text message for every single sale that I make. So every time someone buys a
product or enrolls with me, I get a text notification. That’s just like, I’m so happy
and grateful that so and so just enrolled in Asana HQ, and
I have a little fun emojis. And it’s just such a
delightful experience to see and to just appreciate that
the money is coming in, and that, all positive money vibes. And it’s just really exciting. So that is the rundown. Those are all of the
apps and software used to run my business and a little bit about why I use them and what I like about them. I hope this was helpful. Definitely click the
links beneath this video, and you’ll probably wanna
check out the blog post that goes with this for
any other relevant links or articles or imagery, or if I have any YouTube
videos about these, I’ll be sure to include
those in the blog post for quick access. So hope you found this helpful, and I will talk to you
in the next episode. Thank you for listening to
the Productive Life Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much
to me if you would share your biggest takeaway on
your Instagram stories or wherever you hang out. This helps me understand what
you find the most helpful so that I can make more episodes
and resources like this. If this podcast has helped you at all, please take just one minute
to leave a review on iTunes so that we can help spread the word about the Productive Life Podcast with others who may enjoy it. And last but not the least,
don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent to you directly. To learn how to work with me one-on-one or get instant access
to freebies, trainings, templates, workshops, and more, be sure to go to right now. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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4 thoughts on “The 20 Tools I Use to Run My Business 2019 (TPL 015)

  1. I’m a music producer and I use a service called Bounce Boss. It’s an all in one app that lets each collaborator listen to a song, comment, add files, etc. It’s saved so much time, no more back and forth emails! Plus plans start @ $4/month.

  2. Got introduced to your channel yesterday when I googled how to organise files for business on Google Drive. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and journey with us!

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