Behind the scenes at Brand Camp.

Behind the scenes: every product and service I use to make magic happen.

It takes a TON of programs and services to keep a business afloat. Since I often field questions about what I use, how I use it, and what I recommend for my fellow peeps in business, I rounded up a list to share with you.

Free programs and services

For writing: Open Office

When I’m drafting blog posts, working on anything business-related, or editing for ghostwriting clients, you’ll find me typing away in Open Office. Much like Microsoft Word, this software is free and does everything I need on ye olde MacBook.  (Sometimes I even downgrade and use TextEdit because I’m so committed to being distraction-free.)

For e-mail: Gmail

All e-mail goes through Gmail, much to the chagrin of peeps who wish I would have a pretty, perfectly branded e-mail address.  I love G-mail, adore all its features, and prefer to keep it simpler than simple.  (See: TextEdit.)

For surveys: Google Docs

Google Docs is really easy to use for creating and keeping client surveys. I used to pay $39 a month for this service from Constant Contact, but Google Docs does the same thing for $0.00.

For stock photography: Unsplash

If I need a landscape photo or a hipster-friendly image for any reason, Unsplash helps me out at no cost.

For blogging: WordPress

This platform allows a world of design, templates, plug-ins, and technical goodness to live on top of it.  It’s one of the world’s best free things.

Worth-every-penny programs and services

For stock photography: Death to the Stock Photo

I often use my own photography for blog posts, but every now and again I mix it up by adding stock photography that makes me happy. My monthly $15 Death to the Stock Photo subscription gives me plenty of choices and keeps the visual elements ’round these parts clean and professional.

For e-mail: Mad Mimi

Every professional e-mail service provides roughly the same features and benefits, but Mad Mimi is the simplest to use. Thus, I keep it around.  Pricing varies greatly depending on the size of your list, so you only pay for what you need.  Woot!  (Need help creating your e-mail list? Here’s my tutorial for that!)

For selling: 1ShoppingCart

I use 1ShoppingCart to collect payments for Dominatrixing. There’s a robust affiliate option to help others promote you, and it’s fairly simple to use once you’ve set it up. Be warned, though: setup is a beast.

For keeping all my files in one place in the cloud: Dropbox

We both know those files aren’t organized, but they’re all there!  That counts for something, right?

Dropbox is also great for collaborating with my ghostwriting clients and my graphic designer.  Instead of sending endless attachments back and forth, we share a folder and life is good.

For backing up every single on my computer: BackBlaze

$5 a month to back up my hard drive, which gives me the ability to both sleep at night and restore my every file within a few hours should disaster strike?  Yes, please!

For recording and editing my podcast: Garage Band

Okay honestly, I use the old version that still supports podcasts, but you can use the new version if you want.  Simple and straightforward audio recording gets it done.  If jingles and post-production were my jam, I would do all that in this program, too.

For hosting and publishing my podcast: Podbean

I’m sure there are free ways to publish and host your podcast, but this $9-per-month solution keeps That’s What She Said online, on time, and uploaded to the iTunes podcast app like magic.

For sorting photos quickly: Photo Mechanic

This one-trick pony loads, categorizes, and renames photos in a snap. I use it to cull and rename files.  One $150 purchase and you’re saved from slow-loading Adobe options forever.

For writing bliss: OmmWriter

Creating a distinct experience of writing to work versus writing for pleasure is important for me. Thus, I downloaded OmmWriter to create that ‘Oh Dear God I heart writing so hard eeeeeeee!’ excitement every time I carve out time to write anything that isn’t business related.  You can choose your own price, but the recommended starting point is $5.11.  Less than a venti soy latte at Starbucks, yo!

For accepting credit cards: Authorize.net

Frankly, I’m jealous of all the people who get to use Square ’cause it’s just so damn neat. Since I’m selling virtually, Authorize.net is the service provider who processes payments ’round these parts.  It links up with 1shoppingcart to play nicely and take all the dollars at any time of the day or night.

For connecting with peeps live: Instant Teleseminar

This monthly subscription allows me to hold Q&A calls, lectures, and live presentations with just a few clicks. It’s worth the money for the features that allow archived calls and events!  It’s also how I record interviews for That’s What She Said.

For bookkeeping: Outright

This online software keeps my accountant from breathing down my neck — but because it’s online and attached to my bank account, it automatically updates most expenses. It automatically labels recurring fees after you’ve labeled them the first time, so it “learns” as time goes on.

For snail mail: Hello Happiness Card Co.

I have Josh over at Hello Happiness make me custom cards full of swears, then send them with tiny glitter packets and confetti to all over the globe.  (The postal services worldwide means sometimes they take months to arrive, but that has nothing to do with Josh.)  If you want his positive and good stuff, boom.  If you want the secret swears and dirty stuff, EVEN BETTER.

P.S.  Read about the influencers that shape my body, mind, and spirit right here.