For some reason, I adore behind the scenes round-ups of the tools and programs and services people use to make their livelihoods work. Thus, I rounded up my own list to share with you! When in doubt, assume I’ve tried 3-7 versions of a thing before settling on the thing I’m recommending. Brand new additions to the tech team are *not* included, as they haven’t been time-tested and I don’t want to steer you wrong.
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
I love G-mail, adore all its features, and prefer to keep it simple.
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.
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?
YAH I’m embarrassed, but I tried amping it up and making it more complicated and ‘going pro,’ and either way I got the same number of e-mails, comments, and downloads per episode, so I went with the way that feels most natural to me. I also use…my phone’s built-in mic with the Voice Memo app that comes standard on every iPhone.
To further this confession: there are canned wine spritzers in my refrigerator at this moment. YOU WILL NEVER BE FANCIER THAN ME.
For delivering my Fuck Yah Club goodies to peeps: a password-protected WordPress page.
Again, SO FANCY. If you haven’t yet gotten access to all my book excerpts and a free copy of Change the World, Dammit!, now is the time!
For eliminating repetitive tasks and connecting bits and bobs automatically: Zapier
If you’re like, HOW WILL I POSSIBLY GET X TO TALK TO Y WITHOUT TEDIOUSLY DOING THIS JOB MANUALLY EVERY DAMN DAY — Zapier probably has the answer. It connects apps, where apps are your teaching platform, your shopping cart, your e-mail list, and/or your social media accounts. I use it to automatically connect those who purchase a class or coaching through Samcart with their Teachable login information.
Since Instagram is mobile-only and I write exclusively on my laptop, not my phone, I schedule posts that make reference to my business in any capacity. Planoly helps me do that with hashtag searches and all the bells and whistles you can imagine.
For all your photo editing and graphic design needs: Canva
Since I spent years learning Photoshop, it was tough to let it go — but Canva is faster, cuter, and easier to use. (Frankly, I’m sad about all those wasted years mastering fiddly Photoshop tools!)
Worth-every-penny programs and services
For $3 a month — THREE DOLLARS A MONTH — I get amazing flight deals to locations around the world. This service has saved me over $800 on tickets this year alone.
For e-mail: Convertkit
Pricing varies greatly depending on the size of your list, so you only pay for what you need. ConvertKit is also the only company I know of that will magically and wonderfully MIGRATE YOUR LIST for you, thus eliminating 84% of the dread associated with the techy side of having a list in the first place. My open rate has skyrocketed since I switched e-mail companies, and it also plays nicely with SamCart and Teachable.
Related: 15 minutes to an e-mail list of your own.
For selling: SamCart
::cue angelic voices and unicorns::
I switched to SamCart when my other shopping cart shit the bed and lost me about $13,000 in sales. The e-mails were going out, all NOW IS YOUR LAST CHANCE and registration is closing, and people were clicking, and the cart was all, NOPE I’M NOT WORKING.
I’m not gonna say this will take your business to the next level, ’cause we know that shit doesn’t exist, but it will take you to the Stop Beating Yourself About the Head Because Shopping Carts are So Complicated realm. Which is nice.
SamCart allows me to have one-time and recurring products for sale, is downright beautiful, and lets me see who’s abandoned their cart to send follow-up nudges to those peeps. It’s easy to set up and costs either $99 or $199 a month, depending on how many features you require.
For connecting with peeps live: Zoom.
I caved and returned to this service after fancier services crashed, caved, or folded within a few months of popping up. Used to host live coaching meetings and virtual breathwork classes for $14.99/month.
For submitting my work to literary publications and contests: Literistic
These lovely humans scour the internet for upcoming literary deadlines, then share a reasonable number of places to submit each month without being overwhelming. IT’S A GODSEND. There’s a free version, but the premium version is longer and well worth the additional few bucks.
For keeping my shit together: Breathwork
This simple exercise, completed once a week for about an hour, has kept my emotional foundation from crumbling in the face of my two dearest friends’ simultaneous divorces, a dear one’s mounting financial debt, the Trump administration’s daily insanity, and a frustrating business challenge or seven that’s gone down this year.
For hosting WordPress without fear of gremlins eating my website: Flywheel
Dedicated WordPress hosting, automatic backups, and killer customer service for $28 a month. Since I make my living exclusively from my website, this is my payment for peace of mind.
For backing up every single file 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 completing follow-up via e-mail: Boomerang
I use the Boomerang app for Gmail to both schedule messages in the future (of *course* I remembered to ask about that very specific thing 30 days from now!) and for keeping my inbox clear of client back and forth. When a message boomerangs into my inbox, it gets my attention and I follow up with the human on the other end, easy peasy. This rings in at $4.99 a month.
There are free ways to publish and host your podcast, but this $25-per-month solution keeps That’s What She Said online, on time, and uploaded to the iTunes podcast app (plus Spotify!) like magic. Easy interface, gorgeous analytics, and no downtime!
For class teaching: Teachable
It’s clean, intuitive, and allows for the clear organization of class curriculum at a reasonable $39 a month. Currently hosts The Vault for my KK on Tap coaching clients.
For editing iPhone photos: PicTapGo
A little Lights On + 400H and boom! Every photo you’ve ever seen on my Instagram. $2.99.
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.
Alicia Bruce, coaching alumni and artist extraordinaire, keeps my headshots updated annually and is responsible for the vast majority of images you see on this very website. She’s basically a miracle worker and will squeal with delight if you suggest anything even remotely interesting for your photo shoot!