Back in 2013, when I first started my own business, I really had no idea where to begin. I remember longing for some sort of list of resources I could use to not only help me get everything set up but also help me manage and grow my business easier.
After many years of trial and error, I decided to create that list I always wanted for anyone else who may be creating their own business!
Below is a list of tools and resources that will help you create your own business or blog, manage everything more efficiently, and take things to the next level!
Amazon Associates - Link to a specific product on Amazon and make a commission when someone purchases it! Super easy!
CJ Affiliate - An affiliate marketing platform you can use to promote affiliate product links, coupon links or ads on your site to make a commission. Or you can become a merchant and have others promote your products and services on their sites in order to reach more viewers and make money!
ShareASale - Another awesome affiliate marketing platform, in fact, most affiliates I partner with are through this platform.
Calendly - A free app that helps you schedule appointments, meetings, and events with clients. Rather than email chains and phone tag, you can send your availability with a Calendly link and they can book that time with you right online!
Billing + Project Management
Dubsado - Dubsado is a powerful business management tool that helps service-based businesses streamline and automate their client work and processes. It offers an entire suite of business tools all in one place: Proposals, Contracts, Invoices, Forms, Emailing, Automations, and a whole lot more!
If you're ready to free up more of your time, click on my link to receive 20% off your first month or year!
NameCheap - Get a cloud-based, professional business email address from Namecheap. Offers easy collaboration, a fresh interface that works across many devices, and features for creating a public space in shared folders. Click the link to try it free for 2 months!
G Suite - Get a custom domain name for your business (firstname.lastname@example.org). This helps you look more professional and helps you organize with your team better (you can have multiple emails for employees, customer service, sales, etc., all for the same price... just $6/mo.!) Plus, get online storage, shared calendars, video meetings and more for no extra cost!
Get 20% off your first year through my link using one of my promo codes (you'll need to email me to receive this... that's the way Google sets it up for some reason.)
Boomerang for Gmail - Schedule your emails to be sent later, set follow up reminders, pause your inbox so you only receive emails at certain times of the day, track emails you sent to make sure they were opened, and more!
Creative Cloud - Awesome creative apps from Adobe you can use for photography, design, video, websites, and more! Get started at just $9.99/mo. or upgrade to $49.99/mo. to get the entire collection of creative apps. The ones I personally use the most are Spark,Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, and Acrobat Pro.
Canva - A free, easy-to-use, powerful tool you can use to create your own social media graphics, flyers, business cards, brochures, book covers, and more! You can also upgrade to Canva for Work, if you're looking for more features, for $12.95 a month.
Photoshop Express - Edit and customize your photos on your phone quickly and easily! You can also create collages, add watermarks and share quickly to multiple social media destinations with 1 click!
Snapseed - Another mobile app (and also on desktop) you can use for photo editing (tuning, cropping, rotating, adding filters, etc.)
Amazon Prime - I didn't think I'd want this when I first heard about it, but I decided to get a free 1-month trial and actually ended up loving it so I subscribed for a year. Things I personally love about it: I get free 2-day delivery on any online purchases I make, I have Prime video, which is what I use to watch movies and shows in my downtime, and I get Prime music, which means I can listen to streamed music without ads.
Postmates - Get anything delivered to you from any local store or any local restaurant. You won't have to leave your house to fight traffic or lines, which means you can continue staying productive without the extra stress!
Get a $100 credit for deliveries with my code FCR1!
Instacart - Shop for your groceries through their app and have them delivered straight to your door!
Domain + Hosting
Bluehost - My #1 recommended domain and hosting resource. Receive a free domain name + SSL certificate + hosting for $3.95/month using my link!
If you'd like to set up your own website or blog through Bluehost, check out my post: How to Setup Your WordPress Website with Bluehost... I'll walk you through all the steps!
HostGator - Another solid resource for domain names and hosting. Receive a free domain name + SSL certificate + hosting starting at $2.75/month using my link!
NameCheap - A great resource for shared hosting plans, domain names, SSL certificates, VPN's, business email, etc. Click my link to check out their latest promos and deals!
MailChimp - A good place to start if you're looking for a free (up to 2,000 subscribers) email marketing service. You can create custom sign-up forms that are easy to share on your WordPress site, Facebook or Twitter. You can also quickly and easily create professional, responsive email newsletters that match the look of your brand.
Copyscape - A tool you can use to check for plagiarism online by comparing two pages of content or by searching for copies of your web pages online. They also have solutions for preventing content theft and content fraud in the first place as well!
HelloSign - A simple and secure way to get documents and contracts signed quickly and right online.
LegalZoom - This is where you can form your business as an LLC, Sole-Proprietor, Corporation, Non-Profit, etc. You can also Trademark a business name, or do a DBA. Get a tax ID #, business license, permit, copyright or patent or even speak with an attorney to get legal advice.
Creative Market - A marketplace for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world. They have fonts, photos, graphics, templates, themes and more!
Envato Market - A marketplace where you can purchase anything you need for your next creative project. They have website themes, templates, graphics, vectors, photos, footage, motion graphics, scripts, plugins, music, sounds, 3D models, textures and more!
Font Bundles - A marketplace where you can find free and premium fonts, bundled up into packages that you can get at a seriously reduced price... up to 96% off the recommended retail price!
Social Media Marketing
Later - Visually plan and schedule your social media posts, including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. It's especially great for Instagram because you can use their "Link.in.bio" feature to build a clickable, shoppable Instagram feed, which drives targeted traffic to your store, landing page, or blog content, directly from your Instagram profile!
Tailwind - Helps you manage your presence across the web via Pinterest and Instagram. It basically helps you get found more often with less manual work via these platforms.
Free Stock Photos
Pexels - A large collection of free photos.
Pixabay - They have over 550,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations.
Unsplash - 10 new photos are added every 10 days.
Gratisography - Filled with whimsical, quirky and edgy types of photos. It's worth checking out even if just for a chuckle.
Premium Stock Photos
Adobe Stock - Premium stock photos, vectors, videos, mockups, templates and more! I personally have a monthly subscription to this site... they offer so many different things that it actually saves me time searching for these things on free sites. I always find exactly what I envisioned!
Shutterstock - A resource for high-quality stock photos, vectors, illustrations, videos and music. You will need to pay for these or buy credits.
Easy Affiliate Links - Quickly add or update your affiliate links in one place!
CleanTalk - Plugin that protects your site from spam.
Easy Updates Manager - Automatically updates your plugins and themes.
SiteOrigin CSS - If you don't like playing around with code, this plugin provides an easy way to choose colors, styles and elements so you can get your site looking exactly the way you want!
Ninja Forms - A form builder that is easy to create and add to your WordPress site.
Formidable Forms - Simple drag and drop form builder that also allows you to customize how it looks. I use this for both my contact forms as well as other inquiry forms on various pages.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin - A simple drag and drop page builder to help you layout your content to your liking... no coding required! It also automatically adapts your content to all mobile devices, ensuring your site is mobile-ready.
SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle - Additional widgets you can use to customize your page or post layouts!
Duplicate Page - Easily duplicate your posts and pages using a single click. This is awesome because you can just reuse the layout for that page or post without having to rebuild it!
Yoast SEO - SEO is how you get found online and is absolutely essential! The Yoast SEO plugin helps you write better content and allows you to have a fully optimized site easily!
All-in-One SEO - Another plugin to help you optimize your WordPress site for SEO. I prefer this one to Yoast because they give you more keywords for free.
Testimonial Rotator - Makes it easy to manage and display your testimonials.
Jetpack - I mostly use this for the site stats feature because it's easier to understand than Google Analytics, but it's got some other great features to it as well.
Sumo - Makes it super easy for readers to share your content so you can get your content noticed more. It also includes pop-up forms you can create to gain subscribers and send lead magnets. Plus so much more! Definitely one of my favorite plugins because it's packed with so many powerful options!
Social Warfare - Another plugin that helps your content get shared more on social media.