[UPDATED: MAY 2020]
Running a successful online business is much easier if you have the best available technologies at your fingertips. Using the right software, hardware, and web services can streamline your work processes, help you capture leads, dramatically boost your productivity, and provide many other advantages. In this article, I will share my go-to & favorite online Tools of Trade which help me on a daily basis to run my creative online business smooth and on autopilot.
In this post, I will not only share the must-have Tools of Trade for Solopreneurs but also give you an outline of my workflow automation process which allows me to shave hours of manual labor day in and out. The Tools of Trade listed below are a diverse range of services that will make running a successful online business much easier.
TOOLS OF TRADE ON AUTOPILOT
As already mentioned, over the years, I have figured out how to take advantage of all the available Tools of Trade for online businesses and create a workflow that minimizes how much time I have to invest in my day-to-day business routine. It’s a simple process that covers all stages of business while considering my overhead cost to make it affordable yet efficient.
Of course, there are many aspects to an online business and tasks that need to be covered (time tracking, project management, payments, contracts, etc.) So, in order to make your life easier, I have outlined my complete automation process with all the must-have Tools of Trade in a convenient cheat sheet for you to download.
The Must-Have Tools Of Trade LIST
Below, you will find a list of links to Tools of Trade I am currently using in my online business and hope some, if not all, will allow you to work smart and not hard. Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links.
Dubsado is a powerful project management tool. It will help you schedule meetings, organize projects, create workflows, and develop client relationships. In addition, it provides businesses with payment processing integration, lead management, contract tools, and accounting tools. It is an extremely powerful application that can be used in many ways. Learn more about Dubsado.
Calendly is designed to simplify the process of scheduling meetings. You start by creating rules for your availability, then the app gives you a shareable link that can be given to clients, employees, and business partners. They can then use the link to schedule a meeting that perfectly fits within your busy calendar. This process is much faster than having a back-and-forth discussion with someone to find an acceptable meeting time. Learn more about Calendly.
Asana is an easy-to-use work management platform ideal for online businesses that have employees or contractors. The platform makes it easier to ensure your team is focussed on the right goals and that essential daily tasks are completed. Learn more about Asana.
Wave Apps have been developed to help small businesses manage their finances. It is a suite of programs designed to simplify all of the financial processes that you regularly undertake including accounting, invoicing, payments, and receipts. Wave Apps can save your business a huge amount of time and make it appear much more professional to clients. Learn more about Wave Apps.
Keeping track of where your time goes is very important for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Harvest makes this process simple by providing easy-to-use tools for tracking time, calculating project costs, and billing clients. The platform also makes scheduling work easier and can be used to monitor the activities of your team. Harvest integrates with many different applications including Slack, Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, iOS, Android, Atlassian Jira, Basecamp and Trello. Learn more about Harvest.
Stripe / PayPal
Stripe and PayPal both provide software and web services for sending receiving payments. The technologies these companies provide can easily be integrated into web applications and make the payment process simple for customers. Learn more about Stripe and Paypal.
Email marketing remains one of the best ways for an online business to promote products and services. ConvertKit helps entrepreneurs use email marketing effectively with email list management tools, embeddable forms, email creation tools, and advanced reporting. Learn more about ConvertKit.
LeadPages provides the tools small businesses need to generate leads online. This includes a website building tool, pop-up generator, landing page builders, alert bars, and much more. It guides you through the process of creating online pages and features which result in more conversions. Learn more about LeadPages.
Canva / Adobe
Do you often need to create graphics for your online business but you don’t have the time to learn Photoshop? Try Canva. It is a simple-to-use online graphics creation tool that makes it easy to create attractive images. Learn more about Canva or get the professional Adobe Creative Cloud.
If you want to learn something new or share your knowledge with others — Teachable is worth checking out. It is a web platform that is designed to make sharing knowledge with others as easy as possible. Teachable gives you tools for creating multimedia lectures with images, video, text, audio, and PDF files. It’s also useful for gaining access to classes on everything from SEO to deep-sea diving. Learn more about Teachable.
GoDaddy is one of the world’s largest domain registrars and web hosts. They are a useful tool of the trade for online businesses because they provide domains and hosting at an extremely affordable price. How does $1 per month WordPress hosting with GoDaddy sound to you? Get the GoDaddy deal now!
If you use WordPress, Astra is an essential tool of the trade. It is an extremely powerful and flexible theme for WordPress. Astra allows online businesses to create highly effective themes that look fantastic and are packed with features. Learn more about WP Astra or check out the many other WordPress themes available at ThemeForest.
Beaver Builder is a very powerful plugin designed for WordPress websites. It allows you to change the appearance of your WordPress website using a very simple drag-and-drop interface. Learn more about Beaver Builder.
Social media presents a fantastic opportunity for promoting online businesses. Tailwind helps you take advantage of this opportunity by providing tools for promoting your business on Pinterest and Instagram. Key features include post scheduling, conversion monitoring, analytics, and content discovery tools. Learn more about Tailwind.
Marketing is one of the greatest challenges faced by many online businesses. Failing to get it right can waste resources and stifle a business. ClickFunnels has been created to help online businesses correctly plan and execute a strong online marketing plan. It provides numerous resources including landing pages, order forms, membership management tools and much more. Everything you need to market your business. Learn more about ClickFunnels.
If you are looking to step up your marketing game and create an evergreen funnel with deadlines and countdown timers than Deadline Funnel is your best friend. It integrates with your existing marketing software and is used by thousands of marketers to create a smooth user experience and most importantly increase in sales. Learn more about Deadline Funnel.
Proper IMPLEMENTATION is the key TO SUCCESS
Of course, there are so many other Tools of Trade available to make your online venture run smoothly on a daily basis and with time, there will be only more added. But as always, we have to start somewhere to get our business on autopilot.
But, after years of experience in the online business world, I can only give you one tip: It takes time to create the “perfect” workflow automation for your business so slow down, test all the different tools available to you, make notes on what works and what doesn’t and keep on tweaking until you find what works best for you. Rome was NOT built overnight after all.
So, check out the Tools of Trade listed above, download my workflow automation cheat sheet, and if I have forgotten some of your must-have Tools of Trade suggestions leave it in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. In addition, I believe in transparency. If you use my referral links above, then I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you.