Treat Your Online Business
Like a Real Business
When you start out in a brick and mortar business, you budget for an office, utilities, phone, a receptionist, office furniture…because you just know it’s the cost of doing business.
For some reason, it seems like everyone who starts an online business doesn’t budget for business expenses and then complains when they need to spend money to operate the business.
You have online expenses, they’re just different from a store, office, or restaurant.
Advertising can be a lot cheaper, but you still have to do it. If no one knows you’re there – you won’t have a business.
You’ll have online software expense …those are some of the things I’m going to go over today. Look at the software as taking the place of office machines, people, and systems, even an office space. Online software can add a new level of safety, professionalism, and convenience.
Founder, The Health Coach Group
Cathy helps health coaches build and maintain successful businesses that improve the lives of others.
What I Use
When you first start out in business…you look for everything you can to make work easier and less time consuming and more integrated.
That’s why I’m going to give you a list of all the things that I use…after years of accumulating information and trying out and discarding different tools.
Infusionsoft – It took me a while to appreciate it. I do now. Its shortfall is e-commerce, it’s a little primitive. Its strong point is CRM and marketing. It’s worth its weight in gold for that. I first thought it was expensive – but it’s a workhorse. The people who work on it are overpaid for sure…but if you get it going and treat it right…it’s worth that too. Just make sure you have the e-commerce audited regularly. My team can now work on it themselves, and it runs pretty smooth and saves me money instead of costing. Click here to learn more
LastPass – Keeps all my passwords hidden, safe, and secure. It also keeps thousands of passwords at my fingertips and allows me to create secure passwords that I don’t have to remember to be able to use efficiently. Learn more.
GoToWebinar – You will never convince me to change away from this service. It is pretty much problem free. We have a few oddball happenings…it’s usually because of not restarting a computer after one of their upgrades. I will always remember the troubles…like Amy Porterfield’s visit to our Mentoring Monday – when everyone could hear her but me. That happened a few times, normally it’s an issue with updates that can be solved by regularly restarting your computer. That’s the worst that has happened though. We do 1-3 webinars a week, so it’s important it’s reliable. Click to learn more.
WordPress – WordPress releases you to make changes…puts your blog on your website and is easy enough that you can make daily changes to your site without paying a web developer to do it for you.
DIVI – Oh my gosh. I saw this theme and it won my heart. It is an Elegant Theme and it is the one I chose immediately when it was released. Why? It layers. It has something that is called “page builder”. It’s a drag and drop webpage tool. A regular person can create outstanding looking web pages all by themselves. I created Starter-Sites® and replaced the theme on my website with it. The look is incredible. It has “rules” – the rules help to balance and make the pages look very clean. Design elements are automatically built in. It now has a visual builder that makes it even easier.
Site Ground – Hosting Company. I’ve used Network Solutions, Bluehost, web developer’s specialized servers, and Site Ground is exceptional. The customer service is THE BEST, it stays up, and it does backups and free secure server upgrades. Learn More
Starter-Sites – Our $97 Website that’s set up on DIVI with design, marketing guidance, step by step instruction, landing pages, health histories, and a lot more. Learn More
Ring Central – It’s funny – all these IT people I’m involved with…and I dreamed of Ring Central. I asked and asked and asked and asked. No one knew of a digital telephone service that could be used online. Then one day….I saw a Facebook ad for it. It’s what I was looking for. I was ready to toss all my telephones and plug a headset into my computer. They talked me into getting a desk phone. I did….just in case I lost internet service for a bit and needed my phone. I’ve had Ring Central for a year and a half and only used my desk phone 3 times. With Ring Central, I pay the same amount for 9 telephones as I used to pay for 2. That’s right…I’m not exaggerating. PLUS – I have free conference calling with recording, video and screen share for up to 25 people – for everyone on my team. They all have “softphones” on their computers. They can get calls in, they can call out…and we even can fax. It is the answer to any online companies needs. The only really silly thing is that you can buy webinar service for your phone…but you can’t just pay for one phone – they require you to pay for it for every phone you own. So if you do webinars and have 1 phone – it is $50 a month. If you have only one phone that does webinars and you have 9 phones – it is $450 a month. They need to fix that.
GLIP Team Chat software that is invaluable. I can talk to Amanda in Wisconsin in one second. We can all get on a screen share with one click, and we can transfer documents back and forth with drag-and-drop.
DropBox – today my laptop wouldn’t start up. In the olden days, I would have panicked. All my files would have been lost if my computer crashed and if they couldn’t salvage it. I didn’t have to worry about it because I save everything I do onto Dropbox…and it’s stored on the internet – not on my computer. In addition to that, my assistant can put ALL her work directly into my files – and I can even access them from my I-phone. Technology is amazing.
HubStaff – even my team loves HubStaff. They like it because they don’t have to write their hours on post-it notes. HubStaff tracks their time, tell how efficiently it is used and even takes screenshots of what they’re doing. I was unimpressed by it – until one of my people accidentally deleted critical information. I was able to go back over the screenshots and learn when and where it happened. I could also verify when they didn’t create a problem. I wouldn’t do without it.
ZenDesk now HELP SCOUT– As your business grows – so do your tools. ZenDesk was brought in when my first DSD builder flaked out. We had this giant bucket of “nuts and bolts” dropped into our laps and – our customer service needs went up about x50 in one day. ZenDesk creates tickets and allows everyone to work on them together. It is THE best invention in customer support ever. We moved to HelpScout for improved customer service for our company.
Project management software. We use it to set expectations for projects. Specifically branding, website building, program building, course communication. There are a lot of uses and we’ve increased our dependence on it over time.
Online is a little goofier than the desktop. I recommend the desktop version. I’ve talked to a lot of accountants and they agree and it’s just as easy to transfer from the desktop.
It works with Infusionsoft and Google calendar to keep my life easier. It also interfaces with GoToMeeting to easily send out meeting links.
Adobe Suite and Microsoft 365
I use this for my team and myself. I think in Adobe Illustrator, that’s how comfortable I am with it. We use Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat Professional in our business. We should be using the 3D and video software too, but we use the easier Camtasia.
Microsoft 365 is used daily. PowerPoint is so versatile that you could use it for art if you don’t have a good art software. We use PowerPoint for our programs and they can be used for workshops, webinars, videos, and modules. We even use them for workbooks and convert them to PDFs. Word and Excel are used daily as well.
Camtasia is an easy and intuitive video editing software.
MindMeister is perfect for someone like me who is visual and thinks things out better when it’s in front of them. I can do some planning, plotting, and reasoning on there. That’s where I have my organizational plans and it’s how I mapped out all the different ways that health coaches and doctors could work together.
We use Dropbox for storage, so we don’t really use it for storage like some people do, in our business, it’s used for teamwork. We have lots of spreadsheets on Google Drive and with GLIP, we can all work on it at the same time AND discuss it. It’s a very handy tool.
Social Media Posting
I’ve used just about everything and they vary a lot in price. Most are fine. My team posts everything straight to the media now. There has been a lot of crackdown on “bots” and it’s pretty easy to pre-post social media, so we do it on Facebook and LinkedIn and then, let it share to the other media from there.
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What are some of your favorite tools? Share in the comments below!