Best Online Business Tools

I’m passing on my research findings so you can save time.

(I have registered as an affiliate with some of these organizations because I know them and like them. If you purchase using these links, I may receive a few dollars as a token of thanks for my time.)

Free website for your new business (legitimate): The Free Website Guys
If you just need a 5-7 page simple website, these designs seem really good and there’s no catch. They build relationships this way so that they make money if you ever need more robust website services. No hidden costs or obligations, or ads on your site.

File Sharing and Storage: Dropbox
I have found this super easy to use and I get plenty of space with the free option. You can add on more when needed. I share videos, photos, and documents with my team and clients this way.

Online Scheduling: Acuity Scheduling
I have not used this as a provider but I have used it as a consumer and know people who are happy with it. Compared to similar programs, it seems like it has a lot for a good price. You can let clients schedule appointments and people can sign up for your group events and there’s a lot built in to go with that.

Client and e-Course Portal for Coaches: Coaches Console
This is what I use and can’t imagine life without it. It’s a secure one-stop for client records, scheduling, payment, agreements, worksheets, tracking progress, downloadable tools, and e-courses too. Includes all the training and templates you need to get started quickly.

Email List Management for Small Business: MailChimp
This is what I use.  It’s relatively user-friendly and has everything you might need for a smaller business. Use the autoresponder feature to drip content over time, such as for a course. Be sure to choose “responsive” templates so it looks good on mobile and laptop.
An alternative well worth exploring is ConvertKit. If I needed something more than MailChimp, I’d go to ConvertKit.

Affiliate Tracking and Shopping Cart: ThriveCart

Website Firewall/ Security Monitoring and Repair: Sucuri
If you have a self-hosted website, it needs security more than your computer does because your business is at stake. When my website was hacked and blacklisted with Google (which is more common than you think), I was losing site visitors at a busy time for me and risking my business reputation. I quickly realized how valuable it would have been to have something like Sucuri in place. Without Sucuri, I spent half of Sunday trying to figure out what to do when my site was down, and luckily got the great advice to contact Sucuri. They solved it quickly. (I have since switched to a different host that includes this security level.)

Survey Tool: Google Forms
Often this easy-to-use survey system or fillable form system is all you need.
SurveyMonkey’s paid version would be a good one if you need more than Google Forms can do.

Videoconferencing and Video Webinars: Zoom
I know you’ve heard of it by now. You can host a group meeting and trust that the video and audio will work better than most other tools. And it costs less than many others. Win-win. With many plans and add-on options, you can scale up from small meetings to large events. Some people use it to record podcast interviews or video interviews because the technology is so good. I use it for my virtual group meetings.

Video hosting: Vimeo or Youtube
I use Vimeo for hosting my client-only stuff so that it won’t have ads or send people to other videos. High quality, reliable, and easy to use. No ads. Reasonable price options.
Youtube is better for when you want to get your message out there widely and don’t mind the ads and distractions that come along with it. If you do use Youtube for marketing, be sure to learn how best to do that.

Resumes with Style: Loft Resumes
People doing the hiring don’t have time or energy for another boring resume. (I used to do the hiring at a big company and I loved it when someone got more creative with their resume.) You’ve got to stand out to make them stop and read. And you really have to make it stylish if the job involves design. Loft Resumes will redo yours with some flair.
Note: I have never used this service but I like what I see on their website.
If you need a resume writer, I have people I can recommend. Just pop me a note.

LinkedIn Help: for self-employed or for job seekers
In these quick-fix mini-courses, you’ll get step-by-step help to make your LinkedIn profile actually work for you.