My 7 Must-Have Tools I Pay For Monthly To Run My Online Business
I don’t know about you, but I personally LOVE taking a behind the scenes peek at the tools and programs other online entrepreneurs are using to run their online empires. You too? Okay fab, this post is just for you then!
I recently created a Tools page, loaded with the services, courses, and books that makes this studio run on a daily basis, and guides my education and decision making.
I give a quick description for a lot of the services on the Tools page, but I also wanted to get a bit more in depth with you on a few of those tools and show you exactly how I use them. Hence, this post. (… Apparently I’m feeling very Renaissance today?)
How did I pick the specific selection of tools I’m sharing with you in this post, out of the longer list of tools on the other page, you ask?
These are the tools I pay for out of pocket every single month, so you know I’m a big fan if I’m paying for them month after month.
Granted, on the Tools page there’s also some free tools, or things I’ve purchased one-time which therefore didn’t make it into this post, so the Tools page is totes worth checking out too.
Alright, let’s start!
Here’s what I’m using and paying for every month to run my business.
… Duh. This one is a bit obvious, I’m a Squarespace website designer, so I create both my own site and all of my clients sites on the platform.
I’m in love, I’m so over the WordPress headache, so I’m a happy, paying Squarespace camper. I also run this blog on Squarespace, so I thought I’d give you a little intro video to the blogging area, to show you in action how I’m using the platform every week.
I use the Business Plan which works out to $18/month.
You can sign up for a free trial of Squarespace here and I also got ya a little off the price, use code PAIGE10 for 10% off your first year. (Yes, that's an affiliate link!)
I live abroad often, but 95% of my clients are American. The easiest, most reliable and cheapest way I’ve found to call my clients on their regular phones while I’m abroad is through a Skype plan.
I pay for the USA unlimited minutes plan for, get this, $8.52/quarter of the year! So that breaks down to $2.84/month. Absolute bargain.
Pinterest is my number 1 social media traffic driver, and I love it cause it’s also by far the easiest social media platform to maintain over time.
I’ve set up looping in BoardBooster so my The Paige Studio Blog board pins (that is, all my blog posts) repin to the group boards I’m part of, every day.
After I set that up, I do a whole lotta nothing to upkeep my Pinterest! I spend 0 minutes a month in Pinterest, and it just keeps sending traffic my way.
I use the $5/month BoardBooster plan, and it’s well worth the money.
Email marketing is super important to me and I know it’s going to be vital to my business growth long-term.
I hopped on ConvertKit when I was in need of automations, and learned the importance of tagging your subscribers based on their interest, so I’m able to send info to subscribers on my list that they’re interested in, and not constantly annoy them with irrelevant stuff. ConvertKit is powerful, while not being a complete nightmare to figure out (like most email marketing systems are).
ConvertKit pricing varies based on how many subscribers you have, so depending on when you’re reading this (hello future humans) the plan I’m using may change. ConvertKit starts at $29/month.
When I first started my business years ago, it’s safe to say I was completely figuring it out as I went. At some point it dawned on me ‘I should probably have my clients sign a contract’. (Good one Paige, took you a while to figure that one out 🙈😂.)
I started Googling, asking around in Facebook groups and even called a lawyer to see how much having them write me a legal client contract was. (Over $2,000 😯 Eeek!)
I found Hello Bonsai and thank god I did, they have made legal contracts SO SIMPLE. Each time I have a new client, I can ‘write’ them a new client contract (by simply clicking a few buttons) in a matter of 2 minutes. 🙌
Hello Bonsai also allows me to have clients sign their contracts online, so there’s no feet-dragging because they can’t get their printer to work, or need to go buy ink.
I also run my payments through Hello Bonsai’s invoicing system, because while I love Squarespace, I don’t love the 2% fee they take of your sales if you don’t use an e-commerce website plan.
This is my secret weapon that produces the adorable (if I do say so myself) branded icons on my site, and the sites of my clients. Creating custom, professional icons can be a long process, but they’re really key to communicating an idea quickly, adding visual interest to a site, and generally making things look legit.
I pay for Flaticon’s premium plan for $10/month and use the icons on almost all of my clients websites.
Just like when you get a 10/10 girlfriend, when you get a 10/10 client, you’ve gotta treat ‘em right! I was looking around for a while for a gifting service that wasn’t completely lame. (Boxes of chocolates or stuffed teddy bears for my clients would be a little weird.) I came across BoxFox on Instagram and have been using them ever since for client gifts.
Their system for picking the gifts for your box is so much fun; it’s safe to say building my clients BoxFox gifts is one of my fav parts of taking on a new client. (Not joking.)
Granted, if I ever have any non-USA clients, BoxFox has steep international shipping charges, so I only use this service when I have American clients, which thankfully is the case 95% of the time.
BoxFox isn’t a monthly subscription service like the other items on this list, but instead a pay-per-box situation, though I end up using it every month anyways, so that’s why it made the list.
The price of the box varies depending on what items you want to put in, so that decision is up to you! If you also want to send a BoxFox, click here to get 15% off your first box!
This just 7 out of the many, many tools I use to run the studio! Be sure to take a peek at the other tools, books and courses that make this studio work over on the new Tools page!
Oh, and if you know any fellow online business owners who would benefit from this post, be a good biz bestie and share it with them, okay?!
*I like making money. (Who doesn't?) You bet there's affiliate links sprinkled throughout this post! If you make a purchase through some of these links, I make a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks gal!