A lot of y’all have been asking what my preference is between Asana vs Trello, Teachable vs. Thinkific, Stripe vs. PayPal, 1Password vs. LastPass, etc. So in this post I’m sharing every single software I use to run my online business, exactly what I use it for and why I chose each over the competitors!
These softwares are ones I use and love myself, and I’m part of a few of their affiliate programs, so know that some links throughout the post I’ll make a commission at no extra cost to you if you click through and start using the software too.
I was between using Asana and Trello as they’re apparently similar softwares. I tested out both and found Trello’s boards a bit confusing. I like how in Asana I can have my tasks displayed in a list, board or on the calendar. Admittedly, Asana also wasn’t the most straightforward software to learn, but I really knew that it was time to break up with my paper planner. I knew I’d be bringing on team members in the future, and if I didn’t have some sort of online project management system, I’d need to email them daily telling them what to do. Talk about a waste of time.
So I actually took Megan Minn’s Asana HQ (<—affiliate link!) course to help me get the whole thing set up. I figured it might take me a while to break the paper planner habit, but I was pleasantly surprised that the day I transferred any upcoming work from my paper planner to Asana, I closed my planner and never needed it again.
Now that I’m using it and have templates for recurring projects (eg. course launches) all inside Asana, I couldn’t imagine using anything else. It’s been a game-changer for my productivity and allows myself and my team to work in-sync!
I compared website building options back in the day and liked that Squarespace seemed generally like a lot less of a headache than all the competitors. (Lookin’ at you WordPress.) It’s a truly all-in-one system which doesn’t need a bunch of plugins (which are notorious for creating domino-effect-problems when updates happen) to work. Also, I don’t need a LeadPages subscription because Squarespace truly can do it all.
I know in the future, if I go to sell any physical or digital products, Squarespace will be able to do that too without me needing to add on more plugin or shop add-on softwares to my site. It’s all built-in and just works. So I’m a big fan.
A major fear people have of Squarespace is that it’s just not customizable and all sites will end up looking cookie cutter, just like the templates. I’m pleased to say that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ve just got to know how to really work the software. My course Square Secrets will help ya out if that’s a fear currently holding you back.
I was actually using LastPass for about a year until I really got so fed up with it and went hunting for an alternative.
When I had the LastPass extension on my browser, it would fill all my Squarespace page password fields with random passwords. It resulted in getting a lot of emails to the inbox with people asking if they needed a password to access my blog or homepage or some other page on my site. Then we’d realize LastPass had filled it with a password without us noticing and would have to go fix it. We definitely lost some site traffic for a few days here and there from this issue happening again and again.
After this happened one too many times, I recently went hunting for a better alternative. I found 1Password which is basically the same thing, except it looks a heck of a lot more modern, is way more user-friendly when it comes to sharing passwords (sharing passwords in LastPass was also extremely complicated), and the browser extension doesn’t constantly lock our Squarespace pages.
So now I use 1Password to store passwords for my business in case I forget one and also to share the relevant passwords each team member needs with them.
ConvertKit (<—affiliate link!) is up there on this list for the software and company I love the most. I frequently get emails from other email software providers trying to get me to switch (and then talk about their software on this blog) and I’m going to be honest, they’re fighting a losing battle, because I’m 100% pleased with ConvertKit and have 0 intentions of switching anytime soon.
I used MailChimp previously, but when I wanted to get serious about email marketing (the most important & profitable marketing strategy in my business) I made the switch to ConvertKit. It seemed like a lot of the big names in online business trusted it, and I figured if it was powerful enough of a software for people like Pat Flynn & Melissa Griffin, it would be good enough for me too!
Now that there’s a few different sides to my business, I’m able to organize subscribers accordingly in ConvertKit, and only send emails to the people who are interested in certain topics. Eg. I don’t want to send beginner info on how to build a Squarespace site to an experienced Squarespace designer, and I don’t want to send emails related to building your web design business to people who say run a yoga studio and are just interested in hearing about how to build their site.
When I went to build my first online course, I’ll be honest, I was feeling pretty swamped with the whole building and marketing the course things, so I really wanted a software that was going to work perfectly without a lot of workarounds to host the course.
I knew there were some Squarespace hacks I could do to host my courses on my own site, but I really just wanted a software specifically for courses to give my students the best experience and to make my life easy in terms of tech.
Teachable hosts the checkout pages for my course, hosts all the course content itself, processes payments and payment plans – and the best part – automatically follows up with students who are late on payments and if need be, unenrolls them until they’ve caught up on their payment plan. Chasing people down for money is really a pretty unenjoyable job, and is quite time-consuming, so I’m super happy it’s automated and no member of my team needs to spend time doing this.
While I do recommend Teachable to other people who want to build online courses, I do admit I sent them a pretty displeased email one day because I feel they’re payment processing options are hellah-confusing. So that’s really Teachable’s one downside.
Wanna know the most vital piece of tech you can use to get the fence-sitters off the fence when it comes to online sales? Putting a deadline on when they need to make a decision by.
Using Deadline Funnel, I can put little countdown timers both floating on my sales pages and within my sales emails. I’ve used these timers since day 1, so I never split tested what the difference would be between using them or not using them. Though I can say that the majority of my course sales comes JUST before the enrollment period ends, so clearly, these timers are doing their job.
The support team with Deadline Funnel I found also really knows their stuff. When I got stuck with figuring out exactly how to best set up the timers, they gave me a really clear step-by-step, click-by-click instructions to make what I wanted to happen, happen.
If I’m being honest, I felt Tawk.io looked a little dated, and much prefer the modern, clean look of the Drift Chat instead. I spent probably a week of work on each of my sales pages, and I didn’t want all my hard work to be tainted by a really ugly chat on the page.
Drift Chat is easy to use on our end, my assistant and I install the app on our phones during launches and can respond to messages just like we would a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger chat. It’s simple to use, and we can help people through the chat right from our phones while on the go. I legit was answering chats just after walking out of a funeral one time. The downside of an online business is it never sleeps, regardless of what’s happening in your life, and people have questions around the clock, so we love having a solution that doesn’t tie us to a desk.
I started using Honeybook when I was still doing website design projects for clients. Even though I’ve since stopped doing custom site design projects, I’ve kept Honeybook since I know I’ll need to be signing contracts with podcast guests and both signing contracts and invoicing sponsors. I also love the ability to make a sequence of automations happen once a project (eg. web design client or podcast guest) agrees to get the ball rolling.
I also genuinely love that Honeybook took over the Rising Tide Society and has been doing such a good job with supporting the creative entrepreneur community.
While I do use PayPal sparingly here and there, I prefer using Stripe by about a mile and a half, so the vast majority of my sales go through Stripe, not PayPal. I find Stripe is so much easier to use and cheaper than PayPal. Not to mention, you get paid out a lot faster from Stripe than you do from PayPal. For all these reasons, I’m a big fan.
The one thing I would loveee to see in the future is if Stripe continued to lead the modernity train and allowed the ability to connect a digital-only, multi-currency bank account (like Revolut or Transferwise Borderless <—affiliate link! Use this for $500 transfer for free) to deposit the payments into.
I have a digital-only (that means no bank branches) bank account personally and freaking LOVE it. I legit have never been so excited about a bank as I am about my N26 personal bank account. (It’s coming to the US later this year, get stoked!) I’d love to also use a modern bank for my business, but with Stripe and PayPal not depositing into these types of banks, I’m not able to switch yet.
I have a US business bank account (in USD) but a German personal bank account (in Euro), so I need a way to send money to myself every pay day, and not get completely screwed with crazy currency conversion rates. I use Transferwise to do so, because I can do it while laying in bed (obv).
Transferwise is hands down the cheapest, fastest, easiest money-sending option I’ve found so far. And now that I’ve sent myself my monthly salary through Transferwise before, it takes all of 33 seconds to repeat the transfer every month. It’s way simpler and cheaper than sending it through the normal bank system.
Think of Zapier as the thing which makes all your other softwares communicate, that’s really the best way I can explain it.
For example, whenever I post a new blog post, I want it to be published on my business Facebook page with a photo and a link to the post. I use Zapier to speak between my Squarespace blog and my Facebook page to make that happen, so I don’t need to be manually doing that.
I know at some point we’ll likely need to make the switch to Slack as my team grows, but for now, Facebook messenger is sufficient for myself and my assistant to communicate, send docs and screenshots to each other and host our weekly team meeting.
For now though, it’s just super simple to communicate through messenger, and if need be, you can search through your messages too which is really useful.
I specifically love that if you go to messenger.com, only Facebook messenger opens, not the entire Facebook, so I don’t get distracted on The Book for ages. Also, if you deactivate your Facebook account (I’m trying to break the social media addiction, can you tell?) you can still use messenger and have all your Facebook contacts, per usual.
There we go, those are the primary software I’m using to run my business, what I use each for and why I chose them over the competitors. Hopefully those insights help you make software choices for your online business too!