We don't think you can do better than our Online Business Ignition mini-course if you want to come up with a viable idea for a business. Discover the things about you and your life experience that will help you solve problems you actually care about.
Based on his book, “Will It Fly”, Pat Flynn's “Smart From Scratch” course will help you find and validate an idea that you can build a solid business on.
SiteGround lets you organise your website hosting (including WordPress sites), email addresses and URLs, all in the one place. The reason we use them is because their helpdesk support is excellent and quick to respond. And that's pretty important when you're stuck on a website problem or challenge.
Pat Flynn's “Build Your Own Brand” course will not only help you learn how to develop your own WordPress website, it will help you brand it so it stands out. What's even better is that the course is free. I used this course to help me learn how to build WordPress websites.
WordPress editors like Divi will make your life easier when trying to build a professional looking website without breaking the bank. We use Divi as our WordPress editor because it works and has great functionality … not to mention tons of templates you can use to quickly get your website set up and looking great.
Need to design banners, graphics or other images for your website and you can't afford to pay someone to do it? Canva is a great tool to help you quickly create professional looking images. Use it to create your own images, including a logo, font, or theme. Try out their free account. You'll love it.
Need some great photos or images that will make your website stand out? Deposit Photos have a wonderful database of images that are available for purchase. You can get them cheaper here than many of the other professional image sites. Keep an eye out for their “100 photos for $100 sales”.
Email Service Providers
If you want to nurture your customers and be able to communicate with them without worrying that a 3rd party platform will suddenly shut down your account, then you need an Email Service Provider (ESP). There are lots of of ESPs out there and which one you choose, will be dependent on a number of factors, like budget, size of your email list, how much automation you want, etc. Over the last few years we've used AWeber, MailChimp, ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign.
Active Campaign and ConvertKit let you add tags and segment your customers into groups. It combines the power of visualisation and text to help you automate email campaigns and nurture sequences so you don't have to do everything manually. What's the difference between Active Campaign and ConvertKit? Very little. They both do essentially the same sorts of job.
We found that AWeber was much easier to use than MailChimp. AWeber works great, but we've outgrown it, which is why we moved to Active Campaign for our Online Business Lift-Off Community. We are currently trialling ConvertKit in one of our experimental websites to see if there's much difference between it and Active Campaign (so far, not much).
If you're just getting started, you can begin with AWeber and then move to Active Campaign or ConvertKit once you've grown your list past 500 people. But if you've already got a substantial list or you've outgrown the ESP you're currently using, you may want to use Active Campaign or ConvertKit right now.
ActiveCampaign is our favourite because you can do so much with it. Campaign automation, scoring, taggging, lots of advanced functionality that will save you time and make your life easier.
ConvertKit is very similar to ActiveCampaign. We've found it fairly easy to use. And it's what online business guru Pat Flynn, from Smart Passive Income uses and he swears by it.
AWeber is perfect if you're just starting out. It will grow with your business until you reach the point where you need more advanced functionality to enable scoring, process automation, etc. And their support is great, not to mention their training videos for when you have questions.
Still not sure which Email Service Provider is the right one for your business? Take our short quiz and find out which ones we recommend, based on where your business is right now.
Pat Flynn is one of the top online business gurus. His “Email Marketing Magic” course is going to help you build a solid email list in a non-spammy, “nice-guy” sort of way. If you want to save your time, money and energy by NOT doing all the wrong things, this “Email Marketing Magic” course will get you going quickly.
Amy Porterfield is an online marketing guru who focuses on helping people build their email lists AND create online courses. She has a library full of ways to rapidly grow your email list. It's free to access and I can guarantee you it's full of really useful hints and things to try.
Nathalie Lussier's 30-Day List Building Challenge is a classic and it's free. Over the course of 30 days, you'll be given tips and advice about how to quickly build your email list. You won't regret signing up.
Customer Research / Segmentation / Quiz Building
We love LeadsHook. It helps us build quizzes, questionnaires and diagnostic tools that deliver highly customised results for customers and useful segmentation data for us. Best way I know of to ensure the leads we get are super highly qualified. And you can use all of those tools to make your online courses and workshops more memorable and useful.
And if you sign up to LeadsHook through our affiliate link we'll give you some pretty cool bonuses that will help you get started using it faster.
The Profit First Method for managing your business's cashflow was created by Mike Michalowicz. I use it religiously and it has saved my business from going down the gurgler more than once.
Forget to set aside money for taxes? Didn't think to set aside money so you can pay your team when they are on leave? Not going to happen if you're using the Profit First Method.
Airwallex lets you make cross-border payments in other currencies without all the hassle. It also lets you create “virtual” credit cards that you can share with your team. You can control spending based on total amount spent or on how much can be spent at one time or over a given period. Super useful when it's tough getting access to physical credit cards and easier to manage.
Stripe is a payment gateway platform that can integrate with many different types of software … allowing you to easily collect payment from your customers. It has a lot of functionality which makes it possible to link your backend financial systems to it for tracking payments.
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