*** updated July 2021***
Foundations are, well, they are foundational. They are the basis for entire buildings. They are what keeps the building solid and upright. And they are about the least sexy part of the whole structure.
Online businesses are the same way. They need a strong foundation to be able to grow and thrive. And, even though it’s more fun to work on fancy logos and colorful graphic design, if you don’t have a strong foundation to start, you’ll just be wobbly later on.
When building a strong business foundation, it’s often easier to take a look at the online services other people are using to get an idea of some of the things you’d like to consider, but please realize it’s likely that you won’t need all of them right away.
The Online Services I Use Daily:
- ActiveCampaign: ActiveCampaign is my preferred choice of email service providers for people who plan to launch a course or membership online. Find my full review of ActiveCampaign here.
- Leadpages: Leadpages creates landing pages, simple websites, pop ups, and allows people to purchase directly from your landing page. You can find my review here.
- Membervault: I’ve recently started using Membervault to host my online courses and I love it. It’s easy to use and free for the first course.
- Fiverr: Fiver is a great way to find contractors for short, one-off projects you need done. I like it when hiring someone for a skill or task I need done that I probably won’t need again for a long time.
- Upwork: Upwork is my choice for finding contractors for longer term contracts. I especially like the many filters you can use to find just the right person.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is where I store files that don’t need to be changed often or collaborated on. I love that it works like a regular drive on my computer.
- GoogleDrive: GoogleDrive stores collaborative files.
- Canva: My go-to for creating graphics. Although i will sometimes use a graphic designer for big projects or special work, Canva allows me to create simple, beautiful graphics on the fly. I have an article on creating freebies with Canva here.
- Trello: Project management tool. I use it for my launch timelines because you can easily move tasks around and immediately see what still needs to be done.
- ClickUp: A more robust project management tool than Trello, ClickUp allows you to go deep with tasks with nearly unlimited options for customization. I love using the calendar view so I can see exactly which tasks are due each day.
- AirTable: AirTable is a spreadsheet on steroids. So much more user friendly and robust than Excel or Sheets, AirTable allows for far more customized data for each record.
- LastPass: If you aren’t using password software, you should be. Not only is it more secure and reliable than trying to remember your passwords, as you need to share passwords with your team, it makes it easy to do so without compromising on security. You can get more info on: Securing Your Business with Password Protection blog
- Stripe: For payment processing, Stripe is quick, easy to use and I can get my funds quickly.
- WordPress.org: Not all website builders are the same. For flexibility as your business grows, I recommend WordPress.org, the self hosted version of WordPress. It is stable, integrates with nearly every other online service and is highly customizable.
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to check out a variety of online services. Just because something works well for me (or the guy you sat next to at a marketing conference), doesn’t mean it will be the right tool for you. Sign up for a free trial, get a feel for how the interface works before you buy, because the best online service in the world won’t be worth a dime if you hate how it works and never use it.