PP 039: The 10 Tools That Bring My Business to Life… Even When I’m Sleeping
Since I initially recorded this episode, some of my tools have changed. Please see changes below:
Scheduling tool: Schedule Once
Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host, Kim Sutton. Today, I want to talk to you about the 10 tools that bring my business to life even when I’m sleeping.
Now I’ve got to warn you, my list is a little bit longer than 10, but there are a few that I could not leave off the list. And there are also a couple that have options that I may still be using. So I wanted to put those out there, just in case you’re interested in them.
Before you start listening to this episode, though, I want to point out that if you are a new entrepreneur and are on a really tight budget, there are still alternatives for you. And you don’t need to be using tools like the ones I am using. I remember when I started my business in 2012, spending $10 a month on Elance seemed like a stretch of money – because I had no idea where my income was going to come from. I didn’t know if I could justify $10.
Looking back I’m a little bit amazed – and almost scared – by where my expenses have gone since then. And in full disclosure, I must – well, I guess I don’t have to share, but I do want to disclose that my monthly expenses for my business are running about $2000. This doesn’t just include the tools I’m going to share with you today – it also includes contractors, and team support, and a whole lot more.
But I just wanted to give you an overall idea of where I’ve come from. And I hope you realize this is not meant to impress you, because when I was doing my taxes for last year, I’ve got to tell you – I gave myself a little kick in the butt for how much money I spend every month.
But anyway now I’m rambling, so I’m just going to jump right in.
Now, these tools are not in any particular order. I don’t usually do my podcast episodes from a script, but I really wanted to make sure that I got all the tools that I really wanted to mention in one place. So again, they’re not in any order – they’re just in the order that they came out of my head.
The first tool that I cannot imagine having my business run without is Infusionsoft. I do need to give a disclaimer that I am an Infusionsoft Certified Partner, and a lot of what I do for my clients is setting up social media and digital marketing strategies for whatever they are working on – and I do a lot of building out campaigns in Infusionsoft.
If you’re not familiar with Infusionsoft, I’d love for you to go over to SuttonStrategicSolutions.com/Infusionsoft, and you can sign up for a tour, and I’ll give you the whole shebang. I’ll let you see how it works and everything.
But it is a CRM (a customer relationship manager). And the way that I use it – there’s about 50,000 different ways that I use it – I have a whole lot of different lead magnets set up, and people are constantly coming into my funnel from a lot of different sources. (And I’ll be sharing a little bit about that in a little bit.) And Infusionsoft is taking care of my whole entire sales funnel.
It is sending out emails. It’s inviting people to appointments. When people are making appointments for a consultation with me, it is sending out reminders. When clients are setting up appointments, it is sending out reminders to them. I have my online courses set up through Infusionsoft, and the auto-pay or subscriptions are all being processed through there. So it is really just taking a whole lot of different applications and putting them all under one umbrella.
Infusionsoft is not cheap. It runs between $199 and $399 a month – I’m paying somewhere in the middle – and if you are listening… Well, obviously you’re listening. But if you are sitting there thinking you’d really love to get more, maybe this is the year that you want to sign up, please reach out to me. I will give a discount to Positive Productivity listeners.
The second tool that I absolutely love using is Leadpages. And Leadpages is where I build my landing pages for all of my different lead magnets that I have set up. I build all my sales pages – for the most part – in Leadpages, and it makes it so simple. I am also a WordPress user, but I have found that the amount of time that it takes to build a page in WordPress takes so much longer than using the new drag-and-drop feature in Leadpages. So I quickly renewed my subscription, and I can’t see myself ever giving up.
You can find Leadpages at Leadpages.net, and subscriptions for them run anywhere from $37 to $79 a month – and they do go upwards from there – but I know that you can get discounts if you sign up annually. Please do not go to Leadpages.com. That is not their site, and it’s actually just a really smart person who is collecting leads from people who meant to go to Leadpages.net.
(Oh, I should throw in here that if you want links and more information about any of the tools that I’m mentioning, please go to my website to the show notes at TheKimSutton.com/PP039 for Episode 39.)
The next tool that I absolutely love is Harvest. Harvest is my invoicing software, and I switched over to them from FreshBooks – which I really do still like FreshBooks – however, I switch to harvest because they had a really nice retainer function. A bit of my work is still completed on an hourly basis, so I really needed a way to track the retainers that had been paid against the hours that I had used, and harvest makes it so simple.
You can find out information about harvest at HarvestApp.com, and subscriptions start at about $12 a month.
Edgar is my next “can’t live without” tool. I switched to Edgar from Hootsuite because of the evergreen scheduling function for social media posting. I use Edgar to post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – and every day I’m trying to figure out how to maximize my membership even more.
Just to give you an idea of how successful I’ve been with Edgar, I started a campaign for a lead magnet I put out on January 1st, 2016 – and using Edgar, along with the next two I’m going to mention, I started getting 300 opt-ins per month without doing any work outside of the original setup.
You can find Edgar at MeetEdgar.com, and plans start at about $49/ month.
Crowdfire is the next tool that I absolutely love. I do little to no Facebook ads, and Crowdfire has become my way of getting my name out to the world.
The way I use Crowdfire is I’ve developed a list of the people and media outlets that my “perfect prospect” may be following. And then I go into Crowdfire, and I follow the followers of those people, or media outlets, or tools. So for example, if my ideal client may be following Infusionsoft just to see their tweets, and get their messaging, etc., I will go in and I will use Crowdfire to follow all the followers of Infusionsoft on Twitter.
Now, you may think that this is a little bit spammy, but in reality, it’s not any different than you may be doing using Facebook ads when you’re using their targeting. The way that I mean this is that you set up a Facebook ad to target the followers of certain interest groups, and that is really no different than what I am doing using Crowdfire and Twitter.
Since I started using Crowdfire just under two years ago, I’ve grown my Twitter account to nearly 31,000 followers, and I have had a lot of success as far as building relationships with the people that I’ve met using this technique.
You can find Crowdfire at CrowdfireApp.com, and they do have free plans available. In addition, I do offer a course called “Fill Your Funnel with Twitter” – and you can find the link to that course in the show notes, which again, are at TheKimSutton.com/PP039.
B2B Prospecting Tool is one of my newest “favorite apps”, and it was actually designed by one of my clients, Darren Kurilko. (Oh, my gosh – I always get that name wrong. Sorry Darren!) What the B2B Prospecting Tool does is, it simplifies the connection process on LinkedIn. And it helps you meet people who are in your target market, as well as engage with them on a very personal level, without spending a lot of time.
Now the wonderful thing about LinkedIn is that when you send a message through their system, you have a 100 percent deliverability. What I mean by that is, when you send a message through LinkedIn, it is going to get to the other LinkedIn user’s inbox within the LinkedIn system. Now, this isn’t always the case when you’re using a tool like Infusionsoft, or MailChimp, or any of the other email marketing softwares out there. You want your messages to be delivered.
Since I started using the B2B Prospecting Tool, listens to the podcasts have actually increased 300% – and that’s just because I am mentioning the podcast in the messages that I send out – and my ranking on LinkedIn has also increased tremendously. You can find information about the B2B Prospecting Tool at B2BProspectingTool.io.
Next, I’m going to mention two tools, because honestly I’m using both – why figure out which one I like better? And those two tools are Trello and Asana. They are both project management tools where you can organize your projects, and the activities, and the action items that you need to take to get a specific task done – and also to delegate those tasks to your team members.
Asana is significantly more expensive than Trello. For example, I was paying $25 a month for Asana, versus the $45 a year I’m going to be paying for Trello. However, the thing that I really liked about Asana is that you can have a recurring task without having to use any special add-ons or features. Trello has what you call “power-ups”, and in order to get the recurring activity feature on a board you have to use one of your power ups. In a free account, you only get one, and I’m not sure that that’s how users necessarily want to be using it.
Next, I’m going to bunch three tools together. Now remember, I warned you that my list of 10 tools that I use in my business was more than 10 tools. But these three tools are WordPress, WooCommerce and Memberium.
All of my sites are built on WordPress, and I will never switch that – but I am using WooCommerce on TheKimSutton.com to sell the products that I have available right now, and I know I’m going to be using that a lot more in the future.
I suppose I’m going to be throwing in another tool right now, too – because the way that I have WooCommerce integrated with Infusionsoft is with InfusedWoo, which starts streamlining all the messaging, and email marketing, and all the notifications for customers between WooCommerce and Infusionsoft. And it makes everything a lot more simple.
A great thing about that as well is that if I do not have the products that I sell here in the house, the InfusedWoo integration will send a notification to the warehouse that is housing the product and tell them to ship it out. And I won’t even have to know that the product sold, because everything would be happening behind-the-scenes member.
Memberium is the system that I use to house my online courses. This is a WordPress- and Infusionsoft-specific course software, and you can find it at Memberium.com (that’s M-E-M-B-E-R-I-U-M.com).
Dropbox is the next tool that I really can’t live without. I’m sure that most of you have heard of it, but what it is that it’s cloud-based storage, which for me is amazing – because if I’m not at my PC, or if I have to leave and go out to work for the day for some reason or another, I can always access all my business files in the cloud wherever I am.
I also have to mention that this has been a lifesaver since I started the podcast, because these podcasts files take up quite a bit of space. So instead of using up all the storage on my PC or on my Mac, I house them all in Dropbox. And I archive them after the episode is published so that I still have a record, but they are not taking up any space on my computer.
But the reason why I’m using it is because for me, it seemed to be the most cost-effective way to sync my online scheduler with Infusionsoft. My TimeTrade account is only costing me $75 a year, approximately, and in full disclosure, I am getting a free TimeFusion account because I am an Infusionsoft Certified Partner. TimeFusion starts at about $5 a month and goes up anywhere to around $25 a month.
But what’s great about TimeFusion is that it syncs my TimeTrade account with my Infusionsoft account and reminds people when they have an upcoming appointment. I know personally that money can be lost when people forget to show up at a consultation or at a podcast interview, just because there may have been a lot of potential there in the background. So those reminders are vitally important when I’m running my business.
Now the final tool that I want to mention, even though I’m not currently using it, is Proposify. Proposify is great because you can set up custom proposals – which look absolutely amazing – send them to your prospects. And when they approve the proposal, you can even sync it with your invoicing software, such as Harvest or FreshBooks or Xero, and your invoicing software can be set to send out the retainer invoice to your new client.
I love the fact that this takes a lot of the work out for me. And when your prospect approves that proposal online, you do have some form of written documentation that they have agreed to the terms of your contract – which are, by the way, included in your proposal.
Now again, if you have any questions about any of the software and tools that I’ve mentioned, or if you want to get the link so you can go and find out more about any of these tools, please visit my website at TheKimSutton.com/PP039.
And I’d also love it if you would comment below the notes with any other tools that you have found extremely valuable in your business. I hope you’ve found my list to be extremely helpful, and I wish you a most positively productive day!