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Running an online business can be overwhelming but the right tools can really help you feel more organized, prepared and professional — so here’s an extensive list of the tools I use in my business! I’ve organized everything into categories to help you find what you’re looking for more easily, since some of you might have service-based businesses while others might be focused on digital products and courses :)

Some of these resources include affiliate partnership links, which means I may earn a commission if you click through and decide to make a purchase. I love all of these resources so much and can’t recommend them enough!

+ Business Operations & Organization

ClickUp - I've just started using ClickUp for business and HQ project organization and I looooove it so far; it's helped me organize my business in a totally new way! Perfect for solopreneurs, agencies or small teams.

G Suite - I love G Suite for my business because it keeps me super organized. I use G Suite for email, writing content, sending client homework, organizing my calendar, tracking budgets and analytics with spreadsheets, client/customer surveys and more!

  • Gmail - Set up multiple aliases (hello@mybilliedesigns.com, support@mybilliedesigns.com, etc), canned email templates, schedule out emails to send later (free Boomerang integration) and get reminders to follow up if someone hasn't responded to your email.
  • Google Calendar - Helps me keep track of my design calendar, meetings, design projects, incoming payments from clients, upcoming expenses and see my personal calendar at a glance.
  • Google Docs - I use Docs for client notes, client homework, course content documents and content creation for my blog, newsletters, videos and social media posts.
  • Google Sheets - Amazing spreadsheet platform that helps me track website and marketing analytics, finances and bookkeeping, referral + design credit tracking for clients and time tracking for team members.

Bench Accounting - America's largest bookkeeping service for small businesses and the little guys. I seriously wish I would have invested in their team when I first started out, but instead I spent approximately a billion hours getting frustrated with Quickbooks and not knowing what the f&%k I was doing at tax time. It doesn't matter how messy or non-existent your books are, the team at Bench is SO nice and their sole purpose is to make your life easier. YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE THEM!! PS this link will get you 20% off Bench services for 6 months in addition to the FREE month you get when you try them out!

Stripe - This is the payment processor I use to collect online payments from customers and clients. Integrates with Dubsado, Squarespace, SamCart and Zapier.

Dropbox and/or Google Drive - Both are awesome cloud-based file storage platforms that are pretty comparable in terms of pricing and features. I started out with Dropbox then switched over to Google Drive because I use Google Docs so much and can save online Docs directly to client and project folders on my laptop 🙃

Squarespace - my website platform of choice for myself, my courses and web design clients. You can use the code MYBILLIE for 20% off your subscription :)

Namecheap - my favorite place to purchase domains/URLs

Ikea dry erase boards - I have two of these in my office that I use to visually map out what client and HQ projects I have coming up. Great for lists and brainstorming, too.

Ikea blank notebooks - I love Ikea's simple notebooks because they're a little smaller and don't add a lot of bulk in my bookbag, plus the pages are blank so I can use them to sketch or write out lists. Super versatile and Ikea changes out the colors throughout the year.

Post-it notes - I use Post-its to map out projects and systems for MBD. You can get these anywhere and I love them because they're so helpful for brain dumping and organizing your ideas.

+ Client Project Systems & Tools

Asana - I'm currently using Asana to keep my client projects organized (but may move client projects over to ClickUp once I get acclamated to all my internal systems and processes being over there). With Asana, I outline all the tasks for each project and invite my clients into the tool so they can see their assigned tasks and due dates. It's awesome!

Dubsado - I use Dubsado templates, canned emails, client portal and automated workflows to help me follow up with leads and clients, book online meetings and send proposals, contracts, invoices and emails -- use the code OMGYES20 to get 20% off your subscription 🎉 And check out this blog post for a more detailed look at how I use Dubsado in my business.

Google Docs - I use Google Docs to keep my client notes in one place and to deliver/receive client homework (like website content).

Dropbox or Google Drive - I use a cloud-based file storage system to collect website content (images, brand assets) and deliver final files to clients.

Zoom + Google Hangouts - My two video call platforms of choice that allow me to share my screen with clients.

+ Design Tools

Envato Elements - This is a design subscription resource that's FULL of amazing mockups, fonts, patterns, graphics, sound clips, photos and more. I use this all the time for client projects and myself :)

Adobe CC - a suite of design software products I use for myself and clients:

  • InDesign - Primarily used to create moodboards, digital PDFs, workbooks, presentations, business cards and digital graphics
  • Illustrator - Primarily used for logo design, print design and digital graphics
  • Photoshop - Primarily used for photo editing, GIFs, simple animated graphics and mock-ups
  • Adobe Fonts/Typekit - An amazing resource of fonts that connects with Squarespace and all Adobe products
  • CC Libraries - Allows you to share client libraries (with images, colors + fonts) with team members for easy collaboration

+ Marketing

Squarespace - Your website is the #1 marketing tool you have and Squarespace is my website platform of choice. I use it for myself and 95% of web design clients. Use the code MYBILLIE for 20% off your subscription :)

Namecheap - This is my favorite place to purchase domains/URLs.

ConvertKit - Super powerful email marketing software with lots of reporting, segmenting, automation and GDPR compliance built into the software.

Your First 1k - A course by Mariah Coz about growing your email list and getting your first 1000 subscribers.

Later - I use Later to queue up my Instagram posts and stories and to see how everything looks in my grid. Can auto-post for you and include hashtag collections that you can save to your profile.

Tailwind - This is a tool that helps me with my Pinterest marketing through scheduled posting and recycling content.

Pinfinite Growth - A course by Melyssa Griffin about using Pinterest for your blog or business (she goes over how to set up and use Tailwind in the course!).

Interact Quiz - This is an amazing quiz builder that connects to your email marketing platform to help you increase your list size. Follow the link or use the code melanie25 to get 25% off your subscription! Go here for a tutorial on how to use Interact.

Whitney Ryan's blog - I don't remember how I stumbled across Whitney but she has an amazing knack for making writing for your business (whether it's website copy or content creation) seem so approachable. She offers the most amazing practical advice and has an amazing gift for storytelling.

+ Digital Product Tech

Samcart - What I use to sell my digital products and courses with payment plan options and upsells/downsells; integrates with ConvertKit and Zapier -- this link will give you a free 14 day trial 🎉

Teachable - My online course platform of choice with plans starting as low as $39/mo.

Zapier - Zapier is an app that connects 2 or more tools together; I use Zapier to enroll students in Teachable after someone checks out on Samcart.

Deadline Funnel - Special tech I use to build evergreen funnels and create launch countdown timers.

Mariah Coz's Accelerator program - Oh man, this is an EPIC program that completely guides you as you create, launch and build a course or course business **let them know that Melanie sent you :)

+ Video Tech

Webcam - I use the LogiTech C920 for my webcam. It has amazing quality and value -- you're gonna feel so legit and profesh with this webcam!

Webcam desk mount - This is a super useful tool I use to position my webcam and get the perfect angle haha! The mount is attached to an extendable arm so you can adjust the height and placement. A must-have with the Logitech webcam!

Phone mount adapter - This is a super inexpensive but amazing phone mount you can put onto the desk mount above when you want to use your phone instead of the webcam. I use this when I'm doing IG and FB lives from my phone so that I can free up my hands :)

Yeti mic - This mic is super high quality and easy-to-use; just plug the USB into your computer and go!

Quicktime for Mac - I use Quicktime to record my screen and face for video tutorials -- this is a free tool that comes with Mac computers.

iMovie - This is another free tool that comes with Mac computers (you can also download the app for free on your phone). I pull my Quicktime recordings into iMovie to quickly edit my videos on my computer. You can add transition effects, slides and graphics on top of your video as well as trim clips, combine multiple video files, detach your audio and export directly into Youtube and Facebook.

Loom - This is an awesome online tool that I love to use when I want to create a quick recordings of something online. I often use it to record quick tutorials for clients and it can also be used to record how you do something when you're onboarding a new team member.

Zoom - This is a meeting room software that allows you to video chat with anyone who has a link to the meeting room. Includes a chat feature, the ability to record your meetings and a screenshare with the option to let someone else control your screen (so awesome when working with clients)!

Google Hangouts - Another meeting room tool I love to use :)

Photoshop - I use Photoshop in conjunction with Quicktime to create animated gifs and website scroll thru mockups -- check out my tutorial here :)

+ Courses, Programs & Memberships I'm a part of

Mariah Coz's Accelerator program - Oh man, this is an EPIC program that completely guides you as you create, launch and build a course or course business **let them know that Melanie sent you :)

Pinfinite Growth - A course by Melyssa Griffin about using Pinterest for your blog or business.

Your First 1k - A course by Mariah Coz about growing your email list and getting your first 1000 subscribers.

+ Books That I Really Love

The Big Leap - One of the most profound books I read in 2018 that helped me find the courage to believe in my vision and keep moving forward in my business during a season of intense burnout!

You Are A Badass At Making Money - I'm in the process of listening to this one on Audible. I kinda wish I would've gotten the hard copy because the content is SO GOOD, but for me there's a disconnect between the author's writing style and actual voice (she sounds like an older person who's trying to sound younger). Still, amazing content :)

The Enneagram - Learning about the Enneagram and what my personality type is has helped me OWN who I am. I love the Enneagram because it also helps you figure out who you are in relationship to other people, and goes over your motivators which helps you understand why you act a certain way.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck - Oh man, hands down my favorite book on this list. A must-read for any sensitive, overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden creative.

Profit First - I love the audio version of this because the author is just SO GOOD. He makes money feel approachable for those who aren't naturally great with it (me). This book is all about helping you form good habits around your business so that you can easily understand your numbers and make sure your business is a profitable one.

Breaking the Time Barrier - An amazing and quick read that I recommend for any service-based business! This e-book is all about establishing value-based pricing and really helped me become more confident in my prices when I first started out.

 

Free Trainings & Exercises

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