My companies have made almost $30 million in the last ten years. In that time, I have used literally hundreds of apps, services, and tools literally. Today, my mission is to teach others how to do the same. To build a business that offers them the freedom, purpose, and income required to create the life they want.
Important Note: It's my hope to provide you the shortcuts, smartcuts, and intelligence needed for you to succeed. For that reason, I only suggest tools that I use. Below are services I both believe in and trust to provide value on your journey.
What Is It? Build powerful content-driven websites, start a sophisticated membership program, sell digital goods the smarter way, and much more. Even better, never waste valuable time with plugins, complicated code, hosting, maintenance, or upgrades.
Why I'm Recommending It: The site you're on is built on Rainmaker. It's the core of my business and the center of how I make money online. It's very deep software in terms of capability, but still remarkably simple to use. If you're hoping to build an all-inclusive online platform, consider Rainmaker.
2. Envato Marketplace
What Is It? Over 4.5 million digital products created by a global community of designers, developers, photographers, illustrators & producers.
Why I'm Recommending It? The market is made up of multiple different shops. The two I use most often are Graphic River and Theme Forest. They have incredible prices and strong quality for stock graphics, sounds, and website templates.
3. Bluehost Web Hosting
What Is It? Affordable website hosting for your blog, website, or store. Bluehost hosts over 2 million websites worldwide, has a reliable team and is easy to use.
Why I'm Recommending It? It's only $3.95 per month! And setting up a self-hosted blog can be intimidating. If you're thinking about jumping into the online space, start here. When I started blogging in 2009, Bluehost is where I hosted my blog. It's also where we host my wife's blog. And if you need help, I wrote a step-by-step guide on How To Start Your WordPress Blog In 10 Minutes.
What Is It? Online email marketing solution to manage subscribers, send emails and track results.
Why I'm Recommending It? I've tried almost every email marketing tool out there. Nothing compares to the ease of use and the power of MailChimp. They integrate with almost every marketing app on the planet, and their pricing is affordable. Don't get fooled, MailChimp is the best all around option out there.
What Is It? An easy e-commerce solution to sell your products online in a beautiful storefront designed with mobile in mind.
Why I'm Recommending It? I've tried multiple store solutions, and Shopify beats them all. The payment integrations and template library far surpass their competitors. Also, they have a killer app and great customer service.
What Is It? A WordPress plugin for email popups that converts website visitors into subscribers and customers.
Why I'm Recommending It? As you might realize, I'm a huge fan of beautiful design. OptinMonster has really well-designed templates, simple user interface, and it's highly intelligent. You can even do A/B tests and leverage analytics to increase your capture rate. You might hate email pop-ups, but they really do work.
7. Quickbooks Online
What Is It? Online accounting software for small businesses, freelancers, and consultants.
Why I'm Recommending It? Over the years I've used several accounting programs, but I always seem to come back to Quickbooks. A few years ago, they put a huge focus on their online version. Today, it's incredible. Super easy to use, beautifully designed, affordable, and has a wonderful mobile app. I feel in control of my money, and my accountant feels in control of the books.
What Is It? Use Geckoboard to turn your key performance data into beautiful, accessible KPI dashboards that keep teams informed, motivated and data-driven.
Why I'm Recommending It? I'm a visual person. I have a T.V. hanging on my wall that shows me (in real-time) how many visitors are on my site, the conversion rates for the day, new email subscribers, most popular content, and so much more. The business world is fast; we need fast information to make fast decisions, Geckoboard is my solution for it.
What Is It? Project management software that makes you want to use it.
Why I'm Recommending It? I've used all of the popular PM tools out there (BaseCamp, Asana, etc.). And the #1 problem with project management software is: People don't use them. DaPulse is different. The user interface is insanely easy to use, it's far more visual than any other tool I've seen, and it allows you to customize it to how your business works. Bottom line: It fits the personality of a creative planner and helps me increase organization.
Am I missing something? What tools do you use? Let me know about them in the comments below.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.