Resources and tools are something that every entrepreneur and entregeek needs, so I have broken down my resources into different sections to make the information easy to find and explanations to help you see what will work for you and where you are at with your business.
Top 4 Websites for Resources
1. Evernote: This is a great way to track ideas, to save ideas that I want to use later and even jot down an idea that I have had that I want to come back and read through later. You can also use Evernote to tag the ideas you want to come back to later. With the pro version that I use, you can also scan handwritten documents. So if you are out and have an idea and write down a note, you can scan it in using Scanbot and then upload it to Evernote. Then you can use Evernote to search through the writing as it scans and identifies words that have been handwritten. There is also a mic tool that lets you record your voice so if you are driving or can’t write, you can still save your ideas.
2. Udemy: This site is full of courses that you can take to learn lot of different information. There are courses that let you learn almost anything you want to know about being an entrepreneur – it’s all on there. There are two courses that I really recommend, the first is the Lean Start Up Course which was free when I took it and is hosted by Eric Ries who also wrote the successful Lean Start Up book. The second is Twenty-One Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs which is also free to take and help get you started.
3. Bluehost: This is a hosting company that owns the server that you can set up your website on and where your website will be saved. The reason that I chose Bluehost over other hosting companies is the great customer service they offer, they don’t allow child pornography sites on their servers; in fact, I don’t think they allow any pornography on their servers, so that you can be sure that your website isn’t being stored on the same server as those kinds of sites. They offer great plans and you can even own multiple domains on your account so that you can constantly explore new ideas and business opportunities. They are also recommended by WordPress.
4. Leadpages: Leadpages gives you the ability to set up a website and use Mailchimp or Aweber to build a mailing list that you can use to test products on potential customers and market to later. Leadpages gives you the ability to have lead boxes on a page or a blog post that let you give away a free resource or tool in exchange for an email address.
Top 3 Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a great free resource to engage with and also let you get involved with social media networking and build relationships with other entrepreneurs.
This is Pat Flynn’s Facebook group that has lots of people involved with it. It’s a great group where you can chime in on other people’s ideas, build conversations and answers questions.
This is a great Facebook group for networking with lots of different entrepreneurs.
Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker created this group that also has a podcast of the same title where they interview different businesses. It’s a great group where people can give feedback on business ideas; you can get opinions on your ideas, help other entrepreneurs and even get some insight to help with your business.
Bonus: There is a bonus Facebook group which is The Amazing Seller. This group teaches you how to deal with amazon selling physical products as well as digital ones and to make a viable business from selling through the online giant.
Top 3 Sites for Courses and Memberships
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I believe that business is all about building relationships. There’s a Scripture that says only iron can sharpen iron and I really believe that is key to business today, you can’t survive without relationships.
This is a membership group for entrepreneurs that you can join for $1 right now. It’s a great place to learn in an environment with other entrepreneurs and lets you build new relationships. Fizzle.co teaches you how to go out business online, letting you gather your ideas and take part in lots of courses that are hosted by entrepreneurs and bloggers to help you learn.
This a great site that lets you find locations locally where you can meet up with different entrepreneurs and development groups, for whatever you are into, whether it is video games, movies, business start-ups or coffee. It lets you physically meet with someone and network as there is loads of different stuff you can do online, but there is something about meeting in person and shaking someone by the hand that can’t be replaced.
Building yourself and your education are essential to business. One of the features of Udemy I didn’t mention before was how you can contact the teacher directly and ask them questions as well as see the other questions other students have asked, which is a feature I really like.
Top 8 Sites for website hosting and blogging tools
1. Bluehost: This is a great resource that makes your website official. A lot of people when they start a website, it’s not really their’s, it often looks like this www.mybusiness.WordPress.org which shouts that you don’t own your domain, it belongs to somebody else and you are using a free service. It basically means that you don’t look very legit as a business owner. Whereas using Bluehost, you have ownership over your domain and look professional.
2. Elegant Themes: This is a great place to find themes for WordPress (WordPress is a tool used to build websites) which you can install and will give your website a professional finish.
3. Colorlib: This is another WordPress theme that gives your website a professional design that looks good across multiple platforms – from your laptop to your phone. You can use Colorlib for free to design your website and follow this tutorial that shows you how to build a website using Colorlib.
4. Aweber: Aweber is a place where you can store your email lists and can opt it into your website. Aweber lets you develop multiple email lists that you can use to market to. Mailchimp is an alternative to Aweber. Having an email list has advantages like if there is a problem with your website, you can tell your customers what is happening.
5. Sumo Heat Maps: Sumome is a great site for social media, but heat maps are one of the most interesting and useful tools that they offer. Heat maps let you see where people are clicking on your website which helps you in developing your website as well as your business and products.
6. Optin Skin: At the end of your blog posts as a reader has finished, OptinSkin allows you to put in a box where readers can sign up for emails and tools, it’s a great tool for gathering emails.
7. Hustle Theme by Woothemes: This theme costs, roughly about $79, but if you can afford it, then it is worth spending the money. It’s a really useful theme for getting started, giving your website a great look and a professional feel. It is also design to work with WooCommerce, a tool that lets you sell physical products online.
8. Optin Monster: Like Optin Skin, except that it is design to work when a reader has finished with your site and is about to close or navigate away. It drops a box that asks users if they want to sign up for emails before they go and receive updates.
Top 5 Payment and Checkout solutions
1. Gumroad: This solution makes it easy to set up digital products to sell through your website, it saves users emails and doesn’t have any up front fees. Gumroad simply takes a percentage when your product sells.
2. Stripe: This is a great service as it takes credit cards directly, there are no monthly fees involved, as, like Gumroad, it takes a percentage of the price of the products sold and can be used to sell physical and digital products.
3. Sendowl: Another solution like Gumroad.
4. Paypal.com: Paypal has a credit card reader that you can use for any mobile device. You just plug it up to you phone and the magic happens. I forgot to mention it’s free.
5. Clickbank.com: Clickbank.com offers something a little bit different to other payment and checkout solutions. It lets you set up deals with affiliate sites or partner sites that can sell your products and instead of having to buy your product wholesale, you can offer sellers a percentage of the sale price. This gets you access to a wider audience you might not have been able to get to and still make money whilst generating funds for your affiliates. There are even some users who give certain products to affliates for free to access that wider audience.
Top 3 Sites for Course Creation and Consulting
1. Learningdash: Similar to Udemy, but it allows you to create courses that you can host on your WordPress themes and see direct from your own site instead of uploading them to a host site.
2. Create Awesome Online Course – David Gartland: This is a really crucial resource when it comes to creating an online course. If you are going into consulting, you need to know how to share your ideas. David Gartland gave great information on the Smart Passive Income podcast he guested on, detailing how to set to a course.
3. ZippyCourses – Derek Halpern: This resource is one I haven’t used yet, but Derek Halpern is a master when it comes to the psychology of behaviours in your customers and information he gives out is invaluable.
Top 3 Sites for Keyword and Competitor Research
1. Google Adword Planner Tool: This a free resource to help you find keywords that will give great serach engine optimisation for your website and posts and help improve your ranking in search results. You shouldn’t write your posts for a Google search, write about what you are passionate about, but bear keywords in mind.
2. Long Tail Pro: Helps you find domains and keywords to get you a good search engine optimisation and ranking in search engine results.
3. Similar Web Pro: This resource is a great way to research your competitors. All you do is put your competitors name in and it lets you see the traffic and who their competition is. You don’t have to use this tool to research your competitors, you can use it as a research tool as it is full of information to help you figure out different strategies that other companies use.
Top 6 Sites for Hiring on a Budget
1. Fiverr.com: This freelancing site is great for getting a logo, a blog post image, facebook icon image and even cover designs, for as little as $5 you can get some beautiful designs, which is perfect when starting out on a limited budget.
2. Peopleperhour.com: This site lets you connect with great writers, video intros, it’s such a useful tool when you are looking for freelancers to help you get started.
3. Elance.com: I use this site to find website designers and editors.
4. Upwork formerly Odesk: I find this resource perfect for finding virtual assitants to help with outsourcing tasks like research 200 facebook groups that are similar to mine.
5. 99designs.com: A fantastic site where you don’t just hire a freelancer, you have designers bid to work on jobs you post. This means you get a variety of designs to choose from rather than a single logo being designed.
6. Designcrowd.com: Similar to 99designs, only besides getting to pick from image designs, they also offer a similar post and freelancers bid on website designs.
Top 4 Tools for Videos and Production
1. Screenflow: This is a Mac product that is great for recording videos and screencasts. I record my videos and screencasts using Screenflow if I am teaching or showing someone how I want something done.
2. CamStudio: This resource is just like Screenflow only it’s free and is for PC and Mac
3. BBflash: This is a Windows product for screencasting that works really well.
4. Camstasia: This tool is for Mac and Windows, though it carrys a tidy little price tage, it is well worth purchasing if you can afford to.
Top 4 Life or Death Tools
These are essential tools to protect your files and information in case of disaster.
1. Crashplan: This tool is for your desktop computer or your laptop and is a great contingency plan incase anything happens to your computer. As entrepreneurs, our computers are our business and if anything happens such as a fire, your computer is stolen or it dies, then Crashplan has your files backed-up. All you have to do is get a new computer and download your files from Crashplan. It works in the background so that it is constantly updating so you don’t have to worry about remembering to sync. It costs around $5 a month and you can try it for 30 days for free.
2. Backup BuddyPress: This tool backs-up your website so that if anything malfunctions or your website gets hacked, you can simply revert to the back-up.
3. Sucuri Affiliate Link: This resource protects your website from malware and viruses as well as people trying to get through your site security to ruin your business and mess with your website.
4. External Hard Drive: Backing-up your files in as many places as possible is something that everyone should do. An external hard drive gives you the option of using Time machine (Mac) so that if anything happenstoyour laptop then you can revert back to a previous state, or transfer files onto a new Mac system.
Top 6 WordPress Plugins
Attaching plugins to your website can really help to make them function better.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast: Helps you to set up blog posts that are search engine friendly and look good.
2. Pretty Link Pro: Like the name of the resources suggests, this lets you create prettier looking links. On links to products on sites like amazon there are lots of letters and numbers, which doesn’t look pretty and pretty link pro lets you create custom links that look more attractive and professional e.g. jcinvesting.com/amazon
3. Disqus: This is a comment tool that helps you manage comments on your blog, fights of spammers and gives you a nice commenting system and a way to build a conversation at the end of a blog post.
4. Sumome: Great for social media icon images that look good on all devices and platforms.
5. Google Analytics by Yoast: Makes the installation of Google Analytics much simpler.
6. W3 Total Cache: This helps speed up your website so that it works quicker for your users.
Top 2 Sites for Amazing Photos and Images
1. Dollar Photo Club: $1 per image, this site has great photos and is cheap to use.
2. Pexels.com: Great site with great images for free!
Top 3 Virtual Offices
For entrpreneurs who want a bricks and mortar office space there are a couple of solutions I would really recommend.
1. Desktimeapp: Great app for finding locations near to you that offer places you can work at either in single offices or in co-work spaces. You can find space to rent for the day or on a month-to-month basis.
2. Regus: Offer office space in 120 countries around the world from as little as $3.99 a month where you can get your own office, a receptionist and conferencing facilities.
3. WeWork: This is developing in more and more cities offering co-work office spaces, shared work spaces that you can go to and network with other entrepreneurs whilst you work.
My Top Ten Favourite Chrome Extensions
These help to increase productivity and make the day go faster!
1. TabCloud: I use this all the time and is one of my number 1 resources. You can save a whole bunch of tabs and at the touch of a button reopen all the ones you’ve saved in a group across a variety of computers. I use this to pay my bills, as well as saving my favourite websites and bloggers.
2. Awesome Screenshot: This resource means that you can take pages or even whole sites that you like and record the clips or even the whole site and use later as inspiration, reading or as references.
3. Ghostery: I think this is a great tool, it shows you all the plugins that are being used by other people on their websites. If you look at say Oprah’s website you can see which plugins she uses and how they work together to help market her products.
4. Evernote Clipper: Takes clips of articles and blogs and saves them to Evernote for you. You can save ideas, articles that you like and want to read again later.
5. Window Resizer: I use this tool to resize my screen to show how my images and website look on different devices as well as on my videos to make sure they are the right size.
6. Buffer: Buffer is a great social media tool, I use it schedule twitter posts and other social media posts, save tweets and tweet articles.
7. Bit.ly: I use Bit.ly to track clicks on certain links most of the time, though I sometimes use it to shorten long links.
8. Kindle: The reason I love the Kindle extension is that you can open books and PDFs across lots of different platforms, but that you can upload a PDF and then read it as a book on your phone or tablet.
9. Feedly: This resources lets you keep track of your RSS feeds so that any bloggers you follow can all be tracked in the same place and you can get all their latest blog posts and not miss any.
10. CSS Viewer: I use this to look at the image sizes that other people have used on their websites, so that I know the sizes I should be working with on my own site and what will look right for me without a lot of trial and error.
My Top 5 Books
1. Crush it: This is the 1st book that I read that got me really pumped up and excited about bringing my ideas to life online. It also taught me the value of everybody. Whatever your audience size, whether it is 3 or 3,000, every single one of them matters and deserves so recognition and interaction.
2. The 4-Hour Workweek: There are so many tools packed into this book, but the most important thing I took away from this book is how to batch my ideas. It also taught me how to outsource to virtual assistants, what I should be doing and what I could look to other people to do.
3. The Millionaire Next Door: I really recommend this book as it highlights that appearances don’t tell you how much money people have, that you don’t have to be a lavish millionaire and blow it on $100,000 suits. More millionaires drive Ford pick up trucks than anything else! It also shows where people are spending money and the importance of investing money, not wasting it.
4. Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing: This book taught me how to invest in the right things and how to think like an investor. The whole idea revolves around the premise that a real business is something you can invest in, walk away from and it will still make you money.
5. Dave Ramsey – Total Money Makeover: I would say first that I really recommend his podcast as well as the book. What it offers is a simple way of approaching money, getting out of debt and is a practical guide on how to manage money.
The Equipment I use
I use a lot of different equipment that includes: –
• Mac Computer
• Logitech HD Webcam
• Wireless Keyboard
• iPhone 5S
• 3 Point Light Setup
• Behringer Soundboard
• Boom Mic
• Mic Flag
• Audio-Technica ATR2100 Mic
• Solid State Hard Drive
• USB 3.0 Flash Drive
• Cowboy Studio Wall Setup