Where do we begin?
As a (former) new coach, I get it! I know it's hard to start out as solo-preneur and want to present your business in the biggest & best light possible, but you simply can't afford to just yet. When you want to create a seamless client experience, but don't yet have the hundreds of dollars to invest in all the tools you "need".
That all ends today! Not only am I going to give you the exact tools that I use, I'm giving you the information to start using them yourself, today.
There are a few things you need to do before getting started:
Focus on the back-end. Just for a moment, pump the breaks on creating the most beautiful site, or your catchy sales copy - they come into play a little later. Right now you need to zero in on your desire to serve and create the system of systems to receive, maintain and support your clients. Yes you want to attract the clients, but your back-end must be as neat and organized as all the things you are using to rope your clients in.
Be open and hear me out. You may or may not be familiar with these tools. Your favorite influencer may not like one or all of these tools. It's all good. I'm sharing with you tools that work well together and have been game changers in my business. Using them creates the foundation for a fluid system, that affords you the ability to focus on the activities that have a greater ROI aka the money making activities.
So without further ado, let's jump into it. Not only does this list include, free (or low cost tools) -- they all also have upgrade options to grow with you as your business grows. Yes, it is true you have to spend money to make money. I wholeheartedly believe and live by this concept. But, I am also realistic -- starting out we don't always have *all the monies* to invest. You can start where you are, and grow your investments when and where appropriate. There are levels to this...
THE MASTER LIST: THE TOOLS
How To Schedule Client Calls - Acuity Schedule
How To Collect Payment - Stripe
How To Strategically Sell To Clients - Drip
How To Manage Leads - Insightly
Where To Get Your Domain Email - G Suite
Disclaimer: These tools have been selected based on my personal use (and continued use) of these services. Where applicable affiliate links have been utilized.
GETTING STARTED: HOW & WHY I USE THESE TOOLS
One of the driving forces behind some of my favorite selections, is their overall ability to integrate with one another. You see, part of being strategic in choosing which services to use, is maximizing their potential. Here's what I know:
- With certain paid Squarespace plans you can upgrade your Acuity Schedule plan for free! More features, at no cost.
- Insightly integrates seamlessly with Gmail (making it easier for tracking certain conversations and leads). Insighlty's free plan also allows you to have two user accounts (VA anyone?!)
- Drip has the ability to send leads directly to Insightly. This is a critical capability and will do wonders for enhancing your follow up ability and lead retention.
- Drip also integrates with Acuity Schedule and Stripe.
- While we are at it -- Drip has a long list of integration capabilities that extend beyond my favorite apps. The list includes sites like Shopify, WooCommerce, ThriveCart, Deadline Funnel, Facebook Custom Audiences, Webinar Jam and more!
The Nitty Gritty Details: Click To Expand
Why I Use: ACUITY SCHEDULE
What is there not to love. Let's begin with the some of my favorite features:
- You can sync it to multiple calendars, so the availability shown to clients self scheduling times is always up to date.
- You can sync with stripe to charge one time and subscription payments to clients, thus scheduling and invoicing can all be done in one place.
- You can create various appointment types, with varying availability.
- You can use smart scheduling features to make your schedule appear busier (aka show fewer available times) as well as keep appointments from being too spread out.
- You can customize reminder emails (and more) per appointment type.
I can seriously go on for days about how much i LOVE acuity. Lots of coaches and service providers who are just starting out opt to create longer descriptions per appointment/service/package and just simply use the scheduling website as a makeshift website until a permanent one is built. It's a game changer -- go create your account right now!
Why I use DRIP & MAILERLITE
First, let's just get this out the way -- Mailchimp is a viable substitute for Mailerlite (and it also integrates with Squarespace). I cannot stand it, we don't get along -- but for those of you that already use it, feel free to continue.
Now, Mailerlite is bae because not only does it have landing pages, it also lets you create custom coded buttons to fit in style with your website design -- and have their own analytics. That's right you can check the click through rate of each individual button to see how its converting, and what areas of your site are "hotter" than others. Here's a live example of where I use the buttons on my site. If you decide you want to make the switch, Mailerlite also has a nifty tool that allows you to transfer your list over from mailchimp.
So with all that awesomeness why do I also use drip? Easy, drip has an amazing visual tool that lets you map out your email marketing funnel. I'm talking triggers, decisions, goals, tags -- everything. Starting out I knew how important email marketing was, and I needed a robust tool that allowed me the ability to dive deeper than just "automations" -- I needed a way to track how users were interacting with my messages, and gentle massage them into being a paid client.
Why I Use: ASANA & TRELLO
Trello makes it easier to map out my systems, create programs, store ideas in a organized manner, and maintain content for my Facebook group...to say the least. Trello even lets you download and use the board layouts of other users (when shared). See a board you like in the inspiration section, and you can copy and use it too! Also it's pretty, I can use backgrounds, labels and more -- that way I inspired.
With Asana I create the projects developed in trello, assign due dates and the like. I prefer Asana for team management, as you can have multiple teams, for multiple tasks and they all are able to maintain their assignments/tasks. Trello does this as well, just incase you don't want to use both tools.
Why I Use: ZOOM & UBER CONFERENCE
There are a few reasons I like both tools. First, I like to record my calls for my own personal development and staff training. Second, I like for my clients to have the responsibility of "calling me" -- but if they do not "call in" on time, I will call them. This is one of the ways I mentally prepare my self for the type of call I am about to have. The mindset and approach for both types of calls can be different -- but that's a different story for a different day.
Zoom allow for callers to dial in, as well as you to dial out. The free platform does not have a time limit for 1:1 calls, however for group calls/conferences there is a 40minute time limit. That's where uber conference comes in. Talk and talk to your hearts content AND record the call too!
Why I Use: INSIGHTLY
Follow up is the name of the game. Often times your clients need to warm up to you before they buy from you. With coaching and certain other service based industries, you prompt your client to have a 1:1 call with you. While we would prefer our clients call when they are ready to be "converted for sale" -- we really can't control when these calls happen. The fact of the matter is whenver it happens, early or later in their funnel, they may not always be ready to buy from you at that moment.
That's where Drip comes in, based on how a user interact with you and your emails -- Drip can send them right over to insightly automatically without you having to lift a finger.
Leads that end up in my insightly have a whole checklist for follow up procedures via myself and my VA (remember you get two users!).
Why I Use HOOTSUITE & PLANOLY
Before diving into the details, I'd also like to throw buffer in the ring. I go back and forth between which I prefer (between hootsuite and buffer) -- but at present I only use them for twitter and scheduling WITHIN my Facebook group. I do not use either for scheduling on my Facebook Page, as the algorithm favors the native scheduling tools within the site. I've shared a video in the resouces below explaining.
Planoly is seriosly my jam because it's how I keep my IG feed all pretty and orgnized for @2aspireco. I can preplan my posts, add in placeholders, write captions and more. IG is not one of my favorite platforms to keep up with, so this app really makes it painless. Best part it has a web interface too, with all the same featurs as the phone app! There are other options too but honestly, it all comes down to preference, test them out and see what works best for you
Last but not least, G Suite is bae, I could write a dissertation, but in summary I'll just say: my life and my business need G Suite/Gmail.
AMPLIFY & ALIGN: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Information with action is dead weight. Having all these tools, setting them up -- but then having know idea what to do next does you no good.
Knowing the tools is just part of the battle. Knowing how to use them, *strategically*, is what really maximizes their uses.
This is where the Amplify & Align Coaching Program comes in. I'll spare you all the details here, just know there is an entire section of the program (3 weeks to be exact) dedicated to developing and executing your personalized strategy. Not just with me, but with experts. That's right, I bring my team to you. This isn't just about launching, it's about creating a business strategy that works and works for your lifestyle.
Here's a sneak peak into the organized and optimized business that's waiting for you.
While you are creating content and coaching clients:
- Your opt-ins are set up and ready to feed into your mailing list, where people are welcomed and begin the carefully (and expertly) crafted journey through your funnel.
- Your mailing list is hard at work recording metrics and letting your CRM know who is extra interested in your offers for dedicated follow up.
- Your acuity schedule is synced to your calendar, so that concert you just got invited to on Wednesday -- is automatically marked as busy to any one looking to book with you.
- The client you are meeting with on Friday, just got a reminder email of the appointment, and you did too.
- You wake up every day knowing exactly what tasks you need to be done, by when and for what. No more sporadic and timelineless to-do lists for you.
- Stripe is auto-collecting payments, and paying out into your synced bank account.
- During all of the above, your social media is dripping out your curated feed and information packed tweets, engaging your target market weekly.
This future is closer than you think. The program literally takes your from A to Z, getting you up and running in just 12 weeks.
RESOURCE GUIDE: LEARNING THE BASICS
Getting Started With My Faves
- The Ultimate Guide on How to Use Asana - The Suitecase Entrepreneur
- How to Use Asana to Be a More Productive Entrepreneur - Under 30 CEO
- Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. Sprout Social: Which is Right For You? - Huckleberry Branding
- How To Use Trello To Organize Your Entire Life - Lifehacker
- How To Use Trello - Zapier.com
Don't Leave Just Yet!
I have a few more resources to share (:
There are wayyyyy more resources available to you on the blog, and some awesome intro courses over on the 2aspire Thinkific site. As if that's not enough you can join me over in the mindyabusiness collective on facebook - the free facebook community for aspire business. If you like actionable info like this, you will love the group too.
Last but not least, I love talking to and working with clients like you. If you'd like to connect, ask some questions, get some guidance I invite you to give me a call -- really! Just follow this link and get on my calendar!
I hope you found immense value here, and I look forward to having more opportunities to work with and support you as you build your bomb business and beyond! If you are ready to get started, give me a call and let's talk about where we begin :)