Episode 76 – Our Favorite Tools and Why We Use Them

Listen Now:

What We Talk About

Are you the master of your to-do list… or are you a slave to it?

In this episode, Stephanie Ann Ball will show you exactly how you can take back control of your to-do list instead of ending every day feeling like you have more on your plate than when you started. How you can leverage your to-do list to actually get the RIGHT stuff done… AND how you can get the much needed R&R withOUT stressing or feeling guilty about what’s left to get done.

Resources

Marketing Stuff
Publer
Canva Pro
Otter.ai
WordPress
ActiveCampaign
Clickfunnels
Calendly
Thinkific
AppSumo – Get a $10 credit here
Interact quiz maker

Podcast Resources
Poddit.net
Episode 24 – How Podcasts Generate Leads For Your Business with Brent Basham
Matchmaker.fm


1Sheet.pro
See it in action:
Jennie’s OneSheet
Alyson’s OneSheet
(Want your own? Scroll to the bottom of ours and sign up for an account!)

Captivate.fm
Episode 53 – The Real Secret to Podcasting Success with Mark Asquith
Auphonic

Admin Stuff
Google Sheets/Docs
Dropbox
Transferwise
Zapier
Stripe
Idev affiliate
BetterProposals

Project Management Stuff
Asana
Trello – Get a free month of Gold
Monday

Communication Tools
Slack
Voxer

Operations Stuff
OnlineJobs.ph
The Outsourcing Lever by John Jonas
Upwork

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex 0:03
Tech stack is what we call the programs, products, services, technology, that all work together to make your business run, whether that's your email marketing system, your website builder, your back office stuff, the great thing about all of it is there's tons of choices out there. And unfortunately, that's also the bad thing. Because you can get overwhelmed and stuck and mired in choice. This has happened to me, in sure it's happened to Jenny. The key is just to make a decision, an informed decision. But a decision nonetheless, because having the right tech stack can really make a big difference in your ability to scale, the amount of hassle that you're dealing with the conversion that you're going to get more opt ins, more sales, more actions toward that sale. And it's also really important to choose things that you will use that you'll like, depending on the use the user face, the interaction that you have with it, the available options and the features.

Jennie Wright 1:09
It's pretty, it's pretty individually and specific. And there's something that when it comes to tech stacks, I have an opinion, I have many opinions, but I have an opinion on this. Because I work with people all the time with their tech stacks. And what I find is, is that there is a predominant feeling with some people that they want to go to the all in one, okay. And there's a really easy phrase to remember. And this is our personal opinion, this is Allison and Jenny's personal opinion, you may differ from this, and that's okay.

Alyson Lex 1:39
But

Jennie Wright 1:41
Master, so all in ones are a master of none. And what that means is that the company that's creating these all in ones, and as an example, and I'm not being you know, I don't want to be specific and call anything out. But as examples like kajabi, or kartra. And sometimes some of the other ones. There's other other ones that we looked at, and Allison and I were actually in one yesterday, we did a free trial of one yesterday, looking at one specifically for a client. And what I want to say is, is that the goal was an all in one is that everything is in one spot. However, the struggle with that is, they're not 100% going to be the best possible thing. Some things inside that software will suffer like the page builder, or the automation for your email marketing. Instead of using something that is specifically built for page building, or specifically built for email marketing. The other thing that I want to share is that software depending on these all in ones, they also have another pieces of software to like brand new, this is one that I'm dealing with right now with some clients are these all in one summit builders, where you can host your summit and host the event and have you know, internal messaging that happens in there for registrants and things like that. The issue being is that those are still in development, okay, they're still in the middle of being developed. And some features aren't yet online. Some features have bugs, they're not fully worked out. And they could change and or disappear as the software kind of comes together. And the development continues to happen. And you're paying for that. So as an example, there's a an all in one summit software out there, that's $97 a month, and you're paying for that software to be in developing, you're actually paying for the development team to figure out the bugs and get through all this stuff. And in the meantime, your stuff doesn't work perfectly, and it may not convert perfectly. And that's a big problem for me when I'm focused so heavily on that. And that's why, in my opinion, all in ones are not the way to go.

Alyson Lex 3:47
I share Jenny's opinion, I validate Jenny's opinion. I also recognize that it's an opinion, I do know people who are very happy running their businesses on an all in one. However, we make recommendations based on our best experience and our best knowledge. And that's what we're doing here. Okay, so there are four things that I want to kind of cover. Before we dive into our favorite tools. And first, we're gonna put all the links to all of these on the show notes for this episode, which is going to be at System to thrive.com. And it's going to be episode number 76. Thing number one, you are going to try some tools out and not love them. It's super personal. I am a tool Trier. I sign up for free trials all the time. Jenny knows this.

Jennie Wright 4:39
Oh, she does like she does a lot.

Alyson Lex 4:41
And I'm like, Hey, I like this but not that, hey, I like this but not that. That's okay. I do that on behalf of my clients so that I can give them my experience and information. And that is something that I want you to do. A lot of them have free trials. So this is actually number two. Use the free trial. Test it out, get in there, don't just rely on the front page demo.

Jennie Wright 5:07
And careful when you're choosing something that you make sure that it's something that you'll actually enjoy using that it's not only the recommendation of your VA or somebody else. Because if you have to get into a piece of software, you have to use it, you have to be able to use it to be able to understand it, and has to be something that you actually enjoy and configure out. So don't just go off the recommendation of one person, it has to be something that can grow with your team. And quite honestly, we do go through different people in our teams. So making sure that it's not just based on that one thing is important. Another thing, number four, you will outgrow you will change and you will upgrade to different software options as you go at different times in your business, when you're first starting out, you may never ever, ever need an affiliate program. But that will change later on potentially if you need to. So make sure that you understand that, you know, it's it's, it's the thing you're using at the moment.

Alyson Lex 6:03
But

Jennie Wright 6:04
I sort of liken this to buying shoes for kids, you buy the right size, but with a little room to grow. Right. And that's what you want with your tech stack. So you want to have something that will grow with you has features that you can grow into, but not so much that you're paying for the bloat for the extra, but that you have the ability to kind of grow into that software.

Alyson Lex 6:25
I want to give a quick example here for this. And then we are going to go into exactly what our favorite tools are. And really quick description about why we like it. I was recently looking for an LMS or learning management software, which is like that online course software. And I was looking at a bunch of different options. And I found one that seems really interesting. But it was newer. And it didn't integrate with a lot of software. It did integrate with a few but not a lot. And the first thing that I thought was, what if I want to do something bigger? What if I need something that's not listed here, then do I have to migrate? So think about not just does it do what I need? Or does it do what I will need? But how does it work in the overall process. And that's a bigger conversation and probably a whole nother episode. Alright, we have broken up our favorite tools into the ways we use them. So we're going to start with the marketing stuff. I'm going to start with publisher, publisher is something I got off of a site called app Sumo. So I actually paid for a lifetime deal. And I helped fund some of the development but it's awesome. It's an alternative to Hootsuite and buffer. It's a social post Scheduler. And we use it not only to schedule recurring posts, but also to schedule out posts on platforms like Instagram, we can use Pinterest, of course Facebook, but they have a native Scheduler. And you know, Hootsuite just raised their prices, big time. Publishers a really good affordable alternative. We're big fans.

Jennie Wright 8:07
Canva Pro is the next thing that I love using I converted over to Canva Pro, probably about a year and a half ago, Allison I actually work almost exclusively in Canva pro for our images. And we've tried other things, we tried other competitors out there. And they're not as robust with all of the available templates, the ease of sharing, and actually, you can connect to Canva Pro has lots of integrations, and you're actually connected to publish, and it will actually push your posts your graphics right into public Hello, it's great. So it will actually connect to different social and you can download everything easy. And again, sharing is wonderful. So Canva Pro is a really great way to go for graphics.

Alyson Lex 8:48
We also use otter.ai we use that for transcription. It's a AI on what is that artificial intelligence I was gonna say automated intelligence

Unknown Speaker 8:58
artificial.

Alyson Lex 8:58
Wow. Alright, I just usually called AI and otter is they do have a free plan which does give you a function like ideas of the function, I know that the link will share on our show notes will give you extra minutes per month or something like that. it'll it'll just give you a give you something. But we load everything in there. Voice notes, these podcasts, any kind of webinars we do, everything gets put in there, because it timestamps everything you can edit right in there. That plays back it also connects with zoom. If you want to do live captions, you can automatically have your meetings recorded. There's a lot of functionality in there. And it's like 10 bucks a month. It's it's crazy cheap.

Jennie Wright 9:49
Yeah, I love I love me some. I love that I love otter.ai Allison got me into it. I absolutely adore it. We used it recently for Allison summit to help with transcription And it was phenomenal. It really pops out the AI is pretty good. And it actually learns. So it learns your names and things like that. So it actually gets better. And it's really, really good. I really like it. So the next one is WordPress WordPress that we use for websites. And this is our personal choice over some of the other options that you can do because it's very flexible. You can add plugins, and it works with our other types of software that we're using more readily. And it's very flexible and malleable for us. So we prefer WordPress in terms of website building.

Alyson Lex 10:36
Email marketing software, I actually turned Jennie on to this one as well is Active Campaign. Active Campaign is very powerful. A lot of people say that it's not as user friendly, like it's hard to kind of understand I disagree. I think that if you can visualize a funnel, you can use Active Campaign. It really is very powerful in the segmentation, templates. Reporting is fantastic. I like it better than any other mailing provider that I've used. And I know Jenny has used more of them than I have. Plus, it integrates at an API level real quick, I just want to explain API level means that company a and Company B speak directly to one another. If it integrates at Zapier level, which is another platform, that basically means Company A says something to Zapier, Zapier says it to Company B. And that is not an API level. And so Active Campaign does have API integrations direct integrations with a lot, a lot of software.

Jennie Wright 11:45
It does an API stands for application programming interface. So it's just the language that those two things can use to speak

Alyson Lex 11:53
just that all right, seriously, what is with me not I am Miss acronym, why do I not know the definitions of all these acronyms today? You do?

Jennie Wright 12:01
Know, and I hate acronyms. But these are the ones that these are the things that I use every day. So the acronyms are kind of stuck in my head at this point. But on a normal basis, Jenny does not play with acronyms. Well, the next one on our list is clickfunnels. This I love clickfunnels. And I want to explain real quickly why. So I have used in my work, I've used almost every page builder out there, there's a ton of them. My friends, there is an absolute ton of page builders. But there's a lot of great ones. And then there's some some mediocre ones. Now clickfunnels has two different options in terms of the packages. And I prefer to use clickfunnels at the lower end. So there's page building and order forms and product bumps and funnels, you can build a course in there, if you want to the higher end package, you can do things like email and affiliate, but I actually don't use those options, I prefer to put those in, I prefer my email system with Active Campaign thanks to Allison who got me off of AWeber. And I actually prefer to use a different Affiliate Software, which we'll talk about a little bit later, which is called idev. Affiliate.

Alyson Lex 13:06
Alright calendly. I put this in marketing, we put this in the marketing section, because it is a part of your process. I used to be on time trade. And I started getting comments about how it looked really outdated. And it didn't offer me a lot of flexibility. And so I switched, I made the switch to calendly, I looked at a bunch of other ones. But again, integrations I can tell or have my calendly tell Active Campaign tell Active Campaign that I somebody booked a call with me. And it tells Active Campaign to give them a tag and then it kicks off an automation. So again, like I said at the top of the episode, how everything works together is really important. And calendly is definitely worth the investment, especially from a marketing perspective.

Jennie Wright 14:05
I am totally on board with you on that. And I just wanted to say something but that I used to use VC to use it for years, six years. And I got the same thing where it looked out of date. And it really wasn't that worried. You know, it was just not working and didn't look that great. So I moved over the calendly to. So I also know I actually share a lot of the same sort of tech tech tech stack choices. The next one is Thinkific. That's core software. I have tried other things I even got an app Sumo deal for a course software, Alison and I were checking it out. Just couldn't measure up didn't look great. I have used the core software in kajabi. And that is also okay if you use it but for the price of kajabi. It didn't make sense. So I'm using Thinkific for my core software. My Courses are in there and I really really like it. It's got a great user interface. And it has different levels of packages that can actually fit into your business quite well. low end mid tier and high end of their of their you know their prices. You get different features in there. And I just think it's great.

Alyson Lex 15:03
Jenny and I have mentioned app Sumo a couple of times. And I'll go ahead and put a link to them in the show notes as well. App Sumo is basically a marketplace where organizations, companies, mostly software, offer lifetime deals on their software. And it's basically for early adopters. But it is a really great way to find things that you otherwise wouldn't find. I have bought stuff on there, and said, this does not work for me. They have a generous refund policy. But it's also like 37 to $67. We're not looking at hundreds and hundreds of dollars here. And you get lifetime access, which is pretty dang cool.

Jennie Wright 15:48
Yeah, that's how I got St. I, that's how I got B live back in the day. So when Facebook Live was struggling, at one point I moved over to be live and I got B live on a lifetime access through appsumo. We'll talk about that a little bit later. So let's talk about some let's talk about one of the things that I use recently, which is a quizmaker. So Allison, and I bought a quiz making software on appsumo. It will remain nameless, however, all of the help articles and all of the information was in Russian. And it struggled very, very much to fulfill the needs that I had for my quiz. And I very quickly said this isn't great. And I put a post out on Facebook and people said go try interact. Well, I'll tell you that interact. Quiz maker is awesome. I definitely recommend it. It's so easy to use. It's so malleable in terms of like look brand and, and color changes. And it allows you to have really cool quizzes and there's great templates. And it just looks really really good. So if you're looking to do a quiz in your in your business, take a look at interact quizmaker

Alyson Lex 16:54
that was a super duper lightning round of things that we use mainly for the marketing of our business. And now I want to talk about the things that we use mainly for the podcast. There are a couple of different things that are pretty podcast specific. The first one is a site that I love called pod dotnet. It is a platform where guests and hosts can connect to land interviews, and it's just really high quality stuff. Really great opportunity. We found a bunch of guests on pot it for this show. And there's a free thing so pot it dotnet go check it out.

Jennie Wright 17:32
Love Potter dotnet very, very much. We actually did an entire podcast episode talking to the actual creator of pata dotnet, which is Brent Basham. So he's really cool. The other one that we use is matchmaker.fm. And matchmaker.fm is another sort of connect with podcast host podcast, guests software, it's very easy to use. It's kind of freaky. When you get an email in your inbox. It says you have new matches on matchmaker. And you're like no, no, this is not a dating site. It's actually for podcasting. So don't freak out if you have that happen. And if you have a significant other make sure they know if they they see those emails cuz that happened. And I'm like, No, it's not a dating site. I swear it's all podcasting. So be sure to be very clear about that. But matchmakers pretty good. They're, they're improving as they go. And there's opportunity there to create. And I've actually put myself on podcasts from there. So it's pretty good.

Alyson Lex 18:23
Yeah, the The one thing I did, so when I ran my summit, I used matchmaker to just give me a whole bunch of profiles that I could go through. And I will say the response rate for the guest side is pretty low. So as a podcast host, you may struggle to get those messages back or what have you, as a guest, there's a really good open market for you. So keep that stuff in mind. The another one that we want to share is called one sheet dot Pro. This is basically a an online one sheet, it's set up really well whether you're speaking live streaming, come out and clubhouse rooms, podcasting, whatever. It's really kind of share how you're creating content, collaboratively, collaboratively. Excuse me, I'm really struggling today with words and acronyms. But how you're creating content collaboratively in order to get those bookings, so one sheet dot pro and there is a free account there as well.

Jennie Wright 19:25
We're using right now to publish our podcasts we're using captivate.fm. And captivate.fm is a very well known, although sort of brand spanking new. The founder is Mark Asquith and we actually interviewed him on this podcast, you can go and check that episode out as well. But we like captivate.fm because it's when we were first starting this podcast. Allison was setting it up. And it was almost like one click to get the podcast set up on the different platforms and things like that. It was very user friendly. And we like the metrics. So for us, it It works. And we like it and the price is very reasonable. So, captivate RFM is where this podcast actually gets loaded to. And we recommend that for our podcasts as well.

Alyson Lex 20:09
If you go into any of the podcasts or Facebook groups or communities, there's a gamut of people. I mean, it runs the gamut of which of where they host, and I'll tell you why we chose captivate. The analytics are above and beyond anything I've ever seen, as well as the pricing model was designed for growth. So when you use the traditional ones, I'm not going to name names, but they charge you per minute or per hour of audio. Which means if you have 12 listeners and 12 episodes, you're paying just as much as somebody who has 12 episodes, and 12,000 listeners, even though there's a huge disparity in where you are in revenue, captivate charges based on number of downloads, or listens per month. And so as you grow, you pay more. If you don't grow, you pay less, it's fantastic. I think it's a really great model. The last thing that I want to mention, and you know, audio editing, frankly, we outsource, but we don't always, and I'll tell you when, when I record my quick tips, sometimes they happen on Sunday night for release on Monday. Well, you got to edit that you can't just put it out there totally wrong. And so there are really two pieces of software that I like to use to edit I use Audacity, which is free editing software, a lot of people use it, it does have a pretty steep learning curve. So give yourself some time. And then I run it through something called all phonic and they have a free account, it's a up h o Nic. And it just kind of does the the final cleanup for me to send out that final audio. So just if you're recording your stuff, and you want to make it sound better, those are some options. But I recommend outsourcing.

Jennie Wright 22:05
For the editing of this podcast, I do the editing and I end up doing this in one of the Adobe products. Now you can do it in some of the other cheaper online products. I am very blessed that I you know that I have the entire Adobe Suite, because I use other things inside of it. So I will actually use my Adobe programs to sort of bring this together. And I do a lot of editing in there. So I use Adobe Audition. audition is fantastic. It does have a learning curve. However, there's tons of videos inside of it and trainings inside of it to help make that thing.

Alyson Lex 22:43
Okay, so we've talked about marketing, we've talked about podcast, let's talk admin. This is the back office stuff that a lot of people tend to forget about. Number one, we are a big fan of Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Drive. I used to be totally Microsoft Word, I still have Microsoft Word. But I pretty much just created in Google. The reason I love this is one it automatically saves to the cloud, to its insane collaboration, and three, it's completely searchable. This is the thing I use, probably more than anything else is the search. If I'm like you know what I think I remember that I did something about six months ago. And it was talking about underwater basket weaving. But I know it wasn't titled underwater basket weaving, I can still search underwater basket weaving and it'll pop it up. And I can find it. So it's it's very intuitive. If you're not already using it, try it. You probably already are to some extent. But we use it.

Jennie Wright 23:49
We use it absolutely. And I grew my business, the first five or six years using Dropbox. Dropbox was how I was sharing files with clients. Dropbox was where I was putting everything for images and videos and things like that. I don't use Dropbox as much now, but I will use it for the larger files that I need to share. So all of the files for the podcast, and all the videos that come up with this podcast are all in Dropbox. And we also as an example of what Allison was getting her transcripts for her summit, edited, there's a way in Dropbox that you can have somebody actually loaded into a specific folder. It's super cool. She taught me how. And I think it's really, really cool for stuff like that, which makes more sense than using Google Drive in some cases. And you know, if you get one of the larger packages and get a terabyte of space inside of Dropbox, and I kind of like that for long term storage.

Alyson Lex 24:43
Another thing that I use is something called transfer wise or just simply I think they've rebranded to ys and this is a global payment processor. For when you make outgoing payments, that's how you can send money to people. I outsource a lot overseas And this is the best way for me to send money to them directly into their bank account. They send me some details I type it in, I get really good currency conversion rates, really fast transfer. So something like PayPal can sometimes take three to five days. A bank wire can take a few a few days or a week. Transfer wise I just paid my VA late last night. And I mean less than 12 hours later she has the money so it's it's just something to have in your back pocket if you are going to be outsourcing overseas.

Jennie Wright 25:37
Zapier is one of the other things that we end up using Zapier is an Allison says it's APR is Zapier. So you know, tomato tomato, but it's the sort of the connection hub. Remember earlier we were talking about API where something like clickfunnels speaks to Active Campaign directly. Well, there's other programs where they they actually don't speak to each other because that takes a lot of integration. And some software companies just don't focus on the integration. They'll let Zapier do it for them. And Zapier is kind of like the middle man. It's the one that says hey, you want to connect such and such and such and such, I can do that for you as an example. It can connect your Google Sheets to your Active Campaign, which by now actually Active Campaign in Google Sheets actually do have an API integration. But a while ago, I know Allison, very good, but they do. But like two or three years ago that didn't exist. So Zapier was how we were using it. Another example is a calendly and Active Campaign. So when people sign up for a call with Alyson, at one point, we were using Zapier to notify Active Campaign that a call had been booked and putting them into that system. Now they integrate seamlessly. So Zapier is a great thing to connect services that don't actually connect at the moment. And you know, maybe they will in the future, but at the moment, they don't. And it's pretty reasonable to use. Allison's had to teach me how to use it. because quite honestly, my To me, it's like trigonometry, I can't figure it out. But Allison's like, she's got the brain for it. And she's showing me how to use it. And actually, it's really quite useful.

Alyson Lex 27:07
It's really funny that you mentioned this because it was Google Sheets and Active Campaign and now calendly and Active Campaign. And it's kind of a callback to two things I mentioned earlier. One, I like Active Campaign because it integrates with everything. So you want to make sure your stuff integrates. But to it also calls back to the fact that this was years ago when Active Campaign maybe wasn't as far developed as it is now. And so we were using Zapier to kind of, we were paying for Active Campaign, but it wasn't as robust as it is now. So you have to decide at what point of development you're comfortable investing. Since we're talking about payment earlier, I want to just mention stripe, I know a lot of people love PayPal, I have had PayPal hold my money. I don't like it when I can't get my money. stripe doesn't hold my money. So it's also a really good option to have just something else. Because not all of your customers are going to have a PayPal account. Sometimes it's just easier to set up and integrate that when you have a chargeback stripes process is way different than PayPal. PayPal is very buyer centric. stripe is a traditional company, they're more neutral. So just have it in your pocket. If you love PayPal, I get it. Consider adding stripe into your toolbox as well.

Jennie Wright 28:24
stripe is great when you're starting to charge larger prices, Allison and I have run into the problem with PayPal when we have larger projects. And we have larger transactions happening where they've held the money. And that's where she's taught. That's where she's coming from. They've held our money. And that has been a thing where she's had to like over and over. Fill out some information to make sure that they know who we are and stuff like that, but it keeps happening. So we're like okay, well, we're not doing that anymore.

Alyson Lex 28:50
And I'm talking back to back clients, I have to send my driver's license every time

Jennie Wright 28:54
Yeah, it's a pain in the butt. Now stripe and PayPal all have fees associated. They're pretty much around the same thing. So it's you know, it's apples to apples kind of so just something to think about. The next one on our list has to do with Affiliate Software. There are lots of affiliate software's out there. There's the darlings like thrive cart, Sam cart, those kinds of things, but on the lower end and it's very usable, but it's you know, again, it's very usable, but it's very basic, and we do like it because it is a workhorse is idev affiliate idev affiliate has lots of integrations. They're they're slowly developing and adding more tools they've been around the block for a while it will say and again, it's pretty easy to use. And if you're trying to get into affiliate marketing and you can't afford something like thrive cart, and you can't afford the big prices for the larger carts, take a look at idev affiliate that is a great way to create an affiliate link Allison, I just recently used them both are that system I should say on both of our summit's and it tracks the hits. It tracks the affiliate commission. It makes payouts really really easy. It connects to the different payout software's like PayPal and Austria Right. And it does create some simplicity with that it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it is the workhorse. And it is, you know, it's really, really good in that respect. So if you're looking to get into affiliate marketing and you don't have a ton of money, take a look at it. Sorry, take a look at at idev affiliate speak much today. What the heck,

Alyson Lex 30:20
I'm having trouble too. One thing I will say about idev is the documentation, the knowledge base, the tutorials, a little in, the support is good, the support is phenomenal, you email them, they email you right back. It's just finding like a how to step by step video, it's not the best soup, like knowledge base documentation out there that I've ever seen. Now, just as a disclaimer, if that is something really important to you, this may not be a fit. The last one I want to talk about is something called better proposals. And this we actually talked about this way back in the day, in the first very first set of the first season, where it's a proposal software, so I send proposals to my clients, so they can see in black and white what they get. I bought this off of a appsumo deal. So I paid for a lifetime deal. Jennie loved it so much she pays for it. Not on a lifetime deal, because it was over. I'm sure if it ever comes out again, she's gonna be on that like white on rice. But it is basically just a streamlined way to send really professional looking proposals. There are competitors out there like proposal phi. Um, I'm sure there are others that I'm not thinking of. If you have high end services, if you have premium programs, if you send a lot of contracts, this can replace something like DocuSign. The it cannot capture credit card information, but it can connect to a payment processor that does. Jenny is

Jennie Wright 32:06
already know I you were saying it doesn't take Yeah, but it does connect. I don't know how I just muted myself. I use it to take payments. So I apologize for for cutting in on that one. But yeah, no, it's, it does connect. And it's, I used to use the other pieces of software that you were talking about. This one's way better, and I get a better close rate on my deals.

Alyson Lex 32:31
Exactly. Yeah. So they you cannot have them fill out a form with their credit card that then you can see. But you can connect it to your PayPal, your stripe, whatever. And have them handle it for you. So yeah, no good. Good clarification. I don't want to make anybody confused. No, I

Jennie Wright 32:52
think I was just overly confusing. And I was like, no way. Yes, you can. And then and then I'm like, Oh, that's where she was going. Sorry. So we have a couple more topics we're going to talk about real quick. The next one is project management software. So let's talk about that. And then we're going to talk about some operational stuff. And then we're going to wrap this up. So stick with us a little bit longer. If you're if you're trailing off, come back to us because this project management stuff is important. As you grow your business, you want to have something where you're keeping your tasks working for you, not against you. So figuring that out is important. Every single one of them has a different kind of user face user interface. And it's very user specific. Allison, I have used all of them. Okay, the first one is Asana, Asana, or astronaut, depending on how you say the word. Asana is pretty good. It's free. They're free versions. And you can look at it in terms of a list or a board type, or even like the post it note looking type. And they even have Gantt charts in there. So there's lots of ways of using Asana to do your project management. Where it kind of falls for me is that it gets a little overwhelming in the look in the field for me. And I'm it doesn't, it doesn't 100% work and it has to be something that you'll continue to use. And quite honestly, I fall off the wagon with Asana pretty quick. So it's, it's probably not the one that I love, for sure.

Alyson Lex 34:10
I have used all of these in different ways. I am a Trello fan, for content style, create content creation style stuff, not necessarily project management. That probably has a lot to do with my own personal organization style. I'm a pen and paper kind of girl. I write a to do list, I cross things off. That's how I do it. But when I'm brainstorming content organizing content, I have a Trello board for a podcast pitch kit that my VA and I build, you know, she finds them, we patch them, I get on them. That kind of thing. It is free. I think at least to get started. I've been on the free plan. I don't know of a paid plan. I'm sure there is one but it uh, try it out. Again, try it. If it doesn't work, go away. It's fine.

Jennie Wright 35:00
It's pretty easy to sort of change these up as you go. So one of the ones that I've used is called Monday, one of my clients is using Monday, and I've used base camp, and we're not going to get into all of them. There's tons of them out there. I will say that Monday is it's not cheap. But I will say I like it. And I've used clickup. And I've used like I said, Basecamp, and all these different ones. And I didn't like Basecamp. I'll be quite honest, I don't like it. I don't like the user interface. And I don't like using it. It's not my style. clickup didn't like it either. It's just to me, it's not the way I like to you know, it's not the same the one that I like, but Monday? Oh, yeah, I could use that. But the price is the thing, right? So take a look at that. But I definitely like Monday, I think it's got a really cool system.

Alyson Lex 35:46
And the last thing that we use for project management is slack. This is a great way to talk to people that might be on your team, people you partner with, you can create channels and boards and rooms. And I don't even know what they're called. But this is what I'm going with. And it's just Jenny and I actually use it to keep a repository of ideas. So we use it as a separate platform for specific conversation that is related to something very specific, upcoming summit, hey, I might want to reach out to this expert, or podcast topics, hey, this might be a good topic, because we talk so much in Facebook Messenger, that things get lost. So we make sure that it gets into Slack, because we can access it from our desktops and our phones. And that way, it's kind of saved for us, which is is nice.

Jennie Wright 36:39
I agree with you. I think I like slack a lot. It's been helpful. Careful, though, with like document sharing and things like that, that I think things can get lost, but it's pretty, it's pretty good. And it's better than using like there's other things. Um, what's the one that cheese Allison? No, I've got to think of the one that I've used in the past that Oh, yes. voxer. voxer is another form of communication that people use. But the thing with voxer is you can't store information necessarily on there. And it's just, it's not as great in terms of document sharing. It's great for leaving a really quick message, although I find a little intrusive, because it does beep on your phone unless you turn it off.

Alyson Lex 37:20
All right, we're almost done. Now we're going to really quickly run through operations stuff. This is just really miscellany that helps you do stuff. The first thing I want to talk about is online jobs.ph. If you want to hire a VA overseas, this is where you can do it. It is a paid thing. You can post a job for free, and get responses for free, but you cannot connect with those people until you pay. The platform encourages you to cancel your membership after you find someone they are interested in placing permanent part and full time help. This is not a freelance marketplace. We'll talk about that in a minute. This is I want somebody long term in my business. The Creator owner of the platform has a book that will walk you through step by step how to hire a VA in the Philippines. The name escapes me at the moment, but we will link it in the show notes. Or you can just search for john Jonas book. And it'll pop up. It's just a really, I am very happy with my experience. My VA is amazing. I love her so much. And we have such a great relationship. And I just learned

Jennie Wright 38:40
Allison was sending me screenshots of stuff that she was telling me last night about her VA and how much she loves her. So shout out to Allison's VA who has helped organize Allison, which is great, you know, and get her to a really good place where she's not feeling as overwhelmed, which is awesome. The other one is Upwork. I've used Upwork. In the past Funny enough, I actually used to be on Upwork as a possible Freelancer back in the day before I was a VA and back before I was doing what I was doing. Upwork is pretty cool. It's good to find a temp work on there, you can find some long term resources, you do use up work to pay on Upwork. So you're using their system, they don't want you to go off of their system. And they do flag words like PayPal and things like that. Right? So but they you know, back in the day, if you use the word like PayPal or things like that, it would flag you and then some administrator would come in and be like, Hey, we noticed that you're trying to get the person off the software. They don't do it as much now, but they did back in the day. But I've heard it's pretty good. I've used up work too. You know, when we're working with a client, and there's a problem on their website that I can't figure out because it's really deep, deep, deep stuff might have to do with some coding. I get somebody from Upwork to help me out with that. I've used some pretty good people in the past and had some pretty good experiences. So that's really, really good. It's also good to find some temp work but you know In terms of that long term work, I found like Alison did that, you know, she let me see the innards of the online jobs.ph. And I really I actually really liked it.

Alyson Lex 40:10
It's Yeah, it's just two different purposes. That's it. It's not that one is inherently better than the other. It's that people are on those platforms looking for different things. It's like eHarmony versus Tinder, okay. Think about it that way. Just they're on, they're looking for different things. The last thing that I want to talk about more in depth is something called app Sumo. They have deals, and I mentioned it before. It can be really hit or miss on what is available, as well as how well it works. Public, better proposals, both appsumo deals, I bought a giveaway software that's been refunded, I bought a learning management system, I missed the refund window. Um, I've bought a few things that I'm like, that's gonna be a hard pass for me. But a lot of stuff has been very helpful. So if you're open to buying something that could be still in development, but getting a lifetime deal in exchange for that. Check out app Sumo. I have no other words.

Jennie Wright 41:20
I actually like appsumo, I've gotten a few deals on there as well. But again, it is hit or miss with something. So really, like there's a lot of information in the actual thing. So if you get the emails from appsumo, and Allison and I both do, and it's like wow, super deal, and you want to jump on it be a little bit careful, they use FOMO very, very well. But you have to absolutely 100% sort of check things out. So this has been a little bit of a longer episode, we've shared our favorite marketing tools, or podcasting tools, our favorite Administrative Tools, or favorite project management tools are operational stuff we've fit, you know, we've really talked about a lot of these different things. So they have an idea of what's out there, we've shared some of our favorites, we've told you some of the ups and downs. And we want to make sure that you understand these are our opinions. And not everything is right for you. So don't be afraid to try things. And don't be afraid to walk away. If it's not working for you, you really do have to kind of do the Goldilocks sort of thing and find the right one for you. But choose always with growth in mind, make sure that you're not buying the thing for the now but for the now and the later. And that is going to help you make better decisions. And also don't obsess. So if you make a decision and it doesn't fit, don't browbeat yourself terribly over something like that. Just to give yourself an hour of research, make sure that you're making something of a good decision. Don't take 36 days to make a decision on something, make it and then move forward. That's the thing, right? So being an entrepreneur is a lot of that speed to get things done. Allison, I want to make sure that you are 100% enjoying this episode and this podcast so please make sure that you are following this podcast wherever you listen, and we'll be back again soon answering another big question.

Listen Now:

What We Talk About

Are you the master of your to-do list… or are you a slave to it?

In this episode, Stephanie Ann Ball will show you exactly how you can take back control of your to-do list instead of ending every day feeling like you have more on your plate than when you started. How you can leverage your to-do list to actually get the RIGHT stuff done… AND how you can get the much needed R&R withOUT stressing or feeling guilty about what’s left to get done.

Resources

Marketing Stuff
Publer
Canva Pro
Otter.ai
WordPress
ActiveCampaign
Clickfunnels
Calendly
Thinkific
AppSumo – Get a $10 credit here
Interact quiz maker

Podcast Resources
Poddit.net
Episode 24 – How Podcasts Generate Leads For Your Business with Brent Basham
Matchmaker.fm


1Sheet.pro
See it in action:
Jennie’s OneSheet
Alyson’s OneSheet
(Want your own? Scroll to the bottom of ours and sign up for an account!)

Captivate.fm
Episode 53 – The Real Secret to Podcasting Success with Mark Asquith
Auphonic

Admin Stuff
Google Sheets/Docs
Dropbox
Transferwise
Zapier
Stripe
Idev affiliate
BetterProposals

Project Management Stuff
Asana
Trello – Get a free month of Gold
Monday

Communication Tools
Slack
Voxer

Operations Stuff
OnlineJobs.ph
The Outsourcing Lever by John Jonas
Upwork

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex 0:03
Tech stack is what we call the programs, products, services, technology, that all work together to make your business run, whether that's your email marketing system, your website builder, your back office stuff, the great thing about all of it is there's tons of choices out there. And unfortunately, that's also the bad thing. Because you can get overwhelmed and stuck and mired in choice. This has happened to me, in sure it's happened to Jenny. The key is just to make a decision, an informed decision. But a decision nonetheless, because having the right tech stack can really make a big difference in your ability to scale, the amount of hassle that you're dealing with the conversion that you're going to get more opt ins, more sales, more actions toward that sale. And it's also really important to choose things that you will use that you'll like, depending on the use the user face, the interaction that you have with it, the available options and the features.

Jennie Wright 1:09
It's pretty, it's pretty individually and specific. And there's something that when it comes to tech stacks, I have an opinion, I have many opinions, but I have an opinion on this. Because I work with people all the time with their tech stacks. And what I find is, is that there is a predominant feeling with some people that they want to go to the all in one, okay. And there's a really easy phrase to remember. And this is our personal opinion, this is Allison and Jenny's personal opinion, you may differ from this, and that's okay.

Alyson Lex 1:39
But

Jennie Wright 1:41
Master, so all in ones are a master of none. And what that means is that the company that's creating these all in ones, and as an example, and I'm not being you know, I don't want to be specific and call anything out. But as examples like kajabi, or kartra. And sometimes some of the other ones. There's other other ones that we looked at, and Allison and I were actually in one yesterday, we did a free trial of one yesterday, looking at one specifically for a client. And what I want to say is, is that the goal was an all in one is that everything is in one spot. However, the struggle with that is, they're not 100% going to be the best possible thing. Some things inside that software will suffer like the page builder, or the automation for your email marketing. Instead of using something that is specifically built for page building, or specifically built for email marketing. The other thing that I want to share is that software depending on these all in ones, they also have another pieces of software to like brand new, this is one that I'm dealing with right now with some clients are these all in one summit builders, where you can host your summit and host the event and have you know, internal messaging that happens in there for registrants and things like that. The issue being is that those are still in development, okay, they're still in the middle of being developed. And some features aren't yet online. Some features have bugs, they're not fully worked out. And they could change and or disappear as the software kind of comes together. And the development continues to happen. And you're paying for that. So as an example, there's a an all in one summit software out there, that's $97 a month, and you're paying for that software to be in developing, you're actually paying for the development team to figure out the bugs and get through all this stuff. And in the meantime, your stuff doesn't work perfectly, and it may not convert perfectly. And that's a big problem for me when I'm focused so heavily on that. And that's why, in my opinion, all in ones are not the way to go.

Alyson Lex 3:47
I share Jenny's opinion, I validate Jenny's opinion. I also recognize that it's an opinion, I do know people who are very happy running their businesses on an all in one. However, we make recommendations based on our best experience and our best knowledge. And that's what we're doing here. Okay, so there are four things that I want to kind of cover. Before we dive into our favorite tools. And first, we're gonna put all the links to all of these on the show notes for this episode, which is going to be at System to thrive.com. And it's going to be episode number 76. Thing number one, you are going to try some tools out and not love them. It's super personal. I am a tool Trier. I sign up for free trials all the time. Jenny knows this.

Jennie Wright 4:39
Oh, she does like she does a lot.

Alyson Lex 4:41
And I'm like, Hey, I like this but not that, hey, I like this but not that. That's okay. I do that on behalf of my clients so that I can give them my experience and information. And that is something that I want you to do. A lot of them have free trials. So this is actually number two. Use the free trial. Test it out, get in there, don't just rely on the front page demo.

Jennie Wright 5:07
And careful when you're choosing something that you make sure that it's something that you'll actually enjoy using that it's not only the recommendation of your VA or somebody else. Because if you have to get into a piece of software, you have to use it, you have to be able to use it to be able to understand it, and has to be something that you actually enjoy and configure out. So don't just go off the recommendation of one person, it has to be something that can grow with your team. And quite honestly, we do go through different people in our teams. So making sure that it's not just based on that one thing is important. Another thing, number four, you will outgrow you will change and you will upgrade to different software options as you go at different times in your business, when you're first starting out, you may never ever, ever need an affiliate program. But that will change later on potentially if you need to. So make sure that you understand that, you know, it's it's, it's the thing you're using at the moment.

Alyson Lex 6:03
But

Jennie Wright 6:04
I sort of liken this to buying shoes for kids, you buy the right size, but with a little room to grow. Right. And that's what you want with your tech stack. So you want to have something that will grow with you has features that you can grow into, but not so much that you're paying for the bloat for the extra, but that you have the ability to kind of grow into that software.

Alyson Lex 6:25
I want to give a quick example here for this. And then we are going to go into exactly what our favorite tools are. And really quick description about why we like it. I was recently looking for an LMS or learning management software, which is like that online course software. And I was looking at a bunch of different options. And I found one that seems really interesting. But it was newer. And it didn't integrate with a lot of software. It did integrate with a few but not a lot. And the first thing that I thought was, what if I want to do something bigger? What if I need something that's not listed here, then do I have to migrate? So think about not just does it do what I need? Or does it do what I will need? But how does it work in the overall process. And that's a bigger conversation and probably a whole nother episode. Alright, we have broken up our favorite tools into the ways we use them. So we're going to start with the marketing stuff. I'm going to start with publisher, publisher is something I got off of a site called app Sumo. So I actually paid for a lifetime deal. And I helped fund some of the development but it's awesome. It's an alternative to Hootsuite and buffer. It's a social post Scheduler. And we use it not only to schedule recurring posts, but also to schedule out posts on platforms like Instagram, we can use Pinterest, of course Facebook, but they have a native Scheduler. And you know, Hootsuite just raised their prices, big time. Publishers a really good affordable alternative. We're big fans.

Jennie Wright 8:07
Canva Pro is the next thing that I love using I converted over to Canva Pro, probably about a year and a half ago, Allison I actually work almost exclusively in Canva pro for our images. And we've tried other things, we tried other competitors out there. And they're not as robust with all of the available templates, the ease of sharing, and actually, you can connect to Canva Pro has lots of integrations, and you're actually connected to publish, and it will actually push your posts your graphics right into public Hello, it's great. So it will actually connect to different social and you can download everything easy. And again, sharing is wonderful. So Canva Pro is a really great way to go for graphics.

Alyson Lex 8:48
We also use otter.ai we use that for transcription. It's a AI on what is that artificial intelligence I was gonna say automated intelligence

Unknown Speaker 8:58
artificial.

Alyson Lex 8:58
Wow. Alright, I just usually called AI and otter is they do have a free plan which does give you a function like ideas of the function, I know that the link will share on our show notes will give you extra minutes per month or something like that. it'll it'll just give you a give you something. But we load everything in there. Voice notes, these podcasts, any kind of webinars we do, everything gets put in there, because it timestamps everything you can edit right in there. That plays back it also connects with zoom. If you want to do live captions, you can automatically have your meetings recorded. There's a lot of functionality in there. And it's like 10 bucks a month. It's it's crazy cheap.

Jennie Wright 9:49
Yeah, I love I love me some. I love that I love otter.ai Allison got me into it. I absolutely adore it. We used it recently for Allison summit to help with transcription And it was phenomenal. It really pops out the AI is pretty good. And it actually learns. So it learns your names and things like that. So it actually gets better. And it's really, really good. I really like it. So the next one is WordPress WordPress that we use for websites. And this is our personal choice over some of the other options that you can do because it's very flexible. You can add plugins, and it works with our other types of software that we're using more readily. And it's very flexible and malleable for us. So we prefer WordPress in terms of website building.

Alyson Lex 10:36
Email marketing software, I actually turned Jennie on to this one as well is Active Campaign. Active Campaign is very powerful. A lot of people say that it's not as user friendly, like it's hard to kind of understand I disagree. I think that if you can visualize a funnel, you can use Active Campaign. It really is very powerful in the segmentation, templates. Reporting is fantastic. I like it better than any other mailing provider that I've used. And I know Jenny has used more of them than I have. Plus, it integrates at an API level real quick, I just want to explain API level means that company a and Company B speak directly to one another. If it integrates at Zapier level, which is another platform, that basically means Company A says something to Zapier, Zapier says it to Company B. And that is not an API level. And so Active Campaign does have API integrations direct integrations with a lot, a lot of software.

Jennie Wright 11:45
It does an API stands for application programming interface. So it's just the language that those two things can use to speak

Alyson Lex 11:53
just that all right, seriously, what is with me not I am Miss acronym, why do I not know the definitions of all these acronyms today? You do?

Jennie Wright 12:01
Know, and I hate acronyms. But these are the ones that these are the things that I use every day. So the acronyms are kind of stuck in my head at this point. But on a normal basis, Jenny does not play with acronyms. Well, the next one on our list is clickfunnels. This I love clickfunnels. And I want to explain real quickly why. So I have used in my work, I've used almost every page builder out there, there's a ton of them. My friends, there is an absolute ton of page builders. But there's a lot of great ones. And then there's some some mediocre ones. Now clickfunnels has two different options in terms of the packages. And I prefer to use clickfunnels at the lower end. So there's page building and order forms and product bumps and funnels, you can build a course in there, if you want to the higher end package, you can do things like email and affiliate, but I actually don't use those options, I prefer to put those in, I prefer my email system with Active Campaign thanks to Allison who got me off of AWeber. And I actually prefer to use a different Affiliate Software, which we'll talk about a little bit later, which is called idev. Affiliate.

Alyson Lex 13:06
Alright calendly. I put this in marketing, we put this in the marketing section, because it is a part of your process. I used to be on time trade. And I started getting comments about how it looked really outdated. And it didn't offer me a lot of flexibility. And so I switched, I made the switch to calendly, I looked at a bunch of other ones. But again, integrations I can tell or have my calendly tell Active Campaign tell Active Campaign that I somebody booked a call with me. And it tells Active Campaign to give them a tag and then it kicks off an automation. So again, like I said at the top of the episode, how everything works together is really important. And calendly is definitely worth the investment, especially from a marketing perspective.

Jennie Wright 14:05
I am totally on board with you on that. And I just wanted to say something but that I used to use VC to use it for years, six years. And I got the same thing where it looked out of date. And it really wasn't that worried. You know, it was just not working and didn't look that great. So I moved over the calendly to. So I also know I actually share a lot of the same sort of tech tech tech stack choices. The next one is Thinkific. That's core software. I have tried other things I even got an app Sumo deal for a course software, Alison and I were checking it out. Just couldn't measure up didn't look great. I have used the core software in kajabi. And that is also okay if you use it but for the price of kajabi. It didn't make sense. So I'm using Thinkific for my core software. My Courses are in there and I really really like it. It's got a great user interface. And it has different levels of packages that can actually fit into your business quite well. low end mid tier and high end of their of their you know their prices. You get different features in there. And I just think it's great.

Alyson Lex 15:03
Jenny and I have mentioned app Sumo a couple of times. And I'll go ahead and put a link to them in the show notes as well. App Sumo is basically a marketplace where organizations, companies, mostly software, offer lifetime deals on their software. And it's basically for early adopters. But it is a really great way to find things that you otherwise wouldn't find. I have bought stuff on there, and said, this does not work for me. They have a generous refund policy. But it's also like 37 to $67. We're not looking at hundreds and hundreds of dollars here. And you get lifetime access, which is pretty dang cool.

Jennie Wright 15:48
Yeah, that's how I got St. I, that's how I got B live back in the day. So when Facebook Live was struggling, at one point I moved over to be live and I got B live on a lifetime access through appsumo. We'll talk about that a little bit later. So let's talk about some let's talk about one of the things that I use recently, which is a quizmaker. So Allison, and I bought a quiz making software on appsumo. It will remain nameless, however, all of the help articles and all of the information was in Russian. And it struggled very, very much to fulfill the needs that I had for my quiz. And I very quickly said this isn't great. And I put a post out on Facebook and people said go try interact. Well, I'll tell you that interact. Quiz maker is awesome. I definitely recommend it. It's so easy to use. It's so malleable in terms of like look brand and, and color changes. And it allows you to have really cool quizzes and there's great templates. And it just looks really really good. So if you're looking to do a quiz in your in your business, take a look at interact quizmaker

Alyson Lex 16:54
that was a super duper lightning round of things that we use mainly for the marketing of our business. And now I want to talk about the things that we use mainly for the podcast. There are a couple of different things that are pretty podcast specific. The first one is a site that I love called pod dotnet. It is a platform where guests and hosts can connect to land interviews, and it's just really high quality stuff. Really great opportunity. We found a bunch of guests on pot it for this show. And there's a free thing so pot it dotnet go check it out.

Jennie Wright 17:32
Love Potter dotnet very, very much. We actually did an entire podcast episode talking to the actual creator of pata dotnet, which is Brent Basham. So he's really cool. The other one that we use is matchmaker.fm. And matchmaker.fm is another sort of connect with podcast host podcast, guests software, it's very easy to use. It's kind of freaky. When you get an email in your inbox. It says you have new matches on matchmaker. And you're like no, no, this is not a dating site. It's actually for podcasting. So don't freak out if you have that happen. And if you have a significant other make sure they know if they they see those emails cuz that happened. And I'm like, No, it's not a dating site. I swear it's all podcasting. So be sure to be very clear about that. But matchmakers pretty good. They're, they're improving as they go. And there's opportunity there to create. And I've actually put myself on podcasts from there. So it's pretty good.

Alyson Lex 18:23
Yeah, the The one thing I did, so when I ran my summit, I used matchmaker to just give me a whole bunch of profiles that I could go through. And I will say the response rate for the guest side is pretty low. So as a podcast host, you may struggle to get those messages back or what have you, as a guest, there's a really good open market for you. So keep that stuff in mind. The another one that we want to share is called one sheet dot Pro. This is basically a an online one sheet, it's set up really well whether you're speaking live streaming, come out and clubhouse rooms, podcasting, whatever. It's really kind of share how you're creating content, collaboratively, collaboratively. Excuse me, I'm really struggling today with words and acronyms. But how you're creating content collaboratively in order to get those bookings, so one sheet dot pro and there is a free account there as well.

Jennie Wright 19:25
We're using right now to publish our podcasts we're using captivate.fm. And captivate.fm is a very well known, although sort of brand spanking new. The founder is Mark Asquith and we actually interviewed him on this podcast, you can go and check that episode out as well. But we like captivate.fm because it's when we were first starting this podcast. Allison was setting it up. And it was almost like one click to get the podcast set up on the different platforms and things like that. It was very user friendly. And we like the metrics. So for us, it It works. And we like it and the price is very reasonable. So, captivate RFM is where this podcast actually gets loaded to. And we recommend that for our podcasts as well.

Alyson Lex 20:09
If you go into any of the podcasts or Facebook groups or communities, there's a gamut of people. I mean, it runs the gamut of which of where they host, and I'll tell you why we chose captivate. The analytics are above and beyond anything I've ever seen, as well as the pricing model was designed for growth. So when you use the traditional ones, I'm not going to name names, but they charge you per minute or per hour of audio. Which means if you have 12 listeners and 12 episodes, you're paying just as much as somebody who has 12 episodes, and 12,000 listeners, even though there's a huge disparity in where you are in revenue, captivate charges based on number of downloads, or listens per month. And so as you grow, you pay more. If you don't grow, you pay less, it's fantastic. I think it's a really great model. The last thing that I want to mention, and you know, audio editing, frankly, we outsource, but we don't always, and I'll tell you when, when I record my quick tips, sometimes they happen on Sunday night for release on Monday. Well, you got to edit that you can't just put it out there totally wrong. And so there are really two pieces of software that I like to use to edit I use Audacity, which is free editing software, a lot of people use it, it does have a pretty steep learning curve. So give yourself some time. And then I run it through something called all phonic and they have a free account, it's a up h o Nic. And it just kind of does the the final cleanup for me to send out that final audio. So just if you're recording your stuff, and you want to make it sound better, those are some options. But I recommend outsourcing.

Jennie Wright 22:05
For the editing of this podcast, I do the editing and I end up doing this in one of the Adobe products. Now you can do it in some of the other cheaper online products. I am very blessed that I you know that I have the entire Adobe Suite, because I use other things inside of it. So I will actually use my Adobe programs to sort of bring this together. And I do a lot of editing in there. So I use Adobe Audition. audition is fantastic. It does have a learning curve. However, there's tons of videos inside of it and trainings inside of it to help make that thing.

Alyson Lex 22:43
Okay, so we've talked about marketing, we've talked about podcast, let's talk admin. This is the back office stuff that a lot of people tend to forget about. Number one, we are a big fan of Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Drive. I used to be totally Microsoft Word, I still have Microsoft Word. But I pretty much just created in Google. The reason I love this is one it automatically saves to the cloud, to its insane collaboration, and three, it's completely searchable. This is the thing I use, probably more than anything else is the search. If I'm like you know what I think I remember that I did something about six months ago. And it was talking about underwater basket weaving. But I know it wasn't titled underwater basket weaving, I can still search underwater basket weaving and it'll pop it up. And I can find it. So it's it's very intuitive. If you're not already using it, try it. You probably already are to some extent. But we use it.

Jennie Wright 23:49
We use it absolutely. And I grew my business, the first five or six years using Dropbox. Dropbox was how I was sharing files with clients. Dropbox was where I was putting everything for images and videos and things like that. I don't use Dropbox as much now, but I will use it for the larger files that I need to share. So all of the files for the podcast, and all the videos that come up with this podcast are all in Dropbox. And we also as an example of what Allison was getting her transcripts for her summit, edited, there's a way in Dropbox that you can have somebody actually loaded into a specific folder. It's super cool. She taught me how. And I think it's really, really cool for stuff like that, which makes more sense than using Google Drive in some cases. And you know, if you get one of the larger packages and get a terabyte of space inside of Dropbox, and I kind of like that for long term storage.

Alyson Lex 24:43
Another thing that I use is something called transfer wise or just simply I think they've rebranded to ys and this is a global payment processor. For when you make outgoing payments, that's how you can send money to people. I outsource a lot overseas And this is the best way for me to send money to them directly into their bank account. They send me some details I type it in, I get really good currency conversion rates, really fast transfer. So something like PayPal can sometimes take three to five days. A bank wire can take a few a few days or a week. Transfer wise I just paid my VA late last night. And I mean less than 12 hours later she has the money so it's it's just something to have in your back pocket if you are going to be outsourcing overseas.

Jennie Wright 25:37
Zapier is one of the other things that we end up using Zapier is an Allison says it's APR is Zapier. So you know, tomato tomato, but it's the sort of the connection hub. Remember earlier we were talking about API where something like clickfunnels speaks to Active Campaign directly. Well, there's other programs where they they actually don't speak to each other because that takes a lot of integration. And some software companies just don't focus on the integration. They'll let Zapier do it for them. And Zapier is kind of like the middle man. It's the one that says hey, you want to connect such and such and such and such, I can do that for you as an example. It can connect your Google Sheets to your Active Campaign, which by now actually Active Campaign in Google Sheets actually do have an API integration. But a while ago, I know Allison, very good, but they do. But like two or three years ago that didn't exist. So Zapier was how we were using it. Another example is a calendly and Active Campaign. So when people sign up for a call with Alyson, at one point, we were using Zapier to notify Active Campaign that a call had been booked and putting them into that system. Now they integrate seamlessly. So Zapier is a great thing to connect services that don't actually connect at the moment. And you know, maybe they will in the future, but at the moment, they don't. And it's pretty reasonable to use. Allison's had to teach me how to use it. because quite honestly, my To me, it's like trigonometry, I can't figure it out. But Allison's like, she's got the brain for it. And she's showing me how to use it. And actually, it's really quite useful.

Alyson Lex 27:07
It's really funny that you mentioned this because it was Google Sheets and Active Campaign and now calendly and Active Campaign. And it's kind of a callback to two things I mentioned earlier. One, I like Active Campaign because it integrates with everything. So you want to make sure your stuff integrates. But to it also calls back to the fact that this was years ago when Active Campaign maybe wasn't as far developed as it is now. And so we were using Zapier to kind of, we were paying for Active Campaign, but it wasn't as robust as it is now. So you have to decide at what point of development you're comfortable investing. Since we're talking about payment earlier, I want to just mention stripe, I know a lot of people love PayPal, I have had PayPal hold my money. I don't like it when I can't get my money. stripe doesn't hold my money. So it's also a really good option to have just something else. Because not all of your customers are going to have a PayPal account. Sometimes it's just easier to set up and integrate that when you have a chargeback stripes process is way different than PayPal. PayPal is very buyer centric. stripe is a traditional company, they're more neutral. So just have it in your pocket. If you love PayPal, I get it. Consider adding stripe into your toolbox as well.

Jennie Wright 28:24
stripe is great when you're starting to charge larger prices, Allison and I have run into the problem with PayPal when we have larger projects. And we have larger transactions happening where they've held the money. And that's where she's taught. That's where she's coming from. They've held our money. And that has been a thing where she's had to like over and over. Fill out some information to make sure that they know who we are and stuff like that, but it keeps happening. So we're like okay, well, we're not doing that anymore.

Alyson Lex 28:50
And I'm talking back to back clients, I have to send my driver's license every time

Jennie Wright 28:54
Yeah, it's a pain in the butt. Now stripe and PayPal all have fees associated. They're pretty much around the same thing. So it's you know, it's apples to apples kind of so just something to think about. The next one on our list has to do with Affiliate Software. There are lots of affiliate software's out there. There's the darlings like thrive cart, Sam cart, those kinds of things, but on the lower end and it's very usable, but it's you know, again, it's very usable, but it's very basic, and we do like it because it is a workhorse is idev affiliate idev affiliate has lots of integrations. They're they're slowly developing and adding more tools they've been around the block for a while it will say and again, it's pretty easy to use. And if you're trying to get into affiliate marketing and you can't afford something like thrive cart, and you can't afford the big prices for the larger carts, take a look at idev affiliate that is a great way to create an affiliate link Allison, I just recently used them both are that system I should say on both of our summit's and it tracks the hits. It tracks the affiliate commission. It makes payouts really really easy. It connects to the different payout software's like PayPal and Austria Right. And it does create some simplicity with that it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it is the workhorse. And it is, you know, it's really, really good in that respect. So if you're looking to get into affiliate marketing and you don't have a ton of money, take a look at it. Sorry, take a look at at idev affiliate speak much today. What the heck,

Alyson Lex 30:20
I'm having trouble too. One thing I will say about idev is the documentation, the knowledge base, the tutorials, a little in, the support is good, the support is phenomenal, you email them, they email you right back. It's just finding like a how to step by step video, it's not the best soup, like knowledge base documentation out there that I've ever seen. Now, just as a disclaimer, if that is something really important to you, this may not be a fit. The last one I want to talk about is something called better proposals. And this we actually talked about this way back in the day, in the first very first set of the first season, where it's a proposal software, so I send proposals to my clients, so they can see in black and white what they get. I bought this off of a appsumo deal. So I paid for a lifetime deal. Jennie loved it so much she pays for it. Not on a lifetime deal, because it was over. I'm sure if it ever comes out again, she's gonna be on that like white on rice. But it is basically just a streamlined way to send really professional looking proposals. There are competitors out there like proposal phi. Um, I'm sure there are others that I'm not thinking of. If you have high end services, if you have premium programs, if you send a lot of contracts, this can replace something like DocuSign. The it cannot capture credit card information, but it can connect to a payment processor that does. Jenny is

Jennie Wright 32:06
already know I you were saying it doesn't take Yeah, but it does connect. I don't know how I just muted myself. I use it to take payments. So I apologize for for cutting in on that one. But yeah, no, it's, it does connect. And it's, I used to use the other pieces of software that you were talking about. This one's way better, and I get a better close rate on my deals.

Alyson Lex 32:31
Exactly. Yeah. So they you cannot have them fill out a form with their credit card that then you can see. But you can connect it to your PayPal, your stripe, whatever. And have them handle it for you. So yeah, no good. Good clarification. I don't want to make anybody confused. No, I

Jennie Wright 32:52
think I was just overly confusing. And I was like, no way. Yes, you can. And then and then I'm like, Oh, that's where she was going. Sorry. So we have a couple more topics we're going to talk about real quick. The next one is project management software. So let's talk about that. And then we're going to talk about some operational stuff. And then we're going to wrap this up. So stick with us a little bit longer. If you're if you're trailing off, come back to us because this project management stuff is important. As you grow your business, you want to have something where you're keeping your tasks working for you, not against you. So figuring that out is important. Every single one of them has a different kind of user face user interface. And it's very user specific. Allison, I have used all of them. Okay, the first one is Asana, Asana, or astronaut, depending on how you say the word. Asana is pretty good. It's free. They're free versions. And you can look at it in terms of a list or a board type, or even like the post it note looking type. And they even have Gantt charts in there. So there's lots of ways of using Asana to do your project management. Where it kind of falls for me is that it gets a little overwhelming in the look in the field for me. And I'm it doesn't, it doesn't 100% work and it has to be something that you'll continue to use. And quite honestly, I fall off the wagon with Asana pretty quick. So it's, it's probably not the one that I love, for sure.

Alyson Lex 34:10
I have used all of these in different ways. I am a Trello fan, for content style, create content creation style stuff, not necessarily project management. That probably has a lot to do with my own personal organization style. I'm a pen and paper kind of girl. I write a to do list, I cross things off. That's how I do it. But when I'm brainstorming content organizing content, I have a Trello board for a podcast pitch kit that my VA and I build, you know, she finds them, we patch them, I get on them. That kind of thing. It is free. I think at least to get started. I've been on the free plan. I don't know of a paid plan. I'm sure there is one but it uh, try it out. Again, try it. If it doesn't work, go away. It's fine.

Jennie Wright 35:00
It's pretty easy to sort of change these up as you go. So one of the ones that I've used is called Monday, one of my clients is using Monday, and I've used base camp, and we're not going to get into all of them. There's tons of them out there. I will say that Monday is it's not cheap. But I will say I like it. And I've used clickup. And I've used like I said, Basecamp, and all these different ones. And I didn't like Basecamp. I'll be quite honest, I don't like it. I don't like the user interface. And I don't like using it. It's not my style. clickup didn't like it either. It's just to me, it's not the way I like to you know, it's not the same the one that I like, but Monday? Oh, yeah, I could use that. But the price is the thing, right? So take a look at that. But I definitely like Monday, I think it's got a really cool system.

Alyson Lex 35:46
And the last thing that we use for project management is slack. This is a great way to talk to people that might be on your team, people you partner with, you can create channels and boards and rooms. And I don't even know what they're called. But this is what I'm going with. And it's just Jenny and I actually use it to keep a repository of ideas. So we use it as a separate platform for specific conversation that is related to something very specific, upcoming summit, hey, I might want to reach out to this expert, or podcast topics, hey, this might be a good topic, because we talk so much in Facebook Messenger, that things get lost. So we make sure that it gets into Slack, because we can access it from our desktops and our phones. And that way, it's kind of saved for us, which is is nice.

Jennie Wright 36:39
I agree with you. I think I like slack a lot. It's been helpful. Careful, though, with like document sharing and things like that, that I think things can get lost, but it's pretty, it's pretty good. And it's better than using like there's other things. Um, what's the one that cheese Allison? No, I've got to think of the one that I've used in the past that Oh, yes. voxer. voxer is another form of communication that people use. But the thing with voxer is you can't store information necessarily on there. And it's just, it's not as great in terms of document sharing. It's great for leaving a really quick message, although I find a little intrusive, because it does beep on your phone unless you turn it off.

Alyson Lex 37:20
All right, we're almost done. Now we're going to really quickly run through operations stuff. This is just really miscellany that helps you do stuff. The first thing I want to talk about is online jobs.ph. If you want to hire a VA overseas, this is where you can do it. It is a paid thing. You can post a job for free, and get responses for free, but you cannot connect with those people until you pay. The platform encourages you to cancel your membership after you find someone they are interested in placing permanent part and full time help. This is not a freelance marketplace. We'll talk about that in a minute. This is I want somebody long term in my business. The Creator owner of the platform has a book that will walk you through step by step how to hire a VA in the Philippines. The name escapes me at the moment, but we will link it in the show notes. Or you can just search for john Jonas book. And it'll pop up. It's just a really, I am very happy with my experience. My VA is amazing. I love her so much. And we have such a great relationship. And I just learned

Jennie Wright 38:40
Allison was sending me screenshots of stuff that she was telling me last night about her VA and how much she loves her. So shout out to Allison's VA who has helped organize Allison, which is great, you know, and get her to a really good place where she's not feeling as overwhelmed, which is awesome. The other one is Upwork. I've used Upwork. In the past Funny enough, I actually used to be on Upwork as a possible Freelancer back in the day before I was a VA and back before I was doing what I was doing. Upwork is pretty cool. It's good to find a temp work on there, you can find some long term resources, you do use up work to pay on Upwork. So you're using their system, they don't want you to go off of their system. And they do flag words like PayPal and things like that. Right? So but they you know, back in the day, if you use the word like PayPal or things like that, it would flag you and then some administrator would come in and be like, Hey, we noticed that you're trying to get the person off the software. They don't do it as much now, but they did back in the day. But I've heard it's pretty good. I've used up work too. You know, when we're working with a client, and there's a problem on their website that I can't figure out because it's really deep, deep, deep stuff might have to do with some coding. I get somebody from Upwork to help me out with that. I've used some pretty good people in the past and had some pretty good experiences. So that's really, really good. It's also good to find some temp work but you know In terms of that long term work, I found like Alison did that, you know, she let me see the innards of the online jobs.ph. And I really I actually really liked it.

Alyson Lex 40:10
It's Yeah, it's just two different purposes. That's it. It's not that one is inherently better than the other. It's that people are on those platforms looking for different things. It's like eHarmony versus Tinder, okay. Think about it that way. Just they're on, they're looking for different things. The last thing that I want to talk about more in depth is something called app Sumo. They have deals, and I mentioned it before. It can be really hit or miss on what is available, as well as how well it works. Public, better proposals, both appsumo deals, I bought a giveaway software that's been refunded, I bought a learning management system, I missed the refund window. Um, I've bought a few things that I'm like, that's gonna be a hard pass for me. But a lot of stuff has been very helpful. So if you're open to buying something that could be still in development, but getting a lifetime deal in exchange for that. Check out app Sumo. I have no other words.

Jennie Wright 41:20
I actually like appsumo, I've gotten a few deals on there as well. But again, it is hit or miss with something. So really, like there's a lot of information in the actual thing. So if you get the emails from appsumo, and Allison and I both do, and it's like wow, super deal, and you want to jump on it be a little bit careful, they use FOMO very, very well. But you have to absolutely 100% sort of check things out. So this has been a little bit of a longer episode, we've shared our favorite marketing tools, or podcasting tools, our favorite Administrative Tools, or favorite project management tools are operational stuff we've fit, you know, we've really talked about a lot of these different things. So they have an idea of what's out there, we've shared some of our favorites, we've told you some of the ups and downs. And we want to make sure that you understand these are our opinions. And not everything is right for you. So don't be afraid to try things. And don't be afraid to walk away. If it's not working for you, you really do have to kind of do the Goldilocks sort of thing and find the right one for you. But choose always with growth in mind, make sure that you're not buying the thing for the now but for the now and the later. And that is going to help you make better decisions. And also don't obsess. So if you make a decision and it doesn't fit, don't browbeat yourself terribly over something like that. Just to give yourself an hour of research, make sure that you're making something of a good decision. Don't take 36 days to make a decision on something, make it and then move forward. That's the thing, right? So being an entrepreneur is a lot of that speed to get things done. Allison, I want to make sure that you are 100% enjoying this episode and this podcast so please make sure that you are following this podcast wherever you listen, and we'll be back again soon answering another big question.


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Some links contained on this page may be affiliate links. We never recommend any product or service that we haven't personally used or found to get good results for our clients and network. You are always free to search and purchase directly from the company withOUT using our link if you so desire.