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I am going to go through this list of tech and what you can do with them and why they’re awesome.
Keep this list handy and whenever you need to perform a new task, have a look and see if there is a bit of tech that might be able to help you do it better or faster.
And if you don’t know how to do it, go on Upwork and get someone else to
Come join me on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams
I tried batching the list of tech that I’m going to talk through into different segments like websites or content or social media, but I really struggled to because a lot of these bits of tech straddle a bunch of different categories and you might find different uses for them than I have found for myself.
So the first bit of tech is ToDoist. I love this so much. I have a whole episode on it. The one about setting up a to-do list to beat that overwhelmed.
That episode has a worksheet for you to go through to effectively set up ToDoist in the first place and to get into the habit of actually using it every day. So I won’t go into too much too much detail here, but just know that this app is amazing. You can have it on your phone, you can have it on your computer. So no matter where you get a thought of something that you need to do for your business or your personal life, you can chuck it into ToDoist and then just drop it from your mind because you know that it is being held accountable somewhere.
I will mention that there are other to-do list apps. There’s Trello, Asana, some of them are more visual, some of them you can make boards and so forth. So have a little play around. But I really recommend ToDoist, it’s free for the most part. You can pay for the premium version, which is only something like $28 for a whole year, but to be honest, the free version is so amazing that you probably won’t even need to upgrade to the premium one.
The next bit of text that I absolutely love is Acuity. Now, if you have a business where you have to make appointments with anyone, then I really recommend having a look at Acuity. There’s also obviously other apps out there, Calendly and so forth, but I really recommend Acuity.
Now tell me if this sounds familiar. You have to make an appointment and you send an email saying, are you free on Thursday? And then you get an email back saying, no, I’m not free on Thursday. What about Friday, three o’clock. Then you have to reply saying, no, I’m not free on Friday. What about next week? And before you know it, you sent about 10 emails just to make one simple appointment. Have you been on the receiving end of that? Have you been the one who is providing the appointments?
This takes a lot of time and effort and can be quite frustrating for everyone involved and just plain annoying really isn’t it? Whereas with Acuity you can send someone your Acuity link, you can do this for a specific type of appointment or just a genera appointment and they can just book an appointment with you from preselected times and dates that you are available.
And it just saves that back and forth, back and forth, millions of emails back and forth. So it’s super helpful. It makes the customer journey so much easier. You can sync it to your calendar as well. So mine is synced to my Google calendar. So if I put anything in my Google calendar like lunch with a friend or whatever, it automatically blocks that off in Acuity so people can’t make appointments during that time anymore. So it’s just phenomenal.
The next bit of tech that I love and I am using right now is a website, online-voice-recorder.com and it’s what I use to record my podcast. So we’ve all heard the expression keep it simple, stupid. Well I am a big fan of that because I think that it can be quite easy to just over-complicate everything. And so I always have to constantly remind myself what would be easy, how is the easiest way I can do this? So I was looking around for all this fancy audio equipment and so forth and I realized I am not that way inclined. I will not know how to use this to its full capacity. I don’t want to waste money on some kind of software or recording equipment that I will not be able to use to the best ability. So this website I just click record and then I click save when I’m done. So try it. It’s amazing.
The next thing I want to talk to you about is online storage. I really recommend having a lot of your stuff saved in some sort of online storage because it means you can flip between laptops and desktops and so forth and not have to worry about your laptop breaking or whatever because all of your important stuff is saved in the cloud somewhere. So I use G Drive, I also use Dropbox.
It has the added benefit obviously of being able to share documents and folders very easily with other people. So my accounts folder is shared with my accountant and my bookkeeper. My podcast folder is shared with people that need to see my podcast folder. My branding folder is shared with my designer, et cetera. So, um, if you haven’t already got some systems set up like this, then I really recommend it. Even if you just use it as a backup because you don’t want to work really hard on some product or service or all your branding, and then have it just be lost because you’ve dropped your laptop.
The next thing I want to talk to you about is transcription. There is a website called Temi, and you basically upload anything into it and it will transcribe it for you. Now, the quality of the transcription really varies from person to person. I’m lucky in that it seems to be able to understand me quite clearly. I’ve had to use it for recordings of other people and it has been less good transcribing if someone’s got a strong accent or if someone speaks really quietly. So try to make sure that the quality of the recording is top notch before you send it to Temi. But it’s absolutely found fantastic for transcription.
I use it for transcribing my podcasts and interviews and so forth. But the other thing I’ve used it quite a lot for is when I feel more comfortable speaking something rather than writing it. For example, my origin story, I just kind of told it, I recorded myself telling it and then I transcribed it and tweaked the notes from Temi into something much clearer. So you can also use it for yourself to transcribe your notes. It’s super cheap.
I remember back to when I was at uni and I had to transcribe all of the interviews I did for my dissertation and how long it took and how I did it all myself because I just thought it’s taking so long that paying someone must cost a lot. And then later on I worked as a medical secretary where I was typing up medical notes and I was earning a decent money then.
So I just reconfirmed the feeling that if you are transcribing anything, you’re paying out a lot of money. Temi charges you 10 cents per minute, so even an hour is only $6. How amazing is that really compared to how long it would take you to transcribe something?! It takes between two to five times the length of a recording to transcribe it. So to transcribe one hour will take up to five hours. I know I would much rather pay the $6 and just have it done for me. And then just have to spend a little bit of time reading over it and making sure it’s all okay.
The next thing I want to recommend is a place where you can get free fonts, 1001 Free Fonts. Not much to say about this, it’s free fonts. What I really recommend when you’re setting up your brand is to pick a few different fonts to use on all your branding. So maybe you pick one for the main headings and then subheadings. And then for the paragraph text and that will be just the fonts that you use for everything throughout.
Following on from that, if you want to sort of get into doing more content yourself, have a look at Canva and Creative Market. They’re amazing sites for templates to make social media content. You know, all those lovely like motivational quotes that are on lovely backgrounds or these people that really seem to have it in order where everything just is so matchy and lovely. Chances are they’re probably using something like Canva too as a template and then tweaking each one so that they’ve got themes and everything kind of looks in sync.
If you need a place to find photos, you can get free stock photos from Unsplash or Canva, but you might also want to have a little look at paid stock photography because you know, chances are the quality will be a bit better, it’ll be less likely that other people have used it. Again, you can have a look at Creative Market for this.
I would like to give a special shout out to Animalhaus Media. It’s a special site for pet stock photography. And as you know, animals are good for advertising absolutely anything because animals are super cute. So have a look at that site. I go to it regularly when I just need a bit of cheering up because you can look at things like lifestyle dogs and see dogs lounging around and so forth.
Paid stock photography might not be as expensive as you imagine. For example, on Animalhaus Media, you can get pictures for $19 royalty-free and then you can use them for pretty much whatever you want. Prices go up obviously depending on the quality or the size of the photo. So have a look at those things because it’s definitely that’s much cheaper than having a professional photo shoot done.
Another site I would really recommend you have a look at is called PlaceIt. It’s a mock site. So for example, you have a podcast like I do and you’ve got some lovely imagery for your podcast. You know, a lovely little cover photo. Now you can superimpose that image on some of their photos. So they might have photos, for example of a woman holding her phone and she’s listening to a podcast and you can superimpose your podcast cover onto her phone. So it looks like she’s listening to your podcast.
Or say you’ve published a book and you’ve got the design of the front cover. PlaceIt might have pictures of people reading books on the tube. And you can superimpose your book cover onto one of those books. So it looks like there’s someone on the tube reading your book. All of this is much cheaper than having a professional photo shoot.
Similarly, have a look at Shakr, which is a site for making really cool videos. So maybe you’ve got a retreat coming up or a course or so something. If you’ve got some nice images or some videos you’ve taken yourself, you can make a really cool production that looks like it was super expensive.
If you’re looking for an email platform, I personally use ConvertKit because I like how I can segment it a lot. Maybe MailChimp is more your bag or if you need something more advanced than have a look at Ontraport. So ConvertKit and MailChimp are mainly email platforms, right? So someone signs up to your mailing list, their email goes in there, you can set up automations. If you check out my previous podcast episode about email automations, you can do all of that in ConvertKit and MailChimp. Ontraport is a bit more of a database rather than just email. You can do a lot more stuff in it. It’s therefore obviously a lot more expensive, but you can process payments in there. You can set up subscriptions, you can have it all in one place, which is quite useful.
If you have multiple inboxes and you get a bit fed up of having to sort of jump between a bunch of tabs to check all of them, then have a look at Helpscout. Helpscout is an inbox management system. You can also pay extra to have additional users, so you can assign different emails to different people. So for example, maybe I have all of my emails coming into Helpscout and I have an additional user registered who is my tech person. And if there’s any tech queries, I can assign the email direct to her, she’ll get a notification, she’ll be able to reply within her own email and it will go straight back to that person. So you’ll be able to assign emails to different people.
You can save templates for emails in there. Say you’re typing a response to someone and you think, actually I’ll probably have to answer this question again at some point to someone else, you can save your reply. So next time someone asks a similar question, you can just find that reply that you saved, and you’ll have the chance to tweak it, but it just saves you a lot of extra work.
The next website I really recommend is Upwork. You’ve heard me talk about it 800 million times already by now, so have a little look on there and just just go on there and browse. Have a little look and, and see how much does it cost to actually have someone manage your inbox. Maybe it’s not as expensive as you thought. Maybe it’s worth that cost because you hate doing it and it takes half your day up and it means you can’t actually do the thing that you need to do to bring in the money.
And maybe it doesn’t cost that much to have someone edit your podcast so it doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a bunker or maybe it doesn’t cost that much to have someone do some really fancy graphics for you. So have a little look and see what’s possible on there because chances are it doesn’t cost half as much as you think, and it could really take your business to the next level.
If you are like everyone in the whole world and you spend some time on Facebook, you’ll notice that there are lots of quizzes on there and quizzes are a really, really good way of getting higher engagement because who doesn’t love a good quiz? I mean, I am only mildly embarrassed to tell you that I have taken quizzes on what kind of bread I would be, or what TV show I should be on, et cetera. So we’ve all been there, we’ve all done it, and we all will probably do it again. So have a little look at whether you might want to incorporate quizzes in your social media plan. If you do, then I really like Outgrow.
So my last episode was about email automations and scheduling your email in advance. So some of you might know that you can also do this with your social media content. Some of the platforms have got better at being able to do that actually within the platform itself. So for example, I schedule all my Facebook posts from within Facebook, but others are less good or less intuitive or you might decide that you want to actually be able to see all of them in the same place, in which case I recommend Hootsuite.
For analyzing web data, obviously there’s nothing better than Google Analytics, so make sure you can get that linked up to your website so you can have a little look at what’s happening when people are coming into your website.
If you are thinking of hosting a podcast, it might be no surprise that I’m going to recommend Pippa. It’s what I use, and I absolutely love it. So it’s just really easy, clean, beautiful to use. And you can very easily add your podcast onto other players like Spotify or iTunes or Stitcher.
If you’re thinking of hosting events and you want to be able to sell tickets to that event, then I really recommend Billetto. I have done a lot of research on which are the best in terms of transaction costs and fees and so forth. And I really liked Belletto. I think it’s really nice to use. The customer cares really good as well.
In terms of receiving payments, I prefer bank transfers wherever possible because there are less fees. I am lucky in that I’ve got a Revolut account. It’s not technically a bank account, but you can set up different sub-accounts in different currencies. So if like me, you live in the UK but you get a lot of payments in euros and dollars, then people can also make bank transfers from countries that use those currencies. If you don’t have this facility or if you have to accept payment from other countries with currencies that you can’t accept easily, then I really recommend Stripe or of course PayPal. The problem with PayPal is obviously you have to pay transaction fees and so forth, but in terms of something simple and easy that everyone knows how to use, you can’t really beat it. Both Stripe and PayPal also allow you to send invoices so that’s quite handy as well.
Carrying on in the money theme let’s talk about the financial software, Xero. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a chance to have a look at it but it is fairly easy to use. Again, you can set up quotes and invoices through it. My partner is using it now. He’s a handyman and he is the first to admit that he is terrible with tech and he’s been able to use it really, really well and he loves that he can see everything really easily. The money that’s come in and come out again, you can set up quotes and then convert them into invoices and see whether they’ve been paid, chase them up and so forth. It’s also really handy if you’ve got a bookkeeper or accountant because you can both have access to your Xero accounts and so they can be doing their side of things and you can be doing your side of things and everything comes together and it looks wonderful and is compliant with whatever tax laws in your countries.
If you have a team say of staff or contractors or your staff are not all in the same place and you want to kind of reduce the amount of emails going back and forth because you find that annoying, then have a look at Slack. You can either use it online or you can download the app onto your phone or your computer. Basically you can set up like team chat rooms or you can just talk individually to different team members, but it really helps if you want to cut down on emails.
If you are a freelancer or contractor who has to be able to keep track of how long you’re spending on any particular task, either because you need to charge different clients for it or you need to give them a breakdown, then have a look at Toggl. It’s just a really, really simple way to just like a timer for specific projects.
One of the last things I’m going to talk to you about is independent reviews. You’re gonna want to have reviews.Something too that you can share with people to kind of confirm to them that you are awesome. If you want a really well recognized third party review system, then have a look at Feefo. It’s a third party system where you can’t tamper with their reviews, but you can receive them and you can share them. And it’s just a really, really nice way of giving yourself credibility and collecting testimonials.
So my last little thing that I want to share with you is Zapier. Now if you’re not really a tech person, then you just ignore everything I say about this because it’s just going to make you want to cry. But if you do have a tech person, then this is awesome. Basically you will find that you want to integrate lots of these different bits of software and tech with each other. You want your website to speak to your mailing list and you want to know who’s going on what pages. If you’re hosting a webinar, you’re going to want people to be able to register to your mailing list and then tag your mailing list with whether they attended the webinar or not, whether they listened the whole way through, whether they went onto your website after, et cetera.
Where you can’t get the two bits of software or tech to speak to each other, that’s where Zapier comes in. You get a free amount of zaps. And then if you need any more, you have to start paying. But it’s not that expensive. And basically what it does is integrate almost any two softwares or websites to each other.
In summary, keep this list handy and whenever you need to perform a new task, have a look and see if there is a bit of tech that might be able to help you do it better or faster.
And if you don’t know how to do it, go on Upwork and get someone else to.
Please note I am an affiliate partner of some of these but I genuinely use and love every bit of tech I recommended here.
Next time we will be discussing social media platforms, which ones should you be on and what should you be doing on them.
In the meantime come join us on our facebook page www.facebook.com/thebeautyofourdreams