These are my favorite tools for building and growing a business that I love. Check back often for updates!

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Tools To Build Your Audience

To build your audience of super-fans and clientele, you’ll want to build up the following resources:

  • A strong website
  • An active email list
  • Active social media accounts

We offer a lot advice on our blog about what content is appropriate for each resource; here are the tools you’ll need to establish these resources.


Hosting & Domain URL

Bluehost*: you’ll need a hosting company to store your website files and database for you and give you access to space on the internet. Bluehost is my hosting company and the industry leader when it comes to ease of use, customer service, and 1 click WordPress installation.

Namecheap: is where you can purchase a custom URL known as a domain name for people to find your website. was purchased on Namecheap for $10/year. Watch this tutorial on how to use Namecheap.

Website Platform

WordPress: is the most commonly used content managing system. Its platform is easy to use to create and design a website on. Once you’ve acquired hosting from Bluehost or whichever hosting company you’re using, you simply install WordPress, log-in to your WordPress dashboard, and begin selecting themes, creating pages, and writing posts for your website. WordPress is user friendly and beginners need no website coding knowledge to use this software. Visit our YouTube channel for tutorials on using WordPress.

Professionally Designed Website Themes

Genesis*: A lot of my online connections and fellow bloggers run their websites on the Genesis Framework. A professionally designed theme is important to giving your brand a good rep with your customers and audience. I’m not a coder by any stretch of the imagination and I wouldn’t expect you to be either. Genesis is user friendly and isn’t hard to figure things out on your own. There’s also a helpful community forum for asking questions and documentation that will show you how to do just about anything you need to do.

Thesis Theme for WordPress*: Another option for purchasing a professional theme is DIY Themes who came up with the Thesis Theme framework. They have a great selection of themes for your blog or website that will make your site come across professional and give you credibility to your viewers. The Thesis Theme is considered the top theme by many online entrepreneurs.

ThemeForest*: is a massive marketplace where you can find hundreds of professionally designed paid themes web designers have built and are selling on the Envato Marketplace. I bought the Avada theme from ThemeForest which is the most purchased professional theme all time in the marketplace due to it’s ease of customization and abundance of features. uses the Avada theme.

Keyword Research

Market Samurai*: One of the top keyword research tools out there to discover keywords you can rank for in Google when you write blog articles. If you want to save time with keyword research which includes: search volume, competitor analysis, your page rank, your keyword rank, and more, then this is definitely worth checking out.

Longtail Pro*: Also considered to be one of the top keyword research tools and some consider it easier to use than Market Samurai but either one is great for making keyword research easy on you. It’s just a one time payment of $97 to purchase the software and you are all set to dive into keyword research.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool: This is a great free tool that you can use to get search volume estimates for keywords as well as keyword groups if you need ideas of more words that relate to your keyword. You’ll need to create a free Google adwords account first to get access to this tool.

Analytics & Traffic Monitoring

Google Analytics: Track how many unique visitors your site gets each month as well as page views, bounce rate, and more. Analytics are important to understanding what kinds of traffic your site is receiving, where from, and helps you see growth from month to month.

Google Webmaster Tools: Another resource for analyzing data and diagnostics of your website and gives you tools to ensure a healthy Google-friendly website.

Clicky*: Just like Google Analytics and it allows you to see how many people are on your site real time. Your first website is free to use Clicky.

WordPress Plugins I Recommend Installing

You can search these plugins within WordPress in the Plugins Page or you can download them directly using the links below and then upload and install them in WordPress. Here are plugins I deem “MUST HAVE” when setting up a website.

(#1) Yoast SEO: is the top plugin for optimizing your blog posts and website for search engines to help improve your ranking in Google. Watch a tutorial on YouTube for learning all their features.

(#2) W3 Total Cache: Speed-enhancing website cache-ing plugin. Seek a YouTube tutorial though for help with all the millions of settings it contains during the set-up phase. I used a tutorial, set it up, and saw my web page load time speed up 2 seconds!

(#3) WordFence Security: Keep your website secured from tampering and hacking. You’ll be notified immediately of any suspicious activity. WordFence can lock out people trying to log in to your website too many times or who use specific usernames as well as many other features.

(#4) Askimetimportant for protecting your blog from spam commenting and trackback spam

(#5) Pretty Link Lite: cleans up links so you can remember the URL that you custom set for the destination you are trying to link out to. You can also re-direct, create, and track links from your website to see how many hits they are getting from traffic.

(#6) SumoMe: This is an amazing resource, filled with tools to help you grow your website and your email list. There are tools to capture email addresses, increase social sharing, understand your site analytics, and more. It integrates with all the major email providers. Try out one tool or use them all it’s a great plugin.

Building an Email List

Email Marketing & List Growth

ConvertKit*: I made the switch to ConvertKit and absolutely love it. I wish I had switched sooner because they offer so many amazing features to make email marketing easy on you. ConvertKit is a must have tool as an online entrepreneur. It allows you to create professional optin forms to capture email optins, set up automated email sequences to send to your list, and has advanced features such as tagging that allow you to categorize your list and target specific members with specific emails. The developer really new what was lacking in other email marketing companies and designed a great product for us all to use to build our email lists to market to.

Email List Optin Form Design

OptinMonster*: is the best resource for designing engaging optin forms and landing pages to increase your conversion rates and grow your email list. They have exit-intent capability to show a pop-up to visitors who are about to exit your website as well as many other amazing features. You can create multiple forms and then use their analytic tracking to see which forms are performing best and make tweaks as necessary to increase conversions. OptinMonster syncs easily with ConvertKit as well as the other email marketing companies.

Social Media Tools

Social media is one of the best ways to grow a brand following of dedicated fans. For my online businesses I use Instagram, Facebook, and SnapChat primarily but I’m also on Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites from time to time. Below are some tools to help you manage your social media accounts.

Scheduling Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Posts

Scheduling posts in advance is a great way to keep your social media account active throughout the day, without needing to interrupt your food service.

Other Social Tools

These tools help you tailor your social content to better serve your audience.

Video Equipment

Video will be an important part of your online business. Today’s world is moving more and more to video to consume content and learn. Videos are more engaging to your audience, when done professionally. To create professional videos, I’ve listed several resources below under each sub-category. You will need a recording device, microphone equipment, and a video studio set up for recording your videos. Once recorded, you will need video editing software to produce the video. You can then upload it to YouTube for free or a paid video hosting platform such as Wistia if you are going to distribute the videos as paid content to people who purchase access to them.

Video Recording Devices

Professional Camera: Canon 70D – 1080px, HD video camera, amazing quality, auto-focus during video, and more. Great for filming outside and inside. Offers a large variety of lenses that you can choose from to fit your needs. Has wireless features with the Canon Connect App so you can take great photos and transfer them to your phone easily to post on social media.

Pocket Camcorder for on the Go: Canon VIXIA HF R62 – smaller camcorder that is great for when you are on the go and need to shoot footage. Has the side pop-out screen so you can see yourself filming for ease of taking a selfie video.  32 GB HDD, great zoom range without losing quality, and great battery life.

iPhone 6 or 6 Plus: The recent smart phones made by Apple have great cameras on them you can use to take photos or record video. The quality is as good I would say as most video cameras but you can argue they still lag high end professional video cameras in quality.

Tripod for Camera: tripods are important for setting up your video camera to film on it’s own or for steady shots where you don’t want the camera to move at all. I used a tripod for filming my real estate investing lessons as well as when I’m in front of the backdrop screens.

Video Camera Bundle Package: Get a video camera, memory card, case, tripod, and more as one bundle package. Search for the bundle that suits you if the one I’ve linked to isn’t for you.

Video Editing Software

Camtasia Studios: this software makes it easy to record your computer screen for filming tutorials and offers lots of video editing features to make professional and engaging videos.

ScreenFlow: a powerful screen recording and video editing software for Mac users. Record what you do on your computer and edit it into a tutorial for uploading to YouTube or selling as an eCourse.

Windows Movie Maker: Comes free with most windows based computers and laptops. Has only your basic features such as splitting film, adding music, and adding some animation effects. If you’re looking for professional editing software with lots of cool features and editing options, this won’t be your software.

Video Effects & Add Ons

Omnidazzle: for Mac users and it allows you to draw on your screen as well as other video enhancements such as tracking the location of your mouse on the screen.

SplashEO: If you want professional looking intros and outros for your videos, SplashEO is the go to resource. An intro is a professional 3-10 second clip your viewer sees prior to starting the video alerting them of your brand or logo. You see these commonly on YouTube. An outro is an exit clip the viewer sees pointing them to other videos you have, social media, or links you want them to click next. Intros and outros can also have music built into them to add effect.

Bamboo Pen & Tablet: It’s hard to write with a mouse cursor so the bamboo pen and tablet solves this problem. It puts a pen in your hand to draw on the tablet and hooks up to your laptop or computer to relay your drawing onto the computer screen.

Wista: provides professional video hosting with amazing viewer analytics, HD video delivery, and marketing tools to help understand your visitors. Use Wistia when you need to store videos somewhere until users pay to get access to them, similarly to eBook distribution shopping carts that deliver people an eBook after they purchase it.

SpeechPad: if you want to transcribe your videos, this company will do it for $1 per minute of audio. I gladly pay someone $5 to transcribe 5 minutes of video so that I don’t have to do the tedious work myself of replaying the video in slow motion writing out every word I said. Try out this company if you want to outsource and save the headaches.

Studio Set-Up

Backdrop Kit: Have you seen videos where they appear to be contrasted against a white or black background? That’s the result of having a backdrop kit. You can purchase white or black or even green screen backdrop to stand in front of and then you’ll use lighting to give the effects you desire in your video.

Lighting Kit: the 3 point lighting technique is most common. You’ll have two face lights shining on you to get rid of shadows and then a back light placed behind you shining on the back of you to create that contrast effect so you don’t blend in with the background. Lighting can make you pop out in your videos, giving a cool visual effect.

Audio Equipment

Recording Microphones: See this list of microphones and select one to purchase to use in your office. Using a recording microphone to record your podcast or audio content will clean out all the noise and unnecessary sounds that are present from normal recording into a laptop speaker. Quality is way better with a microphone.

Wireless Mic: Clip on a wireless mic for easy recording of any conversation you have while outside your home or for when you aren’t nearby your laptop. Traditional recording mics plug into a laptop so a wireless mic gives you range and mobility to be away from your studio or desk.

Podcast Hosting:

Libsyn: the most recommended podcast hosting platform to upload your show and episodes to. Just like a website has to have hosting, so does a podcast. You can then integrate your libsyn links and account info into plugins and iTunes for streaming your episodes to an audience. As you upload each new episode to LibSyn it will automatically update your iTunes and Plugins feed. Find a tutorial on YouTube for help in setting up the iTunes and website integration.

Blubrry PowerPress: A plugin for your WordPress Website to stream your podcast episodes once you’ve uploaded them to your hosting platform.

Smart Podcast Player: Designed by Pat Flynn, this is an amazing plugin you can download to display your podcast episodes as a feed for easy viewing, downloading, and sharing by your audience.

Writing an eBook

iBooks Author: a great platform to type up an eBook on because of the professional formatting features it offers when building your eBook. I prefer using it over typing up my eBook in a Word document, but from time to time I still use the Word document to write up my rough draft of my eBooks.

Gumroad: Once you’ve written your eBook, I recommend using Gumroad to host your eBook or in other words store it and handle the payment transactions of customers. This way you don’t have to integrate expensive software into your website to have a shopping cart and payment processor. Use a 3rd party merchant to handle all of that. It’s worth the small 1% fee that most merchants charge. More on those below!

Amazon Kindle Device Publishing Account: You’ll need an Amazon KDP account to sell your eBooks on Amazon’s platform. It’s easy to set up and I created a step by step tutorial for you here in this article.

Byword: This is the distraction-free word processor that I use to write anything – from blog posts to video scripts, sales copy and presentations.

Grammarly*: A great spell-check tool where anything you write automatically goes through their database of spelling and grammatical checks to make sure you write properly. Saves a lot of hassle in editing your eBook for grammar and spelling errors.

Product Distribution/Shopping Carts

Gumroad: a 3rd party shopping cart platform to store your eProducts on. It processes payments for you for a small fee but allows your product distribution to be completely passive as well as the other shopping carts listed below. It has an affiliate admin section where you can set up your products to be sold by affiliates and pay them a commission for bringing you a sale.

Ejunkie: great for hosting your products for a small monthly fee starting with their $5/month plan. They are compatible with Paypal and ClickBank as well as other payment processors to send your payments to. They offer an affiliate program you can set up to have others promote your products and you pay out affiliate fees to them using the affiliate dashboard.

Paypal: You’ll need a Paypal account for the 3rd part hosting/distribution sites above to send your money to as your products start to sell each month. Then you log in to your Paypal account and withdraw the funds via a physical check in the mail or via wire transfer to your bank account. I get monthly distributions to my bank account from Paypal as my golf memberships sell on

Sellfy: I use Sellfy to host my products and distribute them to my purchasers on my golf niche site. It’s a low % fee they take per transaction compared to what some of the other payment merchants charge in fees. They also offer an affiliate feature to help you set up an affiliate program to sell more of your products and pay off affiliates for their help.

Clickbank: another platform for hosting your products and then as customers purchase them via links on your website, they take care of the payment transaction, disburse funds to you, disburse the product to the customer, and you get to sit back and collect checks just like the merchants above e-junkie and Gumroad.

Setting Up Your Home Office

Whether you are working full time or part time on your website and online income business, you’ll need a place you can go to do focused work. Having a home office will allow you a place to record podcasts, shoot video footage, type out content, and more. Treat it like your business office, except you get the convenience of working from home!

Office Desk – it will be used for supporting your computer, lap top, printer, scanner, lighting, paperwork, and more

Office Chair – this sleek white office chair is what I purchased for my personal office and it is an expense that offsets income come tax time. Totally worth it!

Computer – working from home on your blog is great when you have a reliable computer that has good loading speed, nice screen size, and room to store all your files, images, and backup files for your website

Monitor Screen – May come with the computer or maybe you want a second monitor in your office. I like buying a custom monitor screen that is larger than the normal size, just like we enjoy larger TV screens

Laptop – the lifeblood of your blog. You’ll need access to internet, as well as a place you can type, store files, images, and more.

Microsoft Office – a powerful program for creating spreadsheets and running financial analysis is Excel by Microsoft Office. You’ll also get Microsoft Word and PowerPoint for creating documents and presentations. When you buy a new laptop or computer you usually have to purchase this separate and install it on the device.

Scanner – great to have in your home office for scanning documents and reducing paper

Printer/Copier Two in One – this Brother MFCL2700DW Compact Laser All-In One Printer does it all from printing to copying, scanning, faxing and is also wireless. Great for your home office needs.

Bookshelves – turn your home office into a work and study room by implementing book shelving to house books and educational content for you to expand your knowledge. I buy about 20 new books per year to read and over time my accumulation of books will fill out my bookshelves giving me a personal development library in my own home.

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