I often get asked which systems I use to run Free Range Humans. Good question.
There are so many resources out there it’s hard to know which are good in reality (vs those that look good on the outside, but will leave you screaming ‘gah’! at your computer screen).
I’ve been there and tested them out for you and below are my recommendations. Starting with…
1. File back up (and sharing): Dropbox
Get this if you would like to access your files from more than one computer (or phone)… or simply if you don’t want to collapse in tears cause you lose all your files when your laptop gets lost/self-combusts at the most awkward moment possible.
Plus they have a great phone app so you can get to your files from anywhere, and the first 2GB is free with this link.
2. Taking Online Payments: PayPal
This is the standard online and the simplest payment solutions I’ve seen. (And yes people can even pay by credit card on here). Get a business account and you can even set up subscriptions.
If you want a traditional credit card processor, we occasionally use Stripe. But there’s a bit more tech involved and TBH you can run off PayPal for your first year (and pretty much forever after that too!).
SamCart lets you create a payment page + create a product or offer page all in one! You can even take payments with Apple Pay (nice!) and credit cards, or offer a subscription or payment plan. Easy way to get something up fast + well.
3. List building/email marketing: Convert Kit.
If you don’t have a way for people to give you their email address so you can build your own list, you’re missing a trick.
Social media is great – but ultimately it means Facebook/Instagram or whoever own your audience… and they can reduce how many of that audience actually sees you in their feed with a flick of an algorithm.
Email is the approach you get to control – so no matter what, you can build a relationship with your customers, let them know when an offer is coming up and more . So what to use?
There are a lot of list building options out there, but the only one I recommend today is Convert Kit.
Without boring you with the tech side, it’s great: the team are all about creating exactly what you need for you to make your thing work (I moved to them after 7 years with another system and a lot of people are making the move too).
4. Transcribe your audio notes: Otter.ai
Ok, I’m a bit obsessed with this one. Otter.ai is a website that transcribes audios in minutes, for free (or close to it!).
That means if you have a client call on Zoom, you get the transcript after and whiz it to them. If you have a bunch of ideas, speak them out and hit ‘transcribe. It’s a little magic.
5. Web hosting (including domain name and email address): Bluehost
Bluehost is what I used to host all my website for years – and it’s a solid place to start. Once you get a Bluehost account (which comes with a free domain name) you can set up as many sites as you like. And I’ve found their support good too. Solid value across the world.
6. Website: WordPress
My personal go-to for a new site is WordPress – and it is what most online business people use.
You can set it up yourself at first, then if you want a super-swish web design down the line almost all designers work with WordPress so you won’t have to move your website (yay!).
Bluehost has a ‘one click installation’ for WordPress which is a big part of the reason I recommend them – you just follow the directions and click a few buttons to install WordPress. Hello website!
Top tip: WordPress can be a faff to learn – but it is much easier with the right “WordPress theme” installed. By far the easiest and best designed on the market right now is the Divi theme.
It’s what this website is built on, as well as my www.mariannecantwell.com website.
In fact I personally created this Resources page on Divi – without any web designer input – so you can see what it can do!
To get this:
1) get Bluehost
2) click in there to install WordPress – then
3) get the Divi theme and follow their instructions to install it and you’re good to get started (their tutorials are great too!).
7. Creating an online programme: Podia
This is a bit different as I don’t use this one – but if I were starting out from scratch today then I definitely would!
If you want to set up and sell online courses (or even memberships) from scratch without the faff my top pick is Podia.
This is a one stop shop that lets you host, sell and run online courses.
You can create + run courses or memberships, host your videos + digital downloads in Podia, (without having to mess about with other tech!).
Includes well formatted pages you can use to sell your course from (that’s right you can sell from Podia without a website… or keep your website and have a dedicated sales page here for your courses), the ability to pre-sell your products (awesome!) and much more. Great value too.
See it for yourself with their 14 day free trial.
As Podia is so comprehensive (includes ways to take payment, create offer pages, create paid and free offers and more) if I was starting out in 2020, wanted to create/sell courses and had to pick one thing to go with, I’d likely make it this.
HAVE FUN! OH BUT BEFORE YOU GO…
Tools are just the beginning. Put your name down here for occasional Free Range thinking to bring this to life, as you:
Tools are just the beginning.
Put your name down here for occasional Free Range thinking to bring this to life, as you:
Note: Some of the links here are affiliate links meaning that for some of these recommendations, I will sometimes (but not always) receive an automatic percentage from the seller when you buy. This does not cost you anything (in fact sometimes you get a discount through the above links!) but I just wanted to let you know.
The way I create is to put together my top recommendations – and only then check if any have affiliate links available. Result: I only recommend services I have used and love (I do not list things that pay, but are blah to use… which is why you may see a different list here compared to others online!). I also include things if they are free, so long as they are the best.
This is stuff I’ve tested personally. And I’m pretty picky. That is all 🙂