Here is a list of my favorite business tools that I use and I couldn’t do business without. I wanted to share them with you because I love them and they may be beneficial for you in your business, as well! If you have any favorite business tools that you love that I didn’t mention, be sure to leave me a comment and tell me about it! (And just so you know, this post does include some affiliate links. But I only share things that I use and love!)
My Favorite Business Tools
- Planoly – I absolutely LOVE using Planoly for Instagram! I batch my graphics every week, then upload them all to Planoly to schedule throughout the week. While IG doesn’t allow a third party app to actually post for you, it does make it super easy to post when it is time. One of the things I love most about Planoly is the ability to rearrange my scheduled posts on my feed and make it look “pretty” before actually posting. This is a great way to do it if you have a grid and want to keep it looking a certain way! Try it and let me know what you think!
- Tailwind – Tailwind is a site/app that I use for Pinterest. I know that I am not using it to it’s full potential, as I am still getting it all figured out, but I love the ability to schedule posts on Pinterest! I don’t always remember to get on and pin consistently, so Tailwind helps do that for me, once I load up the queue. You can also join Tailwind tribes in your niche and share your content there to be shared by others!
Read Three Simple Ways To Be More Productive
- Gsuite – Gsuite is great for email, docs, google drive, calendar, and more. I even have my gmail set up with my domain, so my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And I love Google drive for creating, storing, and sharing documents. It’s a great way to save things that I want to be able to access from any computer or device. It’s also great for being able to share things between my clients and myself when I am working with them on web design or branding.
- Acuity Scheduling – This is an awesome tool for allowing clients to schedule appointments with me, whether it is a free 15 minute clarity call, or my 45 minute paid brand strategy sessions. I can create my calendar based on my schedule and they can choose a time that works for them. I can also ask them to answer some questions when they book to help me know what they are wanting out of the call, and they pay right when they schedule the appointment. And I love that it emails both them and me a reminder the day before!
- Zoom – Zoom is a fantastic tool for video conferencing. I often use it when I want to “meet” with a client online and want to be able to see each other and record the video content. You can use it with groups of people as well, and can see each person who is part of the meeting. Being on video is not a requirement, though, for someone who would rather not. You can also mute people other than the speaker so you cut down on background noise and other distractions. It is also free for up to 40 minutes of screen time (I believe).
Read How Branding Your Direct Sales Business Can Grow Your Business
- Canva – This is a website that I use pretty much every day! I most definitely could not do business without it, because it is how I create all of my graphics! A lot of people use PicMonkey as well, but I prefer Canva for most things. And I love paying for Canva for Business so that I can save my brand colors and fonts. It makes it super easy and quick to create branded graphics for my business! If you need any assistance learning how to use it, just reach out!
- Trello – Trello is an awesome tool for all kinds of things, to do lists, content management, project management, and more! I use it for all of the above. You can create boards privately and use them yourself, or you can add others and have team boards. In each board you can add lists and cards and move the cards around. In the cards you can add comments, checklists, upload files, colored labels, due dates, etc. It’s pretty fantastic!
- Stock Photos – There are several stock photo sites I like to use, such as Pixabay and Unsplash, but one of my favorites is a monthly subscription one with “girl boss” type photos. Each month I have received 25-50 photos and they are fantastic! Many of the “girl boss business” type photos I use on my blog and social media come from this service. I highly recommend it!
- Siteground Hosting and the Divi Theme – As a web designer, these are two of my favorites! Siteground is my favorite site for hosting your website and Divi is my all-time favorite theme! I love how customizable Divi is. I can create all kinds of very different websites!
Read Six Easy Steps To Start a Blog
What are your favorite business tools to use? Leave a comment and let me know!
Are you in direct sales or network marketing and are thinking about starting a blog, but you aren’t sure what a direct seller blog should be about? I am here to tell you that there are tons of things you can write about! I am hoping this blog post will help.
What should a direct seller blog about?
Your product. This one is obvious. If you are part of a direct selling company, you are probably going to want to tell others about your product! That is totally fine to do, but just make sure you don’t over do it. You will not get and keep traffic to your blog if that is all you are posting about. And make sure your posts aren’t just salesy! You’ll want to use your blog posts to share how to use the products, little known tips about them, what problems they can solve for your customers, etc. Make sure your posts are useful. Personal stories. Your blog is a fantastic place for your customers to get to know you, which builds that know, like, and trust factor that people are always talking about. When they get to know you (or feel like they know you!), they start to realize they like you. And when they like you, they want to buy from you. So don’t be afraid to share things about your life and put your personality into your posts! You can even share funny stories. Let your customers know who you are, what you like to do, etc.
Behind the scenes. This goes along with my last point. Show some personality by giving your customers a glimpse of the behind the scenes of your work life. Share with them how you run your business, your office, your kids/pets helping (or “helping”) you, share about the process you take to get ready for a party or mail out packages/fun mail, etc. Your customers will like to see that side of your business as well!
Read 5 Reasons To Blog as a Direct Seller
Tips/tricks. These tips and tricks don’t have to be directly related to your product. They can (and probably often should) be about other things your target market is interested in. For example, if you sell Thirty One bags, your customers may be interested in organization, so you can share different tips relating to that topic. Maybe you sell jewelry or clothes and your followers appreciate different fashion tips. Those of you who sell a “green” product may have people interested in learning how to make their lives safer. For food related items, you can share recipes, tips, kitchen hacks, etc. And if your target market is mostly moms, you can always share parenting/mom life type of info! There is lots that you can share! Advice. Advice kind of goes along with the tips/trick. But think of who your target market is, and share advice with them and what you have learned about different topics. Anything that they feel is helpful information will go over great with your audience! It will also help your content to get shared and pinned more often. People use the internet to research things, so let your blog answer some of their questions! FAQ’s. Are there certain questions you get asked a lot? Share your answers to those questions! Then, whenever someone asks you one of those questions online, you can share your blog post with them! People use the internet to research things, so let your blog answer some of their questions!
Read Six Easy Steps to Start a Blog
Resources/tools. Are there certain resources or tools that you have come across that can make your audience’s life easier? Maybe you were working on a home project recently and found a really awesome tool to help, or maybe you came across a parenting resource and you want to share that resource with your followers. Share away, especially if it is relevant to your following! Again, be helpful! Business. You can share information related to running a business with your followers. Maybe there is someone who is thinking about joining you, but isn’t sure she knows enough about running a business. You can share how you run yours and different things you have learned. Hopefully now you have plenty of ideas to get you started with your blog! I have also created a content ideas worksheet for you, which you can download and use to plan your content for your blog! You’ll write in your mail content categories, then you can fill in those categories with more specific ideas (i.e. Organization – kitchen organization, office organization, etc). Just enter your info, download, and enjoy! What content ideas did you come up with? Tell me in the comments below!
Are you a direct seller or network marketer? Have you thought about starting a blog or having your own website but are not sure when, why, how you should do it? Keep reading, I’ve got some answers! Here are some reasons you may be ready to take the next step of starting a website. (This blog post may contain affiliate links from things I love!)
You are ready to grow your business.
Typically, when someone in direct sales starts a website and blog, their business grows. So if you are consistently running your business and are ready to grow and take it to the next level, starting your own website and blog is a great next step to take! You can use it as a place to send potential customers, hosts, or recruits more information about you and your business. It is also a good place to share information about your products and what they can do for people. You can use it to share other information your target market might be interested in reading about. It is also a way to show yourself as the go-to “expert” in certain topics. There are endless ways that you can use your site to grow your business!
You want to do more to help your customers and to connect with them.
When I was in direct sales (still am), before I started my web design and brand strategy business, I knew I wanted to do more than just sell a product. I wanted to help my customers learn more about making their home a safer haven, educate them on the dangers of harmful chemicals in many of the products we use, encourage the moms I was reaching, and help them solve other problems in their homes. I wanted a place to be able to do that more than just Facebook. A place where they could get to know me and connect with me. I realized that a blog was the perfect place to do that. On your blog, you can write about all kinds of things, not just product or company related. Your customers truly get to know you and your passion to help and serve them.
Read How to do direct sales without being spammy.
You want to own your content and not risk it being deleted by Facebook
While Facebook business pages are a must-have for any direct sales business, when you are only using Facebook pages or groups to connect with your customers, you run the risk of Facebook shutting you down at any time and losing all of your content. You don’t actually own anything on Facebook. They can do whatever they want with your accounts at any time. But, not so if you have a self-hosted website! On your website you own your content. You can back it up frequently with plugins like UpdraftPlus so you never lose anything. So, even if Facebook would happen to shut you down for some reason, you would still have your website and blog (and hopefully an email list!) to keep your business running.
You want to get more customers by showing up in search engines and on Pinterest
There’s this little thing you’ve probably heard about called Search Engine Optimization, SEO, that you can use on your website. Basically, you plug in keywords and meta description in your blog posts, pages, and images, etc. There are different tricks that you can use to optimize your website in search engines so that people can find you more easily. Pinterest is also a great tool for your business to be found. You can pin your blog posts on Pinterest and get more views, visitors, and customers that way.
You are ready to stand out from all the other consultants
If you are ready to do more with your direct sales or MLM business, more than just selling your products and doing parties, then starting a blog or website is a good next step for you. Brenda Ster, a direct sales trainer from the Sassy Suite, has a Direct Sales Social Media Pyramid that she talks about in this blog post. She says, “The higher you climb on the social media pyramid, the fewer people from your brand that are on that channel, so the easier it is for you to stand out when you post and engage consistently.” The highest platform on the social media pyramid, according to Brenda, is blogging! So when you are a direct seller with a blog, you will definitely be standing out as one of the few consultants with a blog!
Join my Facebook group, Brand Bosses, where we talk all things branding, blogging, websites, marketing tips, and more!
Next steps….How do I do it?
Ok, so maybe you’re ready take that next step, but you have no clue HOW to do it or get started! Well, I can help you with that! Check out my post, Six Easy Steps for Starting a Blog! Another great option is to hire someone to do it for you so that you can spend your time running your business instead of taking the time to figure it out. If that is you, I’d love to connect with you and see if I can help with that! Just schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation with me. Do you have questions about starting a blog? Ask me below!
Are you ready to start a blog but are not sure exactly what to do or how to do it? Here are six easy steps to help you get started. (This blog post has some affiliate links of some of my favorite things!)
Hosting is the space where your website is at online. It’s kind of like the land that your house is built on. There are lots of hosting sites, like Go Daddy, Bluehost, etc, but my favorite site is SiteGround. SiteGround has a quality service, affordable prices, excellent customer service, free domain, an easy 1-click WordPress install, 30 day money back guarantee, free SSL certificate, and more! SiteGround is also super affordable, which we all love, right?
There are other free or cheap website options available, such as WordPress.com, Wix, Blogspot, etc, but I always suggest going self-hosted. This way you actually own your content and you’re not relying on someone else. It is also the best for SEO and monetizing your blog if that’s your goal.
To get started on SiteGround, you can click on my link and choose a plan. The StartUp plan is probably good enough for now if you’re only going to have one blog, but you can always go bigger if you choose. You will click on “Get Started” then it will take you to register your domain name.
Choose and register a domain name
Your domain name is your url, or site address. It is what you type in the address bar of your browser to get to your site. You can register a domain name very easily with SiteGround when you are setting up your hosting account.
I would definitely do a search for your domain name and similar ones like it first, to see what else is out there. You don’t want to choose something that will get confused with someone else’s or something that is going to go to a questionable site if someone accidentally types it wrong. Getting a .com url is usually best, but you can always get a .net or something else if you need to, like I did.
On the next page you will enter your account, client, payment, and purchase information. For the data center you will choose which ever one is closest to where most of your readers will be coming from. So since I am in the USA, as are most of my readers, I chose Chicago. You don’t necessarily need the extra services, unless you want to get them. I did not get the Site Scanner because I use a free plugin (WordFence) on my site in place of that.
Next, you will need to install WordPress on your site. After clicking Pay Now and finishing your purchase, you should get a page that says Proceed to Customer Area. When you click on that, you may get a pop up that asks if you want to install WordPress. Otherwise, you can go to your account, the CPanel, then click on WordPress under the pre-installers category.
After you install WordPress, you can access the back end of your website, which is your WordPress admin dashboard. To access it, you will go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin, replacing “yourdomain” with your domain.
Install a theme
After you have installed WordPress and have logged into your dashboard, it is time to choose a theme for your blog. There are free WordPress themes that you can choose from or you can pay for one. While there is nothing really wrong with choosing a free one, at least to start with, they are not as customizable as others. My recommendation, and what I use, is the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. I love how customizable it is and it is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you choose to use Divi and want some tips for using it, just schedule a call with me and I will go over it with you!
To install Divi, you will go to the Elegant themes website and click on Join to Download up at the top right. Then you will choose either the Yearly Access or Lifetime Access. You will fill out the information and complete your registration. Then you will go to the members area (I get there by clicking on Login after I am already logged in and it takes me there) and click Download on the Divi Theme. You will need to make sure you download it as a zip file.
Then you will go back to the admin dashboard of your site, and go to Appearance and then Themes. From there you can click Add New, then Upload Theme and upload the zip file of the Divi theme. After it installs, you will click Activate Theme to activate it on your site. And now you are ready to move on to the fun part!
Customize and add content to your site.
After you choose and install your theme, you will need to customize it and add your content to it. Customizing your website the way you want it and in a way that reflects your brand can take time to do. If you are up for it and want to do it, go for it! The Elegant Themes website has a blog where they have lots of articles with tips that you can look through for assistance if you need it. But if you want to spend your time running and growing your business and let someone else create your website for you (like me!) then I would love to chat with you about that! It’s what I love to do! 😉
Want to know more about visual branding? Check out this post!
Write your first blog post.
Now you are ready to write and publish your first blog post! Don’t wait too long for this step. If you keep messing around with the customization of your site until it is absolutely perfect, you may never get around to actually blogging! So be sure you start blogging as soon as you can. You can always work on making your site better as you go.
I hope these steps help you get started! Want some more help with your website or branding? I’d love to chat! Schedule your free 15 minute discovery call with me here!