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AMY PORTERFIELD: “If I were just starting out, I would 100 percent use ConvertKit for my email–service provider and Leadpages for all of my opt–in page templates and thank–you pages and so much more. The two work really well together, and that's exactly where I'd start.”
“I wish that I used this project–management tool eleven years ago, meaning I wish I got into the habit of using a project–management tool when it was just me in the business, before I had a V.A., before I had a big team, because there's a discipline behind this, that if you do it from the get–go or if you just start it now, you will grow into it so that as your team grows, you are just a natural at managing projects inside of a specific tool. It becomes like a daily habit.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: My husband, Hobie, has a secret work shed in the backyard. That kind of sounds creepy when I say it like that. But he built it when we moved in about six years ago, and it's way in the back, and it's covered by a lot of trees, so you can hardly even see it. And he loves this work shed. He goes back there, and he tinkers with things, and he's got hundreds of tools back there.
And one day I went to visit him in his work shed—I know. I felt like maybe it was like “girls not allowed,” but don't worry. He let me in—and I went into the work shed, and I looked around and I said, “How do you have all these tools? How do you even know how to use all of them?” And he said, “Well, truth is, I have all these tools, but there's probably one, two, maybe three tools that I use the most, and I hardly even touch all these others.” But he's like, “I like having all of them anyway.”
And in that moment, I thought, well, that's definitely like business. There are a few tools that we use all the time in the business, our go–to tools, even though there's so many other tools out there that we could use. And when I started to think about that, I created this episode.
This episode is all about the tools that you need in your business to grow and to thrive and to the scale. And it's also about knowing there's a lot more tools out there that look really sexy, that you want to work with, but you don't really need to. So we're going to get clear in this episode.
But before we do, I was reading a book the other day, and it had this quote from Steve Jobs. And I thought, this is so perfect for today's episode. This is what he said, “Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in people, that they're basically good and smart. And if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.”
So this episode, this is me knowing that you are smart and brilliant and good at what you do. And because of that, I want to break down the tools to help you create and do amazing things in your business. So if you're just starting out or if you've been at it for a while, so you're more intermediate or advanced, I definitely have tools for you to help you begin your business, build your business, grow your business, scale your business, and do amazing things. So there's something for everyone today.
And also, I want to make sure that I don't just talk about tools that I use in my business. I'm going to break down each area of your business, including email marketing and project management and social media, and organization, just to name a few, and I want to talk about the tools that I believe are best for making each area of your business more streamlined and easier.
And I'm actually going to do something a little bit different here. I'm going to break this episode into two parts because it's full of so much great information and value that I want it to be easy to digest. So in part one, I'm going to go over email marketing and list building, social media, and project management. And in part two, which is next week, I’m going to go over tools for communication and customer support.
And I have a few tools that are bonus tools that I'm going to tell you about, including one that is a mack daddy of all tools. And another one is pretty brand–spanking new on the scene, and we are actually using it in my business and loving it. And so if you have a digital course, this one tool will literally change your students’ lives as well as yours. So that's just a little hint. We're going to get there.
And a reminder, these tools are so very important because they will help you start, build, and scale your business, and I'm going to share what tools are best for wherever you are on your entrepreneurial journey. With each tool that I'm going to share over these next two episodes, we're going to talk about who it's for, when to know you're ready to use it, and the major benefits of using this tool within your business, at least based on the improvements we've seen in my own business, because you know me, and I only share what I've done. So, yes, most of these tools, we have used them in our business, and they've made a huge difference, especially as we continue to grow. But once in a while, I'll throw a tool in there that I haven't used because when I was just starting out, it didn't exist. But it’s so good that I want you to explore it, and if I could go back and that tool did exist, I would definitely use it. So we’ll get to some of those tools as well.
Okay, I don't want to make you wait any longer. Let's get into part one of this two–part, tools–of–the–trade series. I think you're going to love it. Let's do this.
I want to kick off this episode with two tools that are great for my listeners who are just starting out, or maybe you're just starting to gain the knowledge that you need to take those first steps toward creating a business that you love. And so these tools are the tools to help you build your email list and engage your email list once you start building it up.
So first off, ConvertKit. ConvertKit is an email–service provider. So ConvertKit allows you to collect names and emails legally, because just for the record, when you're just starting out, some people have a spreadsheet of names and emails they've collected at networking events or different things that they've done in their business. You don't want to do that. You got to make your business legit, especially if you will be building your business online and marketing online. You need an email–service provider. There's a lot of them out there.
My favorite, especially when you're just starting out, is ConvertKit. And the reason for that is that ConvertKit was created for bloggers and for podcasters and course creators, coaches, consultants. They know your business well, and they know what you need. Not only is their customer support top notch, but in addition to that, you can grow within ConvertKit. They're reasonably priced. And as your business grows, you can start to do more things inside ConvertKit that will allow you to grow your email list faster, allow you to sell to your audience through email marketing. There's just a lot of features in ConvertKit that I don't want to get into now because if you're just starting out, you don't need to know about them. Remember, baby steps. But ConvertKit is a solid solution for email marketing. So it will help you grow your email list, but then actually keep all your names and emails in one place. You can tag them. You can segment them. You can automate your email marketing, so much you can do. So I highly recommend them, especially if you're just starting out.
Now, the second tool that I really love is Leadpages. Leadpages allows you to create simple opt–in pages. And so let's say you create a lead magnet, which is a free cheat sheet. It's a PDF free cheat sheet. Leadpages has tons of different templates that convert really, really well, because that's the business that they are in—creating opt-in pages that convert well so you can grow your email this fast. So Leadpages has tons of templates that you could choose one in order to market your free lead magnet, your cheat sheet, so you can create an opt–in page to collect names and emails.
It will then integrate—Leadpages integrates with ConvertKit, and so they talk to each other. And that way you've got beautifully designed, simple opt–in pages that you did yourself. You don't need a programmer. You don't need a coder. You can do them all yourself. And also, once somebody opts in, you could redirect them to a thank–you page—also, done in Leadpages—and Leadpages will talk to ConvertKit so that all those leads you collect will go into your email–service provider— ConvertKit—so that you can start emailing them on the regular.
Now, some people will say, “But Amy, I know ConvertKit, and they also have templates for opt–in pages,” and you're right about that. However, when I was just starting out, I really liked to have an email–service provider and Leadpages, because Leadpages has more templates, they have more options, they're known for converting really high with the pages that they give you, the templates. So I like to have both because you have a lot more options when you have Leadpages.
Now, I won't get into all the details, but as your business grows, Leadpages also offers a webinar–replay page. They also offer a video page. They also offer so many other pages that you could use in your business, like a simple sales page. So there's a lot you can do with Leadpages. And so if I were just starting out, I would 100 percent use ConvertKit for my email–service provider and Leadpages for all of my opt–in page templates and thank–you pages and so much more. The two work really well together, and that's exactly where I'd start.
So if you ever have business paralysis, where you're like, “I don't know where to start, what to do. There are so many tools out there,” I just gave you the formula: ConvertKit with Leadpages, you can do so, so much on your own, without having to hire somebody to figure out the tech for you. Both of the tools, ConvertKit and Leadpages, both of them have great customer support and how–to videos. You can figure this out yourself, I have no doubt in my mind.
Now, for a lot of the tools I'm going to mention in part one and part two, I am an affiliate, which means if you sign up for one of these tools, I do get a commission. But here's what's especially great and what's in it for you. And that is that you typically will get some kind of discount or some kind of free trial or something a little extra that you can't get just by going to their website. So in some of the cases of the tools I mentioned in part one and part two, you could get a great discount. So before you go, check out any of the tools, go to amyporterfield.com/306, and I'm going to list out every tool, link to it, and if I have a discount or I have a special deal, that link will go directly to it.
Now, I never, ever become an affiliate of a tool that I haven't used, or that I haven't recommended to my students and seen results. So anything I recommend, the reason I'm recommending them is because I love them, and because I love them, I’ve reached out and said, “I’d like to be a partner with you because I think your tool’s fantastic.” So that’s how I do affiliate marketing. I never recommend anything I don’t use, or I don’t have my students use and watch them get really great results, because when I was first starting out, guys, ConvertKit wasn't around. And so eleven years ago, I didn't have the option to use ConvertKit, and so that's why I didn't use them when I was just starting out. But if I was doing it all over again, I would.
And one mention about ConvertKit. If you use Shopify or Squarespace, they integrate with those platforms. They actually integrate with a lot of external platforms. So ConvertKit and Leadpages work with other platforms that you might already be using. So definitely check that out when you check into the tools. But again, if I was just starting out, that would be my one–two punch: ConvertKit for email marketing, and Leadpages to help me grow my email list, which integrates well with ConvertKit.
So there you have it. I get asked those questions all the time, so I wanted to start with those two tools that I absolutely highly recommend if you're just starting out or in your first few years of business.
Okay, so, moving on, let's talk about my favorite social–media tool. I know this one is going to be a huge hit with so many of you, so listen up. I'm going to talk about Social Curator. So if you're already using it, you're like, “Oh, yeah, Amy. I know why you chose this one. It's so good.” If you don't know what Social Curator is, listen up. You're going to love this.
But really quick, you might have thought I was going to tell you about a social–media scheduling service, a tool to schedule your social media. And there are so many great ones to choose from, but I'm going to let my good friend Jasmine Star tell you about third–party scheduling apps. And that’s in episode 302B. So amyporterfield.com/302b, if you go there, you can hear Jasmine talk about her favorite scheduling tools.
So speaking of Jasmine, she actually is the creator of Social Curator. And I remember like it was yesterday. It was a few years ago. I was outside in the backyard at nighttime at my house. And I got a call from Jasmine, and she says, “I've got this idea”. And then she starts to tell me about what Social Curator would look like and why she was so passionate about creating this incredible platform. And from the get–go, before it was even created, I was excited about it because I knew it would make a huge difference in my marketing and my students’ marketing, but I also knew that Jasmine was the perfect person to create something like this.
So here's how Social Curator works. At the beginning of each month, you receive access to thirty curated images—so these beautiful images—along with an action plan for your social media for the coming month. So not only does she always—and I mean always—deliver gorgeous photos, but she also gives you these amazing captions that prompt you to personalize them for your brand so that you can put them out on social or wherever you want to put them. So have you ever thought about posting on social but you’re like, “I have no idea what to say. I do not feel creative today. I'm totally stuck”? Yeah, I have been there a million times. So she gives you a bunch of caption prompts, plus you get these thirty images. And so what's great about Social Curator is that if you've been in it for a few months, you now have this huge library of images to pull from anytime.
Here's my secret about Social Curator. I don't just use it for social media. In fact, I use those images more so in my webinars, in my course slide decks, in my email marketing, in any training I do inside of my PDFs to make them look good. I use these images everywhere. And there's so many different kind of images that you're likely to find a handful that you love every single month. You don’t have to use every single one of them. But believe me, I'm going back to images that I got a year ago in Social Curator, and I'm still using those. So no longer do I have to use any of the image sites, whether they're free or paid or anything like that. I only use Social Curator, and I absolutely love them.
And so here's the deal. With Social Curator, now you've got images to post on social and inside of your trainings and inside of your lead magnets and on your opt-in pages. You've got images to use everywhere. And you've got captions so you never feel stuck about what to post on social. But the secret sauce to Social Curator is the community. This community is off the charts. Jasmine is really present in her community. She does monthly masterclasses to only the Social Curator community. And there are so many other people training inside of this, it's just incredible. So if you're looking to up your social–media game, Jasmine Star is your girl, and Social Curator is the tool that I highly recommend. And quite honestly, if you're a beginner, if you're intermediate or more advanced, check out Social Curator.
So the URL that you want to check out is amyporterfield.com/socialcurator, and that will take you to get all the details, how to get started, what you need to do. I cannot stop gushing about this great tool, probably because we use it every single day in our business. So there you have it.
Okay, so we’ve talked about e-mail marketing. We've talked about list building. We've talked about social media. Next up, project management.
So I wish that I used this project–management tool eleven years ago, meaning I wish I got into the habit of using a project–management tool when it was just me in the business, before I had a V.A., before I had a big team, because there's a discipline behind this, that if you do it from the get–go or if you just start it now, you will grow into it so that as your team grows, you are just a natural at managing projects inside of a specific tool. It becomes like a daily habit.
It took me years to adopt a project–management tool, probably one of my biggest mistakes. So I recommend Asana. You've probably heard me talk about it, but it literally keeps my business moving forward smoothly. Everybody on my team uses Asana, and every big project that we work on goes into Asana. And different people, depending on who owns the project, will be responsible for building out the project plan in Asana. A lot of the times that is Chloe because she runs most of the big projects. But now that I'm getting a bigger team, there's other people that are creating their own project plans and then inviting different people on the team into them.
In addition to that, everybody has their own team folder so that when they have any action item that might not be tied to a big project, they still put it in Asana, they assign it to themselves, and they keep themselves responsible for getting it done. So if anything needs to get done, any action item, it is in Asana.
And this literally has helped me get very clear on what projects I want to work on and what tasks need to go into each project and also to look forward at due dates. So if you have a bunch of Post-It Notes everywhere, if you've got a bunch of notebooks with “I’ve got to do this,;I've got to do that,” if you're using a paper planner and a digital calendar and your Post-It Notes and your notebooks and everything feels like it's everywhere, I highly recommend that you adopt the habit of a project–management tool. And again, I love Asana, but there are so many different project–management tools that you can look into.
But let me give you an example of what this might look like in my business. So Sam, our podcast project manager, he's created a beautiful project plan for each batch of my podcast. So we create a minimum of six episodes at a time. Now we're doing more because I've got a bunch of bonus episodes for you. And there are a whole lot of moving parts. Like, it is a thing. It's a whole process. So he's created a project plan for each batch. Everything that needs to get done, with multiple people being responsible for different action items. And then he can take that project plan for a batch, and he can clone it.
So right now we're in batch twenty-two. When we move into batch twenty–three, he'll clone the template he created, and he'll make it specific to batch twenty-three.
I am all about not reinventing the wheel. And so if there's a project that you do over and over again, such as podcasting or making videos for a video show or blogging or even a launch, create the shell of the template inside of Asana, save it, and then duplicate it, and then you can kind of make it your own and make it personalized for that specific project. But I love to have general project plans that I can duplicate. We do it with everything.
I think one of the things I love about it most is that everybody owns their role on the team. And so you can be very clear about what you're getting done and what you're not getting done, so you could be more realistic about what you need to change in the future if you just keep missing deadlines.
So, again, if you are a team of one, or maybe of two or three, if you have contractors or a part-time V.A., everybody can still be in Asana. But as the leader—this is my big mistake I made years and years ago—as the leader of this team, I didn't make it a priority. So some people were in Asana; some people weren't. I wasn’t checking it daily. And then finally, Chloe and I decided, if this is going to work, everybody on the team must be onboard. So, guys, I go into Asana probably three, four times a day. It's where we communicate on certain tasks. It's where I can see everything that is needed to get done during the day.
And you guys know I use the Full Focus Planner, which is a paper planner that I absolutely love. So I'll look into Asana the day before, before I shut it down for the day, and I'll say, “Okay, what are my tasks that need to get done tomorrow?” And I’ll kind of make a verbal or mental agreement to myself, “Okay, yes, I'm going to get these done.” Now I transfer them over into my Full Focus Planner so that when I start the day off, my Full Focus Planner mirrors Asana.
Now, you might say, “Why do you need both?” I really do believe writing it down, having it in front of you is incredibly important. So having it in both, it takes me two extra minutes to write it down. It's made a huge difference. So I use Asana with my Full Focus Planner.
Okay, we'll talk about the Full Focus Planner in part two. We'll get there. But today, I just wanted to start you out with the things that I really want you to pay attention to. So ConvertKit, Leadpages, Social Curator, and Asana. These are tools that I think are literally game–changers in your business. Especially if you're just starting out, I want you to check them out and see if they speak to you. If you're like, “Yeah, I need that. That's where I'm struggling,” or “That would be a missing piece to this puzzle right now of trying to get everything together.” So I wanted to give you the four that I think are fantastic, and we're going to get into even more in part two.
Let's wrap this up.
Now that you have the foundational tools, the tools that I could not live without if I were just starting over in my business, I want to take you into part two and give you a little hint as to what to expect next Thursday. So during our regularly scheduled episode next Thursday, I'm going to get into part two of your guide to tools for every area of your business.
We are going to talk about tools for communication on your team as well as customer service—I can't wait to talk about a tool that I feel like we can't live without in my business, and it's all about supporting our customers—and I've also got some bonus tools and tools that I just thought, “They're my favorite. I have to talk about them,” one being the Full Focus Planner. So we'll talk about some specifics of how I'm using that even more. But I'm not going to tell you about the other tools, that will be bonus tools, that are literally shaping how we do business today, but you could use them even if you're just starting out. So I gave you a few hints, but I'm not going to give it all away. You've got to meet me in part two of your guide to tools for every area of your business, which will be coming next week.
All right. One more thing. Did you hear that my podcast team and I are busting out bonus episodes like they're going out of style? I have a sneaking feeling that some of the episodes I've been doing as bonus episodes are exactly what you need right now in your business to keep motivated and keep moving forward. So make sure you hit that Subscribe button for this podcast wherever you listen to it—iHeartRadio, Spotify, iTunes. No matter where you listen, hit that Subscribe button so you don't miss a thing.
All right, guys, I cannot wait to see you here same time, same place, next week for part two of some of my favorite online tools to help you build your business. Talk to you soon.