I wouldn’t be where I am today without the numerous people, tools, and services that are available out there. On the one hand it’s WAY easier to start a business today with all the advice, tools, and services available via the Internet. On the other hand, the choices (quantity of options) is overwhelming.
I’ve made a list of my favorite resources below. These are individuals that cover similar topics and tools and services that I think you might find of interest in your pursuits.
Compensation & Affiliate Note: Some of the resources below happen to offer commissions for online referrals. Other ones don’t. This doesn’t affect my choice, but where available, I made a point of using the right type of link so that this blog will get a credit if you end up becoming a customer. It’s a nice and fully optional way to help out this blog if you choose to do so.
People & Blogs
Alan Weiss – This man has taken building high-caliber management consulting practices to an entirely differently level. He has some excellent books I’ve gotten an immeasurable amount of benefit from over the years. He also has lot of free articles that are always thought provoking. Definitely check out his value-based fee coverage along with his 101 sales questions.
Mr. Money Mustache – If you are interested in optimizing your finances and getting the most out of the money you have, you’ll appreciate this blog.
Seth’s Blog – Seth Godin tends to write short and pithy regular posts that touch on topics like marketing, entrepreneurship, project management, and human psychology. He also has a number of interesting books, particularly covering marketing.
Patrick McKenzie – He has shared some wonderful resources for technologists and several specifically for those selling their expertise. You can find many of them on his site.
Ramit Sethi – Ramit talks about a mixture of personal finance, career, and expertise/service business building on his blog, products, and book. I recommend his book for personal finance and his regularly posts great blog content and has some quality products I’ve purchased over the years.
Paul Jarvis – He writes about entrepreneurship, consulting, marketing, and product creation with it all focused on being a solo operator (he is one himself).
Andrew Sobel – His specialty is questions and conversations that lead to great business and professional relationships. These are powerful things when it comes to having sales conversations, engagement discussions, and helping clients make changes in their businesses. I particularly enjoyed his power questions book.
C.J. Hayden – Her book Get Clients Now! and associated free resources online.
Ryan Castillo – Ryan writes about his experiences and lessons from solving business issues in his own consulting practice.
Brené Brown – “You have walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore . . . embrace the suck.” + “Courage over comfort.”
Tools & Services
Bench – (Bookkeeping) I use these folks to keep my business books. They use a mixture of automated PLUS real humans so I don’t have to think or deal with keeping my books caught up.
Freshbooks – (Invoicing, time tracking, and DIY bookkeeping) I use Freshbooks for my invoicing and – when I tracked time – tracking time to bill for it (and sometimes for subcontractors I was collaborating with).
Stripe – I use Stripe to accept payments (along with PayPal) on-line. Depending on your needs you can use use them for your invoicing.
PayPal – The more ways you can accept payments the more likely it is that clients will pay you promptly because they all have their preferred methods and the methods they feel more comfortable using.
Personal Capital – I’ve used various personal financial management services and apps over the years (i.e. Mint) and this is the one I’ve settled on for my needs. It makes it easier to have a real-time balance sheet while monitoring both your cash flow and expenses. A lot of people like their investment tracking, but I don’t care for that part. Doesn’t matter though because I use something else for that.
Click2Mail – I use this to send out my postcard “memos” and my lengthier newsletter to my lists. They handle the printing and the mailing. I just upload the final draft.
SendOutCards – I’ve used SOC to send out thank you cards (for referrals), client anniversary recognition mini-gifts, and the like. The cards are high quality and they mail it too. It’s way more convenient since I can tackle it without leaving my computer and at whatever time of the night it is rather having to run another errand. It’s even possible to add your own handwriting (they have a clever way of doing this).
FedEx Office Online Printing Services – I’ve used these for newsletter printing in the past. And they ship it to my door. They don’t handle the mailing so unless I’m doing a special mailing bundle or packaging approach I tend to use Click2Mail these days.
CFO Andrew – I hesitate to include Andrew’s business here, but only because I don’t want him to get too busy. Fortunately I know he’s thought a lot about capacity and how many client slots he has. He specializes in working with freelancers and entrepreneurs.
NewsBlur – This is my RSS reader of choice. If you find yourself following a lot of blogs and writers this is the client I recommend as I’ve been using it going on seven years now.
WordPress.com – This is the hosted version of WordPress by the developers of the software. This is the easiest way to get a site up and running without hassle or wasting time on the technical aspects upfront (even if you like that part, hah).
DigitalOcean – This is one of my favorite hosting companies. I’ve used them for many years at this point.
ServerPilot – A good server management solution if you use a VPS like DigitalOcean.
Veeam – They produce reliable, friendly enterprise-class backup software, but also offer free backup agents for home (and small office) use.
StockMarketEye – I use this to track my investment holdings and portfolio performance. There are various solutions out there, but I found most of them inaccurate or required too much manual maintenance to keep accurate. SME made it possible to eliminate some of the spreadsheets from my workflow for tracking holdings and performance.
Orthogonal – A podcast about finance, freelance and being better at both. The hosts recently wrapped, but the archives are there and still filled with thought provoking content.
More Cheese Less Whiskers – A podcast where each episode there is a guest on with a business and they talk about how to make it better, smarter, faster in some way.