I know you've read other people's opinions about website platforms now here are mine in a quick easy to understand guide.
There is so much blablabla online about the "best" website platform. Some say your crazy if you aren't using WordPress while others recommend Squarespace or Wix or something else. I'm going to share my thoughts about WordPress VS Squarespace as 2 of the most popular choices for service-based entrepreneurs. Download this quick guide to the Pros & Cons of WordPress VS Squarespace and understand the real-world reasons why one might work better than another for you, where you are today.
MailChimp is just too valuable not to use for its free version if this is what you need for your budget.
I changed the list for this site back to MailChimp so I could beef up my offerings to clients who are in the very early stages of business and need free options that can help them grow their business. This is an excellent free tool that can help you grown your email list. MailChimp has continued to grow and adapt it's service over the years, to the needs of their customers and I wanted to reacquaint myself with all it offers today so I could help my clients best
When you're ready to upgrade I recommend ConvertKit and when you need a great FREE option I recommend MailChimp.
This tool packs a lot of value for the service based business online.
If you run a service-based business your time is extremely valuable because you exchange time for money. So a tool that can help you grow your business, get more clients, work with more people, do that work better and all in less time -well that's pretty stellar.
With 17Hats you can manage your clients, leads, invoices, billing, questionnaires, quotes, approvals, messaging and so much more.
It's a powerful "I LOVE MY CLIENTS" tool that helps you do your thing really well, with ease. It's been around for a while, has loyal fans, great customer service, lots of online help and is *much* more affordable than Dubsado -the copycat that came later.
I personally think it's easier to use as well. It's all you could want and more to help you serve yourself and your clients.
I've used 17Hats for years and couldn't live without it and I only recommend it because I know it well and believe it's the best tool for helping service-based entrepreneurs grow their business while making their work easier.
I'm all over that.
Why I like 17Hats
- Price, Service, Ease of use
- Works well for Canadian Businesses or American Businesses due to how they work with currencies
- Comparable systems I've used like HoneyBook and Dubsado just don't have the features and flexibility for the price -I keep following up with the available options and 17-hats continues to win
What I use 17Hats for
- Flexible invoicing with recurring payments, discounts, payment plans etcetera
- Surveys & Questionnaires great for things, such as market research, feedback forms and testimonials
- Lots of options for automation and productivity features that can adapt to most needs
- Template features and automation for contracts, quotes, agreements, reviews, emails, workflows and more
- Client Management & project management at a high level so I can easily see what I'm doing with all active projects at a glance
- Handy client portals that can be customized
- High-Level Project Management
- Online payments
- Time tracking & budget management
Note -17Hats doesn't have a great affiliate program and this may be why it's not promoted as well as other platforms that have a very enticing affiliate program (HoneyBook & Dubsado).
It's something certainly to note while you read stellar reviews of other options over 17Hats. This is not to say the other options aren't excellent -they are all very good. But the biggest difference between them all might just be the reward people get for recommending them. I will use affiliate links for items I believe in and honestly recommend, but I will not recommend one thing over another just because it has a better Affiliate deal for me.
I think it's fair to note that a very enticing affiliate deal -can entice people to promote one product over another based on that alone, particularly when the products are very similar. In this race, they are: 17Hats, Dubsado & Honeybook are pretty similar, but I stand by my decision to stick with 17hats for the reasons I have outlined here. It does everything I need it to do, well for a significantly lower price tag than the competition.
This is another tool I couldn't live without.
It's built to handle online booking and scheduling and it's an industry leader for a reason. If you want your booking process with clients to be seamless -this is the tool for you.
- There is a free version if you only have one kind of booking
- You can have paid bookings
- You can have free bookings
- Works for group programs easily
- You can use it to sell products
- You can upsell products and services with bookings
- It handles discount coupons and so much more
I've yet to find a booking situation it cannot accommodate and the mobile app is a good one I can rely on too which is important. It works well in different time zones, works with email or SMS reminders, syncs with many personal calendars like Google Calendar and iCal.
The scheduling options can fit any situation that could possibly come up. You can dictate exactly how and when you work no matter how wacky it might be, like every 3rd Tuesday of the month you want off. Yup -Acuity can do that. You can change and adjust your calendar on the fly from your own personal calendar and everything will update seamlessly.
It really is a lifesaver.
I started out using Calendly but quickly discovered that the free version couldn't do all that I needed it to do and the paid version didn't have nearly the features Acuity had for a comparable price. When I compared the cost of each, Acuity Scheduling was a clear winner and I've used it now for many years with no regrets.
This is for those of you who want to have a WordPress website. And by this, I am talking about www.wordpress.org not wordpress.com as these are two very different website options. If you are thinking about a WordPress website, go with SiteGround and the whole process will be as easy as clicking a button.
SiteGround has more options than Bluehost and they really know WordPress. Plus, they are affordable if you're just starting out at $3.95/month and can grow with you easily.
What I really love is their AMAZING support, the reliability of service and the Go Geek package which is, of course, built for me :)
Features I love
- Quick one-click install of WordPress
- Free WordPress Website transfer (if you've got a site somewhere else)
- Affordable packages for each stage of business
- Website backups
- Free email addresses (you don't have to pay extra for something like G-Suite)
- Reliable service and "uptime"
- Excellent support
- Fast website performance
- Free SSL certificates (everyone needs these now for security)
- Stellar security all round
- I'm in love with their staging environment that comes with the Go Geek plan <3
For the same price as the cheap options like Bluehost, you have a superior (in my opinion) service that can grow with you.
SiteGround also has a package that provides a "Staging" environment with a 1-click publish feature. This is gold. I can fluff around with updates, courses and membership sites behind the scenes and then launch it all with ease once I am ready, with just the click of a button. I can integrate this with SVN for those coders out there.
Basically, SiteGround offers many options for online businesses. You can feel confident starting with them, that you have all you need to grow.
Resources I recommend
*Some links may have affiliate links and this means I make a small commission if you choose to purchase anything from that link. How I use affiliate links.