I’m Lauren, I started my first business while trapped in a cubicle and dreaming about a better life for myself and my clients. I spent my days fixing issues I knew I could have prevented... if I'd just gotten to work with the client earlier. So I started - on an ancient laptop with a clipart logo and within 18 months was the owner of a thriving practice.
But, when you’re starting out and growing your business, being marketed to becomes confusing. FOMO hits, and you suddenly think you need all the things.
With all the different platforms, systems, and automation that are available (then you add in the brilliant marketing from these businesses) you can easily be lead down the garden path of spending too much. And not getting the ROI.
You just need better, targeted advice. So, here are my favourite business tools, the investments I made that I regret, and where I would save money on when getting started, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes.
Applications are lovely but before going down the research rabbit whole ask yourself – do you need it or are you considering buying something because it has more bright lights than the Vegas strip?
The Custom Coded Website: I loved my first website, it was before I knew too much about WordPress and how to build a website, so I went with what my designer suggested. It was gorgeous. Everything was oh so sparkly.
But, I couldn’t make any changes. I had no idea about a fully custom coded website, so this quickly cost me a lot of money because every time I wanted to change something I had to pay someone to do it.
Infusionsoft (IS) (they don’t call it ConfusionSoft for nothing): This is the biggest regret that I had because it hurt my wallet badly, I am after all an Accountant by trade!
Infusionsoft is a very powerful application and is not something to implement unless you are ready to outsource most of the work. It’s powerful, but the usability isn’t high for someone that is starting out and that don’t have a degree IS. There are many people who specialise in IS, and if I were to go down this pathway again, I would invest in paying someone.
Keep in mind when you are looking at the packages that there is a monthly cost but also a signup cost that is…. well a lot!
Leadpages: Firstly, I love Leadpages! It’s a great platform if you are building numerous landing pages and sales pages. Why is this on my regrets list?
It’s expensive, and it’s an added cost that is hard to stomach when starting. Especially when we can create a similar result with no extra charge to your standard website (using my solutions below). That being said it’s also on my favourites list. Complex, aren’t I?
Active Campaign – I wish I had known about AC when I signed on the dotted line with IS. Some plans start for $9 per month which isn’t a huge investment when starting and it can grow with your business. As you develop your products and services, it allows you to build more functions into your opt ins and funnels. I run three business including a membership site off the backend of Active Campaign.
Many people go straight to MailChimp because it’s free, but honestly, with their pricing structure (as you list grows it can get pretty pricey quickly) and functionality, I advise most clients to go straight into AC. AC has the ability like IS for unusual funnels and tracking, the only thing it doesn’t have is the integrated cart.
ThriveCart – Which is why I love and recommend ThriveCart. This isn’t public at the moment but if you want it to click here for a Lifetime subscription *** blinking lights affiliate link***
I lost quite a bit of money in my membership site to start with when I was using WooCommerce with the subscriptions add-on. The auto-recharge didn’t happen, and members could still access the website! Ouch!
ThriveCart was the tool I decided to invest in; it has brilliant up-sells and side sells. It integrates perfectly into Active Campaign and looks after affiliates for my business. This is an investment but it’s one that is currently lifetime, and it works, the support is terrific, the user experience is excellent – LOVE IT!
Divi – At Blanca Creative, we build our websites on Divi because I want clients to be able to own their site and make changes themselves.
There are many drop and drag pages building for WordPress, I love Divi, but others might like Beaver Builder or others. I think it’s essential as a business owner to quickly make changes on your website without having to pay to get it done. That being said, I also love clients coming back! Fundamentally, I want you to have control of your business.
Divi is simple to use – YouTube has beautiful tutorials on it. This is also why I wouldn’t invest in Google Analytics to get started, the templates Divi has available in Layouts means you can whip up a new landing and thank you page just as quick as Leadpages. The difference is the tracking ability but if you integrate Pixel Your Site (Facebook Pixel) and Google Analytics you can track what your visitors are doing well enough to make strategic decisions.
Zoom, Webinar Ninja, Acuity Scheduling, Grum, Meet Edgar. These are great applications, but considering I am at about 900 words I think I might give too much content in this post – Comment below if you want a review on these!
Before I go my favourite question to ask people on The Roooar Podcast is – If you could go back to when you started your business what would you tell yourself?
Well, for me it would be this investment list – this will get your business started, moving, and growing. Once you are making money you can invest in higher end products that you don’t need them straight away.
A speedy future upgrade – Dubsado – To quickly onboard clients and excel in the customer user experiences.