The problem with trying to find advice online regarding starting your small business or being a successful entrepreneur is that it’s like drinking from a fire hose. Half of the advice is made up and another half is written for businesses operating in 2002.
So over the last couple of months, I have teamed up with my friend Brendan Hufford from Photo MBA to curate the BEST of the BEST for every single need you’ll have in starting your business. This has taken a monumental amount of time and includes over 150 small business resources for entrepreneurs.
There is so much in here covering so many topics it would impossible to take it all in in one go. I suggest bookmarking this page and dipping in when and where you need to. I also plan on continuing to update it and keep it current.
- 1 Content Marketing
- 2 Copywriting
- 3 Email Marketing
- 4 Video Marketing
- 5 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- 6 Mentorship
- 7 Business Plans
- 8 Buying A Business
- 9 Communication
- 10 Productivity
- 11 Crowdfunding
- 12 Design
- 13 Ecommerce
- 14 Freelance
- 15 Groups
- 16 Legal & Accounting
- 17 Name Generators
- 18 Social Media/Social Monitoring
- 19 Surveys and Polls
- 20 Time Management/Distraction Prevention
- 21 To-do Lists
- 22 Video Hosting
- 23 Websites and Hosting
- 24 Podcasts and Audio
“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.” – Brian Clark
Many people think that content marketing is just for ‘online influencers’ and bloggers. But the reality is that most businesses can really benefit from doing some good quality content marketing. It helps get people on your website and builds trust.
WordPress – The best platform on the planet right now for writing/blogging. The smartest search people in the world agree that if you want to be found in Google, WordPress is your best bet. There is a free hosting platform for WordPress at WordPress.com, but if you use it you are not allowed to monetize your website so I suggest paying for your own hosting. Check out this detailed post on how to host your own WordPress site.
Medium – There are a ton of people reading Medium, especially in the tech and personal development space. Reproducing your content on Medium, or using Medium as your blog (in the manner that Basecamp, Baremetrics, and others do) might be a smart move. Personally, I prefer hosting on your own website because it gives you more control, but you will get more readers quicker by using Medium.
Rainmaker – Formerly known as Copyblogger, Rainmaker is a very popular blog that covers all things digital. But what still stands out most is their focus on content marketing. Make sure to check out their free Profit Pillars course as well.
Buzzsumo – A fantastic (and free to start) web app that allows you to see what is doing the best on social media (by searching for terms related to your business) and see what content is doing the best for your competition (by searching for their site).
Create a successful blog and become an internet influencer – A walkthrough written by me on how I took this site from a very small amount of readers (mostly friends and family) to over a million people in the course of a few years.
Copywriting is the skill of using the right words at the right time to sell products and services.
The Boron Letters – START HERE. These are letters written (yes, in the mail!) by Gary Halbert and you can find them all online for free. There’s 25 of them in all and I really recommend reading them through twice. It’ll be the best lesson you ever get on using words to sell.
Kopywriting Kourse – This is my go-to resource for everything copywriting related. Brendan introduced me to it and he swears by it: “I have sold more products and services because of the material that Neville has written than anything else copywriting related”. Moreover, have a listen to Noah Kagan interview Neville on his podcast. It’s fantastic. The main course is quite expensive but I believe worth it, but there is a lot of good free content as well.
Copywriting 101 – Written by Copyblogger, the internet’s first big blog on copywriting, Brian Clark and his team have put together one of the strongest crash courses in writing compelling copy for your business.
The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Copywriting – A super basic 7-step guide to writing copy that makes sales and gets subscribers. A good short and free article to get you going if you’re new to copywriting.
Guide to writing the Perfect Headline – Compiled by Buffer (mentioned later, a fantastic app for social sharing). They analyzed some of the top headlines for viral blog posts and noticed trends that you can implement immediately in your own copy.
Guide to 29 Resources to Write Killer Copy – While there are some repeats from the articles above, Writtent has put together a great list to take your copywriting to the next level.
Email marketing is something that so many businesses (including mine!) neglect. They either don’t see its power or they don’t understand how it could work for their unique situation.
A lot of small businesses use email marketing as a loud speaker to shout and sell to their customers. But that is not where its true power lies. Email marketing is, hands down, the best way to build a relationship with your customers.
If you’re using the recommendations for content marketing above (and you should be), email is the best way to get the word out about your new content.
If you want to automate the processes and send bulk emails to your subscribers, I recommend you to use EngageBay’s marketing automation tool designed for this purpose.
What email service should I use? – A resource where you answer a few questions and they tell you which is the best/most affordable email service.
List Goal – An app that interacts with your email service and gives you a roadmap for growing your list (and it’s free).
Sumome – A great tool out for growing your email list (and it’s free). The social media sharing bar on this site is from Sumome.
LeadPages – Is used by thousands of businesses to make landing pages. I personally really hate their sales landing pages, I think they look spammy. But a lot business owners disagree with me so I am including them in this list.
A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing – Kissmetrics is very smart blog for marketing focused on analytics and data. Definitely worth reading their take on what it takes to be successful with your small business email marketing.
Email Marketing Field Guide – Mailchimp drops some knowledge on how to best leverage email marketing for your business.
Plus, here’s some further reading which I am currently working through myself:
Not sure what to use to set up your mailing list? I believe starting with the “What Email List Should I Use?” tool linked above, but here are a few of the most popular email marketing platforms, plus a tool I find extremely helpful.
MailChimp – free emails and automation (autoresponder series are incredible for small business and entrepreneurs).
Omnisend – an omnichannel automation software oriented to ecommerce business. In automation workflows, you can include email, SMS, Web Push notifications and other channels.
Drip – Gorgeous visual automation builder. Great for advanced segmenting and targeting.
Convertkit – CK has a very cool tagging system that makes for highly effective segmenting in your email marketing.
Boomerang – An incredibly helpful Gmail tool you can use to send emails at a later time or remind yourself to follow up. I’ve used it really well when answering a batch of emails in a limited timeframe. I set them all to send an hour later because then I won’t get caught up in answering replies to an earlier email instead of answering the rest of my que.
Between vlogs, 360 videos, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and all of Snapchat, 2016 went absolutely insane with video content. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are potentially missing a huge part of the market if they aren’t using video.
There are a lot of complaints that attention spans are waning. Well, I think that is 100% false.
Attention span isn’t getting shorter. Good content is getting more democratic. People now have the option not to sit through your pitch or advertisement and can click through things until something holds their attention. My most read articles are also some my longest, with the top few being over 3,000 words each. And there are a lot of top vloggers with huge watch rates on their 20 minute daily uploads.
78% of people watch a video online every week and 55% of ALL people watch a video online every single day. If you’re planning to start or grow a business, then I strongly suggest including video as part of your marketing strategy.
Here’s a few guides to help you become the best video marketer in your industry:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I always analyze my audience’s behavior by first considering my own.
When I don’t know the answer to a question, I Google it.
When I want to learn how to complete a new task, I Google it.
When I want to find the best [item or place] ever, I Google it.
While Facebook and other social media sites have a lot of attention and traffic, but despite having spent hundreds of hours on Facebook and Instagram, I personally don’t think I have ever bought a product because I saw it on social media.
Investing in great SEO, whether you’re paying somebody or learning it for yourself, can pay huge dividends in the short-term and long-term of your business.
SEO, from a beginner’s standpoint, has three parts:
- Creating amazing content
- Helping search engines find that content (on-page SEO)
- Building links to your content to show search engines that it’s worth sharing with their audience (link building)
Similar to any type of marketing or acquisition, be careful whose advice you follow. Advice from somebody trying to cheat the system, doing something sketchy, or using tactics from a decade ago is going to hurt you more than it will help.
Below are a few incredibly helpful guides and websites to keep up with the latest SEO news and tips.
Caveat: I personally think that most business owners should try and learn the basics, and once they understand what is involved in good SEO they should then hire someone. If you want a referral to the SEO agency I use then drop me an email at email@example.com.
Keep up with the latest SEO trends:
Webris YouTube channel – A product of one of the best (and most expensive) SEO agencies in the world, Webris (run by Ryan Stewart), this YouTube channel has step-by-step guides for almost everything you need to know related to link outreach and white-hat SEO.
Moz – Formerly known as SEO Moz, this is my go-to resource for everything SEO.
Search Engine Land – Another fantastic resource for SEO trends and updates.
Search Engine Journal – If you really want to double-down on SEO, this is the next-best resource after Webris, Moz and SELand.
A few tools that most SEO pros are using:
SEMRush – An advanced SEO/PPC keyword research tool. Every SEO professional I have met has an account at SEMRush.
Ahrefs – A great additional option to SEMRush.
Google AdWords – A free AdWords tool and Keyword Planner. It used to be a lot better than it is, but still worth it if you don’t want to pay for a better tool.
One of the biggest assets that early entrepreneurs forget about is to find a mentor. This is especially important if you are one of the only entrepreneurs you know. Most of your friends and family will think you’re mad or give you bad advice. Having someone or some people you can go to for advice and encouragement that have already succeed is pretty invaluable.
The problem is that I and a lot of other people hate the word mentor. It sounds like a formal relationship with a lot of commitment and responsibility. It even sounds a little bit like having a boss.
Successful people are busy. They don’t have time to commit to something like that. And if they do then you’ll feel obliged to follow their advice, even if you think it’s bad. I get an email once or twice a week from a complete stranger asking me to mentor them completely for free with no mention of what I’d get out of the relationship.
Every single mentor that I’ve had has been informal. I’ve asked them for advice, taken action on that advice, and then followed up with them to share my results. And over time, those exchanges become deeply supportive friendships where I help them out as much as they help me.
However, If you’re looking for a more formal small business mentorship, here are a few resources that are fantastic:
SCORE. You’ll be matched with an experienced SCORE mentor and receive counseling and advice either online or in person.
Mastermind Jam – Another piece of advice that you’ll hear often from experienced entrepreneurs is to find a mastermind group. This is a group of people who spend time together regularly to help improve the businesses of the others in the group.
There is another route for getting advice from succesful entrepreneurs – pay them for their time. I offer paid consultancy and so do many other people.
“I have a lot of beliefs and I live by none of them. That’s just the way I am. They’re just my beliefs, I just like believing them. I like that part. They’re my little “believees,” they make me feel good about who I am, but if they get in the way of a thing I want, I do that instead.” — Louis C.K.
Often we have goals that we set, usually at the beginning of a calendar year, that we aspire to but rarely achieve. Without a solid plan of action behind them, your goals are little more than Louis’ “believees.’
So why is it that so many entrepreneurs try to build a business without a solid plan of action.
Without a business plan,you risk a few terrible things:
- You work incredibly hard, but your business still fails and you have no idea why.
- Your business succeeds (however you define that), but becomes a business that you despise working on every day.
You need a business plan for your small business.
But, fear not small business owner, it need not be complicated. It doesn’t have to be 60 pages long, it doesn’t have to be on a stunning slide deck and it doesn’t need to include made up ‘financial projections’.
You can create a solid business plan on just one page. And you know what? I actually prefer one-page plans to longer detailed one. They allow us to stay lean and nimble.
A Special One-Page Business Plan Just For Small Businesses
In order to create an effective one-page small business plan, we need to answer a few critical questions about ourselves and our business. Here’s a few to get you started:
- Who will you serve?
- What problem are you solving for them?
- How will you solve their problem?
- Is your solution something they will actually pay for (this is a step 90% of businesses skip that causes them to fail)?
- What is a concise and compelling explanation of your business?
- How will you know if your idea is working or not? How will you measure it?
- What is it going to take (literally) to get this business started?
- What is your unfair advantage you have over your competition?
- Given what you know it will take to run this business, is it a good fit for you?
And a few quick tips because I genuinely want your business to succeed:
- Talk to customers early and often.
- Ask for money as soon as you can. It’s the #1 indicator to see if people really value what you’re doing.
- Draw conclusions.
Remember, this plan isn’t meant to be a 50-slide deck or PowerPoint to share with VCs and secure an angel round of funding. The goal is to distil the essence of your business down to its most important parts, cutting out all of the fluff, so you can get your business off the ground the smart way.
Again, it may change along the way, but should you get lost, you’ll always have it to come back to.
Small Business Plan Resources:
How To Turn An Idea Into A Business – My guide on how to turn an idea into a business.
Small Business Administration – A guide to writing a successful business plan.
Bplans – Samples of business plans (Free!)
Palo Alto Software – In case you want to go the total opposite direction of my advice above and create an epic business plan. I use to quickly create very long impressive looking business plans to dazzle investors.
Launchpad – A platform for testing your plan and putting it into action. A recommendation from Brendan that I personally hadn’t heard of before.
Buying A Business
When you’re starting a new business, one option that a lot of potential small business owners neglect is buying an existing business or a legacy business.
These resources are also useful if you plan on selling your business.
BizBuySell – Looking to buy a business? This site includes listings all over the USA and helps you find businesses for sale as well as business brokers in your area.
FE International – One of the advantages of using a brokerage like FE International is that they vet the businesses that they sell ahead of time. You can have more trust that you won’t be scammed or sold something that is inaccurate.
Empire Flippers – Empire Flippers is a newish broker for selling online businesses that has impressed almost every online entrepreneur. It is perfect if you’re looking for a decent sized ($100k price or up) online business. They vet every single website they sell pretty intensely.
Flippa – one of the most popular website-selling platforms. Websites can also be small-time businesses that you can scale into something massive by adding services, products, and scaling it in numerous other ways. There are a lot of scams and very little vetting. But there are also bargains and cheap businesses.
Google Suite – With Chat, Drive, Email, Calendar and everything else Google offers, this really should be your go-to solution as you get started with your company.
Basecamp – Probably the best communication and project management tool available, Basecamp puts every part of a project in one place. No more jumping between email, Slack, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.
Voxer – A solid voice chat system is perfect for asynchronous verbal communication. Think of it as email with voice and you start to see the power of voxer.
Slack – one of my favorite free team communication tools, Slack is excellent for teams larger than 3 people. One of its best features is the ability to segment conversations into different channels.
Asana – Asana is perfect for communicating with your team around tasks and tracking team members progress on work.
Skype – The best way to communicate, for free, with members of your team who aren’t in the same room as you. I’ve also used it with great success for virtual client meetings as well.
Trello – Trello blends a few various functions extremely well: communication, productivity, and collaboration. Brendan uses Trello for all his projects. From solo to team and client projects.
Evernote – Evernote has been my go-to for years for storing my thoughts, documents, and always having what I needed wherever I needed it. It syncs between my phone, computer and web app. Meaning that wherever I am I can store my thoughts. The free version is fine, but I use the Premium version because it has nice additions, such as business card scanning and digitizing (there’s a month free if you use my refer a friend link).
Dropbox – A good alternative to Google Drive. I use both.
Virtual Office – Virtual offices from all round the world.
Productivity for Busy Entrepreneurs – A great guide by Brendan on making the most of the time that you have as an entrepreneur or small business owner, plus a link to a free course on productivity.
Cash in king and a great way to see if your business is going to succeed is with a pre-sale. With the new trend in crowdfunding you have the ultimate focus group without any awkwardness. This isn’t for large capital raising activities, but testing your product with your potential market with nothing to risk other than a marketing budget is amazing.
Kickstarter – Perfect for creative projects with some sort of physical or digital product.
DreamFunded – Crowdsource your startup. Difficult, but doable. Again, it should only be used for testing your idea, not getting *truly* funded.
GoFundMe – Great because of how shareable the pages are. However, it tends to be more for charities and people raising money on behalf of a cause, not a for-profit business.
Indiegogo – A super popular site because you can pre-sell and crowdfund almost anything on it. Check out my article on How To Start A Vodka Brand On A Shoestring Budget Using Indiegogo.
If you’re starting your business design often comes near the end of the process. This probably means that you don’t have a ton of money left to spend.
Here are a few options where you can find incredible design and photos for free or on a budget.
Canva – The BEST design site on the planet. You can almost instantly create professional looking designs for logos, blog posts, ads, and everything else you’d normally pay thousands to a graphic designer for. PERFECT for early stage startups and new small businesses.
Infographics – This site might still be in its beta phase, but if you’re looking to create amazing images that get your business online shares and links (you should be), then it might be a perfect option for you
99 Designs – 99 Designs is a crowdsourcing platform for design work. You define what you want, then designers compete to come up with the best option for you. You pick your favourite and they are the one that gets paid. If you don’t like any designs you get your money back. You can get almost anything designed, from product packaging to logos. Pricing starts at £229.
Wells Riley – Startups, This is How Design Works – Want to take your own design skills up a notch? This is worth watching.
If you’re going to sell physical or digital goods, you need to be selling online. Here are a few of the best spots to set up shop:
WooCommerce – If you want to seamlessly integrate your online store with your WordPress site, check out WooCommerce. I personally prefer Shopify but Brendan really likes WooCommerce.
Magento – A larger software that requires a bit more development skills. Perfect for stores with over 1000 items.
Prestashop – Free, basic software to set up your online shop. For those who are confident with their coding and debugging ability.
Symphony Commerce – “The most advanced commerce applications as a service to power your online store, fulfilment, and marketing.”
BigCartel – A great platform with awesome free themes. It used to be considered a site only used by amateur t-shirt designers. But has got a lot better recently. In my opinion, it is the best free option for building your own online store.
Mobilunity– A Ukrainian IT company that provides outstaffing services and help in building a dedicated development team to solve business needs. Its model provides access to a talent pool of 160,000+ eCommerce developers, all while allowing the client to remain in complete control of their development process.
Fulfilment By Amazon – is a way to sell your products on Amazon and store them in your warehouses. I get most of my online revenue from sales on Amazon.
AMZScout is one of the top Amazon research tools for online sellers. AMZScout has been working in the industry for more than four years now, so they are extremely knowledgeable about Amazon trends. They offer an Amazon Seller’s Bundle that includes a full pack of tools every seller needs, plus a detail-packed course about ‘How to sell on Amazon’
IO Scout is an efficient straight-forward solution for product research and tracking for Amazon. It has a large database containing over 150 million products with information on revenue, sales, prices, BSR, reviews. It offers instant niche results both in a web app, as well as in Chrome Extension. You can try IO Scout for free.
Tactical Arbitrage – A good product sourcing tool for arbitrage on Amazon.
Website advisor – Making a website has never been easier. Whether you’re an internet novice, or a seasoned professional, with the help of website advisor you can find the right tools and get online in minutes.
Create a brand and sell through Amazon FBA – If you aren’t sure about hosting your own store to start, you can have a lot of success selling through Amazon FBA (fulfilled by Amazon), which leverages Amazon’s incredible user-base and takes care of a lot of headaches that come up early on for ecommerce business owners.
Not sure where to start? Read this quick guide to the best products to sell on Amazon.
Hiring people is both expensive and, possibly, complicated. However, hiring freelancers to fill the gaps until you have the revenue and profit to warrant a full-time employee is a smart move.
Below are a few places* that Brendan or I have used to hire incredibly talented freelancers.
Freelancer – Great place to find outsourcing for small businesses.
Virtual Staff Finder – A company to help you find offshore employees from the Philippines. That might sound like a random country, but it is my current favourite for cheap but good quality freelancers. My personal assistant is from the Philipines (although I found her on Freelancer). She has a marketing degree, speaks perfect English and works 20 hours a week for $300 a month, which I am told is a good salary.
TaskRabbit – Since your time is valuable at work, I bet it is outside of work as well. Outsource your tasks and errands to somebody else.
Skilling up is also important when looking for a remote job. A good way to do this is to search for specific remote work courses to help learn the skills required in a remote world.
*Caveat: You need to make sure that you vet your freelancers first. Here’s how Noah Kagan hires. It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard and outlines a process you can easily replicate.
Participating in startup organisations and networking events will help your business. In fact getting out and promoting this blog face-to-face is right at the top of my favourite marketing techniques list. Some of my closest business associates and partners were met at events.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization – The most influential entrepreneur community in the world.
Young Entrepreneur Council – “America’s most elite entrepreneur organization.”
Startup Grind – These are the top startup events in the World. They have monthly events in 150+ cities each month.
FoundersCard – Hosts networking events and provides premier benefits.
Young Presidents’ Organization – A network of successful chief executives and business leaders who are under the age of 46
Legal & Accounting
Getting your business setup is step one to making your business real in the eyes of the government. Here are some great places for both legal advice and getting your startup setup. These sites are geographically relevant.
List of Best Accounting Certification from CrushTheCPAExam – this post should help you to deal with hiring accountants.
Startup Documents – “generates and stores legal documents for early stage companies”
Orick’s Legal Documents for Startups – contains contracts and other legal documents that have been curated by an online community.
Legal Zoom – legal solutions for starting and running a business.
Nolo – share legal forms and connects you to a lawyer if needed.
PandaDoc – eSign your important docs. Know exactly when and what they are looking at.
Xero USA – My favourite bookkeeping and accountancy software. I use it for all my businesses.
Start A Business through the UK Gov website – The UK is one of the easiest places to start a business in. You can do it all online, it takes about 15 minutes and costs £12. That’s right £12!!! Just be aware that if you create a business you will need to follow the filing rules.
Running My UK Business Without An Accountant – An article I wrote detailing everything that was involved in running one of my business without an accountant. That means doing all the filing and bookkeeping myself.
Xero UK – My favourite bookkeeping and accountancy software. I use it for all my businesses.
Ok this is a bit of random country. But Estonia is fast becoming the place for small global businesses to incorporate their company. You can get e-residency in Estonia, set up a business and get a bank account all completely online without ever having to set foot in the country.
The taxes are very low and you get a low hassle European Union business. Be aware that if you take money out of the business you may still have to pay taxes in your primary country of residency.
Looking for a name for your startup? Here are a few great resources to get you going. This might sound like a small issue, but I’ve spent weeks trying to come up with a name for a new business or brand.
Fizzle Business Name Generator – “A great business name won’t save a bad business. Pick and business name and grow into it.” – One of the best lines I’ve ever read, and find myself repeating often, about business names.
Domainr – domain name search tool (free).
Knowem – Want to see if somebody has already trademarked your name?
Naminum – This is actually super fun. A bit startup-y, but can be helpful to see what kind of name strikes you or if your first idea is taken.
Impossibility – A terrible name generator. Click and see how bad it is. Don’t use it.
Wordoid – Yet another name generator.
Social Media/Social Monitoring
Using social media well for my businesses is something I am very bad at, but is something that Brandon is great at. He runs groups of over 30,000 members and gets most of his business from social media. His social media activity is also why I first got in touch with him. So over to him:
When I first started using social media I was afraid that I was going to go from potential entrepreneur and small business owner to becoming nothing more than a professional social media poster (this was the days before being able to become Instagram famous).
I spent all of my time posting to and checking on social media. Luckily I found Buffer (below) and it saved me. Here’s that, and a few other top tools that’ll help you attain new customers, build trust, and respond to them on social media.
Buffer – At a super reasonable price point ($10/mo), Buffer is the best value for posting to social media. They’re a solid company and there’s a reason a lot of the resources in this guide are from them.
Hootsuite – A second option to Buffer, and one that I personally used before I found Buffer, but I still don’t think that it compares to the posting ability of Buffer. It does have great monitoring capabilities should you not want to log into the app.
HubSpot – An all-in-one analytics, website, email, and social media platform.
Tweetdeck – If Twitter is going to be your main platform, Tweetdeck may be helpful.
Here are also a few more guides on how to get the most bang for your buck on social media:
Surveys and Polls
Under Business plans, you’ll remember that I recommend speaking to your customers early and often.
The best way to do this is face to face. Hands down. Always choose a deep-dive 1-on-1 conversation as opposed to something less personal.
However, if you have a massive number of people to survey or have already done 1-on-1s with 30+ members of your target market, surveys are perfect.
Here are a few of my favourite tools to get feedback online:
Typeform – Gorgeous and intuitive online surveys. This is my favourite way to collect information. Set yourself apart and create something people actually enjoy using to take a survey. Use typeform (it’s free, too!).
Google Consumer Surveys – It’s also worth checking out Google forms as an easy way to gather information quickly.
SurveyMonkey – A standard survey that most companies use.
Qualtrics – If you have money to spend and want to look like a pro, Qualtrics is another option.
Tally – Super-fast poll making.
Time Management/Distraction Prevention
When going from an employee to a business owner one of the hardest changes people is that you suddenly become responsible for your own time. The only deadlines are the ones you set and only office hours are the ones you choose. You can choose to sit around watching TV all day, and a lot of people end up doing just that.
Here are some resources to help manage your time better.
RescueTime – helps you understand daily habits so you learn to become more productive. Not a believer? Check out Jason Zook’s real-life RescueTime review.
Self-Control – Can’t seem to get control over your time? Block websites and apps that distract you for a set period of time.
Concentrate – A second app for locking out distracting websites.
Time Tracking – If you do work that requires tracking time for projects, this is important.
Hubspot – Time tracking software for local workers. It might be helpful if you offshore a lot of work.
FocusBooster – A digital pomodoro timer.
Added note. You can often get time managements apps on discount, check out Skint Dad’s great cheap iTunes offers.
Every single small business owner and entrepreneur that I’ve met has a million things going on at once. Some of them hire assistants. Others use apps.
Here are a few great apps that you can use to crush your daily to-do list:
Pocket – instead of feeling like you need to consume media at all times and on all days, just save them to Pocket. It saves the text and video for consuming later when you’ve set out a specified task. This helps me stay in work flow longer without breaking to consume something cool that I saw online.
Remember The Milk – a super basic to do list and reminders app.
Wunderlist – this was the first to-do app that I tried, but noticed it would drop tasks, groups, and often did not sync properly across my phone, tablet, and desktop. Granted, this was years ago, but I immediately switched to Todoist and never looked back.
Todoist – I love the ability to grade tasks based on importance. I’ve used ToDoist constantly for the past few years.
As a side note: Brendon uses Trello (mentioned above in “Productivity”) for his to-do lists and it works beautifully.
If you’ve implemented our advice above on video marketing, there’s a chance that you’re looking for a solution other than YouTube.
Don’t get me wrong, YouTube is amazing because the attention there is so democratic and they have a built-in audience. However, should you need a different solution, here are some great small business video resources:
Wistia – Wistia is easily my favourite solution for non-YouTube hosted video with fantastic analytics. They were offering the top video analytics for online publishers way before YouTube rolled it out. They even have additional marketing tools to support small business owners.
Vimeo – If you do a lot of high-quality video work and don’t want to tap into YouTube’s audience, or need them to stay private and don’t want the analytics of Wistia, Vimeo is a great place to start. You’ll likely even find discount codes online to snag Vimeo pro on the cheap.
Powtoon – Ever seen those animated ‘explainer’ videos that other brands are using? Here’s how they do it. And if you don’t mind their watermark it’s free.
Tracker – One more video analysis and marketing tool.
Wideo – If PowToon isn’t your jam, here’s another tool to create animated videos.
How to make a successful YouTube Channel by Seller at Heart.
Websites and Hosting
I really suggest building your site in WordPress. There’s a reason that 30% of the internet is built on top of it. If you want to be found in organic search results (like Google and Bing), you need to make your website with WordPress. But once you’ve decided what software to build your site on, you need to choose somewhere to put it.
Bluehost will work for most startup websites and is what I use for my smaller websites. It’s hard to beat $2.65 a month… but once you start regularly hitting 1,000+ visitors a day you will need to upgrade. Here is my guide on how to set up a WordPress site using Bluehost in under an hour.
Growing Business Hosting
Here are some of the best resources that I’ve found if you want a reliable and super-fast website:
WP Engine – This site is hosted on WP Engine. It is managed WordPress hosting only hosting. Managed hosting means you never have to worry about updates or your plugins playing nice with the rest of your site. They handle it all so you can focus on your business. Plus you can scale your site to any amount of traffic.
Flywheel – Trusted by some of the best businesses on the planet, Flywheel is managed WordPress hosting for small business, entrepreneurs, and agencies. A good competitor to WP Engine.
Siteground – If you want some more traditional hosting that isn’t focused on WordPress then Siteground is a great choice.
Podcasts and Audio
I absolutely love podcasts and audiobooks. I probably listen to over two hours of audio. Some of which is fiction, but a lot of it is consuming books and podcasts about entrepreneurship.
Audible – Where I buy all my audiobooks from. It’s awesome and the iphone app makes it ridiculously easy to buy and consume audiobooks. I own over 250 audiobooks from Audible.
Here are a few of the best podcasts for entrepreneurs and small business owners:
This Week In Startups – A weekly podcast hosted by Jason Calacanis and a rotating group of guests bring you their take on the best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of entrepreneurship.
The Distance – A show created by the team at Basecamp, The Distance is all about businesses who have found enough success to be over 20 years old. This doesn’t represent the fastest-growing startups or this year’s hottest app. It’s the REAL businesses that have stood the test of time.
How I Built This (NPR) – Ever wonder how the top brands and businesses got started? Brilliant storytelling and incredible insights.
The Tim Ferriss Show – The best interview show that I’ve come across, Tim Ferriss deconstructs the top performers in politics, sports, business, etc.
Marketing Secrets – Brutal, honest advice from somebody who doesn’t mess around in business.
Startup Podcast – Each season of this podcast follows a business through their trials and tribulations. VERY compelling storytelling and the first series is just brilliant.
Gary Vaynerchuk Experience – Motivational business ramblings every day at 4am.
What small business resources for owners and entrepreneurs would you add to this list?
Let me know in the comments below.