3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Shopify Store

3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Shopify Store

3 things you need to know before you start a Shopify Store

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission at not cost to you. In fact, if you use the links, you are directly supporting the creation of awesome content for the future. So thanks!

Side Hustles are incredibly lucrative, and one of the best platforms you can start your own business on is Shopify. Shopify is an elegant online store front with hundreds of templates that are customizable, and allow you to sell pretty much anything (that’s legal).

I recently interviewed Samantha at Infinite Abyss, if you’d like to know first hand what it’s like to start a store on Shopify.

If you’ve always had an idea about selling… something, Shopify is the way to do it. They have incredible customer service, and the potential for growth is just outstanding. You can use their system online, or in a store as a POS system. Their fees are competitive.

A few years ago I had this idea to to start an independent bookstore, that catered specifically to indie authors. I started researching my options, and I eventually decided that I would build my business on Shopify. My reason? The other storefronts out there, just didn’t add up. Sure, you get wooed in by “free”. But once you add all the plugins you need, free is suddenly quite expensive. In fact, it ended up costing more up front and per year with the “free” store front, than it did with Shopify. And with Shopify, I got everything I needed for one low monthly price! Way better option in the long run.

Now, unfortunately, my bookstore never came to fruition. Sometimes life gets in the way, you know? But there is no reason why you can start your store today. All you need is an idea, some product, and little hustle.

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3 Things you need to know before you start a Shopify store

 

If you’re going to start a Shopify Store as a side hustle, then there are at least three things you need to know first.

 

You need to know about their 14 day free trial

 

They have an awesome 14 day trial. You can sign up without using your credit card. It includes a domain. You can pick from one of their amazing templates, or build your own. Their back end is just beautiful. They have tons of free (and not free) tools to help you get started with names, logos, suppliers, marketing and more. With your 14 day Trial you’ll get immediate access to all the really cool features like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and selling through Pinterest, Facebook, and Amazon. They also have an app store to help you build the site you really need to grow your business. Once you’re ready. Right now, you’re just getting started.

 

Make sure you have your business plan in place.

When starting a Shopify Store, you’ll want to make sure you know what you want to sell. Make sure you have other important things in place like, how you’re going to build your audience or if you’re going to offer a pre-sell. They also have a subscription option.

Need help coming up with an idea? The Millennial Life Skills Vault has a list of 30 potential products/business you can start. 

Sign up for your own shopify store

Even though the trial is free, building a business isn’t.

Where is your product coming from? Are you making it or sourcing it? What about dropshipping? Shopify makes dropshipping easy, but you’ll want to know what what kind of requirements are in place from the dropshipper themselves.

Starting any business is going to require start up money, but it doesn’t have to cost you your first born. You don’t have to go into debt to make a profit. With Shopify, you can sign up with an annual or monthly plan. If you see you’re not making money, you can opt out. Shopify has worked with over 300,000 store owners that have made over 29 Billion dollars in profits. Clearly, they are doing something right.

 

If I ever get around to opening my own shop, you can bet your sweet grass it’s going to be on Shopify.

What is it you’re looking to sell with your online Shopify store?

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#SideHustleSeries: Samantha has a Shopify Store

#SideHustleSeries: Samantha has a Shopify Store

Hello! Joining us today, we have a special guest who has offered to talk about her business. I love the trays and shelves featured below. For a while, I fancied myself a carpenter and tried to make some things with recycled wood. It wasn’t easy. But I especially love how she’s build a presence for herself using Shopify. If you don’t know about Shopify, let me tell you. Its a one stop online store front that is incredibly easy to set up, and powerful to use. This post may contain affiliate links to Shopify. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission at not cost to you. In fact, if you use the links, you are directly supporting the creation of awesome content for the future. So thanks!  In the meantime, if you’re wondering what its like to own a Shopify Store, or whether you should go with Etsy first, read this interview with the Owner of Infinite Abyss.

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Hi! Who are you?

Samantha Hartman.

 

What is your side hustle, and where can we find it?

 

My side hustle is called Infinite Abyss, where I make rustic-inspired home decor from wood and reclaimed materials. It can be found at: www.infiniteabysshandmade.com, and on Facebook and Instagram: @infiniteabysshandmade.

 

How long have you done this side hustle?

I started Infinite Abyss in 2009 but really found my niche and started to focus on woodworking in 2015.

 

What drew you to it?

For years I did craft shows selling bags and purses sewn from vintage fabrics. I love sewing and still have the most ridiculous stash of fabric, but I was burnt out on it. When I moved from Pittsburgh to Wyoming, I gained access to a woodshop and created a few products for a craft show I was doing that summer. They did really well and the feedback was amazing, so I decided to pursue that and really take a break from sewing. I found a new niche that I really enjoyed and a few months later, had my biggest selling holiday season to date.

 

How did you study/train/prepare for this business?

 

To be honest, I didn’t really prepare much back then. I was new to Etsy and looking for a way to sell some of the crafts I had laying around for a few extra bucks. Most of it was jewelry I had created from old brooches and chains, and then it transformed into sewing, and now woodworking. In the past few years I really started to realize that it is more than just the creating – you have to market yourself and wear so many different hats. Now, I try to learn as much as I can, from growing an email list to troubleshooting my website and everything in between.

 

What is the best way for you to find clients?

I try to utilize all the different tools I have, such as email marketing, social media, Facebook groups, word of mouth, classified groups, etc. I still enjoy doing craft shows and really love to network with those individuals. When I moved across the country and had to start over, Instagram became my new best friend. I have found a lot of clients and shows from Instagram by looking for events around me.

 

Tell me about the platforms you use. What are some of the features that make it incredible to use? Does it have any downsides?

When I first started, I signed up with Etsy as my primary platform. But once my business really started to grow, I realized that I needed a site of my own. I still use Etsy and love the traffic I get from there, but it is nice to have my own space to promote myself as well. But I wanted something that was just mine, so I bounced around a bit before settling on Shopify a few months ago. And I am very happy with my decision.

Awesome. Tell me more about your experience with Shopify.

At first I was a little nervous about jumping into a plan that had a monthly fee, not that $29 a month is high but it was still something, but it has already paid for itself. Not only was it easy to set up, but there are so many templates and different apps out there that make running an online business a breeze.

Shopify offers shipping discounts and easy label printing, saving me time at the post office, and I love that I was able to set up a separate wholesale shipping area for my shops. One of the main reasons I chose Shopify is for easy wholesale ordering and it has been a great experience so far and my stockists love it.

I don’t have anything negative to say about Shopify so far, but it is a lot of work to drive traffic to my site without relying on the traffic within Etsy that I am so used to. It is a very rewarding feeling though when those orders do come in!

Sign up for your own shopify store

What would you recommend to someone just starting their business:

I would recommend having a business plan and some funds dedicated just to that. It is good to have an idea of what you want and how to get there, as well as some start-up money for a workspace or tools, depending on your business. Had I known what I know now when I first started, I might have done a few things differently. Then again, it was more of just a hobby for me that grew into something I never would have imagined, and I don’t regret taking the path I did.

 

How many hours a week do you think you spend on it?

Right now, I probably spend 15 hours a week on my business. Having a full time job only leaves a few hours after work and I have been spending most weekends catching up on orders and working on projects for my book.

 

What are your business goals for 2017?

I am currently working with a publisher to write a DIY book on projects to build from wood pallets, called Wood Pallet Wonders, so that is really pushing me to set goals in different areas. I would like to expand my product line to include more items like those in my book, build up my blog more with tutorials and projects, and eventually leave my full-time job to pursue Infinite Abyss as more than a hobby.

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I’m going to tie this question in with the best learning experience I have had. Back in August I was chosen from thousands of applicants around the world to join 35 others attending Etsy Open Call in NYC. We were able to pitch our lines to retailers both big and small and it was literally the opportunity of a lifetime. I got to speak with so many talented people from companies such as Macy’s and HGTV that had great advice and critiques, and for the first time I really felt like I could turn my side hustle into a full-time business. The Etsy team taught me valuable information about wholesale and marketing and it was just a ton of great information to take back home with me.

 

Tell me the greatest/favorite review/testimonial you’ve received?

I actually just got a review a few days ago that really touched me. A woman reached out to me for a custom order tray that had built-in handles and I was SO pleased with how it turned out; I couldn’t wait for her to get it!

She left me a review with this: “I wanted a mountain tray and I actually ordered it from another company. Big mistake! It just wasn’t what I was looking for so I returned it. I found Infinite Abyss and I loved their trays but I had one request, for it to have handles. Samantha was awesome and said she could do it and the tray turned out amazing! It was exactly what I was looking for. If you’re looking to buy a mountain tray I highly recommend Infinite Abyss! Amazing customer service and amazing work! Thank you!”

 

What is the best way to build a relationship with your clientele?

I think the best way to build a relationship with the clientele is to just be real with them. Customer service is often difficult but I try to convey the image that I am a one-woman operation, and every single item is made by hand when ordered.

Sometimes I am running behind when I’m swamped with orders but I just shoot out an email and my customers always understand. If it takes an extra long time to get an order out, I send them a coupon or another small item. I love to feature my customer and stockist photos on social media to show them that I appreciate the time they took to style and post an image with one of my products.

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How active are you on social media? Do you spread yourself around or stick to one or two mediums?

At first I thought it was important to get myself out there across everything – the more the better. I quickly realized that no matter how hard I try, I just hate Twitter, and Facebook is very frustrating to me. Personally, I love Instagram, and being visual is a great way to promote my products since they can be styled so many different ways. I have found that to be the one outlet I concentrate most on, but am working on Pinterest and my email list next. I am trying to get better at blogging because I know that is important as well, but it has been a slow process.

 

If you could go back and make your start a little easier, what is one thing you would have changed?

I don’t think I would really change anything. As cliche as it sounds, everything happens for a reason and the choices I made up until now have given me some amazing opportunities. If I did something differently, I may not have traveled to Etsy Open Call last year. And I definitely might not be writing a book, so I am glad things played out how they did.

 

Any other advice, or stories to share?

Don’t give up! Starting a business is hard work, whether you use Esty, Shopify or something else, and there will be a point where you want to throw in the towel. Trust me, I’ve been there. In the end, there is no greater feeling of self-satisfaction than when you get your first client or make your first sale, knowing you worked hard for that.

 

 

Author Bio: Samantha Hartman is the all-around creative mind behind Infinite Abyss. A one woman show, she designs, plans, builds, markets, packages, ships, photographs, styles, and creates the brand. Originally from Pittsburgh, she currently resides in Wyoming with her boyfriend Karl and their plethora of pets, but they are always traveling to enjoy new sights and experiences. Samantha is also currently writing a book called Wood Pallet Wonders on creating home decor and storage pieces from wood pallets, out Fall 2017.
 

 

 

 

Shopify Store: www.infiniteabysshandmade.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/infiniteabysshandmade

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/infinite_abyss

Instagram: www.instagram.com/infiniteabysshandmade

Blog: www.samanthahartman.com

 

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The BEST Free Courses for Bloggers

The BEST Free Courses for Bloggers

I recently put together a free email course called Blogging 101: The Ultimate Start Guide for Blogging as a Side Hustle.

My course, Blogging 101, spans 7 days and each day has a different topic. We talk about the best hosting, how to pick a domain name, the best tools and plugins you’ll need, and why WordPress is King. We go over the best tools to use for graphics, best free and paid resources out there, and how to start a blog if writing isn’t actually your “thing”. Plus, so much more. I’m not entirely sure how I fit it into 7 days, honestly!

But through my research, I found several other free courses out there that can help you discover your niche, focus on a particular stream of income, and teach you things like taking your own photographs. They teach you how to get more sign ups to your email list, and a bunch more. All of these courses are very useful, especially if you’re just getting started. I absolutely recommend you try some of them out. Not all of them; you don’t want to get overwhelmed. Pick one or two that really speak out to you. Focus on following their steps, and when you’re done, you can pick one or two more.

There is really no such thing as too much information, especially when you’re blogging. You’ll come to find that what works for one person, may not be true for you. And what works for you, might be in direct contradiction of the advice of a blogger who makes 6 figures a year.

Take what you need, and leave the rest.

I did a lot of research for my Blogging 101 course, and along the way. I found that a lot of the courses that talk about blogging that are incredibly useful to me, are already listed at:

Mom Makes Cents: Free Courses for Bloggers (Click Here)

So please, sign up for my e-course here! And then go check out the list that is the end-all-be-all of lists about free courses for bloggers. (Mine is not listed, because mine did not exist when this list was compiled. Ha!)

I’d love to know in the comments if you signed up for mine and how it compares to the others!

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How to Build a Bigger Business with Shopify

How to Build a Bigger Business with Shopify

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission at not cost to you. In fact, if you use the links, you are directly supporting the creation of awesome content for the future. So thanks!

Have you been side hustling for a while, turned it into your full time gig, and making some decent money selling your products, but you’re ready to take your business to the next level?

Shopify has got you covered. For the past seven years, Shopify has hosted a Build Your Business competition, encouraging start ups and new businesses to get creative and start making money. Well, this year they’re doing it a little differently and they reached out to me to help spread the word!

When you’re trying to grow a business, it’s not a process you can do alone. You need a support team of highly skilled and qualified individuals who know how to disrupt the system, create profitable systems and products, and streamline processes.

Putting together the team you need can be expensive. Finding mentors that really know what they’re doing doesn’t ever come cheap. So what is a business owner to do?

Check out Shopify’s new competition: Build a Bigger Business. Over the past 7 years, Shopify has helped over 100,000 merchants launch businesses through Build a Business, an annual competition asking scrappy freshman entrepreneurs one question: can you sell the most?

This year, Shopify has announced the first Build a BIGGER Business competition. How is it bigger? This time, rather than focusing on springboarding new businesses, this competition is for established Shopify merchants.

The Build a Bigger Business Competition is designed for:

  • Established companies with sales in 2016 between $1M and $50M
  • Companies who are not currently on Shopify but are thinking of migrating
  • Companies that are currently on Shopify and love it there because they know what’s up!
  • Businesses that thrive in a competitive atmosphere
  • Business owners who want support and leadership from leaders like Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins, plus the creator of Goldieblox, and the CEO of Shopify (and so many other amazing people, omg!).

 

What’s the point of competition when you’re already doing good? Well, how about bragging rights?

Or like… Hanging out with Tony Robbins in FIJI!

Look, growing only stops when you’re dead. If you’re not bankrupt, you gotta keep growing. So how does getting over a million dollars in business infrastructure support sound, in terms of growth?

There’s like 8 different categories of competition. But seriously, just go to the Build a Bigger Business Competition and read up on it yourself.

Look, if I was at this level, I’d be all over this. If you are at this level, what are you waiting for? Check it out, see if it’s right for you, and get started making even more money with mentorship from some of the biggest names in the biz.

Ready to start your online side hustle, but nowhere near $1M in sales yet?

You should still take a look at what Shopify offers new business owners. Its a great setup with amazing support and opportunity to do pretty much anything you want.

 

So I want to know: How are you growing your business or side hustle this year? Tell me in the comments!

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Why You NEED a side hustle (plus how to get started!)

Why You NEED a side hustle (plus how to get started!)

Today we have a guest post from Leah, and we’re talking about one of my favorite things: Side Hustles! I highly recommend you check out the free e-course at the end of this post and tell us your biggest fears about getting started hustling. 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission at not cost to you. In fact, if you use the links, you are directly supporting the creation of awesome content for the future. So thanks!

 

Hey, everyone! My name is Leah and I am the blogger behind Urban20Something.com. I blog about ways that millennial women can advance financially and professionally by side hustling. My blog was born about 1 year ago when I was declining law school acceptances and felt like there had to be more creative (and less expensive! Hello, debt!) ways to pursue a career I loved, I just needed to find it.

 

Fast forward one year, and I’ve completely dedicated my blog to helping people side hustle. Because of my blog and the freelance writing experience I built up by side hustling, I was able to quit my job last summer and travel for four months. There’s no way I could’ve done that had I not had the experience and money from a side hustle. It’s a huge boost of freedom and I can’t recommend side hustling enough. So, first…

 

What’s a Side Hustle? 

A side hustle is a way you make money outside of your 9-5 job and/or primary source of income. Side hustles can be quite extravagant and include starting an entire business. Or, they can be as simple as monetizing a hobby you already do. For instance, do you to write and journal? Why not make money freelance writing and ghost blogging? Do you speak another language? Make money tutoring!

The types of side hustles are never ending and you can monetize nearly anything that you might be good at it and/or have a passion for.

Why do you need a side hustle? 

 

Side Money 

The most obvious (and maybe most exciting!) reason to have a side hustle is to make extra money, of course! This is especially relevant to the millennial generation who is drowning in debt. Yes, we do have a lot of debt on our hands, but we also have the power of technology and the opportunities to make side money with it like never before. Exercise that power and conquer your financial life!

 

Diversify your skills  

If you live in the United States, you’re well aware (and maybe in sick of hearing) that our economy and politics are shaky. With the turbulence in our country, the safest defense to your own job and financial security is to be really employable.  Side hustling allows you to develop and exercise other professional skills you might not get to use at work.

For instance, one of my side hustles is my blog, Urban20Something.com, and in learning to create a website and market digitally, I was able to get my current job by leveraging my knowledge of web design. Other examples of this could be if graphic design was your side hustle and you learned how to use creative software that a company would be looking for. Or, you could tutor a language that you know but otherwise might not practice so much, maintaining your fluency.

Stability

As I mentioned above, my side hustles gave me the finance security and confidence to quit my job and go to Asia. That’s a long story for another day, but the short version is that I felt like I was a dead end with my job and didn’t want to just wait until I got another. I had the luxury of quitting to travel because I had saved up a bit of extra money from my side hustle and I knew I could continue making money online because of the experience I had built up freelancing. It gave me an entire new freedom.

Have an outlet 

You might be surprised at how therapeutic your side hustle becomes! It’s an excellent and satisfying way to forget your stresses at your 9-5 and keep perspective when you feel enclosed in your own day-to-day life. As one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Chris Guillebeau says about side hustles:

It’s not a part-time job as much as it’s something you create, and it’s disproportionately satisfying.”

It’s a simple as having something that you love and can make money off of. Even if you do have a job that you love (and I hope you do!), chances are you have some other passion projects yearning for attention inside of you that you may have been dismissing because they didn’t make you money or you didn’t have time.

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The key to a profitable side hustle

The beauty of side hustles is that you can really make one of out whatever you love to do. Some might seem more profitable than others, but with a little creativity, you can monetize nearly any hobby. So, don’t feel cornered into one hustle!

However, one key trait of a side hustle I do highly recommend considering when beginning your own is trying to find a side hustle that’s at least somewhat passive. If you can create a side hustle that is passive, you’ll save yourself a lot of time in the long run. That saved time can then be used to make more money. It’s a win-win.

How to make your side hustle passive 

Passive can mean a couple of things. Traditionally, passive income is a way to make money without directly exchanging your time for your money. The idea is that you usually do a lot of upfront work, but then you can make income on your product or service again and again without having to do that same work again. A classic example of this is real estate, where you buy a piece of real estate and then rent it out, earning that income passively. Another is writing a book. It takes a lot of upfront work, but then that book continues to sell on and on.

You can pursue one of these passive income options for your side hustle, but there are so many other ways to make your side hustle passive doing whatever you’re passionate about.

The idea is to set up systems that market your side hustle passively for you so that you don’t have to continually search for side hustle jobs.

This includes:

  • An online digital resume
  • A sales or landing page that details your services
  • Testimonials and reviews for you on hand so people can see how amazing you are

 

These upfront tasks will help you get noticed and get you clients without you having to seek them out yourself. If you want to set up a passive side hustle for yourself, I cover all of this step-by-step in my free 7 day e-mail course. You can sign up below!

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This course is designed for any sort of side hustle you chose to pursue, it’s not just for blogging or freelancing. What it’s designed to do is help you set up systems to market and promote your hustle, so that you can spend more time actually hustling.

What’s your side hustle? Pop over to Urban20Something.com and please share! We have an entire library for side hustle resources. I can’t wait to see you hustle.

 

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Side Hustle Series: Virtual Assistant

Side Hustle Series: Virtual Assistant

 

Hello there! We are kicking off this new series about side hustles with my friend Crystal Kovac who has turned her side hustle as a virtual assistant into her full time job. She’s helped me on a past project, and is a breeze to work with. She’s kindly agreed to interview for this series. You can find her contact information at the bottom of the post. 

She does mention that she uses Convertkit, which has an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through that link, I earn a small referral fee that doesn’t cost you anything. FTC regulations make me say this. 

Now, on the the interview!

Hi! Who are you?

Hi! I’m Crystal and I am a Virtual Assistant specializing in social media, copywriting, editing, email marketing, opt-ins and landing pages, printables, blog post writing and admin tasks.

What is your side hustle, and where can we find it?

I am a Virtual Assistant who helps women entrepreneurs grow and thrive in their businesses. Often times, entrepreneurs find themselves bogged down with so many things (scheduling social media, creating graphics, opt-in forms & newsletters, etc.) that they are unable to focus on generating revenue.

That’s where I come in.

I take care of those tasks so that you can grow not only your revenue, but also increase your brand exposure.

You can find me on Facebook or Instagram. I’d love to connect!

How long have you done this side hustle?

I have been a Virtual Assistant for several years, but over the past 6 months, I have branched out and started my own business.

What drew you to it?

I have always had a passion for learning new things and helping people.

As a VA, I truly learn something new every day.

I love that what I do helps empower women entrepreneurs and assists them I achieving their dreams, while also spending more valuable time with their families.

How did you prepare for the qualifications this business?

Prior to becoming a VA, I worked in the non-profit industry in the Fundraising/Development department. Most of my knowledge was acquired during my time with these organizations.

To stay current on latest strategies, programs, apps etc., I take a lot of online trainings and have a wonderful list of individuals whom I collaborate and ‘brain dump’ with.

What is the best way for you to find clients?

I love connecting with people in Facebook groups. Often times, someone will post about a problem that they are having. On Facebook groups, I always try to offer quality feedback on the issue (for free, of course). And I let them know that I am available if they need/want further assistance.

I also get quite a few referrals from past clients, which is an honor; I love that my clients have had such a great experience that they want to share me with their friends.

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How many hours a week do you think you spend on it?

I work about 20-30 hours per week, depending on my client load at the time. I only take on a maximum of 6 clients at a time so that I can give each one the time and attention that they deserve.

What are your business goals for 2017?

My goal is to have a full client list each month.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Be patient. Nothing happens overnight, especially in business. It takes time to grow your brand, so don’t get discouraged if it’s not happening at lightning speed.

Tell me the greatest/favorite review/testimonial you’ve received?

I absolutely love when my clients send me notes and tell me that they don’t know how they accomplished anything without me.

 

What is the best way to build a relationship with your clientele?

Communication!

I include a thirty minute weekly call in all of my packages. During theses calls, we are talking about business and setting goals for the next week, but we also just talk about our lives as well. These calls really help me get to know my clients, their strengths and weaknesses and what they are passionate about outside of their businesses.

How active are you on social media? Do you spread yourself around or stick to one or two mediums?

I’m very active on Instagram. This has proven to be the most successful platform for my business.

For clients, I recommend that they don’t do everything at once. Choose one or two platforms where their target audience hangs out, and build those up.  You can always add other platforms on at a later time.

What are your top three favorite tools to with and/or for your clients?

  1. LastPass – It makes sharing passwords so easy and secure.
  2. ConvertKit– Because opt-ins.  It is super user friendly and it can do so many things.
  3. Canva– I love to create printables, social media graphics, etc. with Canva!

If you could go back and make your start a little easier, what is one thing you would have changed?

I would have set up processes and procedures earlier. It’s amazing how much having good processes in place not only helps your business run more smoothly, but also saves so much time!

 

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