There are a ton of valuable tech tools out there for service-based online business owners. With so many tools to choose from, it’s important that you know what is right for you and your business so that you’re only using and paying for what’s valuable to you.
When it comes to running your business, mastering your tech stack will save you a ton of time, even if you have an OBM and/or VA on your team. Your tech will also help you automate and systematize your business which will save you both time and money.
This list contains the most essential tools that I use to run my OBM business, and what I set up for my clients in their business. Some are free, some cost money, and some contain affiliate links because I truly love and recommend these tools.
A project management system is more about organizing and centralizing all of the parts of your business than it is about managing projects. If it’s more than just you in your business, a PM system will make collaboration so much easier. You’ll be able to add all of your projects assign tasks to team members, set deadlines, share resources, share documents and images, and you can track your team’s activities all in one place. And most include places to quickly chat about projects and tasks, so you won’t need to use a messaging tool like Slack.
I use ClickUp to run my business, my client’s businesses, and my household. It’s a bit of a beast, so I don’t recommend it to clients who aren’t super tech-savvy or systems-oriented, but I love it and how customizable it is.
In my opinion, Asana is much more user-friendly and easier to figure out since my client’s strengths are in coaching or being creative, and they don’t want to take up too much of their time learning a new system.
CRM stands for Client Relationship Manager and is so SO important for service providers. There are many out there to choose from such as Dubsado, Honeybook, Hubspot, 17Hats, and the new kid on the block, Paperbell. When set up properly, your CRM will tie all of your systems together in one place to help your business run more efficiently. You can track every step your lead takes once they fill out a form on your website up until they become your client, and the best part is that it can all be automated leaving you free to do other things.
FOR BOTH MY BUSINESS & MY CLIENTS: DUBSADO
Dubsado is hands down my favorite CRM for many reasons. I’ve tested and used them all (except Paperbell) for at least six months, and every time, I go right back to Dubsado. Honeybook is a close second, but Dubsado, in my opinion, is listening to their strong community and implementing what we want and need more than the others. If Dubsado is something that you know that you want and need, my referral link will score you 20% off your first year. You can also sign up for my Dubsado in a Day service and I’ll get all of your emails and workflows in place in just one day! Clicking that link will show you a Dubsado form and workflow in action.
Email marketing is the best way to grow your audience, foster your community, and share your offers and services with people who’ve said they want to hear from you. Most of my clients are not excited about email marketing because it can feel salesy, but once I help them get into a consistent routine they almost immediately understand the benefits via new clients. Mailchimp is where most service providers start out because it’s free, but in my opinion, you’re trading your sanity for free and it’s not worth it. What do I recommend?
FOR BOTH MY BUSINESS & MY CLIENTS: CONVERTKIT
I love ConvertKit and have been using them for 6+ years. I took a year-long break to check out ActiveCampaign, but I quickly realized that the simplicity of ConvertKit is what I really wanted. Setting up funnels and automations can be a huge pain, but somehow ConvertKit makes it all a little easier, and I appreciate that. If you’d like to try their free plan, you can by using this link.
Google Workspace makes my life easier. For just $6 per user per month, you can have a professional business email address that connects to your domain. I use Google Calendar to schedule my days, block my time, and track everything I’ve done. My team, my clients, and my family all know that if it’s not on my Google Calendar, it’s not happening. For email, the Gmail interface is nice and easy to use, and I can easily integrate ClickUp and Asana into it and create tasks from emails. And if you don’t know, your Google Suite account includes access to Google Drive which makes collaborating with clients and a team a breeze, and it also integrates nicely with both ClickUp and Asana for a seamless experience.
FOR BOTH MY BUSINESS & MY CLIENTS: GOOGLE WORKSPACE
Don’t love Google? You can purchase email accounts through your website host such as Bluehost, Dreamhost, etc. or through Office 365 if you’re into Microsoft Office. I don’t suggest obtaining email addresses through GoDaddy.
You never have to go back & forth via email trying to set up a meeting ever again thanks to scheduling tools such as Acuity and Calendly. Both are great services, but I love Acuity the most because it’s been super reliable for me for the last 6+ years. You can collect information through forms, collect payments, give discounts, send text messages and reminder emails. Their higher-tier plans are excellent if there is an option to schedule with more than one person or location. If you are a Dubsado or Honeybook user, the same scheduling features are built into your CRM, so that’s one last thing to worry about.
FOR MY BUSINESS: ACUITY & DUBSADO
Yes, I use both. For me, Acuity is just too reliable to not use it. It’s worth every penny. However, the workflows that I have set up through Dubsado do include a link to schedule with me through Dubsado. I use Dubsado scheduling for free consultations so that my workflows don’t break, and then I switch to Acuity to schedule future calls.
FOR MY CLIENTS: ACUITY SCHEDULING
I’m pretty sure I’ve said everything I need to say about how great Acuity is. Quite
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