Gayle’s Favorite Things

Business Cards/Stationery: I love (LOVE!) Morningprint.  I would rather get a small amount of high quality/high impact business cards as opposed to a 2,000 cheap cards.  Morningprint can design for you or you can submit your own design.  They can do a combination of foil, rounded corners, UV spot and a bunch of other features that other companies won’t do.  I also love Moo for their high quality stock and out of the ordinary sizing options. That being said, if you’re looking for high quantity and low cost for business cards and related promotional materials Vistaprint is good value.

Collaboration/Screen Sharing Tools:  Trying to get your point across and find that it’s just easier if you can show someone your screen? I love 

Coupons:  So you want to buy something online and want to see if you can get a discount?  Check out RetailMeNot before you check out to see if there’s a coupon code out there.

Ecommerce: So many options to choose from!  If you have a big list and are looking for an all-in-one program that can handle your e-commerce, newsletters, client data, etc. and you have the budget for it, I recommend going with Infusionsoft.  Just be prepared for a very steep learning curve on it (it’s not intuitive), particularly if you’re importing data from several other programs. Paypal is great if you’re just starting out.  Once you have several programs running, 1ShoppingCart is a robust, easy to use cart that will allow you to easily track purchasers, create coupon codes and allow clients to pay in installments.

Forms: Want to streamline your client intake process?  I recommend using Wufoo or Jotforms for gathering key information and pre-screening potential clients.

Newsletters: My fave is Mailchimp as it’s intuitive, inexpensive and has attractive templates (although all customer service is via chat).  If you know you’ll need a bit more 1:1 support from US-based live staff, I recommend Aweber.

Online Marketing: As a graduate of B-School, I highly recommend Marie Forleo’s B-School program as it’s second to none for anyone looking to establish an effective online marketing presence and stay up to date with online trends. The 8 week program is jam packed with valuable content that will get you thinking about your niche, brand positioning and messaging.  If you’re a health coach looking to up the ante on your coaching skills, work with coaches who truly understand the health coaching industry and network with your health coaching industry peers, Holistic MBA is absolutely the place you need to be.  Unlike other online marketing gurus, Carey and Stacey at Holistic MBA have a deep understanding of the unique challenges that face health coaches and they offer a variety of programs to get you on track.

Scheduling: I love Acuity Scheduling. Easy to use with a fabulous customer service team that continues to stay ahead of customer needs by making constant improvements to functionality.

Virtual Assistance: If you’re thinking about becoming a Virtual Assistant, the highest quality training you’ll receive is with AssistU. While there are other programs out there that make great claims, with AssistU, you’ll go through a comprehensive 16 week program and intensive exam that will truly set the foundation for your long term success as a Virtual Assistant.  I’m am also a Fall 2016 graduate of Sharon Broughton’s fabulous Super VA School program. If you’re a VA who’s serious about having all the latest technical skills, this program is a must. It’s all about gaining the skills you need to super-size your Virtual Assistance practice by becoming a SuperVA. Not only will you learn about the foundations that you need in your VA business, but you’ll also go through (lots!) of training in platforms such as Infusionsoft, Leadpages, OptimizePress2.0, Click Funnels, and more.

Virtual Phone Service: I’ve used FreedomVoice for several clients over the years.  You’ll get a toll free number that you can give out to your clients and prospects.  When someone dials the number, you can record a greeting (press 1 for Sue, 2 for Janet or press 1 if you’re interested in receiving coaching, press 2 for customer support, etc.).  The calls will then route to whatever line you choose at whatever time you choose.  It’s fabulous, particularly if you have business partners, virtual assistants or other contractors that work closely with your business on a day to day basis.

Websites:  I recommend WordPress.  If you choose the right template, it’s easy for you or your Virtual Assistant to make minor edits without having to constantly rely on a web designer. If you’re technically inclined and want to tackle the design yourself,  I recommend you take the Website Creation Workshop course by Christina Hills as it’s a fabulous investment and will save you a lot of money in the long run.  If you want someone else to take care of it from scratch, I recommend Katy over at Tall Poppies Web Design or Craig at 123Marbella.  Both are experienced designers and coders who have a track record of deliverability.  Craig also provides ultra-reliable web/email hosting.