How I Run My Online Business
Welcome to Episode 15 of Hit The Mic with Stacey Harris.
Hello, hello. I am Stacey Harris and I am so excited to be sitting down with you today and talking about my favorite tools, my favorite things. The things I use every day to run my business. I’ll talk about some social media stuff, but I’m also going to talk about my project management, my time management. Basically, top to bottom, sort of how I run my business online. My favorite tools to use, because I like to use new tools.
I think that this is the time of year when everyone is sort of evaluating where they can streamline stuff and where they can make things easier. Also looking forward to the next year, where should we invest and where should I sort of not be wasting money? I’m going to talk about my favorite tools.
The first thing I want to do though is I want to do a shout out. I’m super excited to do these. If you want to get your shout out on a future episode, head over to iTunes and leave a review. Five star ratings are my favorite, but whatever you feel this podcast deserves, honest feedback is appreciated. Today we have one from Jenny Gross. It said, “This is the best way to learn about social media. Listening to Stacey is easy and comfortable, even when she’s really getting into the meat of situations, you just feel like you’re right there and part of her candid conversation. She’s 100% authentic, which is entirely the point when we’re talking about social media.” Yay, Jenny gets it. Thanks Jenny for doing that, for leaving your review.
I love hearing that feedback, that it’s sort of conversational and you feel like I’m talking to you, because I am talking to you. Just you, nobody else. Just you.
My favorite tools. I want to keep this short, because I know we’re all sort of like desperate for time right now and really all the time. I want to keep this short, but I want to start with sort of categorizing these. We’re going to start with how I run my day. My day-to-day life is a mixture of Google calendars and Podio. Before I dive in too much deeper, I want to say this. All of the links to this stuff will be in the show notes, so thestaceyharris.com/episode15, you’ll find links to all of this stuff. Some of them are going to be free options, some of them are going to be paid options. Some are going to have both. That’s where you’ll find those.
Anyways, so my day-to-day life I run out it out of Google calendar. I pay for Google calendar, because I use Google Apps to sort of manage my email and my business and stuff, so I guess maybe that’s where I should start, as Google Business Apps. I have my @thestaceyharris email address goes through Gmail. My calendar’s there, all that stuff. My Google calendar sort of manages my appointments, my scheduling, things like that and then Podio is a project management software and I use it for all my tasks. Each of my clients is set up as a workspace.
As I have new consulting clients, I add their workspace and that way I can keep track of my information between calls or if there’s anything I want to deliver as a special bonus or I’m doing between calls as sort of an extra thing. I don’t know. As I’m developing a strategy and they send me information I can keep it all there. I can keep all the log-ins that they have securely in there. That’s what I use to sort of manage my projects and also my day-to-day tasks. I also have my business set-up as a workplace, so recording these podcasts are each a task in my project management. Creating the show notes for this podcast is going to be a task in my project management software, so in Podio.
The other thing I use as far as scheduling is TimeTrade. That is where I book my consultations, so when you book a rockstar session with me, so you go to thestaceyharris.com/strategysessions and you buy a three package of rockstar sessions, great, fantastic. Now you just get a link and you go to TimeTrade and you book your calls. That way you don’t have the back and forth of, “Does this day work for you? Does this day work for you?” You can just get things scheduled really quickly. Also, when I ask people to do podcast interviews with me, so all the fabulous guests you hear, they schedule their interview through TimeTrade. That way, again, you don’t have the back and forth. They can just book a time that works for them. I have it all set out.
The other benefit of doing something like that is I have days that I have days that I do certain things. I do client calls on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I do podcasts, interviews on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. Whatever it may be, set-up different ways. Also, you’re able to adjust the amount of time and fill in buffers, so I don’t ever have calls that in that back-to-back. They always have a 15 minute gap between them. TimeTrade allows you to do all of that, so that is what I use and it is a paid. I think there is a free level, but I’m not absolutely positive. I have a paid level. I like it’s like $50 a year or something like that. I should probably think that up, because I’m going to be having to renew it soon.
Next up, how I run my social media is probably one of the things I’m asked most common when I’m asked about my favorite tools. I use Sprout Social to manage my social media. It’s really, really robust. There are a lot of advantages to using something like Sprout Social, however it’s not for everyone. It is an investment. I have the medium level, so it’s $60 a month, but the analytics that come with it. I have a couple of social media management clients still and so I’m able to manage their stuff there as well. I also manage the social media for my web show that’s going to be coming out in January. That stuff’s all run through there, which is going to be called The Entrepreneurs Happy Hour and you guys will hear more about that in the coming weeks.
We manage all of that stuff, or I manage all of that stuff through there, as well as my social media. I can track what I’ve responded to and I can also track analytics like what my audience is made up of, men versus women, demographics, interests, things like that. Also, my Google analytics is connected as well so that I can see what sort of social traffic is being driven and I can actually see the tweets. When my website is mentioned in a tweet I can actually see that this tweet led to a hit on my site, which is really really beneficial. That’s what I use.
Other options, because not everyone wants something as robust as Sprout Social, I used to actually use HootSuite. There’s a free and a paid version. I used the paid version, which at the time was I want to say $6 a month, but I think it’s a little bit higher now. The free option can be really beneficial as well if you have a smaller number of accounts or things like that. There are some very cool options in the pro option, but don’t feel obligated to use it. Certainly if you’re just getting started with scheduling and things like that, it can be really beneficial.
The other thing I use a lot actually is Buffer App and the way I use Buffer App, and I’ve talked about this a few other places, but I’m not sure I’ve talked about it with you guys.
The way I use Buffer App is whenever I find content I really like around the inter-webs, I share it via Buffer, so I have set times throughout the day, I set how many times throughout the day things will go out and I can just add it to Buffer and it just puts it out automatically instead of me having to craft it and schedule it in with my other content. Then I’m just cognizant of that when I’m sharing my own content or writing content for my foundation. I really, really like it because it makes it really easy for me to do. I actually have the Chrome extension so I can just literally hit a button at the top of the screen and I’m buffering.
We’ll connect with Linked In profile, Google Plus pages, Facebook profile and pages and then Twitter accounts. That’s really, really beneficial. I really like Buffer, like I said, it’s really … I use it in conjunction with my Sprout Social, although I could probably just do everything I do with Buffer and my Sprout Social, it’s just really nice to do.
I also … let’s see what else do I use for social media? I also use Google Analytics to track my website traffic, which is kind of social media because so much of my traffic comes via social media but I guess we could move on to the websites section. I obviously use Google Analytics to track all my website analytics. I also use WordPress. My website is done in wordpress.org, which means it’s self hosted. I really, really super strongly suggest you to go self hosted because then it’s yours. Also there’s limitations when you don’t own it, like when you use wordpress.com .
My theme is done in Headway Themes and it’s totally DIY right now. A really great resource for learning about using Headway Themes is Headway 101. It’s run by my friend Corey Freeman who is actually going to be on the show at the end of January. I think we have her on the calendar for. She will talk a lot about websites and Headway. She has really, really great tutorials to sort of help you DIY it if you can’t invest it in having someone sort of do it for you, which is totally possible when you’re bootstrapping. Headway Themes, WordPress, I use Google Analytics, some are plugins.
Limit Logins is my favorite plugin because there are so many sort of brute force attack attempts that it sort of nips some of that in the bud. They can’t just sort of like keep trying and trying and trying because it locks that IP address out. So that’s really beneficial. That’s probably my favorite plugin.
Backupbuddy is my other favorite plugin because it backs up my site. It just does it. I don’t have to worry about it. If something happens I have a nice clean copy I can just take care of whatever issue there was.
What else on my website? I think that’s all on my website. My popup for my email newsletter is done through Pippity. Speaking of email newsletters, I actually manage my email newsletter through AWeber. I have used other things, AWeber’s been my favorite. At some point I want to transition to something more robust like Infusionsoft but for where I’m at in my business right now, Aweber works perfectly. Before Aweber I actually used Constant Contacts and I was not as thrilled with them as I had hoped to be. I think it works really well for some businesses. It didn’t work well for me because I have multiple lists and I wanted multiple welcome emails and things like that. So I use AWeber, it’s really really reasonable and it’s nice. I like the functionality of it.
Let’s see … I am trying to think of what else I use in my business. See this is how you know I don’t make massive notes before I record a show because I don’t have a list of things. I’m just totally going off the top of my head for you. Social media, email marketing, website … yeah, I think that might be everything. Day to day scheduling stuff, those are sort of my standard that’s the stuff I interact with every single day.
For my accounting, my husband actually does it because I am terrible at it. We use Wave Accounting, which is at wavesapp.com , I believe. It’s really nice. We use the free option. Another really popular option among online entrepreneurs is FreshBooks. I also use Square to run payments for my … any clients I have locally, when I can I run that. Also I run … my retainer clients I run a card they have on file through there, or their card information. So it’s square.com and that’s how I process invoices.
The other option I use is PayPal a lot. That’s actually one of my big 2014 goals is to get sort of payment processing system in place and shopping in cart in place, especially with the guides.
Let’s see I think that’s everything. I think that might be everything. If there’s anything I’m forgetting, leave it in the comments and ask me what I use and I’ll tell you.
More importantly I want you to head over to thestaceyharris.com/episode15. Check out the show notes, check out the links to all the stuff I mentioned and also hit the comments there and tell me what you use, if there’s something different. I think there’s so many options out there that a lot of times it comes down to just personal preference. If there’s something you love that I didn’t mention, be sure to share it with everybody because having options is key to finding what really works for you. My advice all the time is don’t feel like once you start with something you have to stay with it. Look at your other options.
So, that’s me. I am so excited. It’s just about the end of the year so I want to remind you guys that I have this really, really cool thing happening which is the beta test for the Rockstar Guide to Google Plus which is going to be happening at the end of January and the really good news about that is the Google Plus guide is finally coming.
Be sure that you go over to thestaceyharris.com and get on my list. If you actually go to the show notes pages, it’s right at the bottom of the page, under the show notes there’s an option right there. Get on the list so that in March when this goes live and it has been through beta testing, you guys are the first to get it and really rock out Google Plus because Google Plus is going to have a really big impact on social media in 2014. It’s already having a massive impact so especially with all … if you’re feeling like you’re just not getting any traction with Facebook anymore, then let’s show you how to diversify your network so you don’t have to be so heartbroken that Facebook is maybe giving you less traction than you had before.
Get on the list over there at thestaceyharris.com/episode15 is where you find the show notes and then until next time, I will be seeing you. Bye guys.
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