I started my first business in 2010 when I launched my online “concept store”, Natural History. Back then, there was no Shopify or even WooCommerce, so if you wanted a website, you had to get somebody to build it for you. The back end of my first website (which cost a FORTUNE) was dreadful. If I used a comma, the whole thing crashed and I had to get the developers to fix it. A COMMA.
The first cloud software subscription I ever took out was for Dropbox, and I felt like such a tech pro using it to share files with my PR agency. I think the next thing I subscribed to must have been Mailchimp, and I remember the day I finally turned off the old website and migrated to glorious, easy Shopify!
So much has changed since then! Over the years, I have tested a huge number of software subscriptions for different needs.
Some have been amazing, some have been huge disappointments, and this has never necessarily been related to how much they cost. Sometimes the cheapest tool can be the most useful – people make millions of dollars using Convertkit alone for their businesses!
The other day, I decided to sit down and make a list of my favourite tools to share. This is my go-to toolkit of subscriptions that I use every day in my business.
1) Divi – Elegant themes
This website is built using the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes and I LOVE IT. I’ve been a Divi fan for years – their templates are a dream and the whole package is simple, powerful and elegant. It’s a low one-off fee, and you can install an entire website from their template library in about 1 minute. Learn More.
If ecommerce is your thing, and you mostly want to sell products (physical or digital), then you definitely want to check out Shopify. I love everything about it, from the chic free themes to the powerful back end. I love their reporting, and your accountant will too! Easy to use, even for the least tech-minded. Learn More.
Sooner rather than later, you’re going to need to grow a list AND send out emails. I’ve used several different services for this over the years, and my favourite is ConvertKit. It’s simple, intuitive, and powerful without being confusing. Learn More.
If you decide to use WordPress for your website (like this one!) you are going to need hosting. Of all the hosting services I have used, SiteGround is the best value, with the easiest interface and sweetest customer service. 10/10! Learn More.
When you are selling online, you need a fast, robust and friction-less checkout process. The second a customer gets confused or feels like this is taking too long, they exit. ThriveCart is a fantastic checkout system that has huge capacity for selling courses, coaching and managing affiliates. For me, it was more cost-effective than SamCart. Learn More.
Planoly is a visual planner and scheduler for Instagram and Pinterest. If you like SEEING how your grid is going to look and planning it ahead of time, this is PERFECT for you. Do in, lay out your gorgeous grid, write your caption and save batches of hashtags. It even shows you the best times of day to post. It’s a really attractive interface to use, too. Learn More.
7) Creative Market
I love this so much! CreativeMarket is a giant marketplace for graphic design assets, including lead magnet templates and whole suites of assets including matching slide decks, ebooks, workbooks, lead magnets and social media templates, that you can plug into Canva or Photoshop and use for your own super-slick campaigns. You can also get logo templates, whole branding kits – it’s endless! Learn More.
8) Haute Stock
If you are looking for a steady stream of dreamy feminine stock photography for your brand, then look no further than Haute Stock. Regular new batches of photos in trend-driven palettes, their images are perfect for coaches, creatives, wellness practitioners for both website imagery and social media as well as screen mockups. Lots of monthly templates and tips too. They’re increasing their number of photo packs with diverse women – if you have darker skin then you’ve definitely noticed how few stock photography websites cater for you, but Haute Stock is defnitely closing the gap here. More photos featuring women with headscarves would be great though! Learn More.
9) Deadline Funnel
You can add countdowns to your pages, checkouts and emails (i.e. offering a limited discount) that properly redirect to other pages when the countdown expires. You can use Deadline Funnel to build out whole campaigns or just a quick self-liquidating offer after someone signs up to your mailing list, for instance. Learn More.
I’ve been a pro website designer, but even I sometimes want a quick landing page to gather information or launch a new product, without the faff of designing in WordPress, and Leadpages is a very handy landing page builder that can have you up and running, collecting data, in about 5 minutes. Incredibly useful – it can even be your whole site! Learn More.
(This page contains affiliate links – I am ONLY an affiliate for products I genuinely use and love.)