Founder’s Faves — Business Resources

 

MUST USE RESOURCES

E‑COMMERCE SHOPPING CART I have been working with Ecwid for several years and LOVE them! This awesome e‑commerce software platform allows you to add shopping cart functionality to any current site and also get a mobile and Facebook store in one package. They are super customizable giving your shopper a seamless experience. Even better is the price — FREE! Click HERE to check them out.

Ecwid

DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION GoDaddy has a very good name registration service with the best deals on domain names...especially when you purchase multiple URLs at one time. I have not personally used GoDaddy hosting — I prefer BlueHost — but, GoDaddy offers that service, as well.

TOLL FREE NUMBER and VIRTUAL PHONE SYSTEM•If you want to instantly build your credibility with your customers, having a dedicated toll free number is vital. I use Grasshopper
and am very pleased with both their pricing and service. I was able to select my company’s custom toll free number (855​.LUK​.DUCK) plus after I set up my account online they help me forward my new toll free number to my existing business cell phone number. It’s incredibly convenient, plus their system allows the calls to ring right through with no 3rd party recordings or delays (which many phone companies have). If this feature is important to you, be sure to explain this to them when you call to have the number forwarded.

WEBSITE PLATFORM WordPress​.org Be sure that you go to WordPress​.ORG NOT WordPress​.com.  That way you can self-host and run a secure online shopping site...if that’s what you want to do;)

WEBSITE THEME Weaver II Pro is AMAZING! Customizable, intuitive, versatile. Fully compatible with WordPress.

HOSTING SERVICE BlueHost is the company I use and LOVE. I tried two other hosting companies before happily discovering BlueHost. They are U.S.A. based, have excellent customer service, excellent load times and truly integrate seamlessly with WordPress. I recommend getting a dedicated IP address. Sharing an IP gets tricky with e‑commerce. Their phone customer service is 24 hours, and extremely helpful.

SSL CERTIFICATE I purchased my SSL certificate from BlueHost and they made it so easy! You don’t really need it until you activate your shop, but I encourage you to not wait until the last minute to get it. IMPORTANT: It needs to be activated and your site address needs to be changed from http to https. Bluehost customer service will happily walk you through this. They are AMAZING!

EMAIL & NEWSLETTER DESIGN AND DISTRIBUTION PLATFORMMailChimp has excellent design options and a very complete organizational platform for building your email list, writing newsletters, distribution of blogs, etc... I am extremely pleased with the way their system has integrated with my brand. They have a free service for up to 2000 email addresses and a paid upgrade available.

SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION HootSuite  is amazing! The best service, in my opinion for organizing, integrating and scheduling various social media networks. They have a free service as well as an inexpensive paid upgrade for advanced scheduling which I use.

AUDIO/VIDEO ACCESSORIES — Gadgets and programs to transform your office into a studio in a snap

Digital video recorderPhoto Booth is free on most Apple computers. Currently all of the videos on my website have been recorded using it on my laptop that has a built in camera and microphone. Not fancy but fine when getting started.

Editing systemiMovie is also free on most Apple computers. I basically taught myself to use it, and have edited all of my videos using it.

I’ve got some videos I’ll be uploading soon using the below accessories....

3‑in‑1 photo lens adapter for iPhone 4/4s — The wonderful Ollo Clip transforms your iPhone 4/4s into a versatile camera. The resolution on our iPhones is fantastic. Why spend money on an expensive camera when you’re getting started , when you can begin with this simple add-on? This one lens has a Fisheye, Macro or WideAngle setting.

3‑in‑1 photo lens adapter for iPhone 5 - Just like the 4/4s version the Ollo Clip transforms your iPhone 5 into a versatile camera. The resolution on our iPhones is fantastic. Why spend money on an expensive camera when you’re getting started , when you can begin with this simple add-on? This one lens has a Fisheye, Macro or WideAngle setting.

iPhone 4 / 4S Tripod Mount & Stand — Secures your iPhone 4/4s to a tripod. It also functions as a stand, propping your phone in various angles.

iPhone 5 Tripod Mount & Stand - Secures your iPhone 5 to a tripod. It also functions as a stand, propping your phone in various angles.

Flexible Tripod for use with iPhoneThe Joby GP1-D1EN Gorillapod is a small table-top tripod that can either be used for basic talking head videos, or the flexible legs can be wrapped around just about anything to give great angles on whatever you might need. For example, I’ve wrapped it around the handles of my kitchen cupboards to record me cooking. Pretty cool, huh?!

Wired Lavalier Microphone - I have not purchased this, yet. But I know women who have, and and are VERY happy with it. It is highly rated and very affordable.

PODCAST EQUIPMENT — I haven’t begun pod casting, yet. But in the extensive research I’ve done this seems to be the gear to go with... and, what I will be buying when I get started.

Beginner’s Gear

Microphone — The Blue Microphones Snowflake is a USB microphone that has very good sound quality for the price

Headset — The Logitech ClearChat Comfort/USB Headset H390 is highly rated and affordable.

Medium to Advanced users. Higher quality sound is very important once you’ve committed to pod casting. I’m not here, yet. But, when I advance this is the gear I intend to use.

Microphone — Samson C01UCW Studio USB Mic with Cakewalk Sonar LE

Mount — Samson SP01 Shockmount Spider Mount for Condenser Mics

Pop Filter — Nady MPF‑6 6‑Inch Clamp On Microphone Pop Filter


Mic Stand — On Stage DS7200B Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand


MUST READ BOOKS

The 4‑Hour Work Week” is by now a classic. I read it in a weekend a couple of years ago and it changed my perspective forever. If for no other reason than it introduced me to the idea that you don’t have to suffer for things to be worthwhile. There’s SO much to this most enjoyable read. And while just the beginning, this is my number one pick!

The E‑Myth Revisited” is an absolutely indispensable read if you want to enjoy your vision and not be a slave to your biz!  This book (I listened to the audio version) caused me to ask the question: Do I want to create a job for myself, or build  a business? It also helped me understand the difference between being an entrepreneur and a business owner...and really being responsible for what I wanted to build.

Hit The Deck” is an amazing book I recently read. I immediately became aware of how vague I was in some key areas. I’m an advocate of do what you love. If you are, too, and want to figure out if your vision is a viable biz, read this book, do the exercises and you’ll have your answer. Plus, you’ll have a heckuva business plan presentation in hand when you’re done. Even if you’re a solopreneur. this book will save you LOADS of time and energy; not only elevating your confidence level, but, also anchoring you and your business on solid ground.

Small Giants” is a recent read of mine. It beautifully explores the option of keeping a business “small.” And in the process asking yourself the questions that guide you to create the biz and lifestyle that is line with you and your values. Well worth the read.

The 8020 Principle”  expands on the idea that 20% of your energy in life and business produces 80% of the benefit. A great perspective on not only how to grow your businesses, but how to live your life.

 

Thanks so much for perusing my Business Resources. I hope you found it useful and that you will share this page url with whomever it may be helpful. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and do check out my other faves, too:

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As always, I’m in your corner...Thais

You are safe with us!

Thais Zoe, Founder
and Chief Joy Merchant