Read on to find out what tools are useful but not necessarily essential when you start your business
Earlier this month on the blog I shared the 6 tools I invest in to run my wellness business.
To put that blog post in context (you can read the 6 tools I do invest in here) I wanted to share with you the tools I’ve tried but have decided weren’t right for me.
That’s not to say the tools aren’t great or useful. They just didn’t fit what I am doing right now in my business.
Some of them I might actually come back to, and some of them I have tried investing in during the last year but have cancelled when I wasn’t getting enough use from them.
I’d love to know what you think. Have you tried any of these tools?
I discovered CoSchedule when I was working at the Health Bloggers Community and absolutely loved that for each piece that I published on the HBC Magazine I could coordinate all the online promotion from one central place.
Neatly tying in with WordPress, CoSchedule allows you to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more automatically and create your own templates to really make posting to socials a lot quicker and more time efficient.
CoSchedule also has an auto re-queue function. This means CoSchedule will pick a well-performing post on any of your platforms and automatically populate any empty slots in your calendar without you having to take action. Dreamy.
However, it’s expensive. Whilst I liked having everything in one place and knowing that my social media was going out while I slept, with the size of my business as it is right now I couldn’t justify the price. At the time (back in 2018) I was paying $50 and I’m shocked to see that prices are now going from $80 pm.
If you’re a bigger business and have this kind of money to spend and want a streamlined approach to your social media posting then definitely investigate CoSchedule. They offer 14 day free trial as well. But for me, not worth it.
I was recommended Adobe Spark by a friend when she created an extremely slick and beautiful promotional video for a course she had created. I wanted to use it as an upgrade from the videos I create on Wondershare Filmora (read more on my thoughts on Filmora in my other blog post) so I tried it for a month.
I loved the video I created specifically for The Reset’s Portugal retreat in March 2019. We used it on a paid Facebook advert which really converted into sales. I found the functionality quite limited but in a way this helped keep the video looking clean and clear and attractive.
However I don’t make this sort of video regularly enough to pay every month for it.
Would I invest again for another month to create a few more videos like this? Probably. But as it’s not the core part of what I do it’s a ‘small’ amount I don’t want trickling out every month.
I absolutely love Canva and recommend it to everyone creating graphics and branding for their blogs (watch about starting a blog here) and also for creating pins for Pinterest (more on Pinterest here).
BUT as far as I am concerned there is absolutely zero reason to pay for it or the content inside it. The stock images are not great quality – you are better to download from unsplash.com and upload them to Canva as they are better and free.
The only functionality on the paid for version of Canva that I found helpful was creating a brand panel so my own fonts and colours were easily accessible.
If you have a brand that includes fonts that aren’t available in Canva for free that can be a bit frustrating. But for $12.95 every month? I can spend a few seconds searching for my own brand and matching another font as a substitute. Not worth the money in my opinion.
I recently discovered Kapwing thanks to expert online marketer Janet Murray.
It’s a brilliant online software that allows you to upload captions and embed them onto your videos. I’m super aware that so many people watch videos without sound (myself included) and therefore in order to maximise the reach of the video content I produce I need to add captions to my videos.
I did purchase one month’s Kapwing membership when I was creating the videos for my 5 Day Pinterest Challenge. However, right now I do not create enough video content that needs captions to warrant a constant $20 a month coming out of my account.
Would I invest in the future? 100%. It’s a brilliant tool, simple to use and so necessary. But unless you’re churning out a certain volume of videos that need captioning, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
MailerLite is FREE for those with a list under 1,000 subscribers. Which let’s be honest, when you’re just getting started is most of us.
It’s got beautiful templates, great tagging options and lots of automation options.
I use MailerLite to run the mailing list for The Flourishing Pantry. That’s growing slowly (mostly because I’m focusing more right now on vickyshilling.com!) and while the list is under 1k I don’t need to pay for it.
From MailerLite I write a beautiful, detailed monthly newsletter to my subscribers, and have a fabulous nurture sequence that welcomes subscribers and gives them my e-book and a few other helpful links all automatically without me having to take a single action.
I don’t need it to be more complicated than that. MailerLite free is where it’s at if you want a mailing list host and you’re only just beginning. Don’t get sucked in to paying for something if you’re only just starting.
Last year I cancelled the only membership I’d ever had to a female business owners online network.
I’d rather not name which one but just to say that having paid for €20 a month 6 months and attended one of their larger events, I was disappointed with a few things:
the limited number of people engaged in the group offering really advanced knowledge to answer questions and truly help me leap forward in my business
the general lack of positivity in the group – we all like to support each other in hard times, but I think celebrating the wins is important too!
the event I attended was very heavy on sales for more courses and consultancy from the speakers, rather than on added value for the delegates present
Whilst I honestly, truly believe that connecting online and in real life is essential to business growth, right now while my business is small, I think there are loads of free or one-off paid events I can attend that will add loads more value to my business instead of an ongoing membership.
I am 100% confident this will change over the next year. I’m already looking at a few options, many of which will potentially charge more than €20 a month, but that promise a lot more value-add and will be more tailored to what I need at this point in my business.
I attend GirlCrew events which I pay for individually and also go to Entrepreneur Evenings (Dublin), Creative Mornings (run globally) and We Can We Will (Dublin) events that are all free. I’m also investigating events run by my Local Enterprise Office (Ireland) which are affordable or free.
I’d love to know if you are a member of an online or IRL community and if you think it’s valuable and worthwhile. Any tips, get in touch!
Prices correct at April 2019.