40+ Tools I Use in My Business (Almost) Every Day

40 tools I use in my business

Since I turn 40 this month, I am writing a series of “40 blog posts.”  In this post, I am sharing 40+ tools I use in my business (almost) every day.

My goal is to help YOU in every way I can, so if you don’t see something listed here that you want to learn about, contact me and I’ll look into helping you find the tools you need to succeed!

Here’s My List of 40+ Tools I Use in My Business (Almost) Every Day…

Writing | Publishing | Graphic DesignMarketing


Microsoft Office (Word, PPT, Excel) – This meets all my basic word processing needs. Openoffice.org has a similar software available for free.

Dropbox – A must-have if collaborating on any projects. This is great to use when working with an editor, cover designer, etc. on your book project AND is one way to back up all your work.  I have the Pro version and LOVE it!

Evernote – One way to keep track of your research for your book.  I have started using Evernote a TON more this year and am loving it.  Keeps my digital brain organzied.

Backblaze – I highly recommend that you also have a system you use to backup your computer.  As an author, your business depends on the files you save to your computer.  I have previously used Backblaze and recommend it.  Currently it’s pretty affordable at only $5/month…which gives you peace of mind that your files are safe.

FreeMind – The FREE mind mapping software I use to outline my books, my programs, my podcast, and much more!


Book Templates and Formatting

Joel Friedlander’s Book Templates – While I use my own templates for most of our publishing needs, we have used Joel Friedlander’s templates for Children’s books. I have also started using his print templates as they provide a much more professional look.  He has some great templates and I highly recommend them.


Graphic Design

Fotolia – Royalty free photos you can download and pay as you go.  This is a great option if you don’t need many photos at first.

Photoshop is one of my favorite graphic editing tools. I use it for book cover design as well as our other graphic editing needs.

Canva is my favorite FREE online graphic editor.  It does so much and is a great resource if you don’t have Photoshop and/or don’t want to learn how to use it.

WordSwag App is the app I use to create my quote graphics that I post on social media every day.  I. LOVE. WordSwag. Unfortunately, it is only available for iPhone/iPad users.

Pixabay is a great place to find FREE images to use for business graphics.  Always make sure to check the rights to the photos, but many of them are available for commercial use without attribution.  This is the site WordSwag uses within their app.

Jing is a FREE tool I use for screen capture images.  I also use it for short tutorial videos (under 5 minutes) that I send to my VA’s or to customers for support issues.



Website Management

Servint – If you need more robust hosting, I recommend and use Servint’s VPS hosting.  This is what I now use and their support is excellent and they will even migrate your site to their hosting for FREE.  This is what I now use for this website.

When I started my first WordPress website, I used Bluehost.  However, their service has really declined in recent years.  I’m now using Servint (see above) but I wanted to have a recommendation for those just starting out.  One of my co-authors, Heather Hart, has switched to InMotion hosting. She said it’s “just a little higher prices than Bluehost. For their base package it’s $7.99 (but they almost always offer it on sale – I’m doing the Power plan and got it on sale for $4.99 – regularly 9.99). I have talked extensively with a representative and did a ton of research. They will transfer all of my sites for me at no charge and they include data backup. It’s an awesome deal and they have great reviews online everywhere I checked.”  She has been happy with their service and so is what I recommend if you’re just getting started on your website.

Studiopress Genesis Themes – Great themes, with SEO in mind, that we use.  In fact, the theme for this site is their Education theme.

AutoSiteSaver – If something would happen to my website, I could lose a big part of my business.  Therefore, I decided to have extra backups created via AutoSiteSaver.  It was a bit confusing at first, but Lynette was so helpful to get everything set up and customized for exactly what we need.  This will also completely back up our members area (via Amember) which other backups did not.  Totally worth it for peace of mind that your business can be restored if needed.

Amazon s3 – A very cheap way to host videos and file downloads.

LastPass – I wouldn’t do business without a password manager like LastPass now. This keeps me sane by managing all my logins, passwords and also allows me to give access to outsourcers without giving them my password. Plus, I can access it on any computer and on my phone.  There is a free account and a paid account.

ValueAddOn – This is the platform I use to host and run my membership, Author Audience Academy.

Filezilla is the FTP software I use…and it’s FREE!

Trello is a great tool for managing team projects.  Love it!

E-mail List Management

GetResponse – This is the e-mail list management service I use for this site. I offers a lot of features and 24/7 support for one of the lowest prices you’ll find.

TrafficWave  – I also use TrafficWave for some of my e-mail lists.  I love that it is $17.95/month no matter how large my list grows.  However, their support is not very responsive and they offer just the basics of what I need for autoresponders and broadcasts.

LeadPages – I LOVE using LeadPages to create e-mail optin pages, squeeze pages, sales page, and more very quickly.  I’ve used LeadPages to create this e-mail optin page and to customize our thank you page as just two examples.  Sign up for their free weekly webinar where you can learn great marketing information you can use even if you don’t sign up for an account.  You can also use their free templates and edit the code yourself.

Wisestamp allows me to have a fun and creative email signature in Gmail.

Rapporative shows me the social media profiles of those who emailed me.  I LOVE this because I can then see their picture and put a face with a name.

Social Media

HootSuite – Love HootSuite for organizing our social media. You can add up to 5 accounts for free and update Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all from one spot.

ManageFlitter – This is a great tool to build a target list of active followers who are interested in your genre or niche.  Watch my tutorial here.

PostPlanner – I love using this tool to get ideas for my posts on social media and schedule my posts.  They allow recurring tweets and posts which when used in the right way can save you a TON of time.

Skype is how I communicate with most of my clients and conduct interviews.

Audio and Video Marketing

Camtasia – This is not cheap, but is something I  use all the time! If you follow my videos on Facebook and YouTube, you know that I create a lot of tutorials where I show my screen. I’ve done that using Camtasia. You can create similar videos with the JingProject.com under 5 minutes for free, or use the pro-version of Screencast-O-Matic, it is lower quality, but more affordable.

Logitech HD Webcam – I use mine to make “talking head” HD videos with the convenience of a webcam. Highly recommended.

Audacity – One of the best audio editing software out there…and it’s free!

Blue Yeti USB Microphone – If you have the money to pay $99-150 for the Blue Yeti, it will be worth the investment as you can use it for your audiobooks, podcasts and much more.

PressPlay – I use Amazon S3 to host my videos and the PressPlay video player within my members area.  They provide statistics on how long people are viewing my videos which is very helpful.

Libsyn is what I use to host my audio files for my podcast.


Google Calendar – I couldn’t live without my Google calendar.  Keeps me on track every day!

Calendly – This is the online scheduling tool I use for interviews, one-on-on coaching clients, and more.  It allows you to send appointment reminders and is a low fee.


SmartURL – This is a free tool I use for re-directing our Amazon links to the correct countries.

Signature Speech Wizard – I own this software and use it to help create my presentations for both live events and webinars.  It also creates your email copy, handouts, and much much more.

What About You?

What are YOUR favorite tools and resources?  Share them in the comments below.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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37 thoughts on “40+ Tools I Use in My Business (Almost) Every Day

  1. Have just begun to use asana for calendar and collaboration…wonderful tool for collaboration…best I have used and up to 15 team members free, upload project files, assign tasks, set deadlines, graph as to progress, make projects private or share with as many or as few members of team as needed. Best of all the team conversation component allows you to avoid trying to sort through, flag otherwise cope separately with emails.
    Next one just setting up is My Hours…tracks time, allows to split time tasks, tracks for billings and a number of clients.

  2. I have been using :Open Office 4.4, “Notes” from my I pad screen of my Apple device , [ notebook ( spiral notebook-college type), with a pen] to write down specific items of who,’ where! local. and type of day! and any antics I can think
    of that would help me to use Paco’s viewpoints to make my stories more exciting and fun to read,etc. and of course I use the open office program that’s on my laptop computer and my HP printer. I have also used my knowledge that I had learned from experience and books as well as the Internet : Google, etc. for info.
    As well as having at least two to three children’s authors to ask questions, bounce my ideas and to have help with writing and editing this ebook thus far, Shelley.
    By Angela

  3. Thanks for this wonderful list. Your generosity knows no bounds! I have had Scrivener and Photoshop Elements for ages but haven’t used them yet! I’ve watched some great tutorials for Scrivener and am ready to get my feet wet now… I also use several sites you’ve mentioned but will look further into some that look like winners. I use Hostgator, and so far, so good! Thanks to all those posting great tips.

  4. Hi everyone – for book layout design I use Serif PagePlus X9. I can edit pdf-files and the software is tightly integrated with both drawing software and photo editing tools. PagePlus can output in ebook and mobi formats. For ebook finetuning I use Jotoh 2. Jutoh is time consuming to learn because there are a myriad of options and settings for all possible ebook-formats.

  5. I don’t recommend Bluehost.com to get a host for your website. I used it for many years but left it recently because its renewal isn’t cheap. You sign up for $3.49/month as a new client but then to renew it for $10.99 / month. They say that it is because of the maintenance costs, which means that they look at the new clients as a preys. Fortunate I had some other hosting accounts in Greengeeks.com, so I shifted my files from bluehost to there. And besides, they talk about unlimited disc space but then you discover that they allowing only 2 gbs of database size and 200,000 files

  6. Greetings Shelly, I briefly reviewed your list of the ( 40 +) tools you use for business; and like, what to date, I’ve seen. FYI: I’m aware of the publishing services offered by Joel Friendlander.
    Like yourself, he a highly skilled professional, with years of experience in the business.
    He’s good people. I’ve communicated ( off and on ) with him for several years, but have not yet made purchased any of products or services, but will when the timing is right.

    To the busines at hand: I received your response to my request for a phone conference, and have made note of the days your available to speak with me directly. I can’t say for certain what happened to your email response to my request with your list of available dates.
    It appears, I might have accidentally deleted it ? I do, however, have what might be considered a photographic memory; and noted that the next available date was May 19th.

    Currently, I’m not using Skype, but plan to, in the not- too distant future.
    What I’m requesting, as time permits, is that you resend it, so we can nail down a date and time for the phone conference.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

    Sherman L. Bailey

  7. WOW, that’s a lot of helpful info there. I can’t wait to put some of this stuff in action. Thanks you so much!

  8. Greetings Shelly, thanks for this very interesting list!
    I use Wiber (PC & Smartphone) for free call worldwide via the internet connection.
    Lightshot – for screen capture.
    Diigo – cloud bookmark service.
    Pomodoro – for making work more organized using the Pomodoro technique.

  9. Since I am legally blind I can’t use Canva, but have found Pic Monkey and Luna Pic both very easy to use and I have created great graphics using both! I am also trying out Buffer which is similar to Hootsweet which I am liking so far.

  10. Hi, there: Love your helpful tips above. I use screencast-o-matic.com for videos up to 15 min. long one their freebie version. I think it’s $15 or $20 for the pro version. Incredibly easy to use and they are very helpful.

    As far as protecting my websites, I use Bad Blocked Querie (BBQ), Hyper Cache, Spam Destroyer, absolutely would not live without Wordfence Security. All great free plugins from WordPress.

    Hosting – I’ve used HostGator and Bluehost and had nothing but severe hacking problems with them and their customer service has de·te·ri·o·rated over the years. I highly recommend ASmallOrange.com. They are beyond helpful, friendly, nice, and customer service is their primary focus. Oh, yeah, did I mention they are only $5/mo.? They also have VPS as well.

    Registering domains names, I use 123CheapDomains.com. Yes, they are a wee bit more expensive than some other companies but I’m willing do it because their customer service is outstanding! Every once in a while I’ve had someone try to highjack my site names and these guys take care of everything…at no cost. I’ve been with them for at least 12 years and they’ve saved me on about 10 different occasions, kept my domain names safe, and at no cost.

  11. Rather than sticky notes I use “Slicky notes” to put my ideas tangibly in front of me. I stumbled onto them because we were brain storming for our five year plan at church. I wanted something slightly bigger than a sticky note. These are 3-4 times the size of a normal sticky note. You write on them with pens or markers, but they are so cool because they are static cling and they stick to anything flat. Glass, white boards, doors or walls. Anything that has a smooth surface. They don’t curl up like sticky notes because they lay flat. They can be moved. You can slide them around. They come in different sizes and colors.
    Here is the link to get them on amazon.


  12. OpenOffice is being phased out. They are abandoning updating it, but will still be usable for awhile.

    It’s close cousin, LibreOffice, is replacing it–also free. The latter is a little more advanced.