Knowing what tools to use to reduce the friction and increase the flow in your coaching business is essential. Here are the tools I trust and recommend.
Note that some of the links below are affiliate links.
Email Service Provider
AWeber – This is my primary email service provider. I chose to go with AWeber after having started building my list on MailChimp. I chose AWeber for 2 key reasons: 1) It gives me the choice to have a single opt-in (i.e. no email confirmation required). I prefer this. 2) It enables me to create separate lists with separate lead magnets with separate follow up sequences, but still gives me the option to send an email broadcast to all my lists at once.
MailChimp – This is a great FREE option when you are first starting out. But once you begin to have more than one lead magnet, it becomes more complicated to manage.
WP Engine – I LOVE WP Engine. It is not the least expensive hosting option available, but I believe it is the best and most user friendly by far. What I especially love it that I can easily create a staging site – with the click of a button. I use this all the time when I am upgrading plugins, or wanting to test something out and don’t want to jeopardize my live site. Once completed, copying the staging site to the live site is also done with just the simple click of a button. Plus its super easy to create backups and/or to restore your site from a backup if necessary. One thing to note about WP Engine is that it does not have an email option included. So if you want to use a domain-specific email – like firstname.lastname@example.org – you’ll need to sign up for a different email service, like Google Apps or Go Daddy or something like that.
WordPress – I use WordPress as the platform for all my websites. I find it to be the most user friendly as well as the most flexible of the platforms out there.
WordPress Themes – Once you install WordPress on your site, the next step is to select and install a theme. The theme gives the site it’s particular look and feel. The theme provides the starting template for the look and feel of the site, although all themes can be customized. There are many free themes as well as themes that you pay for – typically in the range from $47 to $247. It is important to note that not all WordPress Themes are built alike. Many, more modern sites, have the ability to select various elements to add to your web pages – like an image, or a video, or a headline, or a feature box, or stylized testimonials – all of which makes designing and maintaining your website much more accessible to the non-technical person. The WordPress themes that I use are Avada and ProStyler.
I use a number of WordPress plugins that I love and that are critical to creating the kinds of web pages and website elements that I need to run my coaching business.
Optimizepress – Optimizepress (OP2) is unique in that it can be used as either the entire theme for your website, or used as a plugin. If you are using OP2 as a plugin, it is important to test to make sure it is compatible with your WordPress theme. OP2 is compatible with Avada. I’m still testing it with ProStyler. OP2 comes with pre-built templates for optin pages, sales pages, webinar pages, video landing pages, membership pages – the whole gambit of what you need to add people to your list and enroll people online. If you can’t find a template you like, you can build your page for scratch, or go to the OP2 Marketplace and purchase a template – usually for around $10. OP2 is essential to my business. The membership portal you are currently in was built using OP2. At the time of this writing, OP2 costs $99 and you can use it on 3 sites.
Wishlist Member – I pair up the OP2 member pages with Wishlist Member. Wishlist Member enables me to create different membership packages and select which pages throughout my site below in each package. I use this instead of the OP Member functionality because of the flexibility it offers. Wishlist Member offers a single site license for $197 and a multi-site license for $297.
Visual Form Builder – is the plugin I user to build online forms to collect application information for those interested in coaching. I love it because I can configure it to email me and the prospect a copy of their responses. This is a great online tool to use for a pre-strategy session questionnaire.
Scarcity Builder – It’s a fact that adding scarcity to your offers increases conversion rates. I love the Scarcity builder countdown plugin. It’s easy to create timers. but the feature that I love the most is the ability to set the countdown timer based on a ‘cookie’. What that means is that each person’s countdown is unique to them. The countdown clock starts when they land on the webpage page with the counter. This is great for evergreen offers or evergreen flash sales.
Pretty Links – Gives you the ability to create clean, simple URLs on your website that redirect to any other URL. For example, if I want to direct people to my affiliate link for DropBox, I create an easy to remember and branded URL that looks like this – CoachesOnFireCommunity.com/DropBox
WooCommerce – WooCommerce is a plugin that enables you to set up an online store. This is great if you want to sell products online. This could be anything from your courses, to ebooks, to recommended books through Amazon. The plugin is free.
YoastSEO – YoastSEO the the absolute best plugin for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes. It enables you to easily check blog posts and pages to make sure they are SEO optimized (with the right image size, blog post length, outgoing and incoming links, etc.) so that people can actually find you and your content. It also makes it easy to set the correct title, content and image on your posts so that when it gets shared on Facebook, it shows up in the optimal format.
LeadPages – If you don’t have Optimizepress, or even if you do and you want to put up a landing page quickly and easily for lead capture, webinar registration, or A/B testing, Leadpages is a great option. Leadpages can even do the job of a website for quite a while as it allows you to capture leads, send them to a thank you page, deliver replays, create long page sales letters, etc. I like that Leadpages offers a two step optin button (i.e. click on the Download button, and then the name and email box appear) which consistently yield higher conversion rates. Payment plans start at $25/month.
SamCart – I love SamCart. It’s easy to use, easy to set up, they give you a Stripe Merchant account when you sign up. Once in the cart, there are various check out page templates, you can set up single or multi-pay options, you can set up trial periods for your products/programs, it integrates with your Email Service Provider to add a buyer to a designated list, it also integrates with several membership programs so a buyer can be added to a certain member level when they sign up. It’s great. However, it is a paid option and comes in at $99/month. I believe they also have an annual option that brings the price to $79/month. They do have a 14 day free trial, so if you are considering this, I encourage you to try before you buy.
PayPal – Paypal is the option I used when I first started coaching. Given that it is a FREE service (with the exception of the credit card fees) it makes taking payments online very accessible. Paypal enables you to set up a button or link to the checkout page. A buyer can submit payment regardless of if they have a paypal account. PayPal also now offers the option of multiple installment payments, which is great for those monthly coaching fees.
Square – Square is another great option, especially when you are starting out, because it is so accessible. Also a FREE service, with the exception of the credit card service fees, you can get this up and running within minutes on your phone or tablet. You can also order a FREE card swiper that plugs into the headphone jack of your phone or tablet, so you can swipe a card if you are with a client in person. The service fee for a swiped card is slightly let than the fee when you punch in the card number
Dropbox – I use Dropbox to store all my files. I don’t store anything directly on my laptop anymore – that’s a switch I made after I lost three years of curriculum I developed that was only on my laptop I have my Dropbox synced to my laptop though so I can access all my files without going online. I love that I can access my Dropbox files from anywhere, including from my phone. I also love how easy it is to share folders and files with team members. Dropbox has a free version and several paid plans, based on how much storage you need.
Google Drive – I love Google Drive, especially for working collaboratively. All files update automatically and multiple people can be editing at the same time. I use this now for all my client notes and files. I can work collaboratively with a client on the script for their signature speech or the outline for their signature program and do it all in real time. I also now set up a Google Drive spreadsheet to track dates and times of client appointments and share it with my clients so that we always know how many sessions we’ve had and how many remain. I’ve also used the Google Drive Slides to work with clients on laying out their campaign funnels. Google Slides is a great tool for sketching out your funnel before implementing the various components.
Trello – Trello is an online project management tool which I love. You can set up multiple projects and manage multiple tasks within each. Managing the tasks is simply a matter of creating a ‘card’ for each task under a project. For each task you can assign a due date, create checklists, assign to a team member, add attachments, etc. Then you can easily move the task card up or down the ‘board’ based on priority. I’ve also set up columns on the board to indicate To Do, In Process and Done. Depending on the stage of a task, I or my team member can easily move the card to the proper column. It is super easy to collaborate with a VA or your web designer, or anyone else on your team. Trello has a free and also a “Pro” paid version. I haven’t found the need to go to the paid version yet.
Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to outsource small jobs. I’ve used them for video transcriptions, and some technical services. For the most part I’ve had a positive experience. Some clients have used them for logos design, I would say with mixed reviews. In any case, all jobs on Fiverr are, theoretically, $5. Which is for the most part true, but sometimes there are add on services that may add an additional $5 or $10 to the job. In any case, it is all very reasonable and worth giving them a try if you have a small job you want to outsource like a PowerPoint presentation, info graphic, video animation, Facebook header, etc.
Elance – Elance is also a very reasonable site where you can hire individuals for small or large jobs. On this site, each freelancer sets their own hourly rate – but I would recommend you approach everything as negotiable. You can hire someone to build a website, be a VA, do customer support, do a design project, manage social media, etc.
Screenflow – Screenflow is the software I use to create all my course videos that are Powerpoint-based, video sales letters, or create training videos of something I’m demonstrating on my laptop – like how to create a Facebook Ad. For my course videos and Video sales letters, I create the slides in either Powerpoint or Keynote, then I use ScreenFlow to record the video as well as my voice. There is a bit of a learning curve for editing the recording, but I like that the video and audio are on separate streams, so I can edit one or the other or both. For example, if I messed up what I said on a slide, I can just add a new audio recording. If I have a typo in a slide, I can keep the audio, and just add a new shot of the slide. Screenflow also allows me to add a music track if I want, which I like to do with video sales letters, and I can add text or additional images to the video if I want. This is a must have if you want to create video-based courses and/or video sales letters. Note: Screenflow only works with Macs. If you have a PC, you’ll want to purchase Camtasia. You can purchase Screenflow for $99
Yeti Microphone – I use the Yeti USB Microphone to record all the audio for my video-based courses, my video sales letters, my teleconferences and my podcast. I believe that, for the money ($130 on Amazon), this has the best quality and the most options of Microphones available. With this microphone you can always upgrade and add a boom or a pop-screen to take it to the next level.