Automation: the way to creating more freedom in your online biz (must-have apps & tools)

There are only so many hours in a day, and chances are if you're a new solopreneur in the online world, you're wearing a lot of different hats in your business, constantly trying to keep up with #allthethings. I know, the struggle is real.

Even though I'm running an online business, I don't necessarily consider myself a very tech-savvy person - but if there's one thing I've learned over the past few years, it's that automation is key. At the end of the day, you want to be spending your time in your zone of genius, working on money-making tasks - and let's be honest, pinning +30 pins to Pinterest is NOT one of them! 

In this post, I've compiled my absolute favourite, must-have apps & tools. All of them have completely transformed my business and are super easy to set up and use (trust me: if I managed to do this, you can, too!). Lot's of them are free (whoop whoop!) or at least have a free plan you can get started on - and some of them have absolutely saved my sanity. ;)

Ready to create more freedom in your business? I thought so! Let's go...

best-business-apps-tools.jpg

ConvertKit was the very first tool I invested in when I started my business, and I absolutely LOVE it. It's an email marketing platform that allows you to capture email addresses and basically host your email list (which, btw, is your most important asset when it comes to building your online empire). Apart from the different automation options and tools you can set up to send your new subscribers to different email sequences, it also lets you create beautiful landing pages. This was one of the main reasons why I got started with ConvertKit. I didn't have a website or a blog in the beginning, but through the landing pages, I was able to start collecting email addresses straight away. It starts at $29/month (in my opinion totally worth it), you can get a free 14-day trial here.

Tailwind is Pinterest’s official "pin scheduling partner". We know that Pinterest’s algorithm favors active users. It is recommended to pin a minimum of 30 pins a day, and preferably not all at the same time! Doing this on a daily basis is quite time-consuming, so I recommend using Tailwind to automate your pinning strategy. Its best feature is that it automatically optimizes your pinning schedule based on when your audience is most engaged. It also allows you to schedule pins in bulk as well as share the same pin to multiple boards, which makes your content creation super quick and easy. Tailwind doesn’t allow you to automatically repin the same pins like BoardBooster, so you do have to manually schedule your pins, but like I said it works in a way that you can literally schedule hundreds of pins within minutes. It's $15/month - trust me, best $15 you'll spend! You can try Tailwind out for yourself, receive your first month for free (including 100 free pins), and get a credit of USD $15 if you decide to sign up for one of their paid plans.

Dubsado is a Client Management System, allowing you to send contracts, invoices, questionnaires and manage all things business in one system. It's not only easy to use, it also makes all your contracts and invoices look professional, and saves you so much time as literally just have to set things up once (and don't worry, they have awesome templates that can help you do that), and then just keep using your saved templates over and over again. It starts at $25/months but you can get 20% off your first month through this link.

Teachable is the platform I use (and love) for hosting my online courses. Their cheapest plan starts at $39/month, but it has so many features and tools (sales pages, membership site, payment gateways, affiliate programs, etc.) allowing you to easily set up a professional online school. The user experience for your students is just as great as for you as the course creator. Highly, highly recommend it if you're thinking about creating an online course or membership site.

DeadlineFunnel. Ever seen those countdown timers one websites, sales pages, offers, etc. giving access to a special deal/price if you sign up before a certain deadline? That's exactly what Deadline Funnel is: an automated timer that allows you to create urgency on your sales pages and therefore, sell more online products. It's $35/month and has honestly paid for itself since day 1. If you're ready to scale things in your business and create more passive income, this is the tool you need! Their step-by-step tutorials make even the most technical steps super easy to set up.

Acuity is my preferred online calendar and appointment scheduling platform. Having my calendar and availability set up online and automating the scheduling of my client calls was an absolute game changer for me. There is a free plan available which is perfect if you're just starting out. If you want to set up automated reminders, I'd recommend upgrading to the basic plan which is $15/month. Acuity is extremely easy to set up, it looks super professional, and you even have the option of taking payments through it. Overall AWESOME (plus it integrates with Zoom (see below), so my calls get set up automatically. Yeasss!).

Adobe Spark Post and Canva are two free graphic design platforms. While I now use Canva to create almost anything from Pins to social media posts, to business proposals, I love using Adobe Spark Post's app to quickly create those beautiful Instagram Story designs. Both platforms have tons of templates to choose from and are so easy to use, making content creation and designing so much fun!

CutStory is a new little app I recently discovered (thanks to @twolovesstudio) that's completely changed my Instagram Story game! Instead of taking individual 15-second Stories, I simply take a video, upload it to CutStory, which then breaks my video down into 15-second pieces. I can then easily upload those individual pieces to my Instagram Story. It's a free app, and you can pay $1.99 to remove their logo in your videos.

The Instagram Story Chrome Extension has recently saved my sanity! For some reason, I'm not always able to save my Instagram Lives, which is a problem as I always try to repurpose my live content. The IG Story Chrome Extension lets you download your IG Stories and Videos (for free). The only tricky part is that you have to download the video and audio files separately, meaning you'll have to use a tool like iMovie to combine the two files. But these extra steps are totally worth it if you want to use your IG Lives after they expire on the app. 

Grammarly. Never worry about typos and wrong grammar again! Grammarly is an amazing online editor and proofreader tool that automatically checks your writing for any grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes. You can use the app itself to check any of your texts and articles for errors, or you can install the Grammarly extension to your browser and it’ll automatically run in the background and will notify you of any mistakes you’re making. They offer a free plan (which is great!) as well as a premium plan with even more features.

Zoom is the platform I use when hosting calls, online meetings, or webinars. Unlike other platforms, I've never had any technical issues with Zoom, and I love the different options they offer, allowing you to create the perfect plan for you and your specific need. Their free plan is great and allows you to host meetings for up to 45 minutes.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 is the webcam I use and highly recommend. If you're planning on doing more videos, live trainings, webinars, or even video call, you want to invest in a webcam that's going to make you look awesome (no like those built-in laptop cameras - yikes!). It's around $60, quite honestly the best $60 I've ever spent!

ifttt.com is a fantastic tool for helping you automize your social media marketing strategy and it’s completely free! It basically lets you set up automatic posting from one of your social media accounts to another. For example, I’ve got it set up so that when I post on Instagram it will automatically post my image to my Twitter account and Facebook page along with my caption. There are literally hundreds of different “recipes” you can set up, so definitely check it out for yourself!

Recurpost is a free social media scheduling tool for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They offer a free plan which lets you connect up to 3 social profiles and schedule up to 100 monthly posts. The best thing about it, however, is that it automatically reuses your old content so you never have to worry about running out of posts without realizing it, or having to constantly update your schedule! You can create different “content libraries” and decide how to schedule the content of each category to your various social media platforms. Being able to choose whether to publish content on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis gives you full control over how much content you post on each network. You can choose specific times to publish your content or use Recurpost's auto-scheduler which automatically chooses the best time to post every day. It even provides an analytics tool so you can see what’s working and what isn’t.

Plann: Instagram is all about creating a consistent and beautiful feed, and with Plann it’s never been easier to achieve this. Similar to other social media scheduling apps it allows you to schedule future images and captions, but what’s so great about Plann is that it’s a visual planner: it allows you to upload the images you’re planning on posting and simply drag and drop them to preview what your feed will look like! Similar to most other apps, it will send you a push notification when it’s time to post, and you simply copy and paste your caption to publish it along with the post. Their free plan is great if you just want to check it out and give it a try.

Squarespace is the platform I used to build and host my website, and I can't recommend it enough! Their templates are beautiful, customer support is amazing, and it's super user-friendly. Megan Minns offers a fantastic FREE course on how to use Squarespace, I definitely recommend checking it out if you're thinking of creating your own website. Squarespace's plans start at $12/month.

For nutrition professionals specifically: Healthie is a practice management and telehealth platform designed to specifically help nutrition professionals run and grow their businesses. I connected with Healthie earlier this year, and even though I'm not an RD myself, I know that a lot of my clients and students are using and loving this platform, which is why I decided to include it in this list. Not only does it give you all the functionalities you need to automate and run your business in one place, it also allows you to stay connected and communicate with your clients in between appointments, allowing you to build stronger relationships with them, increase client accountability, and save time and money on back-end business management. To learn more about Healthie and to get $70 off your subscription click here.


What are some of the apps or tools YOU simply can't live without? Let me know in the comments below!