As parents, we are all about keeping it simple at home. Simple meals. Simple routine. Simple calendar. Simple. Simple. Simple.
As entrepreneurs, we are all about keeping our operations… you guessed it: SIMPLE.
And as parent entrepreneurs, we all want more time at home with our family: not more time managing a complicated web of service providers, software, products, strategies + systems.
Contrary to what the ads on your news feed will tell you, you do not need 20 different business subscriptions to run a successful online program. Keeping your business operations simple will help you whether you are just starting out, thinking about scaling or are a veteran business owner.
To make choosing online-based business tools even easier for everyone, we put together a list of the 5 tools you need to start (+ run) your online course, community +/or coaching program optimally.
No. 1 — A Virtual Content Home
No matter what marketing strategy is in place, the goal of any online-based business is to drive traffic to valuable content that ultimately pitches + secures a product/service sale. Having a place to drive this traffic – aka a virtual content home – is then critical for online-based businesses.
A virtual content home can come in a variety of forms – website, podcast, social media – + is decided by where the customers are for the service or products.
Our virtual home is our website. All of our marketing efforts are in place to drive traffic to our website where visitors can learn more about us, browse all our content + see the services we offer.
The tool we recommend for a seamless website is ShowIt. Specifically designed to be a click + drag experience, ShowIt removes the complicated coding process or steep learning curve from other website providers. The best part is that you own all the content you produce on the site because it’s backed by WordPress. No matter what.
This is different from other platforms like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, (+ a bunch of others) because they retain ownership of the content you create on their platforms. Our advice: keep your intellectual property on your own turf.
No. 2 — Community Hosting Platform
Converting potential clients into paying clients is the relatively easy part. Keeping those clients by delivering on the promises + bonuses… now that can be the more challenging part of online-based business operations.
Providing office hours, courses, live community chats, exclusive content + in some cases in-person complementary events have now become the standard in the online coaching space. All of these high-impact elements can create a valuable experience that incentivizes clients to stay for the long haul + make repeating purchases. They’re worthwhile, albeit a *bit* of a headache to implement even for the most tech-savvy coaches.
Just a few years ago, offering an easy + immersive client experience used to be a major challenge because there was not a strong all-in-one solution. Coaches were forced to host each individual element of their programs across multiple platforms, which offered a more complicated set of operations on the back-end + a more confusing client experience on the front-end.
Ultimately, using so many platforms creates an unnecessary “time suck” for everyone. And, as parent entrepreneurs, we especially cannot have time sucks! Every focused minute counts.
The good news is there are now an increasing number of options that can deliver the entire set of your coaching program components in one all-inclusive place. Our favorite community hosting platform is Mighty Networks because the opportunities here are endless. The platform brings your core content all together into one beautifully designed hub.
Most importantly, Mighty Networks creates ease of use for our clients, employees + for us. One platform to learn, one platform to manage + when we need to integrate a tool (such as email marketing) that we prefer, the integration is seamless.
The bottom line: spending less time managing multiple platforms leads to more time doing the work you want to do + gives your client a more streamlined experience, which can make repeat sales significantly easier.
No. 3 — An Email Marketing Tool
Building an email list is the best strategy to reach your audience. Email gives you the ability to cut through the noise to get directly to your audience in a way that’s personalized without you doing the manual personalization.
With email, you control the content algorithm-free + based on the software features, you have the ability to segment your audience members based on their behaviors (like moving hot leads or loyal customers into different funnels to generate more conversions).
[Related: 4 Reasons Why You Need an Email List as a Parent Entrepreneur]
Investing in an email marketing tool is worth every penny. The right back-end email software can save you hours (maybe actually weeks!) of time by automating email distributions, segmenting clients based on their interests + keeping track of what type of content is converting best.
ConvertKit is our choice for an email marketing tool. We house our evergreen email newsletter + lead generation funnels that run on autopilot here + we feel that this is the most robust, simplified platform for parent entrepreneurs with online-based businesses. We have our entire back-end set of emails templated, so that we can simply leverage ConverKit’s personalization tool to make each email feel more 1:1 direct than it actually is.
With ConvertKit, we know we’re ensuring that our clients are getting the value they signed up for from us + that maintains our confidence in spending our time away from the email inbox (+ spending more time with family). No business guilt here!
No. 4 — Foolproof Design Software
Ever wonder how people create those beautiful pins for Pinterest or perfectly formatted templates for emails, PDFs + web pages? All the graphics look so great people must have spent years learning design!
Don’t get ahead of yourself + buy a design course because the answer is way simpler than that. Most, if not all, of the amazing designs you see are made by everyday entrepreneurs with absolutely no design experience thanks to Canva: an online design + publishing tool.
Canva brings you from novice to expert overnight. With done-for-you templates + a simple user-friendly editor, Canva makes your graphics professional-looking with minimal effort required of you.
Similar to the food industry where people eat with their eyes first, your potential clients are going to click with their eyes first. Having design software that can make your content stand out from the pack is a big advantage.
We use the Canva Pro subscription to edit all of our PDFs, templates, logos, social media graphics, etc. We love the built-in folders available so that you can save all of the image-related content inside of the software + not need to crowd up your personal computer storage (which can fill up fast + expensively with high-resolution graphics!). There’s also one-click resizing available, which makes repurposing an image to different platform sizing super easy. For example, with one-click you can resize a square Instagram post into a vertical larger Pinterest graphic. This feature is one of our absolute favorites!
No. 5 — Simple Video Editor
Last but not least: video! Video is often an intimidating part of running an online-based business – especially in the coaching + course industry – because it’s almost inevitable that you will need to get on-camera at some point in your client experience. Even though that can be a tough hurdle to overcome, the deceivingly more challenging part is in post-production editing.
In the beginning days of OrganicFamilyCEO, Kevin spent a large amount of time editing video, stripping audio + posting to all our content areas. The process was not sustainable or aligned with our goal as parent entrepreneurs + the market didn’t offer a user-friendly solution at that time. We set out to answer the question of “how can we make editing video easier?”
Years later, we found the answer was investing in a web-based editing tool. Our choice is Loom. We are now able to record a video once + easily edit to various content types within minutes. Literally minutes! All of our videos are saved in the cloud: removing our need to figure out more expensive + clunky digital storage. Lastly, Loom offers features such as voiceovers while you share your computer screen, removing “ums” from your audio + integrating/embedding with ease into other content distribution software such as Mighty Networks + YouTube.
A simple video editor will once again save you time, deliver professional-style videos + keep you in the CEO office instead of the back editing room (unless you love that back room, no judgment!).
Using technology to help automate your business saves you time, resources + money. As parent entrepreneurs, we’re loud advocates for buying more time either through systems or outsourcing. These 5 tools will give any parent entrepreneur the digital cornerstones they need to be successful in the online course, coaching + community space while reclaiming the most precious commodity of all: TIME.
So, now we’d love to know: What digital tools do you use currently?
Grab our full Online-Based Business Toolkit to view all of the tools we use – beyond these 5 – + how you can best use them in your own business.
[…] Hosting your own virtual community is inexpensive + significantly more productive because you’re not constantly filtering through content or impersonal messaging. Note: We love Mighty Networks for this. You can read more about our 5 favorite tools for starting or running your online-based business here. […]