THE ULTIMATE BIZ LIST
Hey, Crazy Biz Owner! Welcome to my curated list of all the tools and resources I recommend to build your online business and take it to the next level. I’ve personally tested EVERY recommendation on this page, and use them to run my blog or eCommerce businesses.
An important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you decide to make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This commission has no impact on the pricing, and comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend these companies because I’ve personally found them to be helpful and beneficial to my businesses, not because of their commissions. Many of the creators of these tools have given me special discounts that I get to extend to you as a Crazy Cute Co. reader! 😉
BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE
➤ #1 WEB HOSTING FOR WORDPRESS.ORG
Having a blog is an integral part of any online business. Bluehost offers quick, easy setup and top-notch customer service. Every account features 1-click WordPress installation. A single account can be used to set up multiple domains, perfect for additional niche websites.
$3.95 per month – Special price for CCC readers!
Divi WordPress Theme
➤ WORLD’S MOST POPULAR WORDPRESS THEME + VISUAL BUILDER
Confession: I was a die-hard Squarespace fan before launching this blog. Then, the Divi theme came along and made me fall in love with WordPress! It’s super beginner-friendly. The visual drag-and-drop editor lets me design custom page layouts with ease without having to dive into messy CSS. See for yourself why it’s the #1 theme used for WordPress!
Try risk-free for 30 days!
➤ ECOMMERCE SITE BUILDER + HOSTING + PAYMENT PLATFORM
Shopify not only takes care of hosting, but you can also select from hundreds of website templates to assist you in getting a beautiful website up and running quickly. Being one of the world’s leading eCommerce platforms, there are API integrations to all the major payment processing apps and shipping estimators to offer your customers a seamless shopping experience.
FREE 14-Day trial!
➤ PRINT + FULFILLMENT + DROPSHIPPING
Printful is an awesome company I’ve used to resell printables as cards, posters and canvas art. They print, fulfill, and dropship items to your customers, so you never have to worry about stocking inventory. They offer a large selection of paper, home goods and apparel products including t-shirts, mugs, makeup bags, and more on which you can add your own designs. Better yet, they offer direct integration with Shopify so you can get your store up and running quickly and easily!
MARKETING + SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
➤ EMAIL LIST MANAGEMENT
ConvertKit is THE tool I use to manage my email list. It was made for bloggers, but works just as well for my eCommerce site. The best feature is the ability to create an unlimited number of email opt-ins along with automated email sequences that are customized based on each signup form. There’s also the ability to segment my subscriber list based on tags, so that communications could be directed to groups based on their individual needs.
FREE 14-Day trial!
➤ WEBSITE POPUP TO GROW SOCIAL FOLLOWERS + EMAIL LIST
MiloTree is a website popup that converts your existing traffic to new social followers and email subscribers. Studies have shown that website popups will significantly increase opt-in rates. Boost your following for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and email. I like this popup because it shows a snapshot of my social feeds, but without being super-intrusive.
FREE 30-Day trial!
➤ PINTEREST + INSTAGRAM SCHEDULER
Tailwind has become one of my most valuable apps since becoming a blogger! I use it to automatically schedule posts to my Pinterest account at the optimal times. The best part is the access to Tailwind Tribes — connecting with blogging communities within your niche so that you can share content and grow faster together!
FREE Trial for 100 posts + 5 Tribes!
Social Warfare Plugin
➤ SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING BUTTONS for WORDPRESS
Social Warfare Plugin makes it easy for visitors to share your content using customizable social share buttons on your website or blog. I use the Pro version of this plugin on my blog, and one of my favorite elements is the click-to-tweet feature!
➤ INSTAGRAM PLANNING + SCHEDULING
Planoly is a legit app (approved by Instagram) that helps you plan your IG feed. I love being able to upload images in advance, and visualize my grid before posting. The scheduling feature auto-posts to my feed or stories, and my fave hashtags are stored in the app!
FINANCE + BOOKKEEPING TOOLS
➤ CLOUD-BASED BOOKKEEPING
I recommend Freshbooks for service-based businesses and those with some simple product offerings as well. This is the tool I used in my six-figure design business and went virtually paperless with my bookkeeping! Sending professional branded invoices to my clients by email helped me get paid faster. Time-tracking features came in handy when recording expenses for my design team. I also loved that operating expenses could be downloaded directly from online banking or credit card accounts, saving me hours of manual entry!
Try it FREE for 30 Days!
➤ CLOUD-BASED ACCOUNTING SOLUTION
I recommend Quickbooks for more complex service or product-based businesses. This is the tool I currently use in my eCommerce food startup. The Online version is simpler and more intuitive than its desktop counterpart, and stores all your info on the cloud rather than just your desktop. Operating expenses can be linked from online banking or credit card accounts, saving me hours of manual entry — Better yet, QBO learns from your actions, and will automatically categorize similar expenses and transactions in the future. I can even share my books directly with my accountant during tax time!
CCC Readers save 50% for 6 months!
➤ PROFESSIONAL PHONE NUMBER + EXTENTION FORWARDING
Grasshopper is a professional phone system that allows you to run your business from your cell phone! With its built-in extension system, you can streamline phone calls like you’re a big company, and easily integrate off-site staff, or VAs to seamlessly connect with your customers with their own phones from anywhere in the world. You can even get a vanity or toll-free number to give your business a next-level professional image.
➤ STYLED STOCK IMAGES
I like to think of Haute Stock as my “secret” for getting BEAUTIFUL stock images with a feminine appeal. After spending hours searching for stock images for my blog + IG feed, I was happy to come across this library full of sophisticated lifestyle, mockups, and social-media friendly photos that are totally on brand. Membership allows for unlimited downloads, and they release new goodies every month!
➤ A TALENTED COMMUNITY OF GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
Whether you need a logo, branding, website, packaging, product or apparel designed, 99design’s community of over 1.6M graphic designers can do it all! Set up a design contest for your project and you’ll receive tons of top-notch entries to choose from. I’ve used them for tons of specialized design projects from wedding invitation design to logo design!
➤ FREE STOCK IMAGES
Unsplash is one of the best sources of FREE stock photos, contributed by some of the world’s most talented photographers. I use alot of these images for my blog posts, social media, and Pinterest graphics.
➤ EASY DIY GRAPHIC DESIGN
Create your own logo, social media graphics, lead magnets, and website graphics for FREE with Canva. It’s definitely not as customizable as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but it’s DEFINITELY alot easier to use!
The Crazy Simple Business Plan Template
➤ FREE FILLABLE PDF TEMPLATE
My Crazy Simple Business Plan Template will help you write a No-Fluff Business Plan in 8 Easy Steps. You’ll develop goals, and execute with clarity, as you focus on the right things to start + grow your business!
Slay Your Goals Planner
➤ FILLABLE PDF PLANNER
Written by a professional goal-slayer, Slay Your Goals Planner is an easy-to-follow 60+ page printable PDF that creates a step-by-step action plan for you to set goals, and actually achieve them! Whether you’re setting business or personal goals, the questions in the planner dig deep to help you figure out the WHY and HOW to motivate and inspire you to take action.
Live On Air - Free Streaming Courses
➤ FREE ONLINE COURSES via CreativeLive
Many of the skills required to run a successful business or side-hustle AREN’T taught in school. That’s why I love CreativeLive’s FREE On Air courses geared towards creative professionals. You can learn ANYTHING! From refining your Photoshop skills, to public speaking, to writing sales copy, to health and wellness, there’s a course for you!
Build and Launch Your Blog
➤ BEGINNER BLOGGING COURSE by CREATE AND GO
Build and Launch Your Blog is the 3rd blogging course I’ve taken, and the ONLY one I recommend! It helped me build this blog from scratch and launch confidently in under 1 month. Alex & Lauren are full-time bloggers who make over $100k PER MONTH from blogging! Despite being super successful, I was attracted to their down-to-earth personalities and no-BS teaching style. This course will give you the right strategy to launch your blog, and set the foundation for growth and monetization.
How to Build a Six-Figure Writing Career
➤ MAKE MONEY AS A FREELANCE WRITER
Sign up for this FREE workshop by Holly Johnson, a professional blogger and columnist who makes over $200k per year through freelance writing. Whether you’re an aspiring blogger, or a busy mom who wants a flexible way to earn some side money, freelance writing is a great way to supplement your income while you grow your online business.
Sign up for Holly’s FREE webinar!
How to Make a Living Selling What You Make
➤ BUSINESS COURSE FOR CREATIVES via CreativeLive
How to Make a Living Selling What You Make is an intensive business bootcamp created by a maker FOR makers! Megan Auman is a successful jewelry maker who shows you how to start a profitable handmade business, from product conception all through marketing and long-term business planning.