7 TOOLS I USE TO RUN MY BUSINESS

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I remember when I was afraid to spend more than $20 to build and grow my business.

For the first couple of years, my only business expense was Squarespace -- my website and hosting.

That was it. No fancy software. Nada.

Then I went from one extreme to another...from being afraid to spend any money to spending way too much.

There was a time (like a couple of months ago lol) where my business expenses were well over $600.

This was madness because most months I wasn't bringing in enough money to justify it. 

Even though I don't believe in spending thousands of dollars to start your business, I do feel you need certain pieces of software to save you money and time.

These days, I try to minimize my business expenses and have figured out a way to use one piece of software for multiple functions.

For example, I use Leadpages to collect emails, host webinars, make sales pages, collect payments, and deliver products. 

I'm all about making life easier, so here are the seven tools I use to run my business.


Seven tools...

1. Squarespace - I've been using Squarespace for years. I started off with a free site on Wordpress, but Squarespace is more of my speed. It's easy to use (I'm not tech savvy), affordable, and their tech support is top notch. They used to make mini tutorials back in the day. I told you I'm not tech savvy. lol 

2. Teachable - I use Teachable to host my course. I love how user-friendly the software is, and how it organizes content in a way that is easy for customers to consume. 

3. Acuity Scheduling & Calendly - I use free accounts (Acuity came free with my Squarespace account) for both of these businesses to schedule business consults and podcast interviews. There's no need to go back and forth with guests or potential clients when all you have to do is link them to your calendar to schedule appointment. The more hands off the better!

4. Leadpages - I use this software to set up opt-in pages (to get folks to join my email list -- like this page), host webinars, make sales pages (like this one), collect payments, and deliver products. 

5. Libsyn - I use this software to host my Brown Vegan and This Biz Life podcast episodes.

6. Convertkit - I started off with Mailchimp, but Convertkit is amazing for building my email list and automation. For example, when someone signs up for a course on Teachable, I set up automation to send them a welcome email. Like I said above, the less hands off I can be the better. Plus, you can't beat giving your customers a better experience.

7. Wavve - You already know how much I believe video is important for building and growing an online business.  I love using this software to share snippets of my podcast episodes on social media to get listeners to click over to Apple podcasts or my website to listen to the full episode. 

Let me know in the comments what tools you use to run your biz.

You can also schedule a biz consult with me here

Vegan School Lunches

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With school starting for so many families, I want to share some tips and recipes to make the vegan shift as fun and long-term for your family as possible.

Check out videos and blog posts and tips below...

Videos:

3 Easy & Affordable Vegan School Lunches

How to Plan A Vegan School Lunch For Kids

Blog posts:

How to Make School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat

Lunch Box Tip# 1: Fresh Fruit, Veggies, And Dips

Lunch Box Tip#2: 3 Reasons Water Bottles Are Better Than Juice Boxes

Try not to overthink vegan school lunches!

What are you already packing for your kids' school lunch? Work on replacing that meat, dairy, and eggs with healthier and more compassionate vegan options.

 

Quick examples:

  • Instead of a turkey sandwich with dairy cheese and mayo ---> Send sandwiches with vegan deli slices (Field Roast brand is good) and vegan cheese slices and mustard OR peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  • Instead of dairy milk ---> Send chocolate almond milk, juice or water

  • Instead of Cheez-It crackers (contains dairy) ---> Send popcorn, pretzels or Ritz crackers (it's vegan)

My Current Podcast Format

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Even though my Brown Vegan podcast has been around since the end of 2013, I've never had a true format for the show until recently.

Why? Lack of consistency.

It's hard to nail down a format when you show up to work whenever the hell you want it. This has been my struggle for the longest.

In one of the recent episodes, I played around with a format that I like a lot but it took forever to do.

Here's what the current format looks like...

  • 20-30 second snippet from the interview portion of the episode

  • Music playing for about 3 seconds

  • Intro about what to expect in the episode (who the guest is and topics we discuss)

  • Sponsored ad (if applicable)

  • Interview with guest (30-50 minutes)

  • 30-second pre-reordered outro with music 

I'm really enjoying this format! It allows me to edit and get out an episode without overthinking the process.

Have you thought about starting a podcast? What questions do you have?

You can also schedule a biz consult with me here

HOW I EDIT MY WEEKLY PODCAST (FOR INTERVIEW EPISODES)

I had Alyssa on my Brown Vegan podcast recently to talk about why we need more vegan podcasts and how to set one up, so I thought it would be awesome to do a post on my podcast editing workflow.

>> You can listen to the chat with Alyssa here <<

If you're new to podcasting, or have been thinking about starting one, it may feel like there are a lot of steps below.

Don't let my process stop you from starting!

My podcast beginnings were super humble.

My first episode was recorded using the voice memo on my iPod (I couldn't even afford an iPhone back then) and I knew nothing about recording, editing, etc. 

You have to start before you're ready! Take the leap and make improvements as you go. 

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Here's my current process for editing podcast episodes...

  • Put the interview mp3 in Audacity (free software) to edit

  • Listen to the interview for the first time to see how it flowed and edit out dead air, interruptions, etc. 

  • Listen again in a few hours (or days) and edit out most "umms," jots down notes for the blog post and my introduction,  and get a 30-second clip for the beginning of the episode and social media. This edit usually takes the longest to do. 

  • If it feels like the episode didn't flow well, I will listen a THIRD time. I try to only listen twice for most episodes. 

  • Once the interview portion of the episode is done, I save it to my desktop and then record my introduction using a Yeti microphone and Audacity. 

  • Next, I edit my introduction (this is usually 3-mins of audio)

  • Then put all the footage together in Audacity & save to the desktop -- the 30-second clip, my introduction, interview, music, and the pre-recorded outro.

  • Quick final edit...to make sure all the files are sync (I don't listen straight through)

  • Once the episode is ready, I upload the final mp3 file to Libsyn (my podcast host)

  • Make the images for social media in Canva.

  • Write the blog post -- to keep it simple, I write an intro paragraph (or not), embed the podcast episode, bullet points for the topics discussed in the episode, how to reach the guest,  and resources mentioned.

  • Make my social audio posts in Wavve to share on social media.

  • Reach out to the podcast interviewee by email and let them know the episode is live with a link to the blog post and picture for social media. 

Wow! I take a lot of steps to edit my podcast. This doesn't include the time it takes to schedule guests, interview them and some other steps I may be forgetting right now. 

Once I start making consistent money from my podcast, I plan to outsource a lot of the editing to free up time for other projects. 

Remember, you can keep it as simple as you want! Don't feel like you have to do any of these steps...I didn't for a long time. lol 

What are your questions about podcasting?

Let me know!

You can also schedule a biz consult with me here