When I started coaching - I wanted to make sure I had EVERYTHING I could possibly need to grow my business. And to be honest, early on I spent money on fancier tools than I needed and even on things I didn't need at all because that's what "everyone" who was "anyone" seemed to be investing in. The truth is - early on, I didn't have a business. I had an expensive hobby. I had all of these tools, invested in all of these trainings, and didn't have a client to show for it.
But after a few months, I started really thinking about what I needed to grow my business, and only investing in tools that I would use regularly. I only added tools when I saw a gap in how I was running my business and needed a solution. So all that being said - I'm going to share with you the tools that I used for my business frequently and why. You may realize for your own business - you don't need some of those tools and that's perfectly okay! Just
1. A Professional Email Account.
I personally love gmail and you could do this one of two ways. You could either create a regular gmail account that's something like email@example.com or you could create an email address that's like your domain. firstname.lastname@example.org. I started off with the email@example.com route from the beginning. For me personally if made me feel like this was a serious, polished business. Honestly that was my belief system when I started my business and it doesn't have to be yours.
If you do want to go the route of firstname.lastname@example.org. The way I did it was through G-Suite. That's Google's business solution. You still have gmail, google drive, etc. just as you would if you went the @gmail.com route. You just have more storage, more support, more security, and your own email address domain name. Now if you want to sign up for G-Suite - you can get 20% off your first year by using my special link for G-Suite and using this promo code 6A4E4QETY73YJU4. Full disclosure - I'm an affiliate of G-Suite so if you use my link and code, I'll receive a small kickback. If this is something you're interested in doing for yourself - read my blog post on affiliate marketing. You'll learn not only how to sign up as an affiliate for programs, but my two cents on choosing companies you trust and believe would add value to your ideal clients lives!
2. A Payment System.
If you want to sign clients, you need a way for them to pay you. :) When I first started I used a system I no longer invest in. It was crazy expensive for a newbie coach even though I used it for more than just payments. That being said. Today I use Stripe. The first thing you should know about Stripe is that it is essentially a behind the scenes way to process credit card transactions. Your ideal client would still need a place to go to type in their credit card, etc. I use Leadpages for this. I'll tell you why and how I use Leadpages in a little bit but below is an example of a checkout page I've created using Leadpages
3. Legal Documents And A Way To Send Them.
Once I receive payment from a new client, I send them a contract. The great thing to know is that there are lawyers like Lisa Fraley who offers DIY Legal Templates for coaches and entrepreneurs. You'll be able to edit documents she provides (with the help of her videos) to create legal documents for your own business. Once you have your legal documents, you can send them to your new clients and have them sign online. I prefer DocuSign. Why? Because it was the most user friendly for me personally. I tried EchoSign and I know lots of people who love it. I just couldn't figure it out. :| If you use this link for Docusign you'll receive 30 days free and 10% off your plan. #affiliate
4. A Way To Make Graphics.
I use Canva. It is a super easy way to make Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media graphics. I'm in Canva all the time. I pick a template that I love for each platform and then I keep it consistent. What I love about Canva is that anyone can use it. It has easy drag and drop templates and you can also create your own. For a previous job I was in InDesign all of the time and I love InDesign. But as a new entrepreneur - I didn't find it necessary to invest in such a tool when Canva was free and did more than enough for what I needed to promote my biz online.
5. A Way To Collect Leads & Nurture Them.
My first clients came from word of mouth (WOM) and my own personal network. Which was amazing. It allowed me to sign clients quickly in my business and to get great experience coaching others. And I wanted to have an online business where I was generating leads online. To do that, I provided free content in exchange for the email address of my new lead. If you're new to this - it's called offering a lead magnet (aka a freebie) in exchange for someone's contact information. Now the lead magnet itself could be a worksheet, a workbook, a 5 day challenge, a webinar, an audio file, etc. But some sort of system is needed so that you can create a page or a popup box for you to drive people to. Here's an example:
I use Leadpages to create the pages I use to drive people to (and to create the checkout pages). Then I have Leadpages collect the email addresses of people that sign up and send those names to my email automation system. For that I use Drip now (previously I was with Infusionsoft). Now you may be asking - why do I have Gmail and Drip. Well Gmail I use to send emails to my clients. Drip I use to send out newsletters and to create a sequence of emails that my potential clients receive as I build a relationship with them. You are in an email sequence that I've created using Drip. Now Drip was acquired by Leadpages so the integration is pretty easy. But you could connect so many other email automation platforms to Leadpages as well. Full disclosure - since I loved Leadpages and Drip so much - I signed up to be an affiliate. Personally, I only sign up to be affiliates of platforms that I already use and love.
Those are the main systems I use. An additional favorite is Calendly. It's what I use to schedule free coaching calls with potential clients after they fill out an application (I use Google Doc for that).