2023 was my first FULL year as a solopreneur, and also the year I bought all. the. things. Well, not ALL the things, but my fair share of online softwares, memberships etc. And while you can bet your bottom dollar I’m getting a huge tax break for them, not all of them were worth every penny. In this post I’m breaking down everything that I’m still investing in (after taking a good look at my numbers!) in 2024 and beyond.
These are the tech and marketing softwares I am currently using to run my business.
I’m a Showit web designer, so OBVIOUSLY I use Showit for my own website, and to build templates and client sites! Showit is my favorite website platform by far because the design capabilities are endless and easy to navigate (hello drag and drop interface!), they partner with WordPress for powerful blogging plug in and SEO capabilities, and the customer support team is top notch. The biggest downside to Showit is that it is very easy to make a HUGE mess on the mobile view of your website while designing on desktop, and vice versa. While the ability to completely customize the mobile layout is a huge plus, untangling a page and essentially re-designing it can be a pain. While I hope that the “layout mobile” button functions a little better one day, I never want to lose control over the mobile layout, so this is a drawback I’m more than willing to accept for now!
Google tools are the trusty and faithful fallback for all my file sharing needs, and I’ve found getting my custom domain email address (@vineyardcreativeco.com) through Google to be easy and pain free. The basic plan ($6/month at the time of this writing) gets me five email addresses at my custom domain and covers everything I need.
Notion is my hub for organizing and planning content, long term goal planning, and gathering all my client project information. I’m obsessed with it and recommend it to everyone, especially those who like to organize things visually and make them look nice(I have a Pinterest + Blog content planning template in the shop, and more Notion templates coming soon!). The base plan is free, but I do pay $10/month for plus due to all the data and files I store inside my client portals!
I recently switched from Flodesk to Convertkit, and while I loved how easy and visually beautiful Flodesk was, Convertkit is making all my growing automation and funnel sequences much easier, and it connects directly to Thrivecart where I host my digital products. Which leads me to….
Thrivecart is a one time purchase (yay for lower monthly overhead expenses!), which is a huge reason why I chose it. I started with Flodesk Checkouts and it was perfect at the time, but Thrivecart’s powerful checkout system combined with Thrivecart Learn was absolutely worth the lifetime payment. Thrivecart Learn is super easy to use and customize, and I love how I can easily set up complex automations and sales funnels that connect with Convertkit. I’ve noticed a significant increase in checkout conversions since switching to Thrivecart as well, which has been a huge plus!
I’m obsessed with Markup for easy client feedback on web design projects! Markup allows you to input any URL and share the workspace so others can click and make comments on any element on the page, including the mobile layout. An absolute essential for my feedback and client revisions as a web designer!
Ubersuggest is my favorite tool for all things SEO, and at $29/month, it’s super affordable compared to other tools like SEMrush and Mos. A paid membership allows me to perform unlimited keyword research for clients, save and make them into lists, perform competitor research, and more. Definitely worth it for researching your keywords for your website and ongoing content creation.
Tailwind is the Pinterest scheduling app that I recommend to all my clients (it’s actually required to invest in my monthly management services), and as creating a Pinterest presence myself is one of my top marketing goals this year, I knew I’d be investing in it! Bonus: you can also schedule your social media content here! I use it to schedule out my Instagram content (after having some bade experiences with Meta Business Suite deleting my captions), and it’s been a breeze.
I switched to Dubsado from Honeybook last year, and while I’ve experienced some glitches and bug, it’s been working for me so far. I’ve heard Honeybook has been making some updates since I’ve left, so I’d love to hear your current experience with it in the comments! Dubsado has been much more customizable, while a little more complex to understand and less user friendly.
I’m in Canva almost daily creating pins for clients and graphics for my own business. Canva just keeps leveling up the game when it comes to how easy they make it to create quality graphics, and the Pro version is more than worth it for me.
Adobe Creative Cloud gives me access to Photoshop and Illustrator where I create logos and brand assets for my Mini Brand Kit and Web Design Clients. You won’t find me making a logo in Canva because Illustrator allows me to create something full custom and provide the client with every file type they might need.
I tried to get away with the free version of Zoom, but the 40 minute limit just wasn’t cutting it. This is one of my least favorite business expenses, but a necessary one for the time being!
I use Loom to record presentations, tutorials for clients, and just cut down on meetings in general. I love their new AI feature that names your video automatically based on it’s content (it’s almost always spot on!).
Education and memberships I continue to invest in monthly to level up my skills and help me grow and market my business more effectively.
This membership has helped me so much as a designer. The Kinship provides everything from commercial canvases, to full templates and education for Showit designers. Truly hands down the best investment I’ve made into my web design services. I wrote an entire blog post reviewing the Kinship because I love Jess and Charis and wanted to share it with my fellow designers!
Liz has a kick butt $9 Email Marketing membership with weekly templates that help me keep my email content fresh and engaging. Absolutely worth the cost of a couple coffees (maybe a cheaper than a couple coffees if you buy that Sbucks!).
Kylie Kelly is one of my favorite humans on the internet, and her membership was the thing I didn’t know I needed last year. Using Kylie’s visibility framework and collaborations inside the club, I’ve grown my list to over 1,200 and learned how to monetize that list inside Email Empire. The Spotlight Club is only $19/month and absolutely worth every penny of that!
SOWBO (Society of Women Business Owners) is a wildly supportive network of female entrepreneurs that focuses on community building, networking, and collaboration. I’ve loved every single lady I’ve met there, and the monthly calls fill my cup and are helping me practice my pitch. If you’re like me and struggle to make it to in person events in your area, online networking can be a great way to make connections.
While I love my peeps, being a personal brand and having to feel “on” all the time on socials can be reallllly draining. When I discovered Tara’s business that focuses on how to show up online as an introvert, I knew I had to be part of her world. I’m obsessed with everything Tara creates, and the Introvertpreneur Club is her signature membership where you get access to tons of training around how to show up online in ways that feel good to us introverts.
I took Duo Collective’s SEO Group Coaching Program for Designers and Copywriters last year, and loved it SO much I decided to stick around in their community to keep up to date on current SEO best practices so I can keep serving my clients well when it comes to SEO strategy and what Google is loving.
And that’s a wrap! Those are alllll the things I invest in each month in my business. I’d love to hear what makes YOUR business go round! Leave me a comment and let me know!
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