Can I let you in on a secret?
I’m a serious bargain hunter…
… like never pay full price when eventually a sale will come around kind of bargain hunter
Man, I love the rush of getting a good deal!
But the biggest thing I’ve learned in last year is that being a bargain hunter in my business just doesn’t work… AT ALL.
It means that I miss out on opportunities to learn what I need because I’m hoping for a sale some day… that may never come!
It means that I waste time trying to figure things out on my own, only to get second rate results that hurt my business overall.
And all of that means I miss out on potential clients (aka making money and helping people by doing what I love).
See how we get ourselves in a never ending cycle here? Not investing in our business = not growing our business.
So I bit the bullet last year and made some investments in my business, which in turn saved me tons of time, money, and frustration!
But I realize that my fav tools may not work for you. They may not be the right fit for your business right now… or ever. We probably do different things, serve different people, etc. Everyone’s needs are unique.
So before I tell you “Oh my goodness, go buy this right now! It will make your life 1000x easier!” I thought I should explain a little bit about what each tool does and why it might work for you, too!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Website Hosting: Siteground
I’ve already written all about my Siteground love here, but just know this is the only hosting plan I recommend to my own clients. If you want a WordPress website, Siteground simply is the best option out there!
- Free daily backups so you never have to worry about losing your website
- Free SSL so everyone knows your site is secure (and Google stays happy!)
- Simply the best customer service out there- can you say chat customer service?
Why Siteground may not be for you:
- You want a SquareSpace or Wix site
- You plan on having a massive store or course platform on your website (Check out Dreamhost if that is the direction you’re going.
Cost: $3.95/month for the first year, available for purchase through Siteground’s website
Theme: Astra Pro
Astra is an incredible free WordPress theme. It’s lightweight and crazy fast, letting you use a page builder without slowing down your website! But the paid version, Astra Pro, adds some incredible features that totally justify the yearly cost!
Why Astra Pro?
- Gives you the ability to do fun things like transparent headers and scroll to top links
- Let’s you customize your blog layout
- Can be used on unlimited websites with just one yearly fee
Why Astra Pro may not be for you:
- You don’t plan on having a WordPress website (duh, it’s a WP theme)
- You’re dead set on using Divi or Genesis to build your website
- You don’t care about the extra customizations available in the Pro version. Just stick with the free one, baby!
- Cost: $59/year, available for purchase through Astra’s website
Page Builder: Elementor Pro
Oh, Elementor, how I love you so! Elementor is the incredible page builder I use on my client sites. It really gives me all the warm and fuzzies because it lets me do just about anything without having to use any code! Just drag, drop, and go. Hello, serious time saver! Just like Astra, Elementor’s free version is awesome and may be all you need. But the paid version is top notch amazing!
Why Elementor Pro?
- Hmm custom fonts! Download an incredible script font from Creative Market and want to use it on your site? No prob, Bob!
- The Theme Builder lets you customize every little aspect of your website, from your blog to your site and everything in between.
- Global Widget lets you easily use the same button or other widget throughout your whole website. Style once and you’re done!
Why Elementor Pro may not be for you:
- You plan on using Google Fonts. The custom fonts is a HUUUUGE selling feature for the Pro version. If you don’t need that, then you’re probably fine with the free version.
- You plan on having a pretty simple site and don’t need a lot of extra features.
- You’re trying not to invest in one more thing. The pro version is awesome, but you can definitely make do if you’re trying to save some cash right now.
Cost: $49/year, available through Elementor’s website
Dubsado is the first major investment I made in my business. I pretty much waited until the last minute of a sale to buy it, with my husband yelling, “Just do it already!!!” in the background. It has, without a doubt, been worth every single penny! It helps me automate my business and makes me look so good to my clients.
- Keep track of leads, jobs, packages, invoices, bookkeeping, your calendar, to do list… all in one place. Plus built in scheduler is being released within the next few weeks! Bye bye Acuity!
- Automation is king! Custom workflows let you automate your business so it makes sense for you and your clients.
- Custom proposals let you create gorgeous proposals that will really wow your leads. Attach the contract and invoice to it, and everything is done in one step!
Why Dubsado may not be for you:
- You don’t have a service based business. If you aren’t serving clients, you just don’t need it!
- You plan on only having a handful of long term clients. If you aren’t planning on getting regular leads or sending out proposals often, you can use other tools that cost less. (Check out And.Co for a free CRM. It has less customization options, but might work better for you).
- You’re working on a shoestring budget. Dubsado makes my life 1000x easier, but it definitely is an expense.
Cost: $30/month or $300/year, use code mamamoneysaver for an EXTRA 20% off
Stock Photos: Pixistock
Every #momboss needs some gorgeous stock photos, right? Plus you can’t tell me you haven’t been guilty of wasting an entire afternoon looking for the perfect stock photo! Pixistock is different than other stock photo sites because you can either buy a membership OR photo bundles. Plus Alicia offers custom stock photos so you can be sure to get one of a kind photos!
- Beautiful feminine stock photos to use on your social media posts or website!
- Affordable photo bundles that would let you have a cohesive brand without breaking the bank.
- Canva templates, Instagram graphics, and design tips available with the membership.
Why Pixistock may not be for you:
- You don’t have a feminine brand. If you don’t serve just a female audience, then these may not be the right stock images for you.
- You don’t use a lot of stock photos. If you take your own photos, then you don’t have a need for stock photos.
- You aren’t investing in paid stock photos right now. Everyone starts somewhere, and if you aren’t at that place yet, it’s okay!
Cost: Photo bundles from $29 or membership from $39, available for purchase from the Pixistock website
Pinterest Scheduling: TailWind
Confession: I held out for the longest time before finally trying TailWind. For someone trying to use Pinterest to drive traffic to her website, it was just straight up dumb! I wasted so much time trying to manually pin strategically throughout the day it just makes me sick! I was pinning while cooking meals, pinning while going to the bathroom, pinning while laying in bed at night… Now I use TailWind every two weeks to schedule out my pins- and my traffic from Pinterest has grown like crazy!
- If you’re ready to stop spending all day trying to keep up with Pinterest, you’ve got to get TailWind. Since it’s an official partner with Pinterest, it’s pretty much your only option at the moment for a scheduler.
- Use optimized time slots and SmartLoop to pin at the most effective times, without having to remember when that is!
- TailWind Tribes is an incredible way to grow your reach on Pinterest. I’ve had several pins go viral because someone with a much bigger following than me picked up one of my pins from a tribe.
Why TailWind may not be for you:
- You have no interest in using Pinterest to drive traffic to your website.
- You aren’t regularly blogging or creating new content on your website. If you aren’t actively creating new content to put on Pinterest, you probably aren’t at a point to need TailWind for your scheduling.
- You enjoy spending all day every day manually pinning. More power to you, Mama!
Cost: $15/month or $120/year, available for purchase from the TailWind website.
Graphic Design: Canva
Okay, seriously, who doesn’t use Canva these days? Quick and easy graphic design tool that is great for creating social media posts, pdfs, inforgraphics, and more! Like more freemium tools, the free version is pretty awesome. But there are some incredible features to the paid version I wanted to highlight here. (Don’t use it to design your logo, okay? Get a hold of me and I’ll hook you up with a sweet logo for a great price!)
Why Canva for Work?
- Hello, Magic Resize. Create an image for Pinterest, resize it with one click to use on Facebook, IG, your blog, and more. This alone is worth the monthly fee!
- Ability to upload custom fonts. Canva has a fairly random selection of fonts, so this is a great feature.
- Set your brand color palette so you never have to look up your hex codes again. This feature saves me sooo much time everyday. (Bonus tip: you can even have more than one brand set)
Why Canva for Work might not be for you:
- You don’t do a lot of graphic design work at this point. If you aren’t regularly creating custom graphics for blog posts, social media posts, and freebies, then you probably don’t need the paid version yet.
- You’re a hardcore Adobe fan and turn down your nose at these tools made for non-designers. (I love Photoshop too, but Canva just saves me so much time I think it’s worth the cost).
- You use another tool like PicMonkey. No need to pay for two of the same thing!
Cost: $12.95/month or $119.40/year, available through Canva’s website.
Tools Worth the Expense
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a bottomless to do list (you know, the kind that grows faster your kid’s feet and you never seem to be able to get ahead of). And you’re probably thinking the last thing you want to do is spend more money during the holiday season.
But the truth is, mama, some things are just worth it! Investing in TailWind has saved me at least 4 hours a week. That’s 4 hours I can work on client projects or create new courses to help other mom built businesses save time! To me, that $120 investment is worth it!