An Inside Look At The Tools I Use To Run My Business

Wandering Aimfully Through Productivity

An Inside Look At The Tools I Use To Run My Business

Running an online business sounds a lot like sitting on a beach with nothing more than a laptop and sand between your toes.
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

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Jason Zook

Have you’ve ever tried to actually use a laptop on a beach? The glare is awful, you have a terrible wifi connection, and you’re constantly worried about sand getting in your ports (hehe).

In actuality, there tend to be more tools and services than you think you need when you have an online business. The list below is constantly being updated with the things that help me manage my many projects and ever-expanding to-do lists.

I use every single thing you see on this page and a handful of them have affiliate links. You pay the same amount if you click those links, I just happen to get a few buckaroos in my bank account (win-win!)

Jason Zook Desk


15” Retina Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

That laptop I can’t see on the beach? It’s the 2016 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (in space grey). There’s no doubt the most important tool on this list is my laptop. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I’ve been using a MacBook Pro since 2007 and have loved every minute of it. Buy MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on Amazon.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar


Drip for Email Marketing

I’ve used NetAtlantic, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, ConvertKit and most recently ActiveCampaign for email marketing. While they’ve all served their purpose, Drip is the perfect fit for the latest direction of my online business(es). I won’t lie to you, Drip is an advanced email marketing platform that heavily focuses on automation. It can be used for broadcast emails and simple email courses, but it’s better served if you have a lot going on in your email world (which I do, since 98% of my revenue comes through email). Learn more about Drip or read my MailChimp vs ConvertKit vs Drip breakdown.

Drip Email Marketing


Flywheel for WordPress Hosting

Wandering Aimfully is the foundation of everything I do these days and I don’t ever want to worry about my website going down or having issues. I’m not a WordPress developer, but I choose to use WordPress because of its customizability and access to affordable developers. Flywheel’s WordPress hosting is not the cheapest out there, but their customer service and beautifully designed dashboard is worth every single penny! Learn more about Flywheel.

Flywheel WordPress Hosting


Chop-Chop.org for WordPress Development

I can hang when it comes to doing my own design work, but as soon as a design needs to actually move and become a website, I leave it to the folks at Chop-Chop.org. They are absolute wizards when it comes to building websites. They care about making things pixel perfect and are helpful at making sure designs are responsive on all devices and load quickly. Learn more about Chop-Chop.org.

Chop-Chop.org


Crowdcast for Live Workshops and Webinars

There’s something really powerful about live video. You can create a connection with people and deliver real-time awesome value. The folks at Crowdcast have built a solid platform for live workshops and webinars. They do automatic recording and have no-nonsense signup pages and email reminders. Learn more about Crowdcast.

Crowdcast


RØDE Podcaster Microphone

You can’t do live video without great audio! I’m fine with the onboard video camera of my MacBook Pro, but the onboard microphone is no beuno. I’ve worked with RØDE multiple times over the years and know how much they care about the quality of their gear. The RØDE Podcaster microphone, boom arm, and shock mount are the perfect kit for slightly advanced audio aficionados. Buy the RØDE Podcaster kit on Amazon.

Rode Podcaster Kit


RØDE Smartlav Microphone

If you don’t want the cumbersome setup of the RØDE Podcaster, then the RØDE Smartlav will be perrrrrfect for you. I record all my podcast episodes with the RØDE Smartlav and love how simple it is to use. For under $80, you cannot beat this lavalier microphone! Buy the RØDE Smartlav on Amazon.

Rode Smartlav Microphone


Acuity Scheduling for Calendar Scheduling

One of the parts of running an online business that drives me nuts is the question “what time works for you?” Between timezones and different schedules, finding a time to schedule a call with someone can be as difficult as solving a Rubik’s cube with your eyes closed. Acuity Scheduling solves those issues and has a boatload of features that can take your calendar scheduling up a notch. Learn more and get 45 days free with Acuity Scheduling.

Acuity Scheduling


Slack for Communication

A few years ago I never thought anything could replace the effectiveness of email. Then Slack came along. Not only is it amazing for small teams, but it’s also free! I haven’t paid a dime for Slack and I’ve used it for all my projects for years. Whether you work with one other person or 300, Slack makes online communication a breeze. Learn more about Slack.

Slack


Dropbox for Cloud Storage

There was a time when you had to have external hard drives to backup your computer. That time has past. I use Dropbox to backup all my files and am happy to pay them $199 per year to do so (in the cloud!) I can access my files offline and I can use Dropbox as a file storage option too. Learn more about Dropbox.

Dropbox


Seagate 2TB USB External Hard Drive

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I just said you didn’t need an external hard drive. However, I still spend some time filming and editing videos, and video files take up a crapload of space. With cloud storage, you can’t remove files from your computer and still access them, so that’s where the old-school external hard drive comes in. Luckily, these things have become small enough to fit in your pocket and extremely affordable (under $70!) Buy the Seagate 2TB external hard drive on Amazon.

Seagate 2TB Hard Drive


Bear Writing App

I’ve dabbled with a few writing apps over the years, but when my friend Paul Jarvis told me about Bear, I was all over it. I enjoy writing in a simple, markdown writing tool, because it’s free of distractions (toolbars, images, formatting, etc). The Bear writing app is extremely well-designed and helps me get more writing done. Learn more about the Bear writing app.

Bear Writing App


Chantel Hamilton for Editing

Okay, obviously Chantel Hamilton is not a “tool” or “thing,” but she is critical to the success of my business. Chantel is my structural editor and has helped me crank out 100,000s of words. I love that I can cobble together a random thought and Chantel can help craft it into a legible and worth-reading article. If you need help with writing, do yourself a favor and reach out to Chantel! Learn more about Chantel Hamilton.

Chantel Hamilton


Desk items that help me stay productive and organized

A list of the things I use to run my business wouldn’t be complete without talking about the items on (or near) my desk at all times. Having a clean and organized desk helps me get more things done.

StudioNeat Material iPhone Dock

Most people are fine with laying their phone down flat and plugging it in. Well, I’m not most people. When StudioNeat released this walnut iPhone dock, I jumped all over it. This little guy looks great and is super functional. There’s also an option with Apple Watch, if you’re into that. Buy the iPhone Material Dock at StudioNeat.com.

StudioNeat Walnut iPhone Dock


Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K Camera

I cannot believe the quality you can get from point-and-shoot cameras these days. I used to be a Canon DSLR guy. Then I moved to a Fujifilm mirrorless camera. While those cameras were great, they were still bigger and I had to carry lenses around with me when I traveled. Sure, I won’t take any long distance photos with the LUMIX camera (even though the digital zoom is impressive), that’s not what I use this camera for. I can toss it in my pocket, snap great-looking photos using impressive autofocus with 1.4 apeture, or put it on a tripod and get crisp 4K video all for less than $600! Learn more about the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K here.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K


Waxed Canvas Dopp Kit

Let’s face it, your desk can be a messy place. Mine had odds and ends scattered all over it and then I picked up a simple waxed canvas dopp kit. Now, all my miscellaneous cords, USB sticks, dongles, and other items have a place to live. Buy a waxed canvas dopp kit on Amazon.

Waxed Canvas Dopp Kit


Kindle Voyage

If you would told me that I’d read 40-50 books per year a few years ago, I would’ve laughed in your face. But alas, as I’ve spent less time on social media and watching TV, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed diving into books on the Kindle. I still enjoy the touch and smell of a paperback book from time-to-time, but you can’t beat carrying hundreds of books in your pocket with a Kindle. Buy the Kindle Voyage on Amazon.

Kindle Voyage


Minaal Carry-on 2.0

There was a time when I traveled 30 weeks out of the year. When you travel that much, any amount of time you can save navigating the airport experience is critical. When I first saw the Minaal Carry-on bag, I was hooked. It’s the perfect backpack for the minimalist traveler, and is versatile enough for the online business owner. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a company run by two awesome New Zealanders! Browse all gear at Minaal.com.

Minaal Carry-on 2.0


Anything by Ugmonk

I own t-shirts, leather goods, and anniversary sets from Jeff Sheldon, creator of Ugmonk. I love everything Ugmonk stands for and have enjoyed calling Jeff a friend for many years. Whether you need items for your desk, quality clothing, or high-quality leather goods, Ugmonk will not disappoint. Browse everything at Ugmonk.com.

Ugmonk


That’ll do donkey, that’ll do.

Be sure to check back on this list from time to time! As my business and tastes evolve, so will the things I feature here.

An Inside Look At The Tools I Use To Run My Business

(Big Fat Takeaway)

The tools of the trade for Jason Zook. Yep, that's me. There's no real big takeaway here so this section is weird.

IT IT

This article written by

Jason Zook

Co-head-hancho of this Wandering Aimfully thing. I used to wear t-shirts for a living, now I just wear them because I'm not a nudist. You can usually find me baking vegan biscuits, watching Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, or reading Calvin & Hobbes comics. Also, I miss my GeoCities website that was dedicated to Dragon Ball Z.

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