Essential Software for Digital Creators

As the world and our business move online, the choices we make about the tools we use become more and more important.

As a digital creator, you are constantly balancing your two biggest resources: time and money.

Good software saves you time. With more time, you can earn more money. Below are my favorite software tools that I use for my own business and swear by.

Some of them include affiliate links that earn me a commission. In some cases you'll save money using my link – but none of the links below cost you anything additional.

 

Audience Building

ConvertKit

For building an email list

ConvertKit is the email service provider that I wish I would've started with. After years on MailChimp, switching over ConvertKit was a total game changer for my business.

ConvertKit makes it so easy to segment your audience, create sequences, and send them more personalized emails. Better segmentation means better messaging which means higher conversion.

If you're building an audience, ConvertKit should be your email marketing tool.

ConvertKit

For building an email list

ConvertKit is the email service provider that I wish I would've started with. After years on MailChimp, switching over ConvertKit was a total game changer for my business.

ConvertKit makes it so easy to segment your audience, create sequences, and send them more personalized emails. Better segmentation means better messaging which means higher conversion.

If you're building an audience, ConvertKit should be your email marketing tool.

Circle

For online membership communities

After years of being frustrated with community platforms, Circle finally feels like the platform I've been looking for.

It's beautiful, easy to navigate, and combines the feel of a Facebook Group feed with total customization and your own branding.

I'm using it for the Freelancing School Community and wrote a full, in-depth article about Circle here.

If you're building your own community, I highly recommend it.

Circle

For online membership communities

After years of being frustrated with community platforms, Circle finally feels like the platform I've been looking for.

It's beautiful, easy to navigate, and combines the feel of a Facebook Group feed with total customization and your own branding.

I'm using it for the Freelancing School Community and wrote a full, in-depth article about Circle here.

If you're building your own community, I highly recommend it.

Podia

For courses and digital products

A little over a year ago, I decided to put everything I've learned about freelancing into some online courses. And when it came to choosing a learning platform, I chose Podia.

Podia makes my Freelancing School courses look great while also handling everything for me. They handle payments without charging a transaction fee, host your lesson videos (which saves you a ton of money), help you send email, and a lot more.

They let you sell memberships, digital downloads, and webinars too.

Podia is offering my friends 15% off for life. For life! Seriously, I used this deal myself, and it's a significant savings.

Podia

For courses and digital products

A little over a year ago, I decided to put everything I've learned about freelancing into some online courses. And when it came to choosing a learning platform, I chose Podia.

Podia makes my Freelancing School courses look great while also handling everything for me. They handle payments without charging a transaction fee, host your lesson videos (which saves you a ton of money), help you send email, and a lot more.

They let you sell memberships, digital downloads, and webinars too.

Podia is offering my friends 15% off for life. For life! Seriously, I used this deal myself, and it's a significant savings.

Website & Infrastructure

PRO by Themeco

For a powerful WordPress theme

I currently maintain four separate websites for my own projects. All four of those sites are custom built on WordPress using the PRO Theme by Themeco (including this one!) and I absolutely love it.

This Theme combines a beautiful visual editor (like Squarespace) with much more robust functionality. Once you learn how to use the theme, you can customize any aspect of your WordPress site without needing to touch any actual code.

And, because it's WordPress, it's setup really well for writing and SEO. They have a great video tutorial at the link below.

PRO by Themeco

For a powerful WordPress theme

I currently maintain four separate websites for my own projects. All four of those sites are custom built on WordPress using the PRO Theme by Themeco (including this one!) and I absolutely love it.

This Theme combines a beautiful visual editor (like Squarespace) with much more robust functionality. Once you learn how to use the theme, you can customize any aspect of your WordPress site without needing to touch any actual code.

And, because it's WordPress, it's setup really well for writing and SEO. They have a great video tutorial at the link below.

SiteGround

For web hosting with great customer service

SiteGround has been my WordPress hosting provider since day one. I don't know a ton about hosting, but I know that SiteGround automatically updates my WordPress sites, has top-rated security, and has never let me down.

One major bonus to SiteGround is their readily-available, always-helpful customer support. I've accidentally killed my WordPress sites several times, and their team has always been there to help me right away.

SiteGround

For web hosting with great customer service

SiteGround has been my WordPress hosting provider since day one. I don't know a ton about hosting, but I know that SiteGround automatically updates my WordPress sites, has top-rated security, and has never let me down.

One major bonus to SiteGround is their readily-available, always-helpful customer support. I've accidentally killed my WordPress sites several times, and their team has always been there to help me right away.

Productivity & Management

Airtable

For process and contact management

Airtable works like a spreadsheet, but has the power of a database built in.

I use Airtable for my CRM, podcast guest booking, podcast production, editorial calendar, keyword research, article planning, tracking affiliate links, and more.

It's one of the most flexible and robust tools in my business. Airtable acts as a second brain and his the key to managing relationships AND content creation.

Airtable

For process and contact management

Airtable works like a spreadsheet, but has the power of a database built in.

I use Airtable for my CRM, podcast guest booking, podcast production, editorial calendar, keyword research, article planning, tracking affiliate links, and more.

It's one of the most flexible and robust tools in my business. Airtable acts as a second brain and his the key to managing relationships AND content creation.

Trello

For productivity and task management

Trello has been my go-to task management tool for years. And the best part is that it's free.

Any time there is a specific task that I need to take action on, I create a card in Trello. This eliminates my need to remember what I need to do, or when it needs to be completed – every day, I can just check my Trello board and have a good idea of what I need to complete.

And because it's collaborative, Trello is great for using with a team too.

Trello

For productivity and task management

Trello has been my go-to task management tool for years. And the best part is that it's free.

Any time there is a specific task that I need to take action on, I create a card in Trello. This eliminates my need to remember what I need to do, or when it needs to be completed – every day, I can just check my Trello board and have a good idea of what I need to complete.

And because it's collaborative, Trello is great for using with a team too.

Calendly

For stress-free scheduling

Before I had a real virtual assistant, Calendly was basically my virtual assistant.

Calendly makes scheduling so incredibly easy – it saves me so much time coordinating with people over email. And because it connects to your calendar in real time, you never worry about double-booking yourself.

The best part is that you can create rules for your own availability. My Calendly knows that I don't take meetings on Mondays or Fridays, or any day before 11am. And because of that, I'm able to protect my most productive times from meetings.

Calendly

For stress-free scheduling

Before I had a real virtual assistant, Calendly was basically my virtual assistant.

Calendly makes scheduling so incredibly easy – it saves me so much time coordinating with people over email. And because it connects to your calendar in real time, you never worry about double-booking yourself.

The best part is that you can create rules for your own availability. My Calendly knows that I don't take meetings on Mondays or Fridays, or any day before 11am. And because of that, I'm able to protect my most productive times from meetings.

Podcasting

SquadCast

For high quality remote podcast recordings

SquadCast is a beautiful tool because it records the audio of every guest locally. That means instead of my computer recording a guest's audio (after it travels across the internet) it records the audio in the guest's home and sends me the final file.

This way of recording makes it sound like everyone is in the same room.

And even better – the whole experience is incredible for the guest. They don't need to download any software, they don't need an account, they just click the link you send them and they can record right in their browser.

SquadCast

For high quality remote podcast recordings

SquadCast is a beautiful tool because it records the audio of every guest locally. That means instead of my computer recording a guest's audio (after it travels across the internet) it records the audio in the guest's home and sends me the final file.

This way of recording makes it sound like everyone is in the same room.

And even better – the whole experience is incredible for the guest. They don't need to download any software, they don't need an account, they just click the link you send them and they can record right in their browser.

Transistor

For podcast hosting and analytics

Transistor has been a fantastic hosting platform for my podcast, upside. The platform makes it easy to syndicate your show to all major players including YouTube.

Transistor has a beautiful user interface that makes it easy to upload and manage your shows as well as see your show analytics.

It even lets you create multiple shows without any additional fee.

Transistor

For podcast hosting and analytics

Transistor has been a fantastic hosting platform for my podcast, upside. The platform makes it easy to syndicate your show to all major players including YouTube.

Transistor has a beautiful user interface that makes it easy to upload and manage your shows as well as see your show analytics.

It even lets you create multiple shows without any additional fee.

Money & Finance

QuickBooks

For accounting and bookkeeping

QuickBooks is my go-to tool for all things accounting because it syncs with your bank and invoicing tools (PayPal, Stripe, Wave, etc.) and makes it easy to go in and categorize those transactions (Meals, Income, Office Supplies, etc.)

If you have recurring transactions, you can create Rules within QuickBooks so that you don't need to mark it manually next time, it will do it automatically. You can use your QuickBooks data to file your own taxes at the end of the year. Personally, I like to team up with an accountant to take that QuickBooks data and maximize my refund.

I use QuickBooks Self Employed, but the Simple Start or Essentials Plan are much more powerful. And since I'm an ambassador for QuickBooks, you can save up to 55% on your first 3 months.

QuickBooks

For accounting and bookkeeping

QuickBooks is my go-to tool for all things accounting because it syncs with your bank and invoicing tools (PayPal, Stripe, Wave, etc.) and makes it easy to go in and categorize those transactions (Meals, Income, Office Supplies, etc.)

If you have recurring transactions, you can create Rules within QuickBooks so that you don't need to mark it manually next time, it will do it automatically. You can use your QuickBooks data to file your own taxes at the end of the year. Personally, I like to team up with an accountant to take that QuickBooks data and maximize my refund.

I use QuickBooks Self Employed, but the Simple Start or Essentials Plan are much more powerful. And since I'm an ambassador for QuickBooks, you can save up to 55% on your first 3 months.

Wealthfront

For personal and retirement investing

Because I'm self-employed, I'm responsible for my own retirement savings. Wealthfront has been a fantastic tool for managing my retirement accounts and helping to put my investing on autopilot.

Not only do I use Wealthfront for my Roth IRA, but I use it to invest in the market too. It profiled my risk tolerance and built a diversified portfolio that it manages on my behalf.

You can get your first $5,000 managed without any fees using my link here.

Wealthfront

For personal and retirement investing

Because I'm self-employed, I'm responsible for my own retirement savings. Wealthfront has been a fantastic tool for managing my retirement accounts and helping to put my investing on autopilot.

Not only do I use Wealthfront for my Roth IRA, but I use it to invest in the market too. It profiled my risk tolerance and built a diversified portfolio that it manages on my behalf.

You can get your first $5,000 managed without any fees using my link here.