StartupBros Tools & Resources
I’ve spent a great deal of time comparing tools to grow my businesses faster. Here’s the best resources I’ve found…
All the resources below are sorted into these main categories (click to scroll):
Business Management Tools
- Messaging & Project Management
- Customer Service
- Recruiting & HR
- Taxes & Financial Services
- Legal Docs & Contracts
Hardware & Equipment
You should also check out my recommended books & my personal workstation setup.
Building Your Own Website
Every great business needs a great website. Here are the tools I use to build & host my websites.
Your domain name is your website’s address/URL (i.e. StartupBros.com)
- NameCheap: Where I buy domain names. Cheap, reliable, easy – everything you need in your domain registrar.
- GoDaddy: If you’re opposed to NameCheap, GoDaddy is the most popular alternative.
- Bust-A-Name: My favorite tool for brainstorming new domain names.
Where your website ‘lives’. High-quality web hosts provide better up-time (reliability) & speed (load times).
- BlueHost: 95% of my websites have been hosted on BlueHost. Easy to use, 1-click automatic WordPress installation, and excellent customer service.
- SiteGround: Lately, I have been using SiteGround instead of BlueHost. SiteGround offers all the best parts of BlueHost, along with better reliability & faster speeds.
- WP Engine: Supreme web hosting for high-traffic websites. WP Engine is a ‘Managed WordPress Host’, meaning they make sure your website is performing at it’s highest potential. Expensive, but worth it once your website is consistently making you money.
- Pressable: Think of Pressable as a scaled-back version of WP Engine. Same concept (Managed WordPress Hosting), but Pressable has less horsepower & is more affordable.
If you’re building an e-commerce store, you may not need hosting.
Building Your Website
Once you have your domain name & web hosting, you’ll need to actually build your website! These platforms make it easy.
- WordPress: World’s most popular platform, powering over 25% of websites in existence. Most web hosts will install WordPress on your website for free! From there, you just need a theme (see below) – and you’ll have a fully functional website 🙂
- Theme Forest: You should invest in an incredible theme/design to set your website apart from the masses. Theme Forest is the largest marketplace to find premium website themes & templates.
- Other WordPress Themes: There are lots of great themes outside of Theme Forest. Some of my personal favorites are Marketer’s Delight and anything from Elegant Themes
- Sumo: Sumo is a marketing suite that contains many different foundational marketing tools that you NEED running on your site (like social sharing & email options).
Building E-Commerce Stores
If your website will primarily be an e-commerce store, then this is the only solution that you’ll need.
- Shopify: Incredible e-commerce platform that allows you to quickly and easily launch a scalable e-commerce store & website. Highly recommended for ALL new e-commerce stores. You can see our Shopify store here.
Sales & Marketing Tools
Once your website is up, you’ll want to start driving traffic & sales immediately! These tools will make it easier.
The only webinar platform we trust.
- GoToWebinar: Present to hundreds with confidence and attend a webinar from anywhere. See why GoToWebinar is rated #1 in customer satisfaction.
Tracking & Analytics
This is how you’ll make sense of your traffic & turn visitors into valuable data.
- Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytics tool. A must have for every website.
- Hotjar: Awesome analytics tool that I use to test usability. Heatmaps, screen recordings, surveys – all sorts of goodies.
Landing Pages & Conversion Optimization
Quickly build out high-converting landing pages & turn your traffic into customers!
- LeadPages: Build highly professional landing pages that are proven to convert in minutes. This tool will save you tons of time, and can make you tons of money.
- ClickFunnels: Similar to LeadPages, but more powerful and complex.
- Instapage: Another awesome landing page platform that I use. Less templates, more flexibility (drag-n-drop everything).
- Visual Website Optimizer: The best A/B testing platform I know of. Run any test you want quickly and easily. VWO runs the test for you & calculates valuable, in-depth results. 30-day free trial, and it’s cheap after that.
After you’ve gotten some leads, you’ll need to use email marketing to keep in touch & build a relationship.
- MailChimp: The most reliably awesome email marketing service around.
- AWeber: My previous #1 recommendation. Aweber is great, but MailChimp has simply out-innovated them.
If you’re using these systems, you won’t need an email marketing platform – since these are essentially ultra-powerful replacements for those tools.
- ConvertKit: I’d call this the ultimate ‘Marketing Automation Starter Tool’. Built for bloggers who want to make their lives easier & more efficient.
- ActiveCampaign: I’d call this a blend between starter-tools & higher-level marketing automation tools. Gives you some serious horsepower, but still easy to use.
- Infusionsoft: My favorite marketing automation platform, which I use to make magic happen throughout all my companies. Ultra-powerful, but also ultra-complex. Don’t use Infusionsoft if you can’t afford ~$2k/month in additional consulting & development costs.
Social & Community Tools
You should already know which social media websites your customers prefer. Use these tools to efficiently & consistently reach them.
- HootSuite: We use this to monitor & respond to incoming messages across all our different social networks. Really helps keep response time low when you have many different social profiles.
- Buffer: Very similar to HootSuite, but with a focus on automating regular social content updates. Great tool, but I don’t use it.
- AdEspresso: Let me make this one simple – if you’re running Facebook Ads, you NEED to use this tool. There’s no other option.
Business Management Tools
Running & growing your business will be tough work. Use these tools to make managing your business simple.
Communication & Project Management
Maintaining a large team can be tough. Here are some tools to make it easier.
- Slack: Internal company chat room. Slack will work wonders for your company. Your team member’s lives will be simpler & more productive. I am a HUGE fan of Slack (waiting for the IPO).
- Teamwork: Once you reach 4-7 employees, things will become too complicated for Slack – and you’ll need a dedicated Project Management tool. This one is my personal favorite.
- Trello: I’ve used Trello previously, and I am a big fan of the simplicity in their layout. Worth checking out before diving into any one Project Management system.
- Basecamp: Also worth checking out, especially for service-based businesses. I am personally not a fan of Basecamp, but it’s a perfect fit for some.
If you have customers, they’ll have questions. Here’s what we use to deliver an incredible support experience for our customers.
- HelpScout: Our main customer service platform. Simple enough to not require lots of training, but robust enough to deliver an incredible experience to customers. Essentially turns your company’s email inboxes into a streamlined support desk.
- Intercom: If I was not using HelpScout, I would be using Intercom. Great tool, and certainly worth checking out.
- Chatlio: Live chat with visitors to your website directly through Slack.
- Grasshopper: Turn your company’s cell phones into a professional business phone line. The best phone solution for the vast majority of entrepreneurs.
Outsourcing & Remote Workers
Outsourcing is almost always the preferred choice over hiring. Great remote workers will revolutionize your business.
- 99Designs: One of my favorite tools for getting high-quality designs done right. Post your project & receive hundreds of submissions from designers all over the world. You only pay for the designs you’d like to keep. (See how I use 99Designs here)
- Design Pickle: Tap into a highly-trained and highly-experienced team of graphic designers and have them do your designs on-demand. We use them for all major graphics (FB Ads, Course Worksheets, etc)
- UpWork: Post your project, get bids from hundreds of freelancers and other service providers. My favorite outsourcing tool for small projects.
- FreeeUp: All our VA’s come through FreeeUp, which allows you to use their pre-trained remote workers to complete a variety of projects on-demand. I simply would not use VA’s outside of FreeeUp
Recruiting & HR
Eventually your business can’t grow with you alone. The time will come when you need a hire your first employee. Here’s some tools to help.
- Workable: My favorite tool for posting job listings & managing incoming applications. Most other tools are built for enterprise (super expensive), but Workable is just right 🙂
- Gusto: I mainly use this for payroll processing & automated tax filings, but it has all sorts of awesome features. When it comes to paying your employees, this is the tool to use.
Taxes & Financial Services
Use these approved tools & services for financial peace of mind.
- TaxJar: They make sales tax filing easier for online sellers and merchants. See local jurisdictional tax reports, get payment reminders, and more!
- OFX: OFX saves Online Sellers time and money on their international transfers. Whether managing inventory, purchasing from overseas suppliers or simply bringing international revenue back home, use OFX to send your money where you need it most – quickly and securely!
Legal Documents & Contracts
- LegalZoom: Easy online incorporation or LLC creation. I use this for State/Federal Filings & Documents.
- RocketLawyer: Easy online contracts & commonly used agreements. I use this for most agreements & contracts.
Amazon & E-Commerce Tools
These are tools we ONLY use in our Amazon & E-Commerce Business
Product Research & Selection
Product research and selection for Amazon sellers used to be difficult. We want to help you make it easier.
- JungleScout: Effortlessly search and filter through thousands of items and find out what sells. Designed for sellers, the product database gives you all of the key metrics you need to make data-backed purchasing decisions.
- Alibaba & AliExpress: Also worth checking out. Find quality Manufacturers, Suppliers, Exporters, Importers, Buyers, Wholesalers, Products there is nothing comparable.
- Product Research Workbook: Our in house tool to simplify product selection. We carefully put this together so you can feel more confident making a decison on a product in a shorter amount of time.
Tracking & Analytics
Maintaining a large team can be tough. Here’s some tools to make it easier.
- HelloProfit: Watch your sales stats, ranking, and profit LIVE. HelloProfit delivers the perfect tool set to keep you on top of your Amazon Business.
- AMZ Tracker: Quickly Improve Your Amazon Sales with this awesome Amazon SEO Tools. Amazon Rank Tracker, Keyword Tools, Competitor Spying, Promotion Groups and More!
- AMZ Alert: A 24-hour monitoring service that alerts you to sudden and unexpected changes to your Amazon listings. Rather than losing up to thousands in potential sales while your listings tank, you can take action to remedy prejudicial issues immediately after they occur.
- Shopkeeper: Why is Shopkeeper such a unique Profit Dashboard? Because it’s SIMPLE. Some apps can look like a busy spreadsheets – it’s not easy to quickly check how your sales are going. With Shopkeeper, you can just give it one glance. Get 60 days free through our link!
Amazon Specific Tools
Once you’re making sales, these tools will help you optimize the day to day Amazon struggles.
- FeedbackGenius: Get More Reviews. Generate Seller Feedback, Product Reviews, and More. They even offer a 30 Day Free Trial with no credit card required. I like these guys a lot, especially after the Amazon change in their Terms of Service.
- Splitly: Amazon Sellers have seen 4x increases in profit by split testing Headlines, Keywords, Pricing, and more. Crush your FBA competition with Splitly today!
- InventoryLab: With their tools you can research products, list and manage your inventory, track your expenses, analyze your profitability and more. You can also source profitable inventory for your business using your mobile device.
- ZonBlast: These guys help you build a solid foundation that allows you to maintain your rank position and grow your brand. They have services that rapidly increases search ranking for important keywords by implementing carefully timed stimulation of Amazon’s algorithm.
- SnagShout: This is a cool site! You get coupon codes to use on deeply discounted products.
- RepricerExpress: A repricing solution that’s super easy to set up and use. Sell more and keep your listings competitive 24/7 without constant attention.
- EcomVids: A totally kick-ass video production company for e-commerce or Amazon sellers.
- FeedbackWhiz: Advanced software for merchants to boost their Amazon business, repair feedback, improve product reviews, and automate high-volume emails.
Logistics & Freight Forwarders
Shipping can seem scary but these guys make it easy, I promise.
- FBA Inspection:When you use FBA Inspection, you’re instantly plugging your business into the same supply chain powering over $50mm in annual Amazon & E-Commerce Sales. You’ll take advantage of the lowest prices & best serivce in the industry, and you’ll be able to sleep well knowing your products are safely going through the same supply chain we use for our businesses
- Flexport: Second best for me, Flexport is a technology and data-driven freight forwarder and customs broker. We provide visibility and control over your entire supply chain. my personal favorite.
- Western Overseas: Third best for me, they offer door to do customs brokerage, freight forwarding, labeling, repackaging, delivery to FBA warehouses, online order fulfillment.
Maintaining a large team can be tough. Here’s some tools to make it easier.
- StitchLabs: Centralize retail and wholesale inventory, sales, and fulfillment into a single platform for greater visibility, insight, and control across your business.
- Skubana: Acts as the central nervous system of your operations. It unifies all the tools you need to run your business, automates all the repetitive tasks, and even thinks for you about profitability, forecasting, and demand planning. On top of it all, it allows for unlimited extension of possibilities through an App store ecosystem.
Hardware & Equipment
I’ve listed lots of tools above – this is the hardware that makes it all run
My Personal Workstation
I’ve spent my entire life perfecting my personal office setup.
Learning How To Program
- CodeSchool: The best online coding school there is. I take courses on here whenever I get the chance, very valuable. You have to at least know HTML and CSS as an internet entrepreneur!
- Camtasia for PC (Camtasia Studio): One of my most used tools. Allows you to record audio and video from your screen, so you can do webinar style presentations on the fly.
- ScreenFlow: Camtasia style screen cap software for Mac.
- Easy Video Player: A more expensive, less powerful alternative to Simple Video Pro
Miscellaneous Tools I Love
- WiseStamp: Very awesome email signatures.
- Fotolia: If I have to buy stock images, this is where I buy them.
- Freshbooks: Great invoicing service for freelancers and consultants. I don’t use it any more, but I used to. Solid product.
- Audiobooks.com: I’m all about listening to audiobooks at 1.5x or 2x speed – this site lets me do that for pretty cheap.
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie: A must read for any entrepreneur, or pretty much anybody looking to be successful in anything. Time-tested, hugely actionable, and absolutely golden advice from front to back.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: Another must read for anybody looking to be successful in business. There have been more millionaires who have claimed this book made it happen than any other. The best business mindset book there is.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad: One of the only books I’ve ever read front-to-back in one sitting. And man, I was tired at school the next day, but it was worth it. This is an absolute must read, not only for entrepreneurs, but for anybody hoping to live a successful life.
- The Millionaire Fastlane: On par with Rich Dad Poor Dad, with a very similar message. It describes how people must choose early which path in life they want to take – the sidewalk, the slow lane, or the fast lane. A great read!
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss: The super-famous book that taught countless people how to live more productive, wealthy, and fulfilling lives. Any internet entrepreneur should read this one at least once.
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene: I wouldnt recommend all of the laws this book lays out, but this is the ecyclopedia on becoming powerful and gaining control over others. A bit unethical at times, but a must read.
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy: This book really makes you realize how much consistent action can change your life. Another great one to get out of a rut.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey: Possibly the most popular book on productivity and taking control of your life. Definitely worth a read, but a little less advanced than most of the books on this list.
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne: Yes, I know this book is a little gimmicky, but I still think you can take a ton away from this book on motivation and keeping your mindset in the right place.
- The Alchemist: While I haven’t read this book yet, it’s one that I have recommended to me constantly. People that read this simple little story tend to come out truly better people on the other end. It’s the first thing I’ll be reading when I get some spare time! 🙂
- Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion: Gary Vaynerchuk’s big book on how the internet has made it possible to make a living off of your passion. There isn’t a lot of actionable methods or tactics in there, but it’s definitely a good starting point for people just starting as internet entrepreneurs.
Business & Entrepreneurship
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: Another must read for every entrepreneur. Tons of valuable, timeless tactics and strategies to make sure your startup succeeds with limited risk. Great stuff.
- How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis: I was surprised at how good this one was. Felix Dennis dropped out of college with no money and quickly created a publishing empire. He runs you through everything he wish he knew, as well as how to avoid the death-traps after success.
- How to Be a Billionaire by Martin Fridson: This one is awesome – it is a great read directly after How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis. A comprehensive overview of the strategies and tactics all billionaires have used to get to the top. Really unconventional principles that I havent seen anywhere else in this one.
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau: One of the best books there is on validating and launching your startup with limited money and time. Tons of great info in here – a must read
- The E-Myth Revisited: One of the best books on building a business there is. Michael Gerber delves deep into the life cycle of both successful and failed startups, pointing out what makes all the difference in the process. Another must read for entrepreneurs!
- The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch: The absolute best book on how to figure out what to focus on in life, and how to get the most out of your time. You probably see 80/20 and 95/5 referenced all the time – this is where it is from.
- Rework: A great, QUICK and SIMPLE read that will make you ask important questions about your work and your business. We revisited it recently and realized how many of these important ideas we were forgetting.
- Delivering Happiness: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares what he learned building businesses throughout his life. This book will change the way you see corporate culture and customer service – guaranteed! Highly recommended, and a quick read.
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t: Jim Collins answers the question that plagued him for years; What separates the good companies from the great ones? The team was shocked by what they discovered. A must read for every entrepreneur!
- The Laptop Millionaire by Mark Anastasi: One of the best books I have read on making money with internet marketing methods specifically. Pretty good read.
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki: One of the better startup books I have read. Takes you through all the important things to focus on and what to ignore. I reference this often.
- The Knack by Norm Brodsky: A really great book on entrepreneurship and business. Will help you be more confident and effective with your decisions. Highly recommended.
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker: Takes all the best management and leadership principles and makes them simple to understand and fun to read. Highly recommended.
- ProBlogger by Darren Rowse: One of the best books on blogging out there. Helps aspiring bloggers quickly launch a blog and take it to monetization.
- The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career: Simply the best career-book out there. It takes principles used in the startup world and applies them to your career. And not your job-job career – it treats each person like an entrepreneur. Fantastic advice on networking, risk taking, and gaining a competitive advantage. If you want to boost your professional career then you don’t get better than this.
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love: This book completely altered my thinking on passion. It shows that most successful careers were not founded in passion, rather the passion developed. Cal Newport lays out the roadmap for creating work that you’re passionate about and demonstrates the importance of diligent practice. It helped me get over lapses in passion that I had been suffering. Focus on the work!
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbably: You will be smarter as soon as you hold this book. It’s a powerful perspective-shifter that shows us the importance of impact over probability. It also shows us just how bad we are at predicting things – a fantastic read!
- The Personal MBA : Simply the best business overview you can get. It’s about $10 on Amazon and a necessity for any person interested in business, productivity, or pretty much anything else. The book’s section on “Working With Yourself” will make working a much more pleasant experience for yourself.
- Linchpin: Seth Godin’s great book on what is required of anybody doing work today. His insistance that each one of us must be an artist is becoming more and more obvious every day.
- Purple Cow: You’re either remarkable and unique, or bland and invisible. That’s the message of this enjoyable book by Seth Godin. But, don’t expect many “eureka moments” apart from that. Worth reading though.
- Mastery: Robert Greene’s latest book, and sure to be another classic. For anybody who has ever desired being the best at something (anybody on this site), this is required reading! It’s been described as the synthesis and application of his 48 Laws of Power. Truly, an awesome book.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: A classic book on the psychology of persuasion. After reading this you will have all the tools you need to be persuasive in business and everyday life. Powerful stuff.
- Crucial Conversations by A Bunch of Guys: The only book you need when it comes to negotiations. I reference this one a lot.
- Drive by Daniel Pink: Learn the truth about what motivates people and connect with what drives you again. I reference this whenever I am feeling burned out to get back on track.
- Get Anyone to Do Anything by David Lieberman: Another book I reference constantly. Instead of giving you psychological principles and letting you figure out how to apply them, this book takes many specific instances and shows you how to apply psychology to get what you want. Highly recommended!
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: I really didnt expect to like this one, but quickly got hooked and loved it. More inspirational than anything else.
Once your website is up, you’ll want to start driving traffic & sales immediately! These tools will make it easy.
Personal Finance & Investing