FAVOURITE THINGS WHICH HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE [AND CREATIVE BUSINESS]
Favourite people, products and things I use every single day in life and business. Some of these are affiliate links, just so you know! I stand by every single recommendation.
I first encountered Elizabeth Buckley-Godard when i bought a bundle of 100+ (!) online courses on everything from Pinterest to SEO to Course Creation in March 2020. I was determined to use the lockdowns to learn all I could about online business. I’m so glad I found Elizabeth – I’ve done five of her courses: The Painless Guide to Hiring a VA, Rock your Day of Voxer, The Beginners Guide to Convertkit, Clone You, and I think I’ve bought other time-centric things like her Christmas Party Bundles. She’s really creative and authentic, which is refreshing in an online business world full of marketing spin, and she’s set up her business in a really original way that works for HER. She was also my first tangible proof that you can create an online business that grows even if you do have a chronic illness. Necessity really is the mother of invention – and that’s why she’s come up with some really unique ways to offer valuable training and education that work with her own energy. She has a fantastic facebook group for anyone who buys anything from her, and it’s full of wonderful creative business owners from across the world. CLONE you was life-changing for me when I had a licensing question, and an added bonus of Elizabeth’s courses is that you can listen to them as podcasts!
Like most people who create an online course or product, I learnt that you needed to do a big live launch and lots of social media posts to sell it. But after my first course launch this way, I was absolutely exhausted. I called out for help learning how to sell my courses without launching, and the name Mariah Coz kept coming up. In September 2020 I finally joined her program, and it was absolutely life-changing. If you sell online educational programs, I highly recommend learning how to set up an evergreen sales and marketing funnel from her Evergreen Engines course. This means that you don’t need to launch live [unless you want to] and also ensures that people who want to buy your course or program, can do so without waiting until your next launch! I met so many great people in her program and even ended up coaching online business owners for a time. Evergreen Engines is here, or if you have a high ticket program, her High Ticket Hybrid info is here. If you’re just starting out and want to reach your first 1000 subscribers to your email list, Your First 1K is brilliant.
SOFTWARE & TECH
Otter is an absolute game changer! As an ex-journalist I used to (painstakingly!) transcribe my own interviews from cassette tapes, and this is an app, where you simply upload the video or audio content, and transcribes it within an hour. It’s fairly accurate for a non-human service, too. You record yourself speaking into the app so that it has a good idea of how you say general words, and you can download the transcriptions &/or edit them within the app, to ‘teach’ it how to behave better. There is a free plan but I get my videos and course content transcribed regularly so I use the basic plan which is about $100USD a year. I used to pay a transcriptionist $30 an hour to transcribe my cassette tapes once upon a time, so this is incredible!
I use Kajabi because it’s an all-in-one platform. This means I don’t need to use a separate payment gateway or checkout software (which would then require fiddly connections), or even a separate email provider, deadline or webinar software… So even though it’s on the costly side (plans start at $99 USD a month) it includes email, membership and client management, deadlines on checkouts, really functional checkouts (linked to Stripe or Paypal) webinar hosting, courses, coaching and even podcast hosting, so you save on having to buy those pieces separately. Unlike Teachable, which has login issues, if my students lose their password, they can simply reset & login straight away, I never need to do anything. This was important to me because I know when you do an online program, you can’t be waiting around for someone on the other side of the planet to ‘let you in’! Also, it’s really simple to create an attractive new product or course on Kajabi. It doubles as a customer management system and a content management system and you can even use it as your website and for sales pages and blogs. I don’t, but i could, if i wanted to!
Voxer is a free app you can download to your iphone, and it functions like a walkie-talkie. As I have clients and friends in the UK, Europe, and the US, it’s a great alternative to zoom because walking is much healthier than sitting and staring at a computer, and you don’t have to co-ordinate time zones! It’s also much better when you only have a quick question (that really DOESN’T need a meeting or even an email!).
Voxer is a free app but I use the paid plan because I sometimes get my best ideas while walking, and this way I can record myself voice notes that I then transcribe when I get home. The recording function has a 15 minute limit, and if you’re impatient (like me!) you can play back messages at double or triple speed.
CREATIVE BUSINESS & WRITING TOOLS
I recently upgraded from a scratched iphone 6 to a new iPhone 13 and it has completely changed my life! The camera on these phones is worth the heavy cost alone. I use the camera (in Cinematic mode) for all my You-Tube videos and the phone for everything else. But make sure you buy a good case AS SOON as you get the phone, they’re precious! Also get them to put the plastic screen protector inside the shop – I think this is $50. I didn’t get one on my iphone 6 and it cracked when i dropped it. I use my phone – and walk and talk – a lot.
I dream of being the kind of person who keeps work in the study and seated at a desk. But I’m not that person. I wrote both my books on apple laptops while seated on the couch (or curled up in bed) and I also love to be able to travel around lightly. These are getting lighter and lighter, every year.
Recording videos, presentations, webinars, zooms and podcasts, I’ve learned that people will be forgiving with the lighting, but audio quality is CRUCIAL. I record most of my slide presentations on Canva Pro and although the microphone inside the computer is OK, this just ramps it up a notch to studio quality. This little microphone plugs into the computer via USB, and makes such a difference to audio quality. I use a different one when I’m recording outside.
Lighting a candle is such a beautiful ritual when you work in a creative arena. When I’m beginning a new project, I like to start a special candle, so that lighting it is almost a Pavlovian trigger to shift into the creative zone, whether it’s from looking at the flame or smelling the scent. These candles by Kerzon are 45 hours burning time and the perfect strength scent (not too strong, not too subtle). They really do make your space sacred for reading, writing or just being home. I love to honour the everyday magic of home and ritual with a special candle.
I feel like a news reporter when i wear my Rode wireless lapel microphone. It’s really good sound quality when it’s windy, or there’s a truck going past, and sometimes you just really want to record outside if it’s sunny. We spend way too much time indoors on our computers, so any equipment that makes walking or being outside easier and more professional is a plus! You can even record a podcast with someone while you walk. Again, with podcasts, people are pretty unforgiving with bad audio so if you want to get on more podcasts, invest in a good microphone!
These are my favourite lovely pens for journaling and writing cards. I used to buy them from art stores but they’re at Amazon now. 0.8mm is my favourite size, but you can buy a box of assorted tip sizes to find your own ‘just right’.
These are beautiful, Australian-made journals and the perfect size for morning pages with coffee. I use them every day for my morning ritual of memoir journaling.
There are so many books on the craft of writing, but The Writer’s Journey is like an encyclopaedia of mythic archetypes in story, with a Jungian bent. I dog-eared this book when I wrote A Letter From Paris, and it helped me with the structure and character struggles I was having (I had to delete quite a few ‘bit players’ from the story, which meant I had to understand what role they played and if someone else played that role). I’ve blogged on my favourite memoir writing books but this is up there as one that I’d recommend over all the others.
Writing in my journal with a hot cup of coffee is my favourite daily ritual. Lavazza gold is my favourite coffee – it’s nice and strong – I use it in a stovetop percolator so get the beans ground pretty fine.
We write to taste life twice...