Want to know what I use in my own business to keep things running smoothly – check out the list below!

(please note that some links below are affiliate links)

WEBSITE TOOLS & RESOURCES

I use namecheap to purchase my domain names – they have quality customer service and their pricing is very competitive – especially when you factor in free WhoIs Guard Privacy Protection with your domain name purchase!

Namecheap
After you have secured your domain name/s – you will want to choose a host for your WordPress site – I use and recommend hostgator. They have 24/7 customer support via chat, phone and email.

You can use the coupon code VIBRANTVA25 to save 25% off your new hosting package if you decide to go with hostgator.

If hostgator does not fit your needs – these are some other hosts that I recommend you take a look at to see if they are a better fit for your business:

I built both of my sites on the Thesis framework – I love this framework – you can design your site to look any way you want – and the new 2.1 version totally rocks! You do need to know a bit about html and css to work with this theme/framework, but with the help of the videos and tutorials at byobwebsite, a DIY biz owner will do just fine (and if not, you can hire me to help!)

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

Want a versatile slider (slideshow) for your new site – Soliloquy is the way to go! It works on your pages, as well as sidebar and footer widgets – pretty much anywhere AND it is easy-peasy to set up!

Soliloquy - The Best Responsive WordPress Slider Plugin. Period.
ORGANIZATIONAL TOOLS & ADMIN RESOURCES

I use the following sites and apps on a daily/weekly basis:

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE/INVOICING

  • QuickBooks – I have been using QuickBooks for over 6 years – it is a robust accounting software – at times, it can be a bit much for the smaller business or entrepreneur – but it is the industry standard (although there are some new online competitors that are looking mighty fine and I plan to check them out to see how they will integrate with my specific needs – they are definitely worth a look! ( see the list below).

    *PS – I currently use Quickbooks self-employed online version and am loving it!

  • Wave Accounting – free accounting/invoicing software – probably has less bells & whistles than some others

FreshBooks

  • Pancake App – this one is a self-hosted version that you buy and host on your site –  so there are no monthly fees – but there is a bit more involved to get it installed on your host – but hey – who doesn’t love pancakes!
  • Harvest – time tracking and invoicing
  • PayPal – of course I can’t ignore this one – you can invoice, accept payments, embed payment & buy now buttons on your website for ebooks, products and services

MOBILE PAYMENT SYSTEMS (IN PERSON)

  • PayAnywhere – this is my go to credit card swiper when I do my retail shows for my jewelry business – it is an actual merchant account but is very easy to apply/set-up – plus they have 24/7 customer service!  The best thing about this one is that is charges the appropriate sales tax based on your location – so when I am out of town doing a retail show with my jewelry – I do not have to fiddle with sales tax charts – it calculates the tax, and the customer is on their merry way – LOVE IT!
  • Square – a great credit card swiper that attaches to your smartphone so you can take credit card payments (Visa, Mastercard, Amex & Discover) – I use this as a backup when I do my holiday shows for my jewelry business – works great but if you have any problems – you have to email and wait for a response

NOTE: There are a ton of these credit card swipers showing up on the market now from every company imaginable  (PayPal has one, so does intuit, and the list goes on) – I would look at their fees and customer service availability to see which one may be right for you – don’t drive yourself crazy and spend a ton of your time comparing them all – see which fits your business best and start there .