From Blog to Career: The 8 Online Tools that Make Live Your Legend a Business

Written by Scott May 23, 2012

from blog to business

“You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.”

– Nelson Jackson

From Blog to Business…

Having a blog is one thing. You can get one up and running in a matter of minutes.

That alone can be incredibly powerful. In fact, it’s one of the best tools for really finding and exploring a passion.

But making the transition from blog to business is an entirely different feat.

And I certainly needed all the help I could get.

The right tools have made all the difference.

I get requests almost daily asking me to share the tools I use on this site. I meant for this to come at the end of our “Monetize Your Passion Online” series a month or so back, but a few things came up. Sorry for the delay, but I still wanted to be sure to share the full list – especially since many of you are at the building/creation stage of your online project as I write this.

I swear by the below products and services – they’ve truly made all the difference. The one common thread you’ll notice is that all of them can be used with minimal technical knowledge. That is really important to me as I know very little when it comes to coding work…

Also, some of the below are affiliate links so if you decide to purchase or sign up for these products via the links, you may be supporting our work at Live Your Legend in a small way. The price doesn’t change for you of course, and no matter what, I only recommend things that work and are sure to help in some way. I’ve tried many more programs and tools than I can count, and only a few are making this list.

Helping people with amazing content always comes first. Add the right tools to that and results can get pretty interesting.

Without further ado…

The Online Tools that Make Live Your Legend a Business:

1. AWeber Communications Email Management – When it comes to managing your email lists and doing good for subscribers, no one does it better. I did a serious competitive study too. Most every successful person I know online uses AWeber. And it has a few specific and very important features that competitors don’t. Most importantly is the ability to create the system that allows my Passionate Work Toolkit to function properly.

Setting up the right email management system is one of the first and most important technical things to get right. These guys have amazing support (often answer in about three rings with a live person) and they are super cheap to get started (like $1 I think). Here’s all the info on AWeber.

2. Unbounce Landing Page Platform – When it comes to creating landing pages and web pages that are uber easy to A/B test and design without knowing code or design, these are your guys. Their library of conversion tested templates is also amazing. They also just raised a boat load of money to further expand their services. The Live Off Your Passion sales page is run exclusively through these guys.

If you’re online, you absolutely have to be constantly testing. And the only way you’ll constantly test is if it’s ridiculously easy. I’ve run 20+ A/B tests on my sales page in the past 5 months. Awesome support, and they offer a free 30-day trial I believe. After that you only pay for the number of unique visitors you get. Really great for creating last minute product or concept pages for quick testing. Here’s all the info on Unbounce.

3. ClickBank Shopping Cart – There are a ton of shopping cart programs out there. I’ve looked into a lot of them. I used to use E-junkie, but I was unimpressed with their poor interface and clunky affiliate payout system. Also, after running an A/B test between ClickBank and and E-junkie, ClickBank converted sales at over 37% better! I think this has a lot to do with them having one less step in their order process and since they charge by the transaction, they are incentivized to make the shopping experience as simple as possible.

ClickBank also takes care of all tax issues, affiliate payments, returns and customer support – so you get to outsource a lot of the headache. They also have a huge affiliate network if that’s something you’re into (I haven’t used that much yet). No shopping cart is perfect, but I’ve been happy with them so far (despite their spammy-sounding name, but then again E-junkie doesn’t sound too glamorous either…). Here’s all the info on ClickBank.

build something that matters

4. GetFriday Outsourcing Firm I started working with GetFriday nearly a year ago and they have become the solver of so many of my problems. They are one of the biggest outsourcing groups in India and have been profiled by all kinds of huge publications and books such as The World is Flat and 4HWW. What I love about them is that they have over 200 assistants that can handle just about every task including general admin, coding, design, accounting and even legal.

Even better is the first step in signing up with them is an in-depth written and Skype interview to understand your big business and personal goals so they can find the best assistant to fit what you’re doing. Then that assistant acts as your project manager who filters your tasks and then decides who on their team is best suited for it. Their hourly prices range from $8-$25 depending on what type of tasks and how many hours you sign up for. These guys have saved me ridiculous time and allowed me to create things I simply would have never gotten around to. Here are all the details on GetFriday.

5. Gravity Forms Contact Form and Quiz Builder Plugin – Jonathan Fields first introduced me to these guys. Their app is insanely powerful for building any type of online form. They are what I used to create the Should I Quit Test – and there’s no way I could have done it without them. Gravity Forms easily integrates with AWeber and WordPress and is also a pretty powerful lead generation tool.  You can do so many things with it. Their support and forums are super robust too. Here’s all the info on Gravity Forms.

6. Hello Bar – This is the sweet little red/orange bar you see at the top of most pages on this site. It was designed by my buddy Chuck Longanecker who is founder and CEO of the user experience design firm Digital Telepathy. These are the same guys who built the 4-Hour Body site for Tim Ferriss as well as The Lean Startup, Summit Series, Crazy Egg and a ton of other big shots. Ramit Sethi, Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk all use Hello Bar. The design and usability is unreal and it’s free for the basic version. You can A/B test and do all kinds of other super cool things. Here’s all the info on Hello Bar.

7. Host Gator Discount Web Hosting – Hosting can be a toss up and I swear there’s no clear winner (which makes choosing one a total pain in the ass), but I’ve used these guys for the past couple years and they’ve been pretty solid (and I’ve heard horror stories about a lot of others). Their email support is often super fast and they are very inexpensive (plans start at $4/mo), which is especially important when just starting out. Here’s all the info on Host Gator.

In full disclosure, since Live Your Legend has grown so much lately, I’ve recently made a big upgrade (in service and in price) to WP Engine for hosting. A lot of bigger sites and companies use them and their security and support for WordPress. Host Gator is still great for small starter sites, but for more robust businesses, WP Engine might be more your thing. Here’s all the info on WP Engine.

Those are the core tools that have seriously changed everything, but here are a few more that aren’t quite as crucial to me, but I’ve found pretty powerful or am still getting the hang of: 

1. Opt-in Skin Email Opt-in Form Creator – Super easy way to create sharp-looking forms for visitors to join your mailing lists. Integrates great with AWeber and others. Has a ton of pre-created designs and stats so you look sharp even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

2. SnapEngage Live Chat and Customer Support – Awesome way to engage with customers right when they are about to buy – or at any place you want to gather feedback and offer help. This is the little green “help” bar you see on the left side of the Live Off Your Passion product page. This has been huge for answering the most pressing questions – when they matter most.

3. Outright Accounting Software – I’m just stating to use this to manage all my business finances but it looks really powerful so far. Everything feeds in pretty seamlessly.

4. S2Member Membership Plugin – Powerful WP plugin for adding a paid membership component to your site or for protecting certain pages (to keep product download links private, for instance). Not as non-tech friendly as I’d hoped though, but those close to me swear by it. I have big plans for integrating this with the How to Connect With Anyone course I’m creating.

And two of my favorite service providers:

The list would not be complete without these two folks…

1. Charfish Design – This is the company that my genius of a designer, Charlie Pabst, runs (recently featured in the $100 Startup too!). He came highly recommended and does great work (and is also a ton of fun to work with – not always easy to find in a designer. 😉 He did all the design for Live Off Your Passion and my landing page, as well as the Should I Quit Test. He’s now my go-to designer for most things. We have a few fun projects in the works as I write this. I warn you that Charlie is super busy, but he does great work if you can get it. Let him know I sent you and he might give you special treatment. 😉

2. Got Your Back Editing Service – Last year I asked if a reader would help me proofread Live Off Your Passion before it came out (in exchange for a free copy of the course). Cherilyn not only did a rockstar job, but she also decided to open her own editing business as a result! Her attention to detail is amazing.

With the right tools anything’s possible

So there you have it. That’s the short list of tools, apps and people who have made all the difference.

While I am the only formal employee at Live Your Legend, my support team spans across the world.

Thanks to all the above people and companies for the help.

I could not do all of this without them.

May they help you build what matters!

-Scott

P.S. How about you guys? What’s the most powerful app that you use for your business or hobby? I’m always on the lookout for new tools. Share a tool or link in the comments! (email readers click here to leave your comment/tool)

Images courtesy of h.koppdelaney & AlicePopkorn

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