Top 15 Creative Business Tools I Use as an Infopreneur

Top Creative Business Tools, both free and inexpensive, to use as an infopreneur

Don’t know about you, but I’m prepared for the day that an evil anti-creative force out for world domination puts into place a policy that all of us creativepreneurs are limited to only 15 tools to run our businesses. Some are calling it the Creative Apocalypse (how original), but no matter what you call it, I want you to be prepared too . . . thus this post.

There’s always hope that Sean Connery or Daniel Craig will come along in a bespoke tux and save us from this Creative Apocalypse put into place by SPECTRE Jr. (007 anyone?—yes, I own every single Bond movie ever, some on VHS, don’t judge), but just in case, I’ve identified 15 categories of creative business tools that I use each week and my top app or item for each. Some of these are free, some of these cost a bit, but all of these are legitimately what I use to run my business (and about two of these categories include affiliate links, so my hope is that you’ll know I truly mean what I’m saying). For your extra info., in each category I list what I’ve tried in the past (if it’s relevant) and what I currently use.

#HeadsUp: The first 11 creative business tools in this list apply to almost all businesses, and the last 4 are more specific to infopreneurs and those making money with their minds.


1. Editorial + Business Planner
As in >> A space to record your overall vision + plans + content/product ideas.

What I use now: EPICBLOG editorial planner (physical); OneNote (Mac + app version); a Moleskine and a pen
What I’ve used in the past: a traditional planner, Evernote

EPICBLOG: a one-year editorial planner for your blog business

Why EPICBLOG?
If you’re kind enough to have connected with me on Instagram, then you may already know that I’ve been working on EPICBLOG (an editorial + business planner for your blog). Well, I’ve been putting it to use to make sure it has all the sections necessary for an amazing year worth of strategy, and . . . not just because I made it (pinky swear) . . . it’s been super helpful. Honestly, it just works around the way I think and I created it for those of you who may think the same way and want the same type of organization.

The sections are as follows >> blog defining statements // mini blog business plan // ideal reader survey // custom blog post process checklist // blog post categories // space to plan blog post image styles // monthly theme planning // monthly goal planning // monthly calendars // monthly progress tracking // running blog post ideas list // running series + theme ideas list // running product ideas list // yearly blog accomplishment tracking // affiliate + blog account logins

P.S. If you want to hear more about EPICBLOG, I’ll be releasing a whole post about it later this month (me hopes) and it will also be available for sale via Amazon.com and a few other channels soon.

Why OneNote?
My friend Bunny (@BunnyWanderland) introduced me to this concept. OneNote is basically a digital canvas where you can record and organize multiple projects, ideas, lists, calendars, and more. I love opening it up and seeing all my digital product ideas for the year, current content ideas, and more. Bunny uses it more to its potential, but I love it for what I use it for. I’m a person who needs to write things down, by hand, but I love backing up that information digitally.
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How to Use MailChimp to Grow Your Brand

How to Use MailChimp to Grow Your Brand

When you woke up this morning I know what you were saying to yourself: “Hey you devilishly attractive person you, I wonder if there are 11 features of MailChimp that can help you build your brand?” This was followed by: “I wonder if Regina will be so kind as to talk about them on her blog today and discuss how to use MailChimp as a blog or brand owner.”

Well guess what? I will be so kind.

I’ve fallen in love with 11 uses/features of MailChimp and the 700,000 benefits they offer to brands . . . and I want to talk about them today . . . as well as give away a little sumthin’ sumthin’. (I hope someone started singing Maxwell in their head just now.)

Some of the features below come with the forever free account (for under 2,000 subscribers) and some are features of a paid account. I’ll mark which is which below. But, two things to keep in mind here: (1) Paid accounts start at only $10/month, (P.S. this is not an ad or a sponsored post) and (2) Stay tuned for a Regina-sponsored giveaway–as in, I love it so much I’m paying for it out of my own pocket, and (3) I can’t count, get over it: Some of these paid features are SO helpful for building your brand that the monthly fee will really be an investment in your business if you decide to go for it.


11 Crazy Amazing Features and Benefits of MailChimp
I’m not gonna bore you with details such as the awesome themes that you can start with (if you’re not super into design) or how you can make templates of your own out of your designs to save you time when you send out emails, I’m gonna tell you about the crazy useful features I don’t think people use enough. What am I basing these thoughts on? Intuition and a few conversations. I have no idea if that’s reliable enough for you or not, but please check out these cool features and ideas on how to use MailChimp anyways.
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How to Decide Which Social Media Platforms are Best for Your Brand (and some free tools)

How to Decide Which Social Media Platforms are Right for you (Getting social Media Clarity)

It’s officially the month of Tool Time. Some people call it November. Whatever. No need to get technical.

During Tool Time I will be sharing several items that you lovely people asked about over on Facebook as well as 10+ of my favorite tools to run my business (such as tools for online courses, invoicing, contracts, business management, scheduling, editorial planning, and more). Best part about Tool Time? (I mean, other than the fact that it was Tim Taylor’s popular show on Tim Allen’s popular show—someone got that, I can feel it.) Each of these posts comes with some type of freebie or giveaway and what I hope will be actionable information for you.

One of the main things that you expressed interest in was social media management, promotion, and best practices. I want to start off the month of Tool Time with some questions (you can ask yourself) and a few tools to help you decide which social media platforms are best for you and your brand, along with ways to use each platform. That way, as we go through some of this month’s topics, we can all have some next level social media clarity.


Not every social media platform is a great investment of your time. Especially when you consider where your audience is, how they use each platform, your own brand culture, and the available time you have to maintain each account. I’m going to share some notes on what the main platforms are generally used for, then I’m going to share 15 questions you can ask yourself for each platform, and a few pages you can download and take notes on if you decide to answer some of these questions, audit your use of the platforms below, and figure out what you’ll share on each platform going forward.
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How to Create a Brand Statement in Only 10 Minutes

How to Write a Brand Statement (with a formula, in only 10 minutes)

If there’s one thing you and I know, with our extensive legal training (from watching The Good Wife and other legal dramas), it’s that when you cross-examine a witness, you need to lead them carefully with pointed questions that require specific, short answers. We want yes/no, or we want very brief sentences that confirm what we already know. It’s almost like we train witnesses to fall into our evil ploy. They can’t help but answer us exactly how we want them too, which is amazing, because when witnesses drop those courtroom shock bombs on you, it’s no bueno . . . at least, not for your side of the case.

And that, my friends, is all related to brand statements. So much so that I bothered my brother (a lawyer) for several minutes trying to figure out if what I was saying was at least a smidgen factual. Actually he was very courteous with my questions; I’ll introduce him to you soon. And just wait, because if you think I’m a crazy person . . . but, moving on.


Brand statements and courtroom strategy. We’d love to hear the connection Regina.

Okay McSpeederton.

Speedsty McGee.

The Speedmeister.

Sir Speeds-a-lot.

I could go all day. But here it is:

If you answer the question, “So, what do you do?” with a trained, short, unengaging response, it might be time for a (new) brand statement—or even a new brand (but that’s a story for another post . . . and speaking of other posts, here’s one where I interviewed my “twin” on her rebrand). In fact, answering this question like you’re being cross-examined is the main, undeniable sign you need a new brand statement.

I wrote this post and developed a brand statement formula out of necessity really. I was so tired of answering, “I’m a blogger” with my head down, like it was something to be ashamed of. Like it would take up SO much of a person’s time to answer in a bit more detail. When we become embarrassed or complacent with what we do, or when we find it hard to proudly present our brand to the world, conversations go something like this: 

Random person at a “networking” event: “So, what do you do?”
You: “Oh, I’m a graphic designer.”
Rando McGruff: “Wow. Cool.”
The end. 

Mr. McGruff will barely remember this graphic designer in five minutes, and tomorrow, no chance.

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The Rebranding Conversation: Tips from My Twin

A rebranding conversation with Jessica of JessicaSays.com on byRegina.com

So, I’ve never shared before how I have a twin. Her name is Jessica Johansen. She’s not a twin in the “have the same parents; born at the same time” sense, but rather a twin in the “we both recently went through the rebranding process, for our blogs, in which we rebranded to our names” kinda way . . . oh, and we look exactly alike.

Now, don’t be misled by the term “exactly alike.” She is actually my better-looking twin with a better accent. Whereas my British accent fades and begins to sound Australian or Irish after a few minutes, hers is legit. And you kinda fall in girl love with her when she talks. Silly Americans; we get so distracted by accents. Moving on.

My twin Jessica


Ha. I wonder if she’ll be upset with me for that image, but let’s be honest: not only is she super smart, as you’ll see in her rebranding story and tips below, but she’s a gorgeous person inside and it completely spills over.

She formerly owned a blog called Fierce in the City, which she loved but felt didn’t completely fit her. When she and I first started talking about it, it almost sounded to me like she had outgrown her blog. Do any of you feel like that? You had a theme/name that once fit your place in life, and now it simply doesn’t anymore? Some of us establish brands that have a short shelf-life. Not on purpose, but it just happens. People change. Passions change. And the brand you want to create the new you from might require change.

Time to rebrand? People change. Passions change. The brand you want to create the new you from might require change.

I pestered Jessica (as in: asked her nicely over Skype once and she was all for it) into sharing a bit of her process and some of her tips with us. AND: She has a blow-my-mind relaunch guide for you >>> a 5-page PDF that will definitely help you with your process. Stay tuned below for that.

A little about her re-launched blog: Jessica Says  is a brand that empowers people to “grab life by the proverbial horns, set big, bold goals for themselves, achieve them with pizzazz (even when time is short!), all the while looking and feeling amazing.” Yep. Her mission statement really does sum up what she does with her community. Let’s get started with her >>> Also, my un-interesting asides will be in teal below. Thanks.


 

1. You debated about switching to a new blog name and brand for a while. What pushed you toward the decision? Did you have any influences encouraging you not to switch? How would you recommend approaching and announcing a new brand to an audience?

Hi Regina, thanks so much for having me! I’m really excited to be here. Regarding your question, I did “um and ah” about this for a while, didn’t I? To be fair, it was a pretty big decision to make: Fierce in the City was the first incarnation of my first “proper” blog (I’d been blogging on Tumblr for a few years but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish), so I definitely had some trouble letting it go.
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How to Become a Home Office Superhero (by setting up your personal cloud)

How to become a home office superhero and set up your own personal cloud with WD My Cloud EX2

Regina here. Helping to make your home office life super hot. Where “super hot” means secure, organized, reliable, and that which gives you peace of mind. All of those are very sexy qualities, right?

Even if you disagree (which would be ludicrous, by the way), I want to tell you about why you should set up your own private cloud for your home office or creative business, how you can use your cloud, the types of things you should be backing up, and a daily routine you can do when you finish work for the day (checklist style) to keep you organized and sane.

P.S. Virtual hugs to WD for sponsoring an upgrade to my creative life by letting me try the private cloud with My Cloud EX2. I feel so “next level” now. You’ll see what I mean shortly. But first, I’m super happy EX2 (as I call him for short) fit well with all the black and gold on my desk.

It’s pretty amazing that even though I’m talking about tech that can save our digital lives, I’m still concerned about my color game. But hey . . .

MyCloudEX2 on my desk

I know you can’t stand the suspense. You want to know three things: (1) What is a “private cloud” anyway and are you just making stuff up, yet again, Regina? (2) If it indeed does exist, how is this different from Google Drive, Dropbox, or Carbonite? What’s the benefit? Why should I set one up? (3) Did you love it enough to have a completely weird photo shoot with it in front of a very hip, Austin, art wall? [I’ll just tell you right now, yes. Yes, I did.] Keep Reading

Blog Income Report: The Tools + Tips That Helped Me Earn $7,000 Last Month

Can you really make money blogging? Yes. Here is how I made $7,000 on byRegina.com last month.

I used to work 70 – 80 hours per week. Managing a shoe store. And the money was excellent. But it was a bit hectic. I was 23 and in school and had a full-time job, yet I was trying to build a business at the same time. I took breaks to go to class. I didn’t even have enough time to do my homework or study (which was a problem for a person who nerdily enjoyed school as much as I did), and I certainly didn’t have enough time to spend the money I made on anything other than rent. My friends thought I had the best life ever. I thought I had it great. How any of us drew these conclusions, I will never know . . . oh wait, that’s right, I was naive and didn’t understand the whole money-life tradeoff thing.

If the hours worked, and the personal satisfaction felt in your work leave much to be desired, then no amount of money makes it okay. I didn’t really want my life to consist of 15 minute naps in the stockroom of my shoe store. No. I wanted to be one of those really cool + mystical people who had figured out how to make an income doing what they loved.

I believed it was possible, but at the same time, I kinda didn’t believe it. My head said, “Yeah, someone like you can do it. It’s a logically possible thing,” but my heart and my fear said, “But, can someone like you, the actual you you, really do that?” That one ridiculous thought held me down for a long time. Just in case you’ve only ever heard this from scammy marketers and not “real people,” I want to tell you: Someone like you, the actual you, can make a living doing things you love. And rejoice, because if you have to put in the ridiculous hours to make it happen, they will be for you and your family and your legacy.

So, welcome to one of my blog income reports where I talk about money in real terms in the hopes that it will help. If you are trying to build an income, I hope that it will seem more possible. If you already make money online, I hope the tips help, and if you’ve far surpassed these tips, I hope that by you merely reading (or commenting), some of your mojo will rub off on us.Keep Reading