November 21, 2014 95 comments

Top 15 Creative Business Tools I Use as an Infopreneur

by Regina

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 check it out, EPICBLOG is for sale on Amazon.com.

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.


2. Computer (or Tablet)
As in >> Tech for content creation + whatnot. I know, this is a “duh” category.
I use and love my MacBook Pro from 2011, though, I shant lie to you >> @BunnyWanderland and I just got twinsies iPads, and after a few days of use, I’m pretty convinced it’s the only tool one needs (more on that in another post). I snuck a picture while Bunny was geeking out about using Canva and many other apps on her iPad.

iPads all the way for business success

I think we all feel that a computer of some sort is necessary, so I’ll just note the document storage apps I like to use to backup files and transfer items between laptop >> tablet >> phone >> camera: Dropbox and WD’s My Cloud EX2.


3. Phone w/ Camera (or Tablet or DSLR Camera)
As in >> Something to take your own photos.

What I use now: iPhone 5, Canon T5i + this one lens I’m in love with

Confession. I used to think all bloggers and product sellers who took their own photos were a bit nuts. I mean, is it really necessary? People would say things like, “You’ll eventually want to take pictures that other people can’t copy,” and “You’ll eventually want the ease/quickness of grabbing your own shots when you’re working with a tight deadline.” Okay, fanatics. Whatever.

But then, a crazy thing happened. I eventually wanted to take completely original images to complement my posts and products. I eventually wanted to quickly get the exact shot I needed instead of searching through stock photography for three hours. Taking your own photos (for your website, products, blog posts, or just to record ideas/inspiration) may be something you want to do eventually too, if you aren’t already.


4. Graphic Design Software
As in >> Software that helps you create the images that help you stand out online.

What I use now: Photoshop, Canva
What I’ve used in the past and recommend in a pinch: Pixlr.com

When I started taking design seriously, in terms of my blog posts and products, I saw 10,000 times more traffic (I’m being literal) from Pinterest and other sources, but mainly Pinterest. Not only were wonderful people coming to my site to read my free blog posts, but these spectacular individuals were also coming to buy stuff. Say, what? It was awesome. And the reason I started making a full-time income from blogging (here’s my income report).

When I’m designing my everyday blog graphics, I’m typically using Photoshop (because I slowly learned how to use it over time), but I’ve also been learning Canva (which takes a whole lot less time to learn and is freaking amazing). Whenever I’m creating something like a media kit, my first choice is Canva.


5. Task Management

What I use now: #EPICDAYnotepad (below)
What I’ve used in the past: Wunderlist (I still use this for my grocery list), Evernote, TeuxDeux, Asana, Workflowy

#EPICDAY: the daily notepad to help you plan an epic day of creative work

Why #EPICDAYNOTEPAD?
Honestly, I’ve tried so many freaking apps and systems, I couldn’t even remember or list them all. Anytime a new app comes out that helps with task management, I geek out and think it’s the answer to everything. Until I stop using it three weeks later.

What I’ve found works best for me is having a central place to store information on all my ongoing projects, products, and content ideas (OneNote and EPICBLOG), and then having a simple, physical space where I can record and focus on my daily efforts.

The #EPICDAYnotepad (available on Etsy, but pictured above left—my brother’s; above right—mine) has a section for a daily quote or driving thought, space to write the three things you will fight to accomplish that day, a place for business management notes/tasks as well as ongoing projects/products notes, and the very bottom has a place where you can check off your social media and blog activity for the day (you can see this on my recent Instagram picture).

It’s a tearaway notepad so that you can tear off each day and start fresh. A huge part of being a successful creative business owner is forgiving yourself and moving on if you don’t get everything done each day. This is the major lesson I’ve learned, and one of the top things I would tell anyone about running a rewarding, peaceful, meaningful business.

P.S. If you manage a number of clients for your freelance busines, I do think Asana, Basecamp, and even Workflowy are worth a look for you.

P.P.S. I’m giving away one #EPICDAYnotepad and a free 30-minute planning/idea session with me (via Skype) . . . all you have to do (to enter to win) is comment on this post and include the magic password: #EPICDAYnotepad. I’ll be selecting a winner on Monday, November 24 and notifying you in the comments. UPDATE: Winner has been selected. Thank you for entering, my friends.


6. Social Media Management

What I use now: Buffer
What I used to use: Hootsuite (okay, I still use this during Twitter chats and other events)

Why Buffer?
Wouldn’t it be neat if you were browsing the web and found a great article and could just press one button to bring up a screen that allows you to tweet the web page out (or share it on Facebook) at any time in the future you wish? Or wouldn’t it be awesome to read a tweet in your Twitter timeline/notifications and be able to press one button to retweet or quote that tweet in the future (image below)? Or, or, (here’s a good one) wouldn’t you love to read blog posts from your phone (on let’s say Feedly) and be able to easily add content to your queue of tweets set to go out? Buffer, for the win, yo.

A huge part of being effective online is being present. But, you can’t actually always be present. A tool like Buffer allows you to schedule out content on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and more in a few simple clicks. And the extension for your browser—amazing.

My favorite feature, though, is pictured below. I love being able to easily retweet something in the future, because the moment a cool tweet pops up, or the moment you notice a tweet, is not necessarily the best time to retweet it (it may be too late, you may have just tweeted 3 other things, etc.).

Buffer from within Twitter


7. Email (List) Management

What I use now: MailChimp
What I’ve used for clients in the past: AWeber

Wrote a whole post on my favorite 11 features of MailChimp and their multiple benefits. Le check it out, please, if you’re interested.


8. Payments

What I use now: Gumroad + PayPal (online); Square + PayPal Here (in real life)
What I’ve used in the past: WooCommerce (with WordPress), Etsy, Shopify, Squarespace

How to accept payments for your freelance business or creative business: the tools you need

Why Gumroad?
I plan to write a whole post about it, but I use Gumroad because it allows me to sell my digital products quite easily. There’s “pay what you want” pricing that allows customers to set the price, there are recurring/subscription sales, and there are awesome bi-weekly payments via PayPal that help me feel like a normal person.

Why Square + PayPal Here?
Both PayPal Here and Square (pictured above) offer small devices that plug into your touch screen phone or tablet and allow you to sell products or services by taking in-person credit card payments. That cute little device is a card swipey. I use these apps because I often sell books and other materials at workshops. I like the fact that PayPal Here is directly linked to my PayPal account (funds available immediately), but I also like the fact that Square has an offline mode that allows you to take payment info. with no Internet connection, then process the payments afterward.


9. Hosting

What I use now: WPEngine, Bluehost
What I’ve used in the past: GoDaddy, 1and1, Dreamhost, A Small Orange, + so many others I can’t remember

Why WPEngine?
WPEngine is a WordPress host that offers nightly backups, automatic updates, extra speed, a lot of security (they’ll fix your site if something gets past all their hack/malware measures), and my favorite feature ever . . . a staging area. You can copy your live site to a staging area, test out a new theme and new plugins, fix any kinks in your new design, and then with one click, you can make your staging site your live site. This is a super way to roll out rebrands. WPEngine can handle lots of web traffic, so if you have a large or growing site, it’s worth a look. P.S. The support is amazing and their whole team seems to be exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable.

Why Bluehost?
I’ve been with Bluehost for around six years and I host 90% of my sites with them. My absolute favorite feature is the amazing support. Over the last several years, I’ve had countless excellent calls with Bluehost. Everyone is ready to help, is knowledgeable, and seems truly concerned with all of your problems or needs. Bluehost is also extremely affordable and incredibly easy to use. I’d easily recommend their platform to any small business owner or blogger. This is not just because I have an affiliate link; I’m speaking from actual years of experience with them.


10. Accounting

What I use now: Wave
What I’ve used in the past: Outright

Why Wave?
Wave is not only free, but it includes invoicing, an app that lets you take pictures of receipts (and have the relevant info. automatically pulled off of them), and much more. Wave is very simple to use as a way to record your expenses and income. Wave also has the ability to take credit card payments (for a small fee similar to PayPal’s) and has a paid add-on to help you manage employee or subcontractor payroll and employment reports and taxes.


11. Web Analytics

What I use now: Google Analytics, Alexa

Why Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is free software the allows you to see your total pageviews, number of visitors, most popular pages/posts/products, best web traffic sources, and even search terms people use to get to your site.

Why Alexa?
I pay attention to Alexa because it is a free tool that others can use to see how your website is performing. Why does this matter? Recently I had a company contact me (through which I earn affiliate commission), and based on my Alexa stats and other factors, they wanted to partner up on some future projects and increase my affiliate commission per signup. I’m saying this to make the point that Alexa matters, not only because it’s a useful tool, but because other people can’t log in to your Google Analytics (only you can see that), so Alexa is their way of finding out how your site ranks and how it performs overall (of course, this matters more for bloggers than other types of business owners, but still).

Alexa free site statistics


12. Online Courses

What I use now: MemberPress (WordPress plugin), Fedora
Other cool tools: MailChimp (courses by email delivery), Gumroad (courses by subscription delivery)

Why MemberPress?
If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, I think that with a small learning curve, MemberPress is one of the best plugins to offer “members only” content or host courses on your site. I don’t even use it to it’s full potential, but, it allows students to register and pay for a course, receive a login, then log in on your site and see pages that others can’t see, etc.

Why Fedora?
If you want to set up a simple, attractive, multimedia course (hosted on a separate site), Fedora is definitely worth your time. When I started using it, the things that stood out the most were how cool the landing pages looked and how intuitive the entire platform was for the course designer (you) and the students to use.


13. Scheduling (for Client Sessions/Meetings)

What I use now: Calendly
What I’ve used in the past: every app ever, back and forth emails

Why Calendly?
It works the way people think. Your clients can land on your Calendly page (with a custom username in the URL) and see what types of appointments you’re available for, choose the one that applies to them, choose a good time (based on the schedule you set), enter a few details, and be done. Calendly has a free plan that integrates with Google Calendar and allows you to create one meeting/event type, and Calendly also has an affordable paid plan that I’m about to upgrade to with unlimited event types and automated reminders.

Calendly scheduling is simple

Calendly makes it easy to book appointments


14. Videos

What I use now: Camtasia (to record my computer screen and/or myself as well as to edit videos)
Other tools to check out: iMovie, Screenflow, Screenr (free + web-based)

Why Camtasia?
If you want to be able to record your computer screen (for video tutorials) while also recording yourself (check out my Pinterest tutorial that I uploaded to YouTube as an example—screenshot below), then Camtasia is for you. Also, it is super duper ridiculously easy to edit from. You can totally record just you or just your screen, but I love it for the fact that you can do both at the same time.

Camtasia screen recording software


15. Document Design

What I use now: Apple Pages
Other tools: Adobe InDesign, Canva

Why Apple Pages?
I think Pages (I use the’09 version on my desktop and the 2014 app version on my iPad) is like a mix between Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. I’ve often felt limited with Word when it comes to designing worksheets/workbooks or complex documents, but I’ve often suffered under the InDesign learning curve. Apple Pages allows you to easily align elements (with little guided lines so that you know one image is exactly centered/aligned with another), do complex formatting over multiple sections, and more. It’s how I created my digital workbook 3-Day Create—for people who want to create and sell information products. Check out the 3-Day Create post or this pin for several shots of what I created using Pages.


Sooo, I know that was a long list, but I wanted to answer some of the most common questions I hear, “What do you use for _______?”

Do you have any tools in these categories that you can’t live without? Do you have more questions about any of the creative business tools listed above?

Photo: (c) Mosuno via Stocksy.com

95 responses to “Top 15 Creative Business Tools I Use as an Infopreneur”

  1. Margo says:

    Wow- thanks for this detailed list!! I will definitely be checking some of these out. I just signed up to Basecamp yesterday, and I can tell it is going to make my workflow with clients so much smoother- no more emails! I started using co-schedule for scheduling my social media posts, and I absolutely love it because it also comes with a WordPress plugin, and an editorial calendar that you can schedule everything from blog posts to social media posts. I have been looking for something that will let me record videos of my computer screen for quick tutorials, so def. checking out Camtasia!! You just brought out the inner nerdy blogger girl in me today!

  2. Tanea says:

    Another great post! Thanks so much for this. I hadn’t heard of Wave, but I will definitely be checking it out.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Yay, you gave us more details about the #EPICBLOG calendar, I can’t wait to get my hands on this little beauty. And of course the #EPICDAY notepad would complete that beautifully.

    I am really impressed by the Square dongle. I don’t sell anything but if I did, this would definitely go on my to purchase list !

    Oh and thanks for the tip about Pages. I am about to create my first freebie and was not too sure what to go for. I’ll now definitely buy it (as I have a MacBook from 2 years ago so it didn’t come pre-packed with it).

    Like Margo, I also use Co-Schedule. Picmonkey is another good online tool for touching up pictures or doing collages. Otherwise pretty much have the same toolsuite as you !

  4. Julie says:

    What amazing round up of tools and tricks, and I’m in love with what I can see of the Epicday notepad, I have to have it! So absoltuely, I hope to win the giveaway for #EPICDAYnotepad . But if not, where can I buy one? Because I’m totally willing to shell out some cash for that, it looks amazing.

    • regina says:

      Hey Julie, thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate the sweet compliment to the post and to the notepad. Laura (below) won the notepad, but it is available on ETSY if you ever want to check it out.

  5. […] out Regina’s insanely helpful post, top 15 creative business tools she uses as an […]

  6. Jessica says:

    Amazing stuff as usual, Regina! I am ALL OVER that EPICBLOG planner and that pad. Can’t wait for all this brilliantness (I know, I know, not a word) to come out!

  7. Anna says:

    I’m just starting out on my full time small biz adventure and your blog has been nothing short of LIFE CHANGING Regina! Thank you times infinity for spending so much time sharing your expertise and what you’ve learned so that we newbies don’t have to completely reinvent the strugglebus wheel!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Whoa! This list is awesome. I’ve been looking to expand out and maybe do an online course and CourseCraft looks perfect! I use a lot of the same tools as you (evernote, wave, square) but you’re using some things I’ve never heard of, i’ll have to test them out.

    Thank you for such a detailed list!

  9. Jori says:

    2015 is the year of REALLY building me a business so this would be an amazing giveaway. I’ve been following your blog for the last couple of months and can’t wait to put it all into action. Thanks, Regina #EPICDAYnotepad

  10. Zie Darling says:

    Fantastic post! Id love to win the #EPICDAYnotepad xx but more importantly I think I downloaded most of the stuff you recommend hah. Can’t wait to try it all out
    Xx

  11. Wow!! So glad that I stumbled across your blog yesterday!!! I am in the process of launching my new adventure…The Honeymoon Co. and am super excited to spend the afternoon going through your past posts. Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge! Really hoping to win the #EPICDAYnotepad 🙂 and idea session with you!

  12. Erika says:

    I truly appreciate your blog! I have been trying to start my own blog for the past year and a half and was having the HARDEST time figuring out where to start and no one was telling me what I need. I want my blog to be more than a daily diary but a business and I have been coming to your website everyday for the past week (I found out about you via Pinterest last week)! I don’t want the epic notepad, but I NEED the #EPICDAYnotepad my blog needs it.

  13. Brittany says:

    This is great info!! I’m a maker so I’m not necessarily an “infopreneur”, but I love all of these ideas for streamlining your work process. I’m not a huge fan of the nitty gritty details that aren’t making, so I’ll definitely have to keep these in mind in terms of making that part of business easier. Love it!

    http://www.brittanyleighjewelry.com

  14. Rachel says:

    OMG. I need the #EPICDAYnotepad and the planner. I can’t wait until they are available! I’m way too obsessed with any type of planner and paper goods.

    • regina says:

      Oh yes, me too. Obsessed. Thank you for your comment, Rachel. I’m happy you’re excited about them. I can’t wait to release them. I’ll update you.

  15. Melissa says:

    Fabulous list, thank you! I’ve bookmarked the ones I’m not big enough for yet, and will be checking out the rest. Thank you for more super-helpful content. 🙂

    Oh, and if I don’t win the #EPICDAY notepad, where can I get one for my very own self? Need, and not just because I’m a complete planner nut.

  16. Theresa says:

    Wow, soo much information – thank you for explaining in detail how and why you use each thing. So helpful! I started using OneNote a few weeks ago and LOVE. IT. The automatic synching between the desktop and iPhone app is great.
    We use Asana at my office and it works really well, very easy interface. Trying to get Buffer going as well!

    I did a post recently on my organization essentials if you want to check it out!

    Also, I’d love to win the #EPICDAYnotepad!

    Theresa
    http://www.underhonesttrees.com

  17. Briana says:

    This post was perfection! Tools I use, heard of, or about to download right now lol. Saving this for future reference too. Thank you!

  18. Briana says:

    Oh also, I need that notebook like yesterday. #EPICDAYnotepad

  19. Danielle says:

    I’m working on a redesign and finding more efficient tools right now, so this was perfect! A goal of mine for 2015 is to work on my photography/blog pictures. I also want to start developing video tutorials and possibly a course. Definitely bookmarked this post (and sharing it in my link love this Sunday). Thanks for always sharing such great content!!

  20. Julie Harris says:

    I’m so happy to know that I’m not the only one using Apple Pages haha. I love it. I initially started using it when I first got my MacBook and hadn’t set up Word yet. But now I use it more than Word. You put it perfectly – it’s the perfect combination between Microsoft and Adobe. I am just now finally seeing some really professional progress in my Photoshop skills, but InDesign is still so foreign to me. I usually write everything out in Google Docs first and organizing all my content copy there, then I’ll transfer it to Apple Pages or Canva for any document design.

    Calendly sounds really great. Allowing your clients to see what time you have available ad select the appointments that work best for them on their own time v.s. constant emails back and forth – AMAZING! It seems like this would save so much time and help the client take the session more seriously since it was within their power to set up the appointment.

    Creating an online e-course is one of my 2015 business goals! I’m currently working on an e-course syllabus and outline now for small businesses but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to host it. I love that Member Press would allow me to host my classes directly through my self-hosted WordPress site. I am definitely going to check that one out.

    I love your daily planner, too! I am a “pen and paper” kind of girl and sometime the modern paper planners get too fancy for me with all their pretty styling and colors. I am constantly writing all over them with my crazy short hand notes and that it kind of defeats all the fancy printing. Keep it simple and keep it focused! Can’t wait for the EPICBLOG grand release!!! Loving all the sneak peaks you shown us so far! #EPICDAYnotepad

  21. Danielle says:

    Quick question- the only Apple product I have is an iPad mini. I downloaded Pages months ago but haven’t used it yet. Is it realistic to create an ebook or documents using an iPad mini? Maybe I’m just so used to a PC laptop that it seems intimidating! haha. It just seems like it would be difficult to add that much content using a tablet.

    • regina says:

      Danielle, if you’re creating from scratch, I think shorter documents and a Bluetooth keyboard will do the trick on an iPad mini. A lot of the time, I see people also choose to just make edits from their iPads on docs that already exist. I think it would be intimidating (and perhaps slow) to create a longer book on an iPad, but I won’t say it’s impossible. If you’re working with a PC, I think InDesign or Word might be best.

      I honestly try to stick with what is easiest. Your time is best spent on the content, but since design is important for the user, I’d try to pick one program and really master it or hire a document designer.

      And this ends my long answer to your question. Sorry. And thank you.

      • Danielle says:

        No, thank you for the care in responding! That’s what I had suspected. I should probably work on learning InDesign and possibly incorporating Canva and test out Pages only if I’m feeling feisty haha. I’ve been wanting to switch to Mac for years but it just hasn’t happened, so I should probably just accept it and master my PC options 🙂

  22. fran says:

    Great list, Regina, and thanks! but you don’t tell us where we can get an #EPICDAYnotepad? It sounds like the kind of pad I’d like to keep handy as I switch between phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. I need a way not to leave tabs open and things unpursued and decided to go back to paper to get that done—unless you or someone else has a better idea. Love the list!

  23. Kimber Lee says:

    Great post! Pages drives me crazy trying to create pdfs. I’m trying to stay sane lol

  24. Evelin Kivi says:

    As always a SUPER helpful post! Your blog always inspires me to step up my blogging game!

    evelinkivi.blogspot.com

  25. Laura says:

    That #EPICDAYnotepad – amazing! It looks like my brain, but in a nice pretty grid. Where can I get one? I think my clients might like them too… perhaps a good gift for them.

    • regina says:

      Laura, no, YOU’RE amazing Thank you for the sweet comment. Just wanted to let you know that you won the little giveaway, so I’m hoping you can email me (r e g i n a @ b y r e g i n a . c o m) so we can talk about the details.

      Thank you.

  26. Kayli says:

    Gotta get my hands on the #EPICBLOG planner and #EPICDAY notepads asap.

    Awesome post!

  27. Shannen says:

    I love the idea of the #EPICDAYnotepad! I have a daily task sheet that I laminated and use with wet erase markers, but it’s just not doing it for me. I love the quote or thought for the day.

  28. Angie says:

    Found you on Pinterest been reading your blog posts all night!!!

  29. Angie says:

    I love what you are doing #epicdaynotepad

  30. […] need tools to run your business. Regina shares her favourite tools in 15 categories like email list management, design, accounting, and […]

  31. monica says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! I have been looking EVERYWHERE for something where my clients can book their availability with me and no program can do what I want. Thank you! I am also entering & here’s the hashtag! I hope I win because I am SO inspired by you & I Need organization! Namaste & OM 🙂 #EPICDAYnotepad

  32. Love this list! There’s a few new to me things I’ll be checking out.

  33. Debs aspland says:

    I love love love this post, as someone looking to get focus and more organised, the #EPICDAYnotepad looks like the answer to all my prayers. Good luck everyone, and thanks for this great post 🙂

  34. Maria says:

    Oh, oh, pick me! I want a #EPICDAYnotepad! 😉 Thanks!

  35. Patty Altis says:

    I have enjoyed your posts and found them to be very helpful. Thank you!!! #EPICDAYnotepad

  36. Chrissy says:

    Hey Regina! Fantastic post as always! Girl I love what you are doing and I am so happy to see how successful you’re becoming. I will definitely check out OneNote( I sill have my MacBook 2011 too!). I’ve been holding off on getting Pages for a while..(.is it free now or do you still have to pay?) but have been looking for a way to create PDFs myself. Thank you for such incredible information as always!

  37. Ashleigh says:

    Great Post! I just decided to try Buffer. I was using Hootsuite but I have so many social accounts it wasn’t quite cutting it!

    Tweetdeck is the perfect tool for twitter chats. I have one column that shows all posts in the chat and another that shows me personal notifications so I can keep tabs on everything!

  38. Angele says:

    I’ve only been browsing your site for 10 minutes and I’ve already shared 3 pages + sent a link to a friend. I think this is the literal definition of obsessed. Thank you for the great content!

    • Chrissy says:

      Angele right?? The first time I stumbled across Regina’s blog I’m pretty sure I spent at least 3 hours if not more pinning her content and just taking everything in. Everythig on here is Amazeballs!!!

  39. Mark Evans says:

    Some really good suggestions – I’m going to check out Calendly and Gumroad. Here are the tools I that use in my consulting business: http://www.markevans.ca/2014/09/18/tools/

  40. Charmane says:

    You are the best!! I can’t even remember how I found your site approximately 3 weeks ago, but it was perfect timing. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!

  41. Jill says:

    Doh! I saved this to read further because I obly had time to skim the other day when you posted. You’re giving away a free #EPICDAYnotepad and 30 min planning session?! Pick me pick me! Did you pick yet? I am transition to a new concept and love to pick your brain.
    PS love your blog…not just because you’re giving away free stuff either…your content is alright too.

  42. Amy says:

    Hi Regina, Another amazing post. I know what you’re saying about the Indesign learning curve – making simple things hard. Apple pages sounds amazing. I will definitely give it a try. Thank you again

  43. Sana says:

    These tools are great Regina. Its my first visit to your blog and I am impressed with the graphics you are creating for each post. keep it up

  44. Argh I just stumbled across your site and can NOT be happier for finding it! I will be one of the first customers when the EPICBLOG planner and EPICDAY notepads come out!

  45. I mean of course, great info (as always!) But girl, I can NOT wait for the EPICBLOG planner. You better know I will be keeping my eye out for it & will be one of the first to order. Keep me posted & best of luck 🙂

  46. Leslie says:

    The EPICBLOG editorial planner looks freakin awesome, I want! Thanks for your posts, I’m learning a lot! I’m not a writer so my blog consists of mostly images that I either create or find in antique books, I’ll check into this tool to see if it will be helpful to me. Cheers!

  47. Robin says:

    I’m eager to see more of EPICBLOG. I think it’s just what I need.

    I’ve been disappointed by Alexa. The difference between my estimated numbers and the certified number is ridiculously huge. I was feeling pretty good about myself until I paid for a subscription and got a dose of reality. I’ll work harder and continue to improve but right now, ouch.

  48. Kerry says:

    What an absolutely BRILLIANT post!!!! Thank you so much for sharing, I have taken notes of some of these tools so I can look into them later.

  49. Annette says:

    THANK YOU – great stuff – just what I need right now!

  50. Wildheartsea says:

    OMG I love it, all of these tools look super helpful especially the epic blog planner. Would you recommend these tools for blogs and business just starting out?

  51. Oh wow, Regina. I really appreciate this post. I can absolutely relate to your workflow (especially the “Ooh look a shiny new task manager planner! *3 weeks later* Ooh look another one I must have!”) and it helps to see how your preferences have changed as you and your business has changed. I would love to see how the #EPICDAYnotepad would fit into my life AND, as you know already, I am very anxious to read more about the EPICBLOG planner. Thanks for the time and effort you put into this post.

  52. Erika says:

    Oh man Regina! I just want to say how much of an awesome resource your blog is!!! Love your voice, just the way you do all of this, and I just want to say thank you for putting together such entertaining, quality, useful, and thorough resources!! Amazing! 🙂

  53. Sarah says:

    Oh please oh please oh pleeeeease pick me!!!! #EPICDAYnotepad
    You’re like a real life super hero.

    Quick story. May I? OK:
    I’ve been blogging since 2004. But after my first son in 2007 and more recently my 4th this past August, and all the other runts in between, I kinda lost my mojo. In desperate need of a make-over, I started to dig through Pinterest for inspiration and found YOU! I spent 3 hours at work reading your posts. Taking notes and jotting thoughts and ideas in my journal on my way home… I’m excited to be starting over, especially now that I found your site. I feel so empowered and equipped with all your guidance and support. Thank you for sharing all your wisdom with the world. But is it totally wrong that I want to keep your page to myself!?! Ugh I know, its awful. I won’t for long. I will have to dedicate the relaunch of my blog to you Miss Regina!

    In the meantime, can you PLEASE ping me when your EPICBlog is up for sale!!!! I cannot wait!

    Now I shall scroll back up and read the rest of your post. I had an OMG FOR REAL!? moment. I just had to enter to win!!

    Thanks wonderwoman!!

  54. Sarah says:

    [insert blushing emoji here] I’m like 2 weeks too late lol ahahaha

  55. This is a fantastic list! Thanks for putting it all together. There’s definitely some new resources I want to check out.

    I love that #EPICDAYnotepad!!

  56. Mark White says:

    Hey Regina, One more great write up from you. These 15 tools are surely the best business tools to unleash the creativity. I loved the list

    Regards:

    Mark

  57. Great minds thing alike! I just released my own blogging editorial calendar tool this year: http://www.bearandbeaglecreative.com/blog-goal-getter-calendar-2015!

    It’s a massive undertaking to make a tool like that so props to you! Get it girl!

  58. Shannon P. says:

    What an awesome wealth of information. I cannot wait to check out the #EPICDAYnotepad link. Thank you!

  59. Natasha Lynn says:

    This post is on point, really loved the entire thing and I look forward to looking into much of what you posted. I’m pretty new to blogging and still finding my stride, I cannot wait to read more of your posts 🙂

  60. I can NOT wait to get my EPICBLOG planner in two more days! My friend got each of us one as xmas gifts. Ummm…. best give EVER! And now I have some serious thinking to do. I planned on getting a mac with my tax money, but maybe I should just go with an ipad?!

  61. Deanna says:

    I can’t wait to get my EpicBlog planner in the mail, I just ordered it along with the create a course workbook of yours. Glad to have found you!

  62. Beth says:

    I love this! This is an amazing list and I don’t think I’ve seen anything that touches on so many items that a blogger would use. I’ve used a few of the items you’ve mentioned and some you don’t anymore. Your list gives me options. Thanks.

  63. Canva canva Canva. I can’t get enough. I was wondering what you use to make such awesome printables. I got your EpicBlog workbook for xmas! Can’t wait to dive in!

  64. feuza says:

    I hear gun road does not accept paypal, how are you using both? Great post

  65. Kayla says:

    I’ll keep it simple, and sincerely say thank you Regina! YOU will be one person who will help make 2015 my year. Your efficiency is inspiring. You have a new loyal follower.
    Thanks again.

    Kayla
    http://www.stylewanderer.com

  66. manish_BHr says:

    I love this! This is an amazing list and i starting out on ful time small biz adventure and your blog has been nothing short of LIFE CHANGING Regina! Thank you times infinity for spending so much time sharing your expertise and what you’ve learned someone!

  67. Ah some of these are so helpful! I’m looking for new hosting sites now so will have to check out those links… and accounting! Holy smokes I’ve been ignoring this like the plague and it’s getting out of hand. I should really look into Wave.

  68. […] *poof* it’s time to pick up the kids from school and your work time has vanished. There are many tools bloggers can enlist to help stay on track and get the most […]

  69. […] *poof* it’s time to pick up the kids from school and your work time has vanished. There are many tools bloggers can enlist to help stay on track and get the most […]

  70. […] for Bloggers by Ciera Holzenthal 1 Clever Way to Streamline Your Client Process by Lauren Hooker 15 Creative Business Tools I Use Daily byRegina.com 22 Gmail Plugins That All Content Marketers Need to Know About by Neil Patel Take a […]

  71. Niki says:

    Such a great list of tools you have shared. Thanks Regina.

    For task management I am using Asana from past 4 years. I am pretty comfortable with it but for few daily routine personal & general tasks I think a notepad like #EPICDAYnotepad is the best solution.

  72. […] Top 15 Creative Business Tools by ByRegina […]

  73. Marta says:

    Thank you so much. Incredibly helpful.

  74. Beth says:

    Thank you, Regina!

    I am thinking about starting to create videos as a part of my blog content, and of course I have no idea about shooting or editing or anything!

    So I told myself: “Go check byRegina, for sure she has something useful to say about this!”

    And voilà!

    Thank you again your good work sharing such an amazing content!

  75. Thanks for sharing! I do love a lot of these as well and found some new tools that I want to try out, you’re the best <3 ~ Sammy

  76. Lee says:

    I would like to say great article and I would like to back up the fact that WP-Engine for hosting WordPress sites was the best decision I have made for my business so far as a designer in the programming world. Keep up the great research.

  77. […] also has an epic blogging calendar I want to get my hands on. And it’s called ( of course) Epic Blog.  No matter what you use, whether it’s a free app like Evernote or Google Calendar, […]

  78. […] also has an epic blogging calendar I want to get my hands on. And it’s called ( of course) Epic Blog.  No matter what you use, whether it’s a free app like Evernote or Google Calendar, […]

  79. Great post. I’ve just been looking at Gumroad. This is definitely something I need to get on with.

  80. Sonya says:

    Hi Regina,

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article!

    I use PayPal, but I’ll have to take a look at Gumroad.

  81. Lisa says:

    Super helpful article Regina!

    Has anyone set up a staging environment with Bluehost? I’ve seen some tutorials around but was wondering if anyone found a simpler solution (simpler than basically copying everything over to a subdomain).

    Thanks!

  82. Colleen says:

    #epicnotepad
    I have bookmarked this in my “to do” list for my site… a very simple thing I love is the notes app on the iPhone !!!

    Also- I tried signing up for the visual artist course but it said it’s not in enrollment now? I would really like to learn how to make my own mock ups and put text across them like many of the images on your sites….thanks!

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