10 Business Tools For Life Coaches Reviewed And Rated

 
I’m finding more and more that I’m getting asked by other Life Coaches what different services and platforms I use for both A Daring Adventure and Coach The Life Coach.

Rather than keep telling people individually I thought it would be cool to have just one page where all the resources are listed.

Some of these products allow affiliate marketing.

However, I want to offer my honest unbridled opinion. As such I haven’t included links because you can easily find all these products using Google.

I shall be using a scale from 1 to 10. And for no other reason than I can and I have a weird sense of humor, I’m using culinary analogies to give you an idea of what I really think.

  1. Something vaguely food related you find stuck to the bottom of your shoe
  2. Cold dead rat soup that you’d freak out if your dog went anywhere near
  3. Warm dead rat soup that has at least been seasoned properly
  4. Fresh leftovers found in the dumpster behind a decent restaurant
  5. McDonalds – only a fool would love it, but it can serve a purpose in dire emergencies
  6. A quality hole-in-the-wall Mexican you’ve found after a few too many margarita’s on a night out
  7. My wife’s scallop and shrimp risotto with a nice glass of sauvignon blanc
  8. A 9oz Filet Mignon, with creamed spinach and a bottle Pinot Noir at Ruths Chris
  9. A 48oz Porterhouse with creamed spinach and two bottles of the finest Pinot Noir at Uncle Jacks Steak House in New York City
  10. An offer from Ferran Adrià to reopen elBulli in Spain and fly you on a private jet with all your friends at his expense so he can cook you the meal of a life time.

1. E-Junkie (Selling digital product)

Price – $5 per month

I use e-junkie for the sale of Aligning With Your Core Values and prior to giving all my books away to my A Daring Adventure subscribers, used it to sell those too.

Pros: Very cheap at $5 per month. Easy to use, especially easy to set up coupon codes for special offers.

Cons: The site is built in flash so you cannot use in form enter tools and for a terrible typist like me that’s a pain in the butt. It’s also not as good as higher priced options like 1ShoppingCart (which is awesome for affiliate payments but cost $100!) for paying affiliates as you have to manually go in look for who you owe what to.

Rating: A safe 7, largely because it’s so damn cheap!

2. Amazon S3 (Back Up And Storage)

Cost – varies depending on the amount of data involved

My website database gets backed up daily to S3 and my entire site gets backed up weekly.

This is absolutely crucial in case I get hacked and if you don’t have something similar you’re dicing with death.

Two years ago my site did get hacked and without the back ups I’d have lost 6 years of work.

I also use S3 for storing all the Coach The Life Coach videos, audios and PDF’s.

Storing large files on my sites is just not tenable and using S3 people can either stream or download and there are no concerns about losing date as it’s already backed up.

YouTube is a brilliant alternative, but useless if you want to make them private. (I know there is that option but it’s not scalable or very effective for sales).

Pros: Very, very cheap, usually costs me between $3 and $4 per month

Cons: None that I’ve found yet to be honest.

Rating: I almost gave this a 10, but alas elBulli isn’t re-opening just yet and a 9 will have to suffice.

3. Network Solutions (domain names, web hosting, e-mail etc)

Cost; Holy crap I wasn’t sure how much their domains cost, but on checking it seems that they want $2.91 per month if I were stupid enough to buy a new one. GoDaddy would want $12 for the same domain.

I have used Network Solutions for 8 or 9 years and the A Daring Adventure domain is lodged with them as well as a couple more, although I’m not sure why any more.

This week they tried to sell me an upgrade to security that would mean they monitored any requests to make changes to my account and thus prevent domain name hijacking.

This is a very simple thing for them to monitor, but they wanted $1,000 to do it. Just ridiculous.

Pros: I suppose they have been around a long time.

Cons: Very, very expensive compared to other options for domain name purchases and they will grind you down with their attempts to upsell you.

Rating: I shall be keeping my eyes on the dogs because this is a 2 and lucky to get it.

4. Fuze Meeting (online meeting platform)

Cost $14 per month

Fuze meeting is similar to GoToMeeting, just a lot cheaper and the last time I checked it also allowed more people on a call (up to 12)  with hi-def streaming.

I use it for all my Coach The Life Coach trainings and whereas I have had had the odd gremlin it’s way better than free options like Google Hangouts or Skype pro at $5 per month (I think) with built in recording and reliable connections.

Pros: Very cheap, very reliable and great support if you phone in.

Cons: I believe they are still beta testing being able to record all the camera streams. Obviously the storage required to record up to 12 cameras in hi-def is immense and there have been a few hiccups.

Also e-mail support isn’t that great and they can take days to get back to you. Which is why I phone in now!

Rating: It’s steak time again because I give it a well deserved 8.

5. Aweber (newsletter platform)

Cost: $100 per month

Aweber has the industry best rates for delivering your e-mails. In other words it’s trusted by e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL etc so you get less bounces from overly protective firewalls.

I have just over 8,000 subscribers so it’s not cheap at $100 per month, but my guess it returns at LEAST $30k per year on that investment in new clients and book sales, so it’s well worth it.

Pros: Trusted, fairly straight forward to use and on the few occasions I have needed technical help, pretty good. Also offers excellent easy to understand stats and lots of tutorials and tips and tricks.

Cons: There are cheaper platforms out there and MailChimp is even free up to 2,000 subscribers.

Not as easy to use as Constant Contact, but then again they don’t charge for image storage as Constant Contact, do – or at least did when I had 3 or 4 years ago. It can also be fiddly when trying to copy and paste.

Rating: Tough one to call here because whereas I like Aweber and would be reluctant to move, it’s along way from being perfect. I’ll take the risotto and give it a 7.

6. Hostgator (Web hosting)

Cost: $10 per month for two sites

I have heard lots of people bash Hostgator, but then again there isn’t a large hosting company I haven’t heard bashed, so I can only go on my personal experience.

For the most part I have been very happy with few complaints.

Pros: Cheap and reliable.

Cons: A few times I have had posts go viral and they have shut my site down because the level of traffic was going to crash the sever.

This really sucks because with a viral post you usually have one shot at grabbing the traffic and when you’re site is down for 4 hours that can mean potentially thousands of missed opportunities.

Having said that, any major host would have done the same unless I was spending the hundreds of dollars needed to have a dedicated server.

Note: Some web designers will tell you they will host your site for you. What they do 99% of the time is then use a company like Hostgator and as a reseller make a small profit.

There’s nothing wrong with this, except you tend to pay a bit more than necessary and if the shit hits the fan and your site goes down or gets hacked you are dealing with a middle man who frequently has no control over what’s happening.

Rating: I haven’t encountered too many problems although support can be hit and miss and the CPanel isn’t necessarily the easiest to figure out.

Not bad though and I do need to wash those margarita’s down so a solid 6 and a 7 isn’t that far away.

7. PayPal Pro (banking system)

Cost: $30 per month

Pretty much every single transaction I undertake for my business goes through PayPal and I love it.

I use PayPal Pro because that allows me to take credit cards over the phone with something called ‘Virtual terminal’.

The Pro version also allows for a lot more flexibility with branding as it has a fully customizable API (application programming interface) so you can take money on your site without the client having to click away.

Pros: Great reporting. Very easy to use. Almost universally accepted although there are some countries like Nigeria where PayPal won’t take payments from.

Can be cheaper than bank credit card fees if using pro. Very good customer support.

Cons: A little too many attempts to upsell when logging in and isn’t the cheapest method for everyday transactions.

Rating: I cannot believe it, a small jet just landed on my lawn and is waiting to whisk me and my friends away to Spain! No it’s not perfect, but I’d be lost without it so I will give it a 10!

8. Transfer Big Files (it transfers big files!)

Cost $5 per month

I use this to send video recordings of client sessions as they are way too large to send via e-mail and I prefer this to Dropbox (which I do like by the way, just for other applications). I also use it to send out recordings of CTLC training sessions.

Pros: Cheap, highly reliable and you can see who has and who hasn’t downloaded what you have sent them, which can be interesting at times.

It also acts as a short term back up as files can be left up there indefinitely presuming you don’t go over you allocated storage space of 20Gb.

Cons: I’m not sure I’ve actually encountered any to date.

Rating: I shouldn’t have drunk that Pinot Noir earlier because I have two bottles coming my way from a superb vintage.

I give it 9 and the only reason it’s not a 10 is there are other options equally as inexpensive.

9. Go Daddy (Domain names, hosting e-mail etc)

Cost: depends on services you sign up for

Whereas 3 or 4 of my domains are held by Network Solutions the rest are held by Go Daddy.

I have heard of some horror stories regarding their hosting, but take that with a pinch of salt because I’ve no way of knowing if they are true.

Pros: very cheap for domains at $12 for a .com and a lot less for some of the newer extensions like .info, .co and .tv

Cons: Buy a domain from Go Daddy and the next part of your life will involve you declining upsell after upsell from hosting to e-mail to private registration to buying cute kittens (probably).

Rating: A steady 5. You probably won’t die from food poisoning , but you’re heart won’t thank you either.

10 iStock (copyright free images)

Cost: Approx $2.50 per image and up

The growth of sharing images with sites like Pinterest and Instagram has meant that a lot of people aren’t aware when they are breaking copyright laws.

This has even lead to some high profile (and not so high profile) bloggers being taken to court and sued.

It’s one thing sharing an image on Pinterest and it’s quite another to use that image commercially in a blog post. Ignorance will not save you in a court of law.

Either buy your images, take them yourself, or use Creative Commons and make sure you attribute the copyright owner otherwise you’re rolling the dice.

Pros: Lots and lots of different images to choose from

Cons: Their search engine is useless for more abstract terms and it seems to me at least, that the same types and styles of images often come up again and again.

It’s also stupidly expensive.

Not long ago they had thousands and thousands of 1 credit images (a credit is about $1.50 depending on how many you buy at a time).

But now I can almost never find an image for less than 2 credits, and that is what the image in this post cost me.

Also I don’t like the way that if you click on the cheapest option for any image (the smallest, which is all we ever need for a blog post) and then log in, it defaults back to the most expensive and I have been caught by that a couple of times.

Rating: I vacillated on this because iStock isn’t bad at all, but it’s just so damn expensive for the average blogger so I’m lifting the dumpster lid and giving it 4.

I’d love for you to share what paid services you use and what your experiences are in the comments!

Come on, let’s help one another!

Comments

  1. A really useful post Tim, thank you!

    My humble addition would be Schedule Once, it’s free (you can pay for fancier add ons if you choose) and I can put when I’m available to coach and potential clients from around the world can put in their time zone and three possible options, and we can arrange a mutually suitable hook up. I love it 🙂

    • That could be useful as probably over half of my clients are in different time zones to me, thanks!

      I can’t believe I missed out Call Recorder for Skype which is excellent. It costs $29 for a life time. Twice I’ve lost my version when changing Mac’s and it’s not a problem re-dowloading.

  2. Very informative post Tim, many thanks. Enjoyed your culinary comparisons! I also use Call Recorder for Skype on Mac … excellent value. I use Bluehost for my site domain at $75 per year for the basic package. I also pay an extra $55 per year for site back up, site privacy, and extra security against hacks. It’s difficult to know if I really need to spend so much on those extra packages but I prefer the ease of mind! In two years I haven’t had any problems. I would give them a 9 on your scale… they would get the private jet to Spain but I’m sure there are cheaper services out there!

    • The $55 is well worth it Jamie. Site back up is imperative as is security. WordPress (if indeed that is what you’re on) isn’t very secure without a lot of help.

  3. Great information here, Tim. I use some of the same tools, but there are some new ones that I’m not familiar with, so always good to know what works well. Enjoyed your food rating as well. Very clever. I use Bigstock.com for images. The pricing feels less expensive, especially the more you buy as always and I try and find a coupon to get a few free images which helps as well. I will definitely save this post. Thanks!

    • Tim Brownson

      Thanks for that Cathy. I’m going to take a look as iStock is getting very expensive even when I buy in bulk.

    • I use freephotos.com (used to be Stock Xchg) and what comes with PowerPoint first, then go to bigstockphoto if I need to buy something. MUCH cheaper than istockphoto. I started out with e-junkie before I moved to 1ShoppingCart and still think it’s the best deal for people starting out.