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When you're just getting started in a whole new area it can sometime be tricky knowing the best tools to use.  On this page, we want to share our favorite tools, why we like them, and what they are best used for.  Some of these tools we love and believe in so much, we have chosen to affiliate with those businesses. 

Hopefully we can save you some of the time, money and effort that we spent over the years discovering what tools work best!

In addition, we have added some great products we have found useful in the entrepreneurial journey - books and products that have enhanced our lives.

Video Software

Who it’s for: people with a strategy for video production for marketing and/or course building, looking for the best combination of ease of use and quality of output.

Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 4.5
Ease-of-use: 5
Functionality: 5
Economy: 4
Overall: 4.5

Who it’s for: people who are looking to invest the time and effort to learn to create professional video.


Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 2
Ease-of-use:  4
Functionality:  5
Economy:  2.5 
Overall:  3.7

Adobe Rush - NEW

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Who it’s for: if you want the quality of Adobe but something much simpler than Premiere Pro and something more aimed at quick online video production, the new Adobe Rush could be your video editing solution.  It is a subscription product and currently sells for $9.99 a month.

Rating
We have not yet tried out Rush - it just launched, but wanted to let you know that Adobe has yet another great product for this niche.

Who it’s for: people who want an inexpensive option for video editing - there's a free version but your videos will have a Filmora watermark. Inline editing, easy to learn if your have other video editing experience, optional (not free) effects packages available to add sizzle to your videos.

Rating
Effectiveness: 4
Fast Start: 4
Ease-of-use: 4.2
Functionality: 4
Economy: 4.3
Overall: 4.1


Audio Software

If you are creating video for your courses or any other area of your business, you might not think so much about the audio aspect of your production.  AUDIO is the first thing that most people will be bothered by (after bad content) and many a course builder has had to go back and re-do their course content because their original course audio was of poor quality.  

Who it’s for: people who like FREE but powerful. Audacity has all the functionality you could want for simple sound editing and a lot of advanced features as well. If you have never played with audio editing before, there will be a learning curve but it's pretty intuitive and there are loads of how-to tutorials online because it is so widely used.  Highly recommend!

Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 4
Ease-of-use: 4.5
Functionality: 5
Economy: 5
Overall: 4.7

Who it’s for: if you already are using Adobe products for video or graphic design, Audition has the advantage of integrating with the other Adobe products and it has a familiar Adobe interface. 

The downsides for the beginner without an Adobe license is the cost and the learning curve.


Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 2
Ease-of-use:  4
Functionality:  5
Economy:  1.5 
Overall:  3.5

Graphic Design

Who it’s for: people who have no graphic design skills but need to produce visual content such as covers, reports, thumbnails and SM posts ...AND it's FREE.  Even for those with skills the quick templates can provide a quick solution.

The downside is the relative limitations compared to full graphic design tools but this is probably outweighed not having to learn graphic design or paying someone to do it.


Rating
Effectiveness: 4
Fast Start: 4
Ease-of-use: 4.5
Functionality: 3
Economy: 5
Overall: 4.1

Who it’s for: if you already are using Adobe Premiere for video, Photoshop has the advantage of integrating with it . Photoshop is pretty much industry standard and is an excellent tool that can help you tweak graphics you've created in other SaaS tools, like Canva or RelayThat.

The downsides for the beginner without an Adobe license is the cost and the learning curve.


Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 2
Ease-of-use:  3.5
Functionality:  5
Economy:  1.5 
Overall:  3.4

Microphones

Who it’s for: people who like the best combo of quality, usability and price. All up an incredible microphone for podcasting, vlogging, video narration, conferencing, and gaming.  More expensive than the Snowball, but still reasonably priced and with more sound recording control.  Highly recommend!

Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 4
Ease-of-use: 4.5
Functionality: 5
Economy: 5
Overall: 4.7

Who it’s for: people who want the quality, visual subtlety and easy transportability of a Lavalier Microphone and the plug and play convenience of USB connection for use directly with their computer or laptop.  Some users find audio low-end is dampened - not insurmountable with mic adjustment and/or simple editing.  Very reasonably priced for the results. 

Rating
Effectiveness: 3.8
Fast Start: 5
Ease-of-use: 4.7
Functionality: 4
Economy: 5
Overall: 4.5

Who it’s for:  people who want the best price and simplest USB microphone with quality output. Yeti's little sister is simple, light-weight but sturdy.  A great starter mic.

The downsides for the beginner without an Adobe license is the cost and the learning curve.


Rating
Effectiveness: 4.5
Fast Start: 4
Ease-of-use:  4.5
Functionality:  5
Economy:  5
Overall:  4.6

Webcams

Who it’s for: people who need a great webcam with 1080p for recording themselves as they explain onscreen interfaces, for web series, streaming or YouTube videos. It is also great for someone who just wants a clear picture when they do online conferencing.  The accompanying software is pretty basic so easy to learn but not what you want to use for editing. Highly recommend!

Rating
Effectiveness: 5
Fast Start: 4.5
Ease-of-use: 4.5
Functionality: 5
Economy: ​4.5
Overall: 4.7

Lighting 

If you are creating video for your courses or any other area of your business, lighting is important - even if it's the free, outside stuff!  For those you can't always be outside filming their videos, we have some recommendations for solving your lighting issues

Who it’s for: if you are recording your video on your cell phone - and why not! - and you are doing it from your desk, this could be the easiest solution for easy, inexpensive and portable lighting.  There are a number of similar models of equal quality out there but make sure you get one that is dimmable and has a couple of lighting color options to adjust for your own best lighting effect.

The downside of this lighting is that the 3.5" lighting ring is less effective once you are more than a few feet away from the light.  If this is you, you might want to look at Diva Ring lighting. 

Who it’s for: if you are doing headshot video, need a bit better lighting with the option to be a bit further from your lighting AND have the space in your setup for the stand for the Diva Ring, this could be your lighting solution.  The larger lighting ring gives a wider facial illumination, resulting in a superior effect.  

If you are shooting video at a wider angle, for example, wanting to shoot from far enough away to capture your whole body onscreen, you will need something a little more involved than the Diva Ring.

Who it’s for:  for wider shots, where you need to light a larger area, simple lighting kits are surprisingly inexpensive.  There is a bit more setup involved than ring lighting but gets better results for overall lighting.  You want at least a two-light kit to get balanced lighting. 

The downside of these basic kits is that the stands and equipment are really only built for simple, casual use.  If your video production will require frequent setup and breakdown, and rougher handling you will need more upscale suite of lighting equipment. 

Who it’s for:  for those interested in doing well-lit green screen video and want it all in a handy, portable kit.  Easily turn your space into a video studio and get the green screen flexibility you're looking for at an great price

As above, the downside of these kits is that the stands and equipment are not robust industry standard.  If your video production will require frequent setup and breakdown, and rougher handling you will need more upscale suite of lighting equipment.  If not, this could be your solution!

Work Productivity

Here are a couple of items that we have found help you manage the demands of running your small business and maintain some balance in your life.  A healthy, happy YOU favors a healthy, happy business!

Who it’s for: people who need to let clients book appointments and want to save heaps of time on the back and forth to finding the perfect time for both.  You set your availability - as much or as little time as you want to devote to client appointments, sync with your calendar and just share the link for clients to book their own time.

Acuity let's you set up payment via the app, let's you share links for conferencing tools, creates confirmation and reminder emails - or a whole email sequence if you want - and even let's clients reschedule if necessary - all the while keeping you informed of what's happening.  It saves so much time and is an elegant solution for this tedious task. 

For the power that Acuity puts in your hands, the setup is easy and the support team is great if you hit a snag! Highly recommend!

Who it’s for: people who routinely sit at their desks for work and know they need reminders and metrics to keep them motivated in their quest for health and energy for their business and themselves.  The app gives great visual snapshots of all aspects of your health - how you slept, how much activity you engaged in, your heart-rate over the course of the day, your calorie burn-rate, and - if you choose to track it - you water consumption, calorie intake and your weight.

The only downsides to the Charge 2, for me, is the original band (a bit bulky and sometimes irritated my wrist) and that it wasn't waterproof.

Who it’s for: those same people as above, but for who the extra ~$30 for a waterproof unit is well worth the money.  Not having to take off the watch for showering, water sports, or other water-related activities was a great upgrade for me!

Business Books

The entrepreneurial journey is often made smoother by great books.  Books for inspiration, for how-to information, for keeping your skills and knowledge fresh.  here are a few of our favorites.

What they say: Most business books give you the same old advice: write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you're looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf. REWORK is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and artists who don’t want to starve will all find valuable guidance in these pages.  New Your Times

Why we love it:  the no-BS tone appeals - I'm trying to run a business here! I don't have time for fluff or pie-in-the-sky aphorisms.  In addition, there were a lot of passages in the book that really made me stop and think deeply about my business - and made me take action.  Most business books don't have that impact.  

                                                                              

Why you might like it:  1) this book is FREE (you only have to pay for shipping and you end up on their email list) and 2) it is like an intensive, distilled primer on today's online marketing world.  It's not the last book you'll want to read on this subject but it a valuable first step in getting your head in the game.  The only thing to keep in mind is that the book is actually an extended marketing tool for ClickFunnels.  Doesn't make it less valuable as a great source of info; just know you are being sold to.