first 6 tools for online business

Technology is fantastic for managing an online business, but it can be challenging to know what kinds of systems you need in your business – especially if you are just getting started.

At the very beginning, you don’t need many tools and it doesn’t need to cost you any money! Keep it simple and add/change tools only as you need them. All of the tools I explain below are relatively simple and there is a lot of support available onine to help you learn how to use them. I teach them all in the Passive Income Rocks Academy too!

The six tools you need to start your online business

  1. Product Creation
  2. Social Media Platform
  3. Email Marketing Service
  4. Content Manager
  5. Payment System
  6. Delivery System

Product Creation

If you create digital products such as ebooks and PDFs, you need a piece of software to create these materials. PDFs are an excellent way to deliver materials to your customers. They can be read on all platforms and they are easy to create.

Depending on your product, you can use a word processing software (like Word or Pages) or a presentation software (such as PowerPoint or Keynote). You can also use Canva, an online program which is a lot like PowerPoint or Keynote. It is easy to use and you can create beautiful graphical presentations. Importantly, pick one. Don’t let the technology bog you down!

All of the software systems above allow you to save your files as PDFs, so your product is neat packaged and ready to delivery to any computer, tablet or phone. And, you don’t have to invest any money! If you don’t already have software on your computer, Canva is completely free!

Social Media Platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

A social media platform is helpful for you to reach your audience. In order for you to sell your passive income products, you need to make sure people know you are selling them. Sorry, but no one is going to appear at your front door to buy something they don’t know you are selling!

The good news is that you don’t need to use every platform. Pick one you like (preferably one you already use) and let your friends and connections know about your product. Something like “Hey friends! I just created a bundle of 23 checklists about all the things you need to know when you move abroad. The entire bundle costs just $17. Please pass the information along to anyone you know who could benefit from this product. Thank you!” Add a link to your product page and send it out.

Email Marketing Service

An email marketing service is a system you use to send automatically emails to your clients and potential clients. A passive income business must have an email system to manage communications – otherwise you will live tied to your desk.

This is how it works. You decide on an email or a series of emails for your customers to receive based on an event (like signing up for your email list or buying your product). You tell the system when to sent the emails and it takes care of the rest!

Mail Chimp is a great mail service provider, especially when you are starting out. They offer a free service for lists under 2000 subscribers and they provide good tools like notifications and reports.

Mail Chimp is very popular, so you can find many tutorials online. Have a look at my Pinterest Board on Mail Chimp. I also teach Mail Chimp in the Passive Income Rocks Academy.

File Management

You’ll need a place to keep your files. Your computer will work, but you may want something cloud-based so you can access them from anywhere. You’ll also need a cloud-based system to proceed your customers access to your passive income products. I use both Dropbox and Google Drive.

I use Dropbox for my Passive Income Rocks files. Dropbox is awesome because you can easily share files, access them from everywhere and even use them for your clients to download the materials they get/buy from you. Up to 2GB of storage is free, so you can get your business started without paying anything. I pay less than $9 per month for 1TB of space.

I also use Google Drive. When I am creating my books, I use Google Drive because we do a lot of online collaboration and I love Google Drive for collaboration. It’s also free, reliable and easy to access from anywhere.

Do note, however, that if you are planning to use videos for your passive income products, you’ll want to get a system for managing videos.

Payment system

In order to sell your products, you need a way to receive money (cha-ching!). If you sell anything online (courses, books, 1-1 coaching, etc.) you’re 99% certain to use PayPal to receive payments. Many online purchasers will have PayPal accounts, so it makes payment very simple. You can set up a business PayPal account if you want to keep this money separate from your personal account.

It is, however, also worthwhile to look into a system which processes credit cards directly as well. Some people want to pay with their credit cards and prefer not to use PayPal. If you give them a choice, they may be more likely to follow through with the purchase.

I use Stripe to accept credit card payments for my products. It’s simple to set up a Stripe accounts and doesn’t cost anything up front. Stripe takes a small percentage of the purchase as payment, so you only pay them once you start selling products. Yay!

Product Delivery

Once your customer has purchased a product from you, you need to get it in their hands. I love PayHip for selling instant downloads and e-courses because it makes the process totally automated. Passive income dream!

PayHip can also be used for selling digital downloads without a website, so you can start selling products before you have your own website set up! That’s why I teach it in my PDF Product Creation course.

It probably surprises you that I’m not listing a website platform in the first 6 tools. As I explained above, you can definitely start without a website, though it is my #7 tool, since I consider it pretty important as you develop your long-term strategic plan. That said, get started and add tools as you go, as you need them. Don’t let the idea of a website get in the way of building your dream business today!

For more ideas on starting your online business take my free 4-day masterclass.

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