I’m all about simplicity, because simplicity scales. If you want to grow your business and avoid a lot of stress in the process, keep things simple.
For many of you who have been listening to the podcast for a while, my affinity for simplicity should not come as a surprise. I talk about it often.
On today’s episode I’m going to give you an inside peek at how I run my business. I’m going to share with you the tools that I use to run the backend of The Art of Online Business. The tools that keep things simple around here, and keep things running smoothly.
The first few years of the business were way more complicated than they needed to be. For one, I thought that having more offers was a good idea. More offers equals more revenue, right? Well, I’ve learned the hard way that that’s not always the case.
All the complexity was causing me to burnout. The business was doing well, but I wasn’t happy in it.
So, today I’m going to show you the tools that have really simplified the way we do things around here. I know you’re going to get a lot out of today’s show, and I hope you hit me up on Instagram and let me know what you learned from this episode, and what things you’d like to learn more about.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The best solutions for team member communications
- My favorite project management tool
- The online file storage solution we use at The Art of Online Business
- My go-to note taking app
- How we track and manage our membership forms, questionnaires, and applications
- My favorite customer service solution
- A great tool for connecting automating our systems
- The software we use to record the podcast
- What we use to for our trainings, courses, and our funnels
Links & Resources:
- Google Drive
- Help Scout
- Daily Content Machine
- DM me on Instagram
- Visit my YouTube channel
- The Art of Online Business Clips
- The Art of Online Business website
- The Art of Online Business Podcast website
- Check out my Accelerator coaching program
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Hey, what’s up my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you, as always, for tuning in today. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for any period of time, you know that I’m all about simplicity, right? That word is brings a smile to my face. Why? Because simplicity scales. Why make something more complicated or harder than it needs to be?
Early on in my business, the first few years of the business, I made things way more complicated than they needed to be. For example, I thought the more offers, the better. The more offers I had, the more revenue I’d make, right? That just took me five different directions. It had me speaking to three different audiences.
It was really, really hard, and it led me to burnout, exhaustion, all this other stuff. I wasn’t happy in the business, and the business was doing really well, but I wasn’t happy in it. The past few years I’ve really made a very conscious effort of simplifying the business, and a big thing that we’ve done…
is we’ve really simplified our tools in the backend of our business. How we market, how we sell, and how we fulfill in our business. Early on, I was using so many tools. I was not smart about it. I would use one tool and then I would add another one on top of that, because that original tool didn’t do this thing that I needed to do.
Then I would add another tool to fix another limitation. It was just like this spider web of tools. It was so messy, and connecting everything was just a nightmare. I am so not a techie person when it comes to this stuff, not to mention it was super expensive. So, I actually hear this almost on a daily basis, whether it’s from our Accelerator coaching members or people just DM-ing me on Instagram.
They just want to simplify the tech in their business, and the tools that they’re using. So, I thought it might be helpful at this juncture in the year to share with you the backend of our business from an operation standpoint, from a tech standpoint, and the tools that we use and the software that we use.
This has gone through many iterations over the years. So, what I want to do here today, is, I want to share with you all the tools, and then I’d love to hear your feedback. Is there anything that you think that I’m totally missing that you think I really should look into? Or, is there something that you learned of what we’re using here today in the business that you hadn’t thought about?
And you’re like, “Oh, that’s a great, you know, I got to go check that out.” So, shoot me a DM on Instagram @RickMulready.
Okay, before I share these tools with you, I mentioned Accelerator; this is our coaching program for established course creators or membership creators, or you’re an online coach, and by established, I mean you’re doing at 100K a year in your online business, and you’re looking to scale. You’re looking to take things to the next level, but you’re not really sure.
The types of things that you need to be doing in order to accomplish that you are likely feeling stuck in your business, likely feeling overwhelmed, doing all the things. And what we do inside of Accelerator is help you create more profit because revenue is great. We need revenue, but how much of that is actually going in your pocket?
Right? So we can, we help you create more revenue, more impact because if you’re not in business to be helping people. Live better lives, then Accelerator’s not going to be for you. So we help you create more profit, more impact with less hustle because working more hours is not something that’s necessary to have a very successful business, whatever success means to you.
So if you want to learn more and apply to application only for our Accelerator coaching program, just go to Rick mulready.com forward slash accelerate. All right. So here are the main tools that we use in our business. So number one, from a communication standpoint, we use slack. We use the free version of slack for years and years.
It wasn’t until actually last year. So we are at we’re at I’m at year number eight. January 20, 22 marks, eight years in the business. So we were at eight years in the business. It wasn’t until year seven last year that we actually needed to upgrade to the paid version of slack. So we use slack as a communication tool.
Day-to-day communication. If it’s something urgent, if we need to get ahold of someone right away, then we use Vox. I love Voxer. I was introduced to Voxer. I don’t know when that was maybe the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. but I use Voxer every single day and I love it. So those are the sort of day-to-day communication tools that we use.
We then use click up in our business, as our project management tool. I personally, personally, don’t like the, I use my iPad a lot. I personally don’t like the iPad experience for click up. So. Much to the chagrin. I’m using the word chagrin. I’ve never used the grid in my podcast before much of the cigarette on my team, especially Gretchen my right-hand person.
I’ve kind of gone rogue a little bit. And so I do all of these podcast episodes, the planning and all that stuff in no. I love notion. but the whole team isn’t using notion and that’s that’s okay. So I’m just doing my thing in notion. And then I share w as necessary, you know, with, throughout the rest of the process, for example, on the podcast for the podcast here.
So. Voxer communication. Day-to-day communication. Project management is click up and then I also, myself love notion, and I do have the paid version. I think it’s like $40 for the entire year or something like that. It’s super inexpensive, but I love it. We use Google drive as our internal organization and.
You know, file storage and stuff like that early on, I use Dropbox and Google drive, but then there was a lot of overlap and it really wasn’t necessary. So, you know, looking at simplicity, it’s like, okay, what tools are we using that we really don’t need to be using anymore? and so Dropbox for me was one of them.
I know I have a lot of friends who use Dropbox, love it. And I, I, I like it. I just think Google drive is much easier for us. To use. Okay. And so outside of that, I want to share to sort of some random tools that we start using or that we use in the business to help do the things that we need to do in terms of, you know, our systems for marketing, our systems for selling and our systems for fulfillment.
Okay. The another tool that we use is air table. So You know, to be honest with you, like, we’re kind of too far down the road using air table in the business. you know, I like all the drop-downs and the tagging and all that stuff that you can do, you really can do a lot of it in, you know, in Google drive and Google spreadsheets, but we’ve been using air table now for a couple of years and we really like it.
So we use air table, just as an example, how we use it. So we do all of our, Accelerator member tracks. Inside of air table, for example, all the questionnaires, all the applications, the forms that we do, surveys, we have our master podcast spreadsheet in there, for example. So we use air table. We use Calendly as our calendar ING app.
We have a few different users who, on the team who use it. we use convert kit as our email, I like convert kit a lot. Now talk about a powerful, yet simple tool to be using. the guys that convert kit they’ve done and the whole team there, I should say. the men and women of convert have done really good job, in building an amazing tool.
So I use E. You can live for, I use the pro version. I think it’s calling it’s like 10 bucks a month or something like that. So I use that to run my video through. So anytime I’m using zoo or like I’m recording this right now for on video for our podcasting channel over on YouTube. I’m running this through e-com we use, as I mentioned Google, so we use the Google, what’s it called?
Like the Google workspace. I don’t even know what it’s called, but we have, you know, all of our email addresses and all that stuff through Google workspaces. I think it’s called, there’s my techie coming out. I really don’t know. we use helps. As our customer service hub, if you will. And so we have multiple peoples on multiple people’s, multiple people on the team who have access to help scout who go into.
And, take care of all of our customer service, right inside of help scout. It allows us a centralized place for all of the, customer service emails. We have our FAQ’s in there. you know, we have our, you know, we can take like commonly asked questions. Yeah. Paste. And then, you know, obviously edit accordingly to a specific, request, but it just allows for a really nice centralized system for running our customer service.
You can tag people, assign people, different questions and so forth. And I used a Gmail for a long time and it worked just fine. But then, you know, the business got bigger, more team, more people on the team. We went with a dedicated tool. So we use help scout. we use Loom in the business record.
We all, we’re always doing screen capturing and screen recording and stuff like that. we use Zapier or Zapier, in the business. ‘cause that’s something that we use to connect different systems in the backend to automate, a lot of things. we use video ask. So video ask is something that, you may or may not have heard of.
It was recommended to me by my good friend, Amber McCue in the early part of 2021. And I saw it on. She asked me to review something and I saw video ask down in like the corner of her page that I was reviewing. And I was like, what is that? Because that’s really cool. And it basically, you can do all kinds of things with it.
But just as an example, one way that I currently use it is whenever we get a new member into Accelerator, I record. A personal video, to that person welcoming them to Accelerator, and then they have the option. If they want to respond, they can do a quick video, right back, all within video ask, they can, send an audio or they can write something.
All right there within video ask. It’s also something I’m doing to communicate when people. Like somebody reached out recently they had a question about something I said here on the podcast. So they emailed our support team. The support team sent it over to me and I recorded a video. Ask responds back to that person.
It’s just a really, simple way to create personalized communication. with people and you can use it for surveys. You can use it for lead. Magnets is all different types of ways that you can use it. and I really like it. You can also, which were something we’re going to be doing. If we haven’t done it already, when this comes out is it’s going to become our new sort of a chat feature on.
Our Accelerator application page. So you can go there. You can learn all about Accelerator for example, and there’s going to be a video of me down in the bottom right hand corner, where you can ask me questions and I’ll respond back via video ask. So video ask Levitt. Graphics and so forth, pretty, pretty straightforward.
And then we use riverside.fm and I’ve talked about it here in the podcast before, but I’m recording this right now into Riverside, riverside.fm. And the reason that I re and I also do all of my podcast interviews here in Riverside as well. The reason for it that I don’t, that I use zoom for years. The reason I don’t use zoom anymore is zoom compresses.
The the heck out of the five. And so both the video and the audio isn’t as high, a quality as I want it to be for this podcast. Because as I’ve been talking about this podcast is now, in addition to audio, I published the video of me doing this podcast over on our, podcast channel on YouTube.
So on YouTube, we have the art of online business, full episodes channel, and then we also have the art of online business clips or highlights channel. And so we were able to do that using Riverside really, really easily. So I recorded. Right in Riverside, it’s super easy to use. And then when it’s done, I named the episode or name, whatever I D I’ve just recorded.
And my team goes into Riverside and grabs the files. Riverside automatically splits the audio. If there’s two people talking and the video file and the audio files. So my team goes in grabs the necessary files and boom, they do their thing. So it’s super easy for me. All I have to do is go in. And record.
So that’s what we use, for recording. One more tool that we started using that. I’m kind of in love with is, Grain.co Grain.co and it syncs with zoom and it does a lot of cool things. Number one, is it records your, your zoom call. Number two, it is transcribing the zoom call as you’re talking. And then number three, you can make notes in real time, and then you can grab clips.
Both video and transcript clips of say a coaching call, for example. So you can just send that piece if you will. Like let’s, let’s just say I’m coaching you on whatever, why your landing page conversion rate. Isn’t very good in our conversation among other things. Well, I can, segment just that conversation about increasing your landing page conversion rate and send you.
That the video of just that piece in addition to the overall coaching call. Right. And in addition to the overall transcript, but I can, I can send you the video and the transcript of just that piece of the coaching call. And so, this was recommended to me by my buddy, Sean McCabe, from, Daily Content machine.
And it’s a game changer. I love it. Love a love Grain. And then finally you might be like, well, Rick, what do you use for your trainings and your funnels and all that stuff. So I used to use multiple tools. I use one for hosting courses that I use that I use for years. I use one for order forms. That’s another.
I use one for running and manage it, managing affiliates if I ever did affiliates, et cetera, et cetera. So this is an example of like, I used a tool, didn’t solve all the problems. So I had to add another one and I had to add another one on top of that to solve all these different, things I needed to do well in.
And I’ve talked about it. Ben talking about it more and more here on the show because I absolutely. And I am an affiliate for them, but that’s not, what’s most important. What’s most important is this simplicity. That’s it has given us in the business and I’m talking about 10 X pro.io. We moved to 10 X pro.io, officially, meaning moved everything over.
We’ve been doing this for several months now, but as of January 20, 22, we are officially out of all the other platforms and using 10 X pro.io. And the reason for that, I started using it, started playing around with it. And we set up some funnels in there in mid 2021. And then we were slowly moving content in my training and courses and so forth into 10 X pro.
And so what 10 X pro.io allows you to do is you can host your course content, all your training videos, et cetera. You know, people can log in and boom, there’s your course. You can create landing pages in there. They have all kinds of templates. you can create your funnels in there. So for example, let’s just say like, oh, I want a quiz funnel.
Well, I click on the quiz button and it populates an entire quiz funnel right there for you all the pages of your quiz funnel. And it connects seamlessly with your email CRM, you know, for me, it’s convert kit. So I can tag people in, you know, 10 X pro and that carries right over, you know, here’s my techie part coming in.
Right. Connects seamlessly with convert kit. So I can do a whole bunch of different tagging and segmentation inside of 10 X pro in funnels and landing pages and so forth that seamlessly connects with convert kit. So I love it. it has analytics and dashboards that I’ve been wanting for to be able to see in the tools that I’ve been using.
That like gives me all the data in one place. You know, if there’s an upsell, et cetera, it gives me all of the, you know, sales numbers, the percentages, revenue, all this other stuff. Right? So analytics and dashboards, it gives you, it’s very easy to do things like game-ify your courses or memberships.
So like when you complete this level, you achieve, you know, whatever, and you can set up those things really, really easily. You can create your entire website. If you want to in there all the website pages, it has an affiliate center. Imagine that has a really good affiliate center that is actually accurate and makes tracking affiliates really, really easily all within the same platform.
You don’t have to go find some wonky thing and then connect different tools in order to, you know, true up numbers at the end of a promotion or what have you. and then there’s a mobile app version of it. which is. Here’s the thing I love most about it though, to be, if I’m being honest, their customer service is freaking amazing.
It is literally like unlike any software that I’ve used, where, you know, being the non-techie person, if I can go in and set something. Pretty easily then, you know, it’s pretty easy to use honestly. And when I get stuck, I like use their, that use their chat support and they’re on it and they respond really quickly.
And then they direct you like, oh yeah, I totally get that. Here’s where you need to go to fix that. Or they just answer your question right there. It’s it’s awesome. They also have a whole bunch of mini courses in there training you how to do. A whole bunch of things. So it’s just, I love it. And so, as I mentioned before, I am an affiliate for them.
If you want to check them out, they, I don’t even know what the deal is. They do. I think I did like a dollar for 30 days. It was awesome. Rick mulready.com forward slash 10 X pro. If you want to go check them out. So again, what this has done for me is it’s allowed me to simplify. Probably three major tools in the business.
And I am saving easily a few thousand dollars a year by using this platform because it accomplishes so many things for me that I need to do in the business really, really well. So I love it. It does all those things. And so that’s it. That’s everything I’m just taking you through. We’ve been talking now for what?
About 20 minutes or so now I’ve been kind of explaining some of the tools, but we’re not using a whole lot. Right. So just a quick recap, slack. Voxer for internal communication. Day-to-day we use click up as our project management tool. I’ve gone a little rogue and I use notion for some things on the personal level.
Also for, I kind of manage my end of the podcast in notion. I love notion. we use Google drive for, you know, organizing files and storage and all that stuff. we use. We use Calendly for calendaring, automating all that convert kit for our email CRM, we use E K R I use E cam for, you know, doing live streams and all that type of stuff.
Help scout for our, our customer service Loom to. Do screen shares and screen recordings. I do that all the time. Like for example, I do as part of Accelerator, I do weekly audit. So people submit, you know, Hey, can you review this? Or can you, check out these stats or give me some thoughts on this offer or whatever it might be.
So, I’ll record a Loom. I’m giving my feedback. So, that’s one way that we use Loom. I love it. we use Zapier to connect and automate some systems in the backend video tasks. Canva, pretty basic. Riverside, and then, as I mentioned earlier, we use Grain.co. Grain.co, and then also 10XPRO to do all the things that I took a few minutes to take you through.
Okay. I’ll list all these out for you with links and so forth on our show notes for today’s episode. That’s how we’ve simplified the backend of the business. By the way, we are always, on a quarterly basis, going back through this list of tools that we use and looking at, “Hey, is this something that we are still using?
Yes? Okay, cool. No?” We look at why we’re not using it, and if necessary, we just cancel it. We’re always looking at the very best tool that we can use to solve a specific problem, and then everybody on the team has to know how to use that specific tool or all of our tools. That’s how we look at the tools that we’re using.
Because the monthly fees and all that stuff can add up really quickly. So, we’re always doing a review. I do that review with our bookkeeper, who is my defacto CFO, Emily Sandberg, who I’ve had here on the podcast before. We’re always looking at what are our expenses on the tool side and the software side?
Are we using everything? If we’re not, okay, let’s cut it. Are we using the best in class for whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish and get?
So, there you have it, my friend. Simplicity scales. That is how I’ve simplified the backend tech of my business so it doesn’t have to be a nightmare like it used to. Because the nightmare does not scale.
So, as always, hopefully this was helpful for you. Again, I’ll list all these tools out for you over on the show notes for today’s episode.
Thank you for listening, as always, super appreciate you. Until next time, be well, my friend, and I’ll talk to you soon.