Recommended Tools and Services

Here are the tools and services that I use every day to write, create, teach, live well, and run my business-of-one.

I share them with you hoping that they may help you develop your business, expand your creativity, or help you find your fullest expression of your work in the world.

Whether I’m writing from somewhere out in the world or working from my phone and laptop with an Internet connection, these are the tools and services upon which I depend.

I recommend you give them a try!

(PS — Please note, some of the following are affiliate links, while others entitle you to your own savings!)

Tools of a Self-Storied Life

  • Airbnb: A travel resource for finding homes, homestays, and “homes away from home” for travel domestic and international, business and romantic, adventure and luxury. My preferred way to travel! Save $55 off your first trip or become an Airbnb Experiences host
  • American Express: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards Points back from qualifying purchases on any new American Express Personal or Business Card. AmEx provides some of my best travel rewards, perks, and membership benefits. Learn more
  • Avira Antivirus: Free and low-cost award-winning security, privacy, and performance tools. Lightweight on your devices and highly effective.
  • Calendly: For allowing clients, prospects, peers, and friends to schedule virtual meetings on a designated calendar of your choosing. Automated for time-saving.
  • Bear App: Cloud-based word processing and note-taking across multiple platforms. My preferred word processing tool.
  • Bear Mattresses: In a random nod to the importance of sleep on your productivity, emotional wellbeing, and creativity, I recommend Bear Mattresses as my preferred sleeping experience: I own a king-size Bear Pro, myself!
  • Flywheel: Website hosting plus security in a seamless user system and great customer service.
  • GoDaddy Bookkeeping: Formerly called Outright before being acquired by GoDaddy (a company that I do not myself patronize), I recommend this software as an affordable alternative to more complicated bookkeeping software.
  • Grammarly: An intelligent grammar- and spell-checking tool with free and paid-for options to help you improve elements of voice, clarity, and even tone.
  • Hover: Purchase domains and email addresses from a reliable American company with no up-sells or hidden charges.
  • HP Instant Ink: A subscription-based service that automatically delivers printer ink whenever you need it.
  • LastPass: A password management tool to help automize and randomize your passwords, locked behind one single (really good) password… the last password that you’ll have to remember.
  • Mailchimp: An email marketing service plus CRM (customer relationship management) tool to help you build a list of readers, customers, and clients for routine contacts like newsletters or product offers.
  • Persona Nutrition: Bespoke vitamins and supplements, shipped to your door. Save $25 on your first order.
  • SaneBox: Use artificial intelligence and machine learning to sort emails into organized digital folders. Save $25 when you sign up.
  • TripIt: An intelligent trip-planner and flight-tracker tool that curates your travel plans into one cohesive itinerary, links it to your calendar, and updates any changes or travel delays so you don’t have to. 
  • WiseStamp: Beautifully-designed professional email signatures, automatically inserted into your messages.
  • WordPress: Free and open-source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app.
  • Zoom: Video communication service with an easy, reliable, cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.

Frequently Asked Questions

“How do you manage your inbox?” I use SaneBox, an artificial intelligence tool that integrates into Gmail to help automatically sort messages into sub-inboxes by priority. You can train the system by individual email addresses or let it self-sort messages based on its own interpretation of priority.

“What do you use to write, word-process, and take notes?” I use Bear for cloud-based word-processing across multiple devices (including my Macbook for primary typing-writing, and on my phone to capture ideas when I’m on-the-go). I set up Notes based on projects, service offerings, and just generally to track blog post and newsletter ideas.

“How do you schedule calls and catch-ups?” I use Calendly to allow clients, prospects, peers, and friends to schedule virtual meetings on a designated calendar of your choosing. Automated for maximum time-saving.

“How do you design your graphics?” While I used to use Adobe products for many years, I have recently switched to Canva as a free alternative.

“What do you use to create audio-rich images for sharing on social media?” I use Wavve, an affordable and efficient tool at only $10/month, to embed automated transcripts of audio clips into dynamic mini videos for social media.

“What do you do for business cards?” I don’t often use business cards because (a) as soon as you print them, they feel outdated and (b) I find the use of business cards to be generally unhelpful for actually connecting with people in my industry and when networking. But when there’s a need, I tend to turn to Moo.

“How do you collaborate on writing projects with clients and students?” I use Google Drive (Google Docs, especially), which is free to use and offers unmatched cloud-based collaboration tools for not only sharing documents but live-updating documents between multiple users.

“How do I stay safer online?” I use LastPass for password management and digital security. Why password management? Because it’s likely that every password you’ve ever used online has been hacked, stolen, and archived in association to your email address on the dark web. If you’re curious about just how many times your online account information has been hacked and stolen, visit haveibeenpwned.com.

“Where do you buy your dot com domains?” I use Hover, a secure and reliable American company whose prices are fair and consistent with no up-sells or sudden price increases over time, as with companies like GoDaddy.

“What do you run your websites on?” I use WordPress, a highly customizable content management tool, which is also free. If you don’t need the power or customizations, I usually recommend checking out Squarespace or a related alternative for simple-to-publish websites.

“Who hosts your WordPress sites?” I use Flywheel for WordPress website hosting. They’re a terrific, user-friendly company with good security, automated backups, and great customer support.

“How do you travel affordably?” I mostly use Airbnb for affordable and local-friendly accommodations, whether traveling for pleasure or for business, in most locations around the world.

“Any tips for managing a travel schedule?” I use TripIt to automatically create travel itineraries and organize my travel plans. Plus, TripIt automatically updates travel information (like gate changes and flight delays), pinging my phone with texts or Push notifications so I’m always on top of things.

“I can’t stand buying printer ink. Can you help?” Weird question but, in fact, I can! Look to HP Instant Ink for affordable home printing options. For as low as $3/mo, you get printer ink automatically mailed to you when your printer runs low. For my printing needs (printing to edit documents, pieces of writing, etc.), it’s more affordable than buying retail ink cartridges (which, if you didn’t know, are actually never filled to capacity when you buy them retail).

 

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