Business Resource Guide

Tools & Resources to Build a Business on Any Budget

When I started my first fitness company over a decade ago Facebook & social media didn’t exist! #thatscrazytalk

jill tomich fitness coach

Thanks to online marketing and social media, I was able to build a successful boot camp business without ever having a physical location!

Needless to say the tools I use to run my businesses have evolved over the years.

This business resource guide is where I keep an up-to-date record of both the online and offline tools I have tested and use to grow my business.   Note that some of these links are affiliates, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase through the links. If you do, thanks for supporting this web site!  You can be sure there isn’t anything on this list that I wouldn’t use myself to grow my business or to help my clients build theirs.

You’ll find budget-friendly business resources if you are just starting out, plus more advanced options for those of you in growth mode.

Please share and enjoy!

Jill Tomich
Fitness Marketing Foundry
135 Fitness Marketing Strategies | The definitive guide to more clients and better leads for personal trainers, coaches, wellness professionals and small business owners.

If you are just getting started in your business, I highly recommend you first download our free marketing guide first…
135 Fitness Marketing Tips: The Definitive Guide to More Clients and Better Leads

How to Create a Web Site

1. Secure A Domain Name
Buy a Domain Name on GoDaddy
GoDaddy makes it very easy to find a domain name that fits your business and your brand.  If your web domain name isn’t available – which happens more often than not –  they will suggest other domain names that are similar.

If your desired web domain name is unique or part of a business trademark, be sure to also buy a few variations on the name to ensure others can’t. For example, I always purchase the .com, .net, .co and .info versions of web domains.

I also think about what keywords people might be searching for on Google and scoop those up as well.  For example, if you own a CrossFit Box in San Francisco, California called CrossFit Mayhem and purchase the domain name www.cfmayhem.com, you might also consider purchasing www.crossfitmayhem.com and www.crossfitsanfrancisco.com.

Securing your web domain name is like securing digital real estate. Be sure to protect yours. Click here to get GoDaddy’s latest deals on web domain names. 

2. Choose a Web Site Building Software
How to Build a Web Site on WordPress
We use WordPress on all the web sites we design. Once just a platform for blogging, Wordpress has evolved into a full-fledged web site building program.

It is simple enough so that you can update your web site on your own,  but powerful enough so that you can have a web developer create an awesome online store, membership site or even allow your clients to purchase programs or services directly on your web site.

Best of all, WordPress is free!  However, you will need to install WordPress on your own web server. For that, you will need to pay a modest fee web hosting each month.

3. Purchase Web Hosting
godaddy-wordpress-hosting
Your web site and web site building software (WordPress) need a place to live. That is where a web host comes into play. You can rent space on one of their secured computer servers to ensure your web site stays secure, online and accessible 24/7.

If you are just getting started, purchase “WordPress Hosting” from GoDaddy on a shared server.  For such a large company with relatively inexpensive web hosting option, I was surprised to learn that GoDaddy, according to independent speed tests done by tech bloggers, has surprisingly fast web sites speed.

But the thing I like most about GoDaddy is their customer service.  I’ve had web sites go down (which will happen on occasion no matter which web host you choose) and GoDaddy has been eager to help me get the web site back up and running quickly.

Update: If you are a first time customer, you can get hosting for just $1/month through this link. Not sure how long the sale will last.

wp-engineIf you sell ANYTHING on your web site or your web site is an integral part of your marketing and sales funnel, you need WP Engine hosting. It is more reliable (less downtime), has one-click backups and robust security features to keep all your data safe which, to me, is worth the extra few bucks a month. You can always save a bit by pre-paying for the year; they will give you 2 months for free.

4. Choose a WordPress Theme
Great news: you don’t have to create your web site from scratch!

WordPress themes are web templates you can purchase to give you an ENORMOUS head-start on your web design. Make sure the Wordpress theme you choose is responsive, meaning that it looks just as great on your office desktop as your iPhone.

WordPress has some free themes that you can choose from. However, you’ll need to understand a bit about coding in order to customize them.  Or, you can choose one of my favorite options below…all of them have easy-to-use features that allow you to design your website with a drag-and-drop functions (which means no coding required):

  • StudioPress Themes (purchase of a StudioPress theme includes their drag and drop web site building framework called Genesis)
  • Total Theme ( this website is built on the Total Theme, it includes a drag and drop framework called Visual Composer which makes it easy to edit)
  • OptimizePress (although many people use this tool to build landing pages and membership sites, some of my clients LOVE the drag-and-drop interface so much, they create all of their web pages using it)

How to Manage Your Email List

You’ll hear me say over and over again, “the best way to turn browsers into buyers is by building your email list.”  Email marketing is one of the most effective and fastest ways to attract more clients and boost your revenues. On many occasions I’ve made over $30,000 by sending out just one email. I’ve used a lot of different email marketing platforms over the years, here are my thoughts (note: all of these email marketing platforms have mobile-friendly template options which is a MUST):

Mailchimp
This is a great basic option for email marketing newbies. Free to get started, but if you want an autoresponder function, you will need to pay a modest monthly fee.  You can use this link here to get $30 Monkey Rewards credit if you upgrade to a paid account.

GetResponse
Really friendly user interface, but the big bonus is GetResponse can also help you design landing pages and has a free list building challenge to help you boost your subscribers. You can try GetResponse free for 30 days.

Aweber
Great if you are just starting out, plus this one will grow with you for a loooooong time. Aweber integrates with many third-party applications and has some great reporting tools so you can analyze your email’s effectiveness. Many online entrepreneurs with enormous mailing list continue to use Aweber to manage their lists. You can get a 30-day trial for free.

Where to Print Promotional Materials

Even though this is the age of digital marketing,  print promotions should still be a very vital part of your marketing efforts.

Your business cards, flyers, brochures, posters and other printed materials are an opportunity to portray your brand and set expectations even before a client steps into your class or studio.

Whether you realize it or not, if you have cheap-feeling business cards or brochures, your business and services will most certainly be viewed as cheap.  That’s why I’m obsessive when it comes to print quality.

I’ve tried a boatload of different online printers over the years, even ordering sample packs from each of them. Which one do I use?

Online Printing ShopOvernightPrints.com

I prefer Overnight Prints. Their business cards are crisp, their postcard colors are rich and truer than other discount online print shops and their prices are beyond reasonable for the quality you get. Where other companies charge additional for, or don’t even offer, things like glossy coating on BOTH sides of your business cards, Overnight Prints includes it for free.

If part of your brand is being green and sustainable, you can order your print materials on recycled papers and on every print they use vegetable-based inks.

In addition to business cards and brochures, you can print other cool promotional stuff like magnets, calendars and booklets.  Click here to view Overnight Prints latest specials.

 

How to Build Your Email List

There are a bazillion different ways to build your email list. However, this post is about business tools and resources, so I’ll just mention the tools I use rather than the strategy.

LANDING PAGES
You always want to create the shortest path from promotion to conversion.  So if you are offering a targeted promotion, like a special holiday workout or free ebook download, don’t direct users to the home page of your web site! They will get distracted by your blog posts, Instagram feeds and any other cool stuff you have on your web site. You always want to create the shortest path from promotion to conversion <<<that statement was worthy of making twice.

To create the shortest path use a landing page specific for each promotion:  www.yourdomain.com/PromotionName

The landing page should have EVERYTHING a reader needs to take the next step in your sales process: either click the BUY NOW button, submit their email for the FREE EBOOK or a form/phone number to request more information.

Besides building landing pages from scratch, two of my favorite ways to build landing pages are:

  • LEADPAGES
    No coding, no design, perfect for beginners. However as you grow there will be instances where Leadpages won’t have a template that fits your needs.  You are not able to drag and drop components around….that is where OptimizePress has the clear advantage.
  • OPTIMIZEPRESS
    There is a bit of a learning curve to learn how to use OptimizePress, but once you do, your options are limitless. You can even edit their template formats – move photos, add testimonials, etc – which is a big plus and something that LeadPages doesn’t allow you to do. So many of my clients like OptimizePress’s drag and drop features so much that we build EVERY page on their web site with OptimizePress.

Email Opt-In Boxes
There should be opportunities for visitors to get on your email list everywhere they turn. Most email marketing platforms – like the ones I mentioned above – have little snippets of code you can insert into your WordPress sidebar or have WordPress plugins that allow you to link your email lists to your web site.

However, more aggressive types of email opt-in boxes, like a footer, a pop-up box and boxes at the end of every one of your blog posts, have proven to be highly effective.  These are programs I’ve use:

Opt-In Monster
I’m currently using this for my pop-up box, sidebar email opt-in form and footer box. You can also get pop-up boxes that appear when a reader exits your web page in their Pro version. Easy to use. Easy to configure and only have to pay a one-time fee.

LeadPages
LeadPages, in addition to landing pages, also has email opt-in boxes. Easy to configure. There is a monthly fee

How to Manage Social Media

Social media can be your friend – attracting more clients than you could ever imagine – or it can be the biggest time-suck in your business. Here are some tools to help you monitor conversations and post great content in less than 20 minutes per day.

Hootsuite
This social media tool allows you to schedule posts & monitor conversations from a phone app or web-based dashboard.  You can link up to 3 social media accounts to the free version. Want to add more accounts? HootSuite Pro is just $10 a month and you can monitor up to 100 profiles PLUS measure your social media performance.  You can try out HootSuite Pro for 30 days for free. Definitely worth the spend to get all your analytics and accounts in one place!

Buffer
This is an application you can install on your web browser. Whenever you come across a great article you’d like to share with your audience, simply add it to your Buffer app. Buffer will send out the content to any of your social media profiles you have attached to the app. Choose to schedule the content to go out at a certain time, or let Buffer optimize the post schedule all on its own.

How to Manage the Numbers

Confession: I almost failed business math in college. In fact, my formal education is in architecture and design so, for me, colors and shapes are way more appealing than numbers. But numbers tell the truth. They are an integral part of tracking your business growth.

Accounting Software
Make a monthly budget, track expenses and determine your profitability with QuickBooks. The vast majority of virtual assistants, bookkeepers and accountants use this accounting software, but the software is also intuitive enough that you can figure it out on your own. Although, there is a bit of a learning curve.

Organize Your Receipts
One of the major perks of owning your own business or working as a subcontractor at a gym or studio is this: you can write-off business expenses! I’m really good at keeping my receipts, but horrible about organizing them. With Shoeboxed.com you can scan and organize your receipts or even better…send them away to Shoeboxed in their Magic Envelopes and they will do it for you! You can scan up to 5 documents a month with their forever free account. Or it’s only $9/month to scan up to 50 documents.

Web Analytics
Do you know who is visiting your web site? Which pages are most popular? Where those people are coming from? What keywords they are using to get there? Google Analytics is a free service that provides you with web insights to improve your business and attract more traffic. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account yet, set one up here.

Even if you don’t understand the data Google is tracking, your marketing or SEO professional will find the data extremely valuable down the line.  But Google doesn’t start tracking your analytics until you sign up for an account. So be sure to do that asap.

 

I hope that gets you started on the right path. I will continue to update this post as I have the time.

A Marketing Funnel plan for fitness professionals and wellness entrepreneurs by Fitness Marketing FoundryIf this post left you with more questions than answers, this infographic I made – The Ultimate Marketing Funnel for Wellness Entrepreneurs – will help out tremendously. You can download a .pdf version of it on my blog post here: http://www.fmfoundry.com/marketing-funnel-for-wellness-entrepreneurs/