Hey girl boss. Yes, I’m talking to you! You might be just getting started, dreaming of the day you open the figurative doors to your online shop, or well-established and looking for new ways to grow, but no matter where you are on your e-commerce journey, talking to other small business owners is essential. So, hello there 🙂 Let’s chat a bit, huh?
Talking to others small business owners, or picking their brains as I like to call it, is actually one of the best pieces of advice I give to other online entrepreneurs. See, in one way or another, I’ve been freelancing or running an online shop for over five years, and I’ve tried a myriad of tools to help me be more successful. I’ve also talked to tons(and read about even more) of other entrepreneurs about which tools they use and love.
I’ve gone from using a lot of different tools, even paying for quite a few of them, to nailing down which are absolutely essential to how I run and grow my business.
Canva + Picmonkey
These two are image heaven and can get your brand from blah to ta-da in minutes! I tend to head over to Canva for quick inspiration and then build everything out in Picmonkey. Yes, I do use Photoshop and Illustrator for other things, like the artwork you see on Moonlit13’s apparel, but I like the fast, easy, and lightweight functionality of these two programs.
I make absolutely no secret about how much I love WordPress! It’s open source, so it’s continuously being updated by a super team of contributors, and it is extremely powerful… not to mention search engine friendly. I like that it’s relatively easy to use and integrates with just about everything, too. Plus, it’s FREE!
Now, with any WordPress.org site, you’re responsible for hosting your own site. I purchased my domain through Dreamhost, and I use a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress, WP Engine.
For me, the most important benefits to using WP Engine include crazy fast page speeds and budget friendly plans perfect for when you’re just starting out. Plus, their support is above par and always just a click away, 24/7! They also have some amazing video tutorials walking you through the easiest ways to make your site even faster. It’s really amazing!
Social media is a great way to engage with your fans and customers and create a sense of community. We love to use it to share the latest from Moonlit13 Clothing Co. and just generally talk with our followers.
It’s also really important to us that our feed is visually appealing and on brand– who wants to follow an Instagram account that isn’t beautiful?
Later allows us to schedule posts on both our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and we can even preview how those posts will appear on Instagram.
Hootsuite is amazing for engagement. While it does allow you to schedule posts to your social media accounts, it doesn’t have the same preview mode for Instagram that Later offers, so I tend not to use it for scheduling so much as for the customized streams. Each stream serves a purpose: a few to follow the latest celebs we engage with regularly, some for our favorite influencers, and others for businesses we collaborate with.
For us, Hootsuite is like our social media relationship manager.
If you run a business online, I highly recommend affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing allows you to utilize the influence of others to expand your reach and sell more products. I love recommending a platform like Shareasale because it allows you to reach thousands of affiliates, easily manage your program using their tools, and, as Shareasale touts, you only pay when it works!
If you can put together a few graphics (I personally adore Picmonkey for this), you can totally start your own affiliate marketing program and really get a leg up boosting your business!
This post contains affiliate links, and we do earn a small commission on any sales made using those links. We guarantee that our opinions and recommendations are 100% honest and that we are current users of all the services/tools recommended.