This week is Thanksgiving and I know that Thanksgiving is celebrated differently in different places. Isn't that right, Canadian friends? But it's primarily a United States holiday. For this time, we're supposed to give thanks for all the things in our lives and the things that we're thankful for. I'm thankful for a lot of things, and that's what this blog is about. It's going to start off with my personal life: I'm very thankful for my wife, for my family, and for my dog, Buddy Guy. He's an awesome dog. We adopted him and saved his life twice. He's a 100-pound black lab and he's probably the best dog we've ever had. I'm thankful for my home, for the ability to work as a solopreneur, as an entrepreneur to run my own business, to control my own destiny because I know a lot of people out there work for other companies, and they're just not as loyal as they used to be. We don't have the P word, the “pension” word. We're under attack in a lot of ways when it comes to the economy, even though everybody is saying, “Hey, the economy is great. Yeah, it's wonderful.”
But I control my own destiny. The more I work, the more I make, and that's my choice and I continue to learn and grow and drive my business forward. But there are a few other things that I'm thankful for, and these are the things that I want to talk about. These are business tools that I use. Now, let me start off by saying that some of these, I am an affiliate for. If you haven't heard anything about affiliate marketing, it's pretty straightforward. The bottom line is, more often than not, it's not like I'm up charging anybody to get these products. I get a small stipend; sometimes I don't get a stipend at all. I just get credit or something for free. But the bottom line is I'm an affiliate.
Now, the one thing about being an affiliate is, is that I will not promote products I don't use. A lot of people want me to do that, to get in front of them and promote things, but I need to have a hands-on experience with it to make sure that if I'm going to recommend it to you, that it really works and it's worth the money and it's worth the time and it's worth the energy because let's face it, you're not just buying a product, you're buying a lifestyle. You're buying something that's going to change your world.
Now, some of these things take some time to learn so you're going to have to buy into the experience of learning them, and others are things that are going to take time to transfer and make work. But ultimately, I am referring you to things that I'm definitely thankful for that are in my business. Believe me, these are products that I've tried other options on and have since said, “These are the ones that I'm sticking my flag in. These are the ones that I actually use and these are the ones that I think people can relate to.”
So let's start off with the first one: web hosting. Now, you may or may not be in a position to host your own websites. For years, I used my own web server, and I promise you I will never get in the web serving business again. Boy, when it got hacked, it was a disaster. That's a story for another day. But it caused my clients and me grief and cost me over $10,000 when it was all said and done. Since then, I've tried a whole bunch of other things. I've tried Hostgator, I've tried Bluehost, I've tried GoDaddy, and I finally settled on one company that I really, really like and it's called A2 Hosting. If you want to learn more about this, my link is brianlabs.info/A2. Now, here's what I love about A2: number one, they're based in the United States. Number two, the techs that you talk to really know what they're talking about. There is no tech level one, tech level two, generally speaking.
Now, there are times where the techs can't get it done and they will escalate it, but you're not going to talk to those. They'll work on it and they'll send you an email back. But 9 times out of 10, maybe even 50 times out of 10 or 100 times out of 10, I can be on the phone with somebody and no matter how simple the question or how complicated the question, these guys know their stuff. They're willing to work with you and I have the majority of my clients on A2. Again, granted, I make a little bit of money on it, but I don't have them on there because I make money. I have them on there because I'm the guy that generally calls up the tech support, so it makes my life a heck of a lot easier. So if you're going to host your own website and you're already on a cPanel and you know what that is and you're using WordPress, I strongly recommend you take a look at A2.
The next thing I love and I am thankful for is something called Acuity Scheduling. Now, you can learn more about this at Brianlabs.info/Acuity. Now, I've tried Time Trade and a whole bunch of other time scheduling software, but this one by far is the most integrated one I've ever used. For example, it integrates with my calendars. So it'll go look at my calendar and say, “Hey, this guy is booked. You can't book that time.” Most of them do that. But this also integrates with GoToMeeting and Zoom and whatever you're using for setting up client meetings. It also integrates directly with PayPal. Now, there are times where I charge my clients for the hour or the half hour that they're going to spend with me. So I can send them a link, I can create a custom link that says this is a free one or that paid for it already or this is going to be a brand new charged website. So when they go there and they click the link, first they pay via PayPal. Secondly, it sets up the GoToMeeting and then GoToMeeting will send a reminder to them the day of or an hour before the meeting so they get the reminders automatically.
The next thing that I recommend is for email marketing, if you do any kind of email marketing, I've tried just about all of them. For the average user, I recommend AWeber. See more information at brianlabs.info/AWeber. It's one of my favorite programs because it's always growing and getting better, helps you set up lists, helps you set up segments and does email broadcast for you. It's probably not the easiest one to learn, but it definitely is one of the most powerful for the price. It's not going to cost you an arm and a leg like Infusionsoft and some of the others.
The next thing is not an affiliate product but I cannot live without this, and that is Evernote. I am Evernote junkie so I have it on my phone, I have it on my tablet, I have it on my desktop, my laptop, and I pay for it. You can get the free version, and I think you get one or two platforms. The paid version is $70 a year and you get access to as many devices as you want. I can do audio notes, I can do clippings of web pages. I can also set up shared notes for my clients and it gives me the opportunity to communicate with them on a platform that they generally can get for free.
The final thing that I'm thankful for is you. I want to thank you for listening to my podcast, for reading my blog. I want to thank you for sharing my content podcast and letting other people know that you're a fan, so I give thanks for you.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on what you are thankful for. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing thanks to others. Have you or your business evolved and are ready for a change? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
To learn more about this and other topics on Internet Marketing, visit our podcast website at http://www.baconpodcast.com/podcasts/