Tools and technology I use or recommend​

I often get DMs or emails asking about my software recommendations for starting an online business so I’ve pulled them all together here. I’ve included what I use in my businesses plus some free options as well.

Disclosure: Most of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, at no extra cost to you I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products that I personally use or truely believe have value. I have provided lower cost/free alternatives where possible to provide you with options.


I use and recommend Siteground for web hosting. Site speed is important for SEO so I switched to Siteground last year and I am happy with my choice.

A cheaper alternative that I used the first 2 years of my business is Bluehost. They are a little cheaper and have adequate features for a new business with low traffic.

While I haven’t personally used them another option is WIX if you are looking for an easy set up and operation and are willing to pay for the convenience. 


I use ActiveCampaign. Powerful but not too expensive for a small business.

A free alternative if you aren’t ready to invest in email but want to start growing your list (which you absolutely should be doing from day 1) is MailerLite. It has great features and is free up to 1000 subscribers. Many people use and recommend MailChimp however the free features on MailChimp have changed dramatically in the last few years so I no longer recommend them. 

Graphic creation

I use Canva to make social media graphics for my feed and IG stories, client workbooks, opt-in downloads. The free version is feature-rich. I upgraded to the pro version for time-saving features.

Adobe Spark is another great option. It’s also great for making short promo videos.

I’ve heard good things about Over, however, it is app-only currently and their android version is lacking so if you have an Apple device give it a try.

Social media scheduler

Instagram – I use paid Tailwind for my business and free Later for The Leveraged PhD blog.

Twitter – I use the free version of Buffer.

Pinterest – Tailwind is the industry standard for Pinterest. They do not have a free version however you can sign up for a free trial.

Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest – SmarterQueue for evergreen blog posts. This software pays for itself through affiliate revenue on blog posts. You add your blog posts to the program and it will automatically re-share them with your followers at the intervals that you set up. It can also publish to Instagram.

Meeting scheduler

I use Acuity Scheduler. Saves me 15 mins plus for every meeting I set up and with an online service-based business I have a lot a week. It’s worth the $15/month. I love that it has timezone support as my clients are located all around the world, calendar and zoom sync so I don’t have to do anything extra to be ready for my meetings.

Acuity actually has a free version or you can go the traditional email backwards and forward to find a time.

Hashtag Research

I use Hashtastic to research my hashtags for Instagram. My favourite paid feature is the ‘ladder’ search that creates hashtag brackets to get my content seen in the short, medium and long term while also maximising reach. I also love their new tool that shows which hashtags are actually working.