I spend a lot of time trying out financial products and business services so I can report back to you on what works and what doesn’t. On this page, you’ll find a list of all the books, financial products, courses and business services I’ve personally used to improve my business and finances.
Note: Some of these are affiliate and referral links. Which means I will get a small commission if you purchase any of these items through my link at no extra cost to you. In some cases, you are eligible for a bonus as well and I will mark that next to the resource. I only recommend products I’ve either personally used, have had significant interaction with the company or know that friends and colleagues have used them with great success.
Retirement and Investing
Betterment – Betterment is a robo-advisor that makes it easy for people to invest. This means that they automatically rebalance your portfolio and do tax loss harvesting for you. They also have an awesome RetirementGuide that helps you figure out how much you need to save each month. This is what I personally use for my retirement account. No minimum balance. Low fees. Easy user interface. By switching to Betterment I was able to save myself $250,000 in fees. Read: Betterment Review: An Easy Way for Millennials to Save for Retirement.
Acorns – Acorns is a phone app that automatically rounds up your spare change and invests the money in to Vanguard index funds. It’s an easy way to make sure you’re investing extra money as you go about your business. In a few short months, Acorns had rounded up over $600 in spare change that is now being invested in to the stock market. Read: How Acorns Is Helping Millennials Invest
Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi – SoFi offers student loan refinancing solutions at low rates. Variable interest rates as low as 2% and they don’t use FICO scores. Read: How SoFi Is Helping People Pay Off Student Loans (Plus Get $100 Bonus)
Paribus- Paribus keeps track of your online purchases and then scours the web to see if the product is cheaper somewhere else. If it is, they file a claim with your credit card company on your behalf so that you get the difference in cash. A lot of people don’t know you can do this, or it just takes up way too much time. Paribus makes it easy by doing the legwork for you. Click here to sign up through my referral link and get a 5% savings bonus.
Ebates – One of the best ways to save money is to sign up for a cash back site like Ebates. You can get free cash back just by shopping online like you normally would. I use it when I have order anything from Best Buy, refill my contact lenses or buy gifts. Click here to sign up through my referral link and get a $10 bonus.
ThredUp – ThredUp is an awesome way to save money on designer apparel! You can find items for up to 90% off retail price! It’s like second hand/thirft shopping but done entirely online. You can also sell some your old clothes to ThredUp if you choose. Click here to sign up through my referral link and get a $10 credit toward your first purchase.
BillCutterz – Billcutterz is a bill negotiation services that will negotiate with your service providers on your behalf. They can negotiate your cell phone, your landline, your cable and much more. I sent them my cell phone bill and within 24 hours they’d already saved me $10. It’s a great way to save money on your bills without having to do the negotiating yourself. Click here to sign up for BillCutters and give it a try.
Republic Wireless – Republic Wireless is a great option for anyone who wants to cut their cell phone bill. They have no contracts and plans start as low as $15/mo. You also have access to great Android phones from LG, Samsung and Motorolla. Click here to learn more about Republic Wireless cell phone plans and try it risk-free for 14 days!
Personal Capital – Personal Capital is a budgeting software similar to Mint and other Quicken products but with better options for keeping track of investments. I switched over to Personal Capital in 2016 and I love it! It helps me keep track of my income, spending, debt, investments and net worth. Best of all, it’s free! Read: Personal Capital Review: A New Tool to Track Your Net Worth
Resources for Freelance Writers and Bloggers
Freelance Writer’s Den – Freelance Writer’s Den is Carol Tice’s membership site where she teaches classes and workshops for aspiring writers. I religiously followed her work when I was first starting my freelance writing career. She also has a job board with very high-quality gigs. I’ve gone from making $500 with my content creation to making over $10,000 in one month. Click here to learn more about the Freelance Writer’s Den.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a course by one of my colleagues, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner where she teaches students the strategies she uses to warn $50,000 in affiliate sales from her blog each month. I’ve taken the course myself and saw an uptick in affiliate sales almost immediately, which is why I highly recommend it to bloggers who are interested in affiliate marketing and passive streams of income. Click here to check it out for yourself.
Make Money Your Honey With Freelance Writing – Make Money Your Honey With Freelance Writing came about because I’ve received lots of requests to create a class that outlines the exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $50,000 per year as a freelance writer and blogger. This 30+ module course will show you everything you need to know to start your own fruitful freelancing career. You can learn more information about the course here.
UpendPR – Upend PR is my colleague Josh Elledge’s membership site where he provides classes and PR services to help you get more media placements. He’s taught me a lot of what I know which helped me get featured in places like Time, Forbes, Business Insider and more. Additionally, a company I was a spokesperson for used his PR services with great success. It’s very affordable and you learn a lot of the PR chops for yourself. Sign up through my referral link and I’ll send you my Be Your Own PR Agent class (value $49) for free.
Email Marketing and CRM
ConvertKit – An email list is a must if you want to make money blogging. If you’re looking for an affordable but still very powerful way to build your email list, ConvertKit is the way to go. For as little as $29 you can have a list, multiple opt-ins and a tag system. To give you an idea, the tag system alone is genius. Before ConvertKit you would have had to pay a lot of money to be able to tag subscribers for targeted email marketing. Click here to learn more about ConverKit.
Infusionsoft – In 2015 my team and I upgraded our email marketing and CRM to Infusionsoft, an all-in-one-system that includes email marketing, CRM and e-commerce. It’s helped us automate and streamline our business processes. This is a great solution for those of you who may already be more established in your online businesses. Read Infusionsoft Review: How I Automate My Business With an All-In-One System
Bluehost – Having your own website is an absolute must if you want to make money online. If you’re just starting out I would recommend Bluehost for web hosting. We’ve been using Bluehost since 2010 and we’ve never had any major issues. It also comes with 1-click WordPress install and is super affordable. Sign up through my referral link and get web hosting for $3.95 a month and a free domain name. Read my tutorial on how to start a blog, How to Use Bluehost to Set Up a WordPress Blog.
WordPress Design Themes
StudioPress – My web designer and I are obsessed with Studio Press themes. They are beautiful, easy to work with and very affordable. This blog specifically uses the Cafe Pro Theme. This website came out so good that Studio Press put it in their showcase (sending me some nice traffic each month) and my blog was recently nominated for the Best Designed Personal Finance Blog Plutus Award.
Webinars on Air – Webinars on Air is an affordable webinar solution that allows you to use Google hangouts, make money from within the webinar and have multiple panelists. I simply pay $20 a month for webinar access and that’s it. This is also used by one of my blogger friends, Nikki Novo. Click here to learn more about Webinars on Air and their different pricing options.
Accounting and Invoicing
Freshbooks – When I first started freelancing I was using Freshbooks for all of my invoicing and accounting needs. It’s very simple to use and it helped me save money on those pesky PayPal fees by choosing the “Business Payments” option when writing an invoice. My fees went from a few dollars a transaction (sometimes upwards of $50 in fees depending on the amount I was invoicing) to a flat $0.50 per transaction. I still highly recommend this for anyone who needs an easy and cost effective way to invoice their clients. Click here to learn more about Freshbooks and try it for free.