THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS
Welcome to my page of helpful hints. I have spent countless hours researching every topic I could about working from home, making money online, starting a blog, and starting a home based service business. I’ve even read some get rich quick articles. Some were fantastic, and some were, well, not so fantastic. Below is a list of the ones that I have tried and found to be absolutely amazing. A lot of them are free to try, so don’t take my word for it. No one knows your needs better then you.
My #1 Helpful Hint……Sign Up For Ebates Before You Keep Reading. Ebates offers cash back for most of my suggestions, so you could be getting extra money back if you decide to purchase one of them. Plus they give you a $10 bonus just for signing up! And if you love it when companies give your money back, you might be interested in Swagbucks too! 🙂
BLUEHOST (Ebates) – Bluehost is my favorite website hosting company. I have used it for blogs and businesses. I’m always trying out a new idea and this is my go to. My website designer for my more complicated sites even hosts with Bluehost, but don’t let that scare you away. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress. And if you signup using my link, you always get a discount!
WEEBLY (Ebates) – Weebly is my go to website builder for the beginner, the business owner or new blogger who is brilliant, but not very computer savvy. If you can use a smart phone, you can make a website on Weebly. It uses drag and drop technology. I love it for helping friends setup their own business websites. Its super easy to teach them how to use it. When I started my first service business, I setup my first website in a day, all by myself, using Weebly. My website had scheduling and accepted payment securely all through the site. Give Weebly a look. 🙂
ULTIMATE BLOGGING GUIDE – This guide is amazing. I can’t say enough great things about it. I only wish I had found it sooner. It goes through blogging step by step and it’s written by someone who started at the bottom and grew her business. She tells you everything she did wrong, everything she wished she had known, and what she did to become so successful. She also offers a private Facebook group, which I love. A group of people working together to figure out blogging is fantastic. You can learn so much from others. The Facebook group alone is worth the price.
MISC. WEBSITE ASSISTANCE
FIVERR – For all of those things that you don’t know how to do…Enter Fiverr. This is a gig based site where you can purchase tasks for as little as, you guessed it, $5. I’ve used it to create logos, to help build audiences, to review my blog posts (sometimes you want to know it reads the way you think it does), to critique my site, and to write marketing plans. You can buy a gig for almost anything on Fiverr. Want a Pinterest site, but your not sure how to set it up. There is someone on Fiverr you can pay to set it up for you. There are even people who can help when your WordPress site isn’t working the way you thought it would. Check out Fiverr now. Let an expert help you for only $5.
TAILWIND – I am a mom. I work a full time job. I own a side business, and I run this blog. Needless to say, I don’t have tons of free time, and I have a lot to get done. Tailwind is one of my time savers. Pinterest is one of the highest referrers to my blog. I can’t always be online when I want to, so I love that Tailwind lets me schedule my pins. I also love the Tribes. They are basically groups of people with common interests sharing each other’s pins. This increases the number of people who see your pins. I’m a member of a few already myself and 100 times as many people have seen my pins as would have if my pins were located on my boards alone. If you’ve never used Tailwind, the trial comes with 100 free posts, so you have nothing to lose. If you already have a tailwind account, then you know you can never have too many tribes. Interested In Trying Out Tribes? Your Invited! Join My Tribe Here! Remember, It’s FREE to try.
ACUITY – If you own or are thinking about opening a service based business and would like your clients to be able to schedule appointments with you online, Acuity is perfect. I’ve tried other scheduling programs in the past and none of the others had all of the perks that Acuity has for the same budget friendly price tag as Acuity. It integrates with Stripe for payment so you don’t have to worry about payment security. It allows scheduling, email notification, text message notification, payment online, coupon codes, integration with Google Calendar, and a bunch of other features. I’m just naming off the ones I use. Check out the other great features Acuity has to offer.
RESTORED 316 DESIGNS – If you’ve “mastered” WordPress and you want to get a little fancy, this company offers inexpensive Genesis themes for use with WordPress. When your ready to take the next step up from free themes, check them out. Lani is fantastic. They have so many themes that I wasn’t sure where to start. I asked for suggestions based on my needs and she sent them back to me the very same day. Look around, you’ll love what you see.
STUDIO PRESS – Studio Press is just as good as Restored 316 Designs. They both run on Genesis Framework which is fantastic. I love Restored 316 Designs for a more feminine look for a site, but I love Studio Press for any website where you want a more gender neutral design.
PAYPAL – The payment gateway that can be found on almost every site on the internet. If your looking for a cheap and easy payment option that is trusted by clients everywhere, Paypal integrates almost everywhere and almost everyone has a Paypal account. I was at Home Depot recently, and Paypal was a checkout option at the register, so, if your new to the online world and looking for an online payment solution, I suggest Paypal. When your business is too new for your name to scream “You Can Trust Me” use a payment processor that screams it for you.
PRETTY LINK – Some affiliate links are long and messy. Pretty link is a WordPress plugin that makes your link, well, pretty. 🙂 But don’t just use it for your affiliate links. Do you talk about a company or a product all the time, but you aren’t an affiliate of that company? You might be someday and wouldn’t it be fantastic if you didn’t have to go back through all of your blog posts to add the affiliate link. If you had set up a pretty link for that company in the beginning (and just directed it to their website), you could change every link on your blog into an affiliate link in 3 clicks and instantly be making profit. They have a free version, so try it out.
STRIPE – Stripe is similar to Paypal. It’s a payment processor that integrates with many different platforms. I use it with Acuity on a regular basis. It’s more sophisticated then Paypal. If you have someone on your team who knows a little about programming you can do amazing things with it. I had a programmer set it up so that my clients could sell things through my site and it automatically paid them and gave me my advertiser’s fee. Stripe also took care of the tax documentation so I was free to assist my clients in their selling needs.
BEAVER BUILDER – Wish you had the drag and drop technology of Weebly on the renowned WordPress platform? That’s exactly what the Beaver Builder WordPress Plugin is. When I transitioned from using Weebly to using WordPress I added this plugin to my site and it bridged the gap until I was really able to learn WordPress. What I love most…there’s a free version, so you can try it and see for yourself.
NAME CHEAP – Name Cheap is similar to GoDaddy, but I’ve been able to get domain names cheaper at times from this registrar. I have to say that I like this company and GoDaddy about equally. I usually just pick whichever one is having the best sale at the time that. I only use Name Cheap and GoDaddy if I’m not hosting through BlueHost. If I’m hosting through Bluehost, then I buy the domain directly from them because they do all of the setup.
UDEMY (Swag) – I take a lot of how to blogging courses and I like Udemy for learning. It’s mostly video driven teaching so usually courses include you tube like videos showing you how to do exactly what you wanted to learn. Its the next best thing to being in a classroom with the teachers. I’m also experimenting with writing my own course on this platform. It seems very easy so far. If you can record a how to video, you can write a course on this platform.
TEACHABLE – Teachable is the platform used by the author of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, a class that I love and refer to frequently. It’s definitely on this list! Teachable is great for someone who wants to write a course and then offer an affiliate program for people who take the course as the affiliate program can be offered directly through teachable. I played around with writing a course through this site and its really self explanatory. It can be text or video based (or a combination). You can offer quizzes if you wanted and you have the option of keeping your documents secure or making them downloadable to your clients. Payment is also through the site, so basically all you have to do is write your course and Teachable takes care of the rest.
GO DADDY (Ebates) (Swag)- This is basically going to be the same description as Name Cheap. I Use GoDaddy and Name Cheap interchangeably. Whichever site is having the best sale that day gets my business.
SHAREASALE – In my opinion, this is the best Affiliate Marketing Network for the new blogger. While most networks have standards (must have 50,000 page views per day or something that no new blogger has), ShareASale will accept even the smallest and newest of blogs. And it’s not full of No Name Companies. I still use ShareASale for companies like Weebly, Tailwind, Name Cheap, and a bunch of others.
VIGLINK – After you grow your blog a little, save some time by using this auto affiliate link company. Its extremely simple. VigLink give you the code to add to every page of your site (adding it once to any sidebar, header, or footer will do). Once added, they verify your site and begin updating your links to be affiliate links. Say you wrote a piece on lowering your cellphone bill and you linked to the Verizon Wireless site, but your not an affiliate. VigLink would automatically change that link to an affiliate link. This is fantastic for getting the most out of your old blog posts and not having to go back and enter affiliate links on them all. It also double checks your posts for companies that you might not have known had affiliate programs. Who knew I could be a Verizon Wireless Affiliate or a Puma Affiliate all by joining VigLink. If you link to a company in one of your blog posts, they could have an affiliate program that you might be missing.
MAKING SENSE OF AFFILIATE MARKETING – This course saved me. I was about to give up on blogging. I was writing, but no one was reading it. No one knew I was there. Then I found this course and it changed my plan. I learned how to find readers. I joined the Facebook group and the Tailwind Tribe and suddenly I had all of these people interested in what I had to say. I had followers. I can’t recommend this course enough. Not sure your ready for a course? Check out Michelle’s blog for more helpful information on making money blogging.
EBATES – If you didn’t take my advice earlier, I’ll say it again. Sign Up For EBates!! I get money back from everywhere!! You were going to spend the money anyways, so why not get some back. Walmart, Groupon, Priceline, Bluehost, Walgreens…and those are just the places I shopped at this week. I get a “big fat refund check”
as they call it, every check cycle. I love getting money back on purchases I was going to make anyway. Did I mention it’s automatic. When shopping through your computer, download the EBates Cash Back Button and a popup will show on your computer anytime your shopping where a rebate is offered. Click activate rebate and your done. The rest happens automatically. From your phone, just download the app and do all of your shopping through the app. Looking for something on Groupon? Open it in the EBates app and get cash back on your purchase. It really is just that easy. Just for you, I marked all of the places on my list that offer an (EBates) rebate. 🙂
SWAGBUCKS – Swagbucks is Ebates on steroids! Not only can you get “money back” when you shop, you can also do activities to earn “money”. Or search using the Swagbucks search bar and earn. OK, so it’s not really money. It’s points that you can redeem for gift cards later. But, money is money no matter the form. 🙂 Swagbucks has a button that you can add to your toolbar and an app just like Ebates, so you’ll never miss a deal. If you order through your computer instead of the phone app, you might even be able to activate the Ebates and Swagbucks rebates for the same purchase. The rich never leave money on the table. We might not be rich yet, but why not practice. 🙂 I’ll mark the places on my list that offer (Swag) rebates. 🙂
GROUPON (EBates) (Swag) – If you haven’t used Groupon, then your paying too much for things. When we plan things in my family; ice skating, theme park visits, rock climbing days, go kart racing; whenever possible we plan around a Groupon. Why you ask? Because I love to get discount tickets for things. If you see me ice skating, I probably paid half what you paid, and I’m having just as much fun! Don’t pay more then you have to. 🙂
LIVING SOCIAL (Ebates) (Swag)- Like I said about Groupon, I love saving money, so if I can’t find a discount on Groupon for what I want to do, I check Living Social. It works exactly the same way as Groupon. It even has an Ebates rebate like Groupon, but it has different merchants with different deals, so its worth a look. Never pay full price if you can help it. 🙂
SMILE DIRECT CLUB – Braces are expensive, but what if they didn’t have to be? Let’s face it, invisible braces are just a piece of plastic, so why do they cost $6000? Recently we found out that my 14 year old daughter needed braces, and we got the $6000 speech from the orthodontist. So, me being me, I took to the computer and started researching. It turns out you can buy invisible braces direct from the manufacturer and they have their own orthodontists who work with you every step of the way. The price tag for this? $1500 plus $99 for the initial setup. Of course, I hate to leave money on the table, so I did some more research and submitted a claim to the dental insurance company, and they covered about half. Yup, braces for under $900.
HULU – Who needs cable when you can watch all of your favorite shows anytime for just $7.99/ month. Hulu is mostly for shows that recently aired, so if your a fan of a Fox series or a ton of other networks, your show will be available the next morning after it aired live. I haven’t watched cable in years. I have Hulu and Netflix and couldn’t be happier. Imagine a “cable” bill of less then $20 per month. It’s free to try and you can cancel anytime, so why wait!
NETFLIX –Again, who needs cable when you can watch all of your shows anytime for just $8.99/ month. I haven’t watched cable in years. I have Hulu and Netflix and couldn’t be happier. Some of the Netflix original shows are fantastic. They have Marvel shows that you can’t see anywhere else. I also love that Netflix has a kids option, so once my 5 year old is logged in, she can only watch age appropriate shows. It has all of her favorites and she’s always finding new ones. I’ve had Netflix so long that she doesn’t understand the concept of real TV. She wants to watch what she wants, not whats playing at the moment. Imagine a “cable” bill of less then $20 per month. It’s also free to try and you can cancel anytime, so why wait! I love free! 🙂
AMAZON PRIME – I love Amazon! Anything that I need, I can find on Amazon. I don’t have a lot of free time, so anything that makes my life easier is a win in my book. I put Amazon Prime under saving money, but I could have just as easily put it under saving time. Amazon Prime offers multiple benefits. They have video streaming similar to Netflix and Hulu, and all Amazon Prime memberships come with free 2 day shipping, so when the kids tell you Monday that they need something for Wednesday, just pull out your phone and order it. No stressing to find time to run to the store. And you can get it free for 30 days! I do love free! If you have little ones, still in diapers, you should try Amazon Family because you get a diaper discount. The rest of the benefits are all the same as Amazon Prime. Students get discounted memberships, so if one of your kids has a student email address, take advantage of the Amazon Student Membership. All the same benefits, but at a discount price. If you like Starz & Showtime, you can get 30 days of Free streaming by clicking here after you’ve joined Amazon Prime. Once your in Amazon, take a look at Subscribe and Save. Toilet paper shows up at my house instantly every month just before we run out and I don’t have to remember a thing. I set up the order once and let it go. And…in the spirit of saving money, every Subscibe and Save order saves 5-15% off the list price. Who doesn’t love saving money. 🙂
BETTERMENT – I don’t know much about playing the stock market and I’m not a rich investor type, but I’ve seen it on TV, I have retirement in stocks, I’ve seen stories of people getting rich in the stock market, and I love a little fun, so I started researching ways for the average person to invest in the stock market with just a little money. I found a few, but Betterment is my favorite. I set up how risky I want my investments to be and I setup a weekly auto deposit of $25. OK, so I want to play, not go broke. So far I love saying that I’m playing the stock market and it’s definitely a good place to get your feet wet without, well, going broke. If I hit it rich in the stock market, you’ll be the first to know. 🙂 Take a look at Betterment here.
LENDING CLUB – Because I’m always looking for a creative investment, I started listening when a friend told me how they lend money out to friends and then charge interest for repayment. Sounded like a great idea but extremely high risk. Then she told me how she just bought her retirement home in the Dominican Republic in cash and I thought, maybe it’s worth looking into. So, I started researching, and I found Lending Club. It’s a peer to peer lending company. Essentially, people apply for loans, Lending Club rates them by risk and assigns them an interest rate. You choose who you loan money to and when they pay it back, you get a portion of the interest. There is risk, but you can choose your risk level. I’ve made a little money with my little investment so far. 🙂
SEED INVEST – So, you want to invest with the big boys (and girls)? Five years ago you wouldn’t have been able to, but seed invest has lobbied for it and the laws have recently changed to let us little people invest with the big boys. So, of course I had to try it! I just can’t help myself. I investigated the different companies and invested a little. I can’t say what will come of my investment for a while, but the company was really easy to work with, and I especially like that they are leading the way to change government regulations to allow you and me to invest just like the rich, giving us the same opportunity as them to make more from our money. Check it out. I loved reading the new technologies that companies plan to build with your investment.
DIET DIRECT (Ebates) –If you’ve read my posts, you know how much I love to save time and money. I’m also always looking for the next best way to lose weight. Diet Direct is the company I turn to for automatic delivery of my healthy go to foods. Sign up through my link and get a discount off of your first order. Use Ebates and save even more money. 🙂
DIET BET – Need some extra motivation to lose weight? Money is always motivating for me. 🙂 So make a little extra money by betting on yourself! If you lose the weight you commit to, you win! You can start your own game or join in on others. Bets start as low as $10 for some games. Everyone puts their money in the virtual pot at the start of the game, and anyone who meets their goal gets to split the pot at the end. I usually have a game running, so if your interested in trying it, don’t be shy! Join my team! Diet Bet isn’t the end of motivational games. The makers of Diet Bet recently released Step Bet, and they are currently crowd sourcing funds for their next project.
FITBIT (Available at stores offering both Ebates & Swagbucks rebates) – I’m always wearing my fitbit. Even when I’m not checking it everyday it helps me keep my activity level up. They send a little email summary weekly where I can quickly see if I’m getting a little lazy. I also love the challenges, and usually have one going with my coworkers. A little friendly competition really gets the blood flowing.
PEAPOD – How long does grocery shopping really take you? How often do you forget something at the store and need to run out again? What else could you do with that time? How much would you pay someone to drive to the grocery store, pick out all of your groceries, stand in the checkout, drive them home, and carry them into the house? Peapod will do it all for $9.95. If you order more then $100 worth, and lets face it, who has a grocery bill that’s less then $100, delivery is only $6.95. And if you order every week, I highly recommend that you prepay for delivery and buy the PodPass. It covers unlimited deliveries for the year and costs only $119. If you order every week, that’s only $2.28/ delivery. Think of all the time you could save for $2.28/week.
SITTER CITY (Ebates) – Sometimes a mommy needs help. But as a mommy, I know how careful you want to be when you leave your kids with someone. My 5 year old’s school doesn’t offer before school care, and I leave for work early. I have family to cover most days, but I still needed help for Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. I used SitterCity to find the perfect babysitter, Rachel. My daughter just adores her, and I love that SitterCity did a full background check and I could search for sitters by availability, salary, background check, and a few other things. SitterCity narrowed down the searching time and took away the stress of finding a good sitter.
LAUNDRY CLINK – I feel the same way about laundry as I do about grocery shopping. You’re busy! Don’t waste time doing things that you can hire others to do. Especially if you can get good quality at a fantastic price. Let someone else wash, dry, and fold your laundry. How much is your time worth? Take a look at your blog income statements or your pay stubs if your not sure. What would you do with more free time? Laundry Clink has free pickup and delivery, and they charge by the size of the bag so it’s really easy to budget for.
TASK RABBIT – I love having a clean house, but I’m always super busy, and let’s face it, I get no pleasure out of cleaning. So, I took the plunge and hired a house keeper. She comes twice a month and does the big stuff. The floors, the bathroom, etc. She’s fantastic! It takes her about 3 hours on Saturday morning and I can spend the time typing to you. 🙂