A growing list of the products and services I use and recommend*:

About my websites:

My websites are built on WordPress.org and hosted by Hostgator. I use OptimizePress a premium WordPress theme. I have a graphics degree from Purdue, so I do most of the coding and design work myself but admittedly the OP templates make great design really easy.

ISPhotographic and Grant Thompson Photography usually take my photos.

For e-mail distribution, customer management and more:

  • For a cost effective and powerful Customer Relationship Manager under $50/month, I recommend Address Two. The company is based in Indianapolis (which makes them cool). Click here for a free 14 day trial to check it out. Ask for Troy Hanna if you call. He’s also a DJ and a former comedian – and he has a knack for making CRMs a little bit more fun.
  • If you want more power in your CRM, including a shopping cart – I use and love Premium Web Cart. Call Gary W. and drill him about your needs…and tell him I sent you. PWC is a Chicago company – which also makes them cool Midwestern people too. If you’re building an online business – PWC is the way to go.

Outsourced Help:

  • ODesk: Virtual assistants from writers to graphic designers and iPhone app developers. A great resource if you need help on a budget. If you use someone from outside the US, I recommend the Philippinos. They are very familiar with our language and customs.
  • Fiverr.com – things people will do for $5 (or more). Warning: these sites are as addictive to business owners as Pinterest is to crafty women. Sometimes it’s just plain faster to pay more so you stay focused.

Mobile Marketing:

  • EZtexting: Text message marketing is an easy, cost-effective way to drive more business – particularly in retail. Text open rates are greater than 95% and response rates up to 10x greater than email. I personally use EZTexting to encourage engagement when I speak to large audiences. I particularly like that it’s a pay-only-when-you-need-it service.

– Nicole

*Just to be really clear, a couple of the above links are affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission for the referral if you decide to purchase their product or service. I only recommend products or services that I’ve personally selected after hours of research on all the possible solutions (it’s an obsession sometimes). If you’re inclined to reward me for that research, please use the link provided. If that feels icky – no worries. You can get the same service by going to directly to their site.

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