Here’s a big list of business tools and personal tools I’ve recently used (+ my reviews)

Check out my latest list of tools for my business and personal life.

I recently went through my credit card statements for the last six months. And if you’ve ever wondered what I or any other marketer buys, I thought it could be helpful to share what I discovered about my most recent purchases.

Below, I list out a whole bunch of different tools, resources, and investments I’ve recently used, including the name of the item, a brief description, and my honest review.

It was actually very helpful for me to go through these tools because it’s helped me re-think about what I’m paying for and what brings the most value. ;)

For organizational purposes, I’ve broken the post down into five investment categories:

  • business
  • life/convenience
  • other
  • free tools
  • and things I think would make good investments.

Starting with all of my business investments, let’s get started.

In no particular order…

Business Investments

AMZ Tracker

This is a tool I use to sell discounted versions of my products to jump-start sales. I also use it to check my rankings. I think it’s a great tool to use if you’re involved with the Low Hanging System because it’s helpful (although not necessary) to get that kickstart.

Dropbox

Dropbox is something that’s super easy for my team and I to be able to share files. We use it a lot for both of my companies, including the warehouse, and it’s great for hosting large volumes of documents and designs.

Brain.fm 

Brain.fm has great music that helps you either focus, relax, or sleep. It’s engineered with different types of beats that are supposed to work well with your brain, and I use it often for focus. I think it’s very helpful and effective.

MerchantWords

MerchantWords is really good for keyword research. I usually use SpotNiches but if I need something in a pinch, that’s perfect.

My Fancy Hands 

I use My Fancy Hands to get both business- and life-related help. The service essentially serves as US-based virtual assistance and can help save you a lot of time. You can check out a blog post I created about them right here.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a tool I use for making Low Hanging System-based designs. It’s not necessary to use, but it’s cheap enough, and I find it really helpful. I use PicMonkey and Picsplosion to make nearly all of my desktop-based images.

Evernote

Evernote is incredible. I use this to document basically everything and stay organized. With Evernote, I create notebooks for all the different sections of my life.

For example, I have a notebook for the weekly email content I create. I have notebooks for the warehouse. I have notebooks for Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, and I have notebooks to keep track of things like different vendors’ pricing options.

Whenever I buy courses, I create notebooks for them. Then, I put my course notes inside so I can easily go through them when I go to my mentoring meetings.

Additionally, I have notebooks for personal things, including a health notebook, which I use I upload any health-related information that I get from doctors so I’m able to keep everything together in one place.

There are just so many things that you can do with Evernote, and then you can easily search to find whatever it is you’re looking for. I wish I had started using this tool a lot sooner.

AppSumo

I’ve bought a lot of random things from AppSumo that have been ended up being really helpful. If you’re not signed up, you might want to be because you can get some really awesome things and some really good deals.

You just have to be careful to make sure you’re buying things you’re actually going to use, because it’s easy to go crazy grabbing up all of the cool things available.

MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a tool I use to make sure I’m making the most of the content I create. Any time I create a blog post, I add the link to MeetEdgar so it gets posted to my Facebook fan page and Twitter account.  I’m not exactly sure if there’s been an ROI from it I find it pretty helpful and at least feel better knowing my content isn’t being created and forgotten about.

Screencast (Techsmith) and Screencast-o-matic

I use Screencast and Screencastomatic to take pictures and record videos. It’s very easy to communicate things to my team using these tools — I even recorded dictating this blog post first having it transcribed. Recording things like that a lot easier than typing.

LessAccounting

LessAccounting is a tool I use that is really great for accounting. It’s very automated and you can set rules with it so that whenever a certain type of transaction comes in, you can automatically label it as some kind of expense.

I have the upgraded version which costs $286 and involves working with another human. With this, everything that doesn’t get automatically updated is edited by the person.

If you have a smaller business though, you can get a free or lite version.

I find the upgraded version super helpful but there are many thousands of transactions that go through my account.

Wistia

Wistia is something that holds my videos. I need to cancel it though as I don’t use it very much. I think YouTube is better to use. I also think YouTube is a better platform to put vlog posts on since Google owns YouTube and will likely reward posts with that versus Wistia and Vimeo.

JumpSend

JumpSend is similar to AMZ, but it doesn’t let you give as many products out at a discount. I didn’t even realize that I was still paying for this service, to be honest, so this is another one that I’m going to cancel.

If they want more information on JumpSend, though, you can go to the Mother’s Day case study in the Low Hanging System, where I talk more about my experiences.

InventoryLab

If you don’t have a ton of products, you don’t necessarily need Inventory Lab. Since I have thousands of products though, I love this tool. You can use it to quickly identify profitable SKUs and ASINs, you can check out what your FBA inventory is looking like, and you can see all kinds of other information.

Because Amazon is so hard to read, paying the $49/month for reading reports more easily is worth it to me.

Nanacast

Nanacast is a shopping cart that I used to use. I’m going to shut it down because I’ve been using Zaxaa more, which I like better. It’s a lot more intuitive and easy to use.

Hosting – LiquidWeb

I’m trying to streamline hosting payments for the different websites I have. So I use places like LiquidWeb along wiht a few others to put everything into one particular hosting service. I’ve also looked into Amazon’s services but otherwise, they’re a bit scattered.

Croatia mastermind

I recently paid to attend a mastermind in Croatia. I learned a bunch of things there, and I met with a bunch of different business owners. It was really awesome. It’s good to just talk with like-minded people and get new ideas.

If you’re interested in doing something similar, go here. You can meet with like-minded people or ask questions, which is really important.

HaikuDeck

HikuDeck is something I use for my courses. It makes really nice PowerPoint slides super easily. HAikuDeck is good if you have information products. It costs $120 a year.

ClickFunnels

I have ClickFunnels, but  I’m not even sure how much I use it, so I can’t give a great recommendation for it. I know a lot of people love it, but I don’t do a ton with it. I know that other people get good leads from it, though.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium used to be YouTube Red. It by-passes all of the ads with videos, which I prefer. And I love YouTube for learning. I get some really awesome things there. I was recently interested in learning about stock options, so I watched some YouTube videos and got a lot of information pretty quickly.

Different training courses

I’ve gotten a lot of different training courses in the last six months. I love to learn, so I like to buy different courses to learn different things. I’d say I’m pretty picky about the types of things I buy, though. So for other people I recommend having a goal that’s outlined and then making purchases accordingly.

LibSyn 

I used LibSyn when I was doing my podcast regularly, which I would really love to start up again, as I’m still getting downloads every month.

Rev.com

I use Rev.com for transcriptions. Every week, we have Jumpstart calls, during which we do Q&As. These calls are also available via the coaching thing, and afterwards, I get them transcribed for people.

GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar is the tool I use to host calls and training sessions.

Bonanza

Bonanza is one of the marketplaces I get sales on.

Fiverr

I use Fiverr for a lot of random things, including getting help completing case studies.

CustomHappy

I have two different companies. With “Rachel Rofe Enterprises,” I paid a bit of money to my CustomHappy business for fulfilling websites, which is where I do a lot of the testing in order to teach the Low Hanging System well.

Random coffee shops

I often find it easier to work in a coffee shop as it’s nice to switch things up. I found a bunch of purchases on my statements from different coffee shops..

Affiliate payments 

I make affiliate payments for various courses, and I’m always happy to pay these because affiliates draw a lot of traffic, which is awesome.
Namecheap

I use Namecheap either for different domains I buy or for renewing other domains I have.

Zaxaa

I use Zaxaa for accepting payments for different courses.

Mentor

My mentor is named Randy and I recently paid for his mentoring services. It’s a pretty heavy 5-figure investment that I pay every year, but I think it’s worth it to learn from someone who has great experience; it shortens the learning curve. And so far, it’s been worth every penny.

ClippingMagic

I’m still paying for ClippingMagic, but there are many free alternatives. The tool erases backgrounds in photos so that you can have a transparent background.

Upwork + My Team

I use Upwork to pay for different people on my team for their services. I also use PayPal and Citibank to do this as well. Staffing is by far my biggest business expense, and having an awesome team with phenomenal service is super valuable to me. So I pay a lot for that, and if you’d like to learn more about outsourcing, go here.

Barefoot Student

Barefoot Student is something I got to see if it would be worth it. It gives you access to a bunch different people who are looking for internships. I thought it would be really valuable since it looks like there’s lots of people who are available to work with you, but many of them are super old profiles. I’m going to cancel this one.

Listing Mirror

Listing Mirror is supposed to sync your inventory in one place — so your inventory from Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and any other websites you have. You’re supposed to be able to make changes easily from one platform. It’s pretty pricey, though, and I don’t think the average person needs it. But if you have thousands of products across multiple platforms, it’s awesome for organization.

Trendosaur

I got Trendosaur a couple of years ago and I don’t look at it enough. My intent was to do some looking to see if I could find new product ideas for my warehouse or new design ideas for the Low Hanging System.

Zapier

With Zapier, you can automate a lot of different things in your business and personal life. I talk about it in more depth here.

Life/Convenience Investments

Travel

Outside of business expenses, travel is where most of my money goes. I believe it is investing in yourself, as you broaden your horizons and expand your world view anytime you travel someplace new and interact with new people.

Therapy

Therapy is a great investment because it’s good to have someone to bounce thoughts off of. I believe it’s one of the best investments that you can make; it’s an investment in yourself and well-being.

Trainer

I also invest in a personal trainer so I have someone I work with in terms of my exercise and eating habits, which is another investment in myself that I do.

Instacart and Postmates

Instacart and Postmates are similar services. With Instacart, you can get items from Whole Foods and other grocery stores delivered to you, which saves quite a bit of time. And with Postmates, you can get food delivered to you from healthy restaurants.

Water delivery 

I used to use a water delivery services when we were living in Las Vegas.  And we’re going to need to get a new one when we move to our new place in Pennsylvania. With this service, every week, people come in and deliver fresh water to us so that we’re not drinking bottled water as much, which is terrible for the environment.

Other Investments

Donations

Over the last six months, I made a bunch of random donations. I won’t list them out, but they include things like GoFundMe, other charities that pull my heartstrings and so on. One notable one is World Vision. It’s religious, and while I am not religious, I still love it because I love the idea of sponsoring a child. You can communicate directly with your child via notes, sending gifts, etc, which I love.

Robinhood

I use Robinhood for my stocks. If you sign up, you get a free stock, so sign up if you’re U.S. based as it’s a great promotion. But I prefer Robinhood over others because you get free trades. I also use eTrade for my Roth IRA.

Acorns

Acorns is a cool investment tool that rounds up your purchases. So, for example, if you spend $9.88 on something, Acorns takes the other $0.12, saves it for you, and then invests the money that it rounds up. So this is just a cool way  to save money on autopilot without thinking about it.

WealthFront

WealthFront is amazing. It’s another way to invest money. And I’ve had an over 30% ROI, on the money I’ve put in there.

Crypto membership and CoinBase

I have payments from my Crypto Membership to Coinbase, which I won’t go into here, especially since Bitcoin is really low right now. But if you want to learn more about it, just go here.

Scribd

I used to have Scribd, but I just canceled. You can get unlimited books there. And it’s pretty cool. I just found that it was a nuisance to use with Kindle, so I canceled.

Free Tools

Trello

Trello is a tool I use to organize a lot of different thoughts. It’s how I figure out potential weekly emails, communicate with the warehouse team, and organize lots of different products with people I’m working with. I have sections about things to talk about in my upcoming meetings, things to follow up on, tasks for people to do — that kind of thing.

IFTTT

IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It’s just like Zapier (mentioned above) and it’s super helpful for finding a variety of different automations. You can learn more about IFTTT and how it use it here.

Google Photos

Google Photos is incredible. You can put all of your photos in there and then organize by albums. You can also search by location, date, or even person. Then, you’ll get all the pictures of that person on it. It’s jut crazy helpful.

I’ve been slowly moving every single picture I have to Google Photos because of that search feature alone. It’s really awesome.

There are some things I wish they would make a little bit easier, though, because sometimes it takes longer than it should for certain things, but overall it’s very valuable.

Tools I’d Pay For If I Didn’t Have Access To Them

SpotNiches

SpotNiches is something I own. And I would absolutely pay for SpotNiches if I didn’t own it because it’s super valuable in terms of finding profitable niches for the Low Hanging System method. It’s just an awesome tool that I’m using constantly in order to find the best designs and get competitive keywords.

GBPro

I’ve heard a lot of people say  that people this platform out-converts Shopify by a lot. I’ve also heard that you can make a lot more sales with GBPro versus Shopify.

I think there are more for this list, but this post has gotten long enough! I may add more to it later on.

I’d love to hear – what do YOU think of this list of tools?

Have you tried many of them before? What tools do you use in your business and personal life that you could recommend? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Check out my latest list of tools for my business and personal life.

Increase sales with these ecommerce pricing tweaks

In the survey we sent out, many of you said you’d like to a) increase your LHS sales, and b) learn how to sell more physical products.

In the spirit of “low hanging”, I thought I’d share a couple quick pricing tweaks that can help you with both of these things.

See – it’s remarkable how making a few changes to the way you word things can help you make more sales.

I’m going to give you a few different, easy, proven things you can do to make more sales when pricing your products.

I’d forgotten about some of these things and can’t wait to implement them!

And remember: even if you’re selling on Amazon, Etsy, etc and don’t have a ton of control over how these things are presented in a shopping cart, you can still edit your descriptions accordingly.

Here goes:

#1 End your prices in .97 to communicate a great deal

Retail studies have shown that “odd pricing” – i.e. prices that end in  1, 3, 4, 7, or 9 – are responsible for more sales than pricing ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8.

Many split tests say that of those odd numbers, “7” converts the best.

There are several theories for this. Some say it’s an unconscious thing related to the sound of the words -i.e. “seven” is apparently the most pleasing because the tone in the word descends, “eight” sounds flat, and “nine” is ascending. “7” is also associated with luck, which might have something to do with it.

Regardless of the reason, large stores who want to communicate “good value” regularly end their prices in 7.

Nordstrom, the high-end clothing store, normally ends their prices in “0” since they don’t compete on price. Nordstrom Rack, their discount brand, has all prices ending in “7”.

At Costco, a clearance price ends with a 7.

Most of Wal-Mart’s prices end in 7.

#2 Show the savings

If you’re offering a discount, show customers how much they’re saving so as to highlight the good deal they’re getting.

If you’re running a sale on an item, say “It’s 50% off. Save $7”, or “Was $14.95, now $7.95”.

This helps illustrate the value people are getting.

#3 Use numerical digits, not words

People have an easier and quicker time processing numbers than they do words.

Instead of saying everything is “half price,” say everything is “50% off”.

Since people “get” numbers faster, they can anchor in the deal better. When they’re sorting through lots of options, this gives you a competitive advantage.

#4 Establish a price anchor

Anchoring refers to the tendency to heavily rely on the first piece of information offered when making decisions.

If you establish the initial value of your goods to be, for example, $19.97 and then indicate an actual price of only $14.97, your customers will feel they’re getting a bargain.

If you’re advertising a huge price difference, like $14.97 down from $99.97, explain why your prices are cheaper so customers don’t feel like they’re being deceived.

#5 Reframe expenses with small words

Little words can make a big impact.

Saying something like “this only costs $9.95″ versus “this costs $9.95” has proven to make a difference in sales.

Another example of this is saying that something has a small $5 fee instead of a $5 fee.

Seemingly insignificant copy add-ons like that can have a surprisingly persuasive effect.

#6 Keep prices simple

Of these three options:

  • $2,399.00,
  • $2,399,
  • $2399

…which do you think appeals the most to customers?

The answer is price #3: $2399.

That’s because it’s the simplest. There are no extra zeros and no commas, both of which make the first two prices seem more expensive. It also has the least amount of syllables, which subconsciously makes it feel smaller.

#7 Use words that are related to a small magnitude

In a study by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, participants preferred pricing on inline skates that had descriptions using words with “small” language, like “low friction” versus “high performance”.

If you want to compete on price, use words that reference a smaller magnitude (“small”, “tiny”, “low) versus words like “large”, “huge”, “massive”.

An example mug description tying this all in:

I know not all of you are selling mugs but since many of you are, here’s an example description that ties everything but #6 (reserved for higher priced items) in:

This easy-to-wash, dishwasher and microwave-safe mug is normally $24.97 — today there’s a 25% discount, making it only $19.97!

Your gift recipient will love this low maintenance mug that is sure to bring a smile to their face.

I hope this helps!

Top 5 Things I’m Doing To Prep For The Holiday Season

Ever since I realized that 73.8% of my sales for ALL of 2016 happened in November and December, I’ve been working hard to maximize holiday sales for this year.

I believe in the 80-20 rule, and that taking the time to narrow down the 20% that yields 80% of results is time well spent.

This post goes over the action steps I’ve found to be the most important for making holiday sales. As I was writing it, I realized I’ve been (unconsciously) focusing on these steps… and my year-to-date revenue is almost 5x what it was at this time last year.

Though I’ve written mostly about my Amazon print-on-demand biz, the majority of this information can be used with any ecommerce model.

Here’s what I found to be the biggest “bang for your buck” steps, in no particular order:

#1: Keep adding products.

Platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay reward you when you list more products with them. You scratch their back by adding more value to their marketplace, so they scratch yours by rewarding you with better search engine rankings.

Even traditional sites get SEO love from Google when products are added. Google loves to see actively updated sites.

Beyond that, though… more products = more money.

The more buy buttons you have for people to click on, the more opportunity you have to make sales.

If you’re doing the LHS model, this is crazy-easy. I’m not trying to sell LHS, ha, but this picture was sitting on my computer and I thought it made a great point. Check out the power of one design:

One design = 10+ more ways for people to buy from you 

Adding more products to your catalog is HUGE in maximizing your holiday season.

#2: Make sure your products are the right ones.

Last week I posted my my 2016 review where I went over my sales numbers for 2016 and assessed what worked well and what didn’t.

When I saw how helpful that was, I ran through my 2017 reports.

The time spent doing that was fantastic. An hour of poring through this information helps you get laser-focused with your time and lets you concentrate on what will earn you the most sales.

If you have any selling history, take the time to review it.

If you don’t, feel free to use mine.

#3: Send bestsellers to FBA.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need FBA (where you pre-send inventory to Amazon) to make great profits on Amazon.

During Mother’s Day I sold $54k worth of one mug in a few days and most of the time it was was not an FBA item. Most of my sales are not from FBA items.

That said, FBA does help increase your conversion rates. More people buy products when they see the “Prime” button on your listing. It’s an indisputable fact.

I’m sending some of my bestsellers to FBA this year.

If you plan on doing this as well, I recommend you do it soon. Last year Amazon stopped accepting shipments sometime in November and if I recall correctly, there was no warning given in advance.

If you want my warehouse to ship items on your behalf, either email rachelreports @gmail.com or check out The Holiday Challenge if it’s available when you’re reading this.

#4: Outsource whatever you can.

Last year during the holidays I didn’t have time to eat or sleep (#joysofowningawarehouse) and I did NOTHING in my Amazon business during November and December. I’m not counting on having time this year either, so I’m spending a good amount of time working on outsourcing systems so that progress happens without my being personally involved.

Even if you do have time, outsourcing is a no-brainer if you can afford it. It helps you multiply your efforts (creating and listing more products), supports you as your business scales up, and helps ensure that progress is happening even on your off days.

Now’s the perfect time to get help with adding in new designs, listing products, and finding slam-dunk niches to sell in.

#5: Learn from people who are doing well.

I was recently considering buying a product from some Amazon mega-sellers. It wasn’t an easy decision because I didn’t know if I’d have a ton of time to go through it, and because the investment was very sizable.

To make a decision, I decided to look at what I’d get instead of what I’d give up.

Instead of having to “give up” time, I realized that I’d ultimately be saving time. Learning from experts means you don’t try and reinvent the wheel yourself and that you don’t waste fruitless hours doing things that won’t work.

Instead of having to “give up” money, I looked at it like I was getting the knowledge of people making 10x what I was for a fraction of the cost of the knowledge inside their head.

The course had a limit of 100 students and ultimately I squeaked in at #99. (And yes, I did confirm they weren’t lying about the 100. ;))

I haven’t regretted joining at ALL. It’s been a great decision and even though I may not ever make it through even half the information, what I’ve gone through already has made it worth it.

Whether or not you invest in something, I recommend taking the time to learn from people who have gotten where you want to go. You save a boatload of time and aggravation and reach your goals a lot faster.

Hopefully this helps give you at least some insight on where to focus your energy this year. Even if your list doesn’t match mine, hopefully you at least have some new things to think about. :)

Want my personal help this holiday season?

I’ve crafted a Holiday Jumpstart package that specifically takes these 5 factors into account. It’s a high end package where you get everything you need to make this holiday season incredible: 100 done-for-you designs, cases of mugs shipped to FBA for you, coaching from me, gives you software to find hidden-gem niches, and a LOT more.

I’m closing this down over the weekend, so I recommend you check it out ASAP.

Full transparency: there’s a slight chance I re-open, but I want to make 100% sure that everyone gets a great experience before I do. Either way, the time you have left to rock this season is ticking, so  I recommend you start making your moves now.