*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. I have a relationship with these companies and I am an affiliate for these companies including Amazon on the products. If you purchase or sign up for a service I will earn a small commission, but it won’t affect your pricing in any way. 

One question that I get asked quite often is, “What tools do you regularly use to do what you do”. I spend 90% of my time online and finding tools that are easy to use, easy to set up, and affordable could be a whole career in itself. If you’re not familiar with me I run three websites, three FB groups, spending time on social media platforms, plus I manage over 58 websites (not including my own).

I think that you are going to laugh at my two top tools, but I could not run my business without them. What is it you ask? You did ask, didn’t you? The most important tools that I used *drum roll please*

That’s right I think my pencil is my most important tool. In my business, I write everything down, but I also make mistakes. A good pencil and eraser are imperative. Now, this tool goes along with another important aspect and it’s very particular.

I use Stenographer pads. When I was in high school we were taught shorthand which for a very long time was a thing. It’s not a term you hear anymore but these little pads are the stenographer’s main tool. I like using them in my business sort of like a workplace diary.

Each day, I start on a new sheet by writing the date at the top. I write down everything including phone calls, emails, or in-person and this gives me a written record to refer back to. Anything that gets done end up in the book for that day. I couldn’t function without them and they are strewn all over my house. Next to the bed, for those 3 am brilliant ideas that disappear with the daylight., In my car, for those long rides when my mind is racing. When I open my emails, or whenever I’m on a call.

The next tool I use is my personal choice. Believe me, there are millions each a little different. I’ve tried most of them at some point or another. I love my Happy Planner though. It’s two years (the one pictured is only 12-month, it’s big enough to keep track of everything but still small enough to easily bring with you. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also get them at Michael’s.

As far as hardware goes, I use my HP laptop and I love it. If it died tomorrow I would go buy another one just like it and that’s saying a lot. I’ve considered a mac book, but I can do everything I need on this one and it’s under $1000 which makes it easier to replace if need be. I have to replace mine about every 2 years, but I’m going on year 3 with this one!

While I use my laptop daily and most often sometimes I find I need a smaller, more easily manipulated tool where I can create logos or graphics so I purchased an iPad and I love it as well. With the iPad, I also purchased an Apple pencil to go along with it for those fine touches that you can’t achieve with your finger.



These are the only hardware I use other than my iPhone and you already know how important those are to any business! I have an iPhone 10 plus and I love it. From the size to the APPS that makes life so much easier.

Now on to the software I depend on to run my business there are different types. I have client work, I have content creation & marketing and I need tools that work properly and will do one of two things. 1.) Save me time or 2.) Save me money. Those are the two requirements that all tools must address.

I need tools that work properly and will do one of two things. 1.) Save me time or 2.) Save me money. Those are the two requirements that all tools must address. Click To Tweet

The number one tool I use is Canva business. I love my Canva account and I use it every day. I have it on my laptop, on my iPad, and on my phone for those quick FB posts or Instagram graphics. I use it for work projects, client projects, and even personal projects. My home is filled with canvases that I have purchased from my own photos. It runs me $12.95 a month and it is well worth it! I couldn’t run my business without it.

Speaking of graphics. We use them everywhere. On websites, in social media posts and even advertisements & logos. I use several sources for images. The saying, “One Photo Tells A Thousand Words”,. Is totally true. Graphics can make or break your business. I use several free sites for stock images number 1 being Pixabay.com or Unsplash.com. I wrote a post last year with everything you need to know before you use that image and even where to find them! When it comes to photos I have to say that the cream of the crop is Shuitterstock. It’s a little bit expensive, but the quality is amazing.

Graphics can make or break your business. Click To Tweet

While free graphics are great for some things others need a more professional image that shows your brand in the correct light. For those specific posts, I only use Styled Stock Society. It’s perfect for my business. I pay $100 a year and twice a month I receive beautiful images that I can download and use. They also have amazing templates like Wordbooks, checklists that you can just plug in your own information and wham, bam you have an amazing graphic that improves branding recognition which I know you’ll agree is essential.

Now, after you’ve created those stunning graphics (or hired me to create them) you have to get them out there. For social media scheduling, I use several tools. I’ve found there is no “one” scheduling tool that will work for all of my needs. So, #1 is Sendible. It is my go-to social media scheduler and what I use for those who’s social media I manage ($50 monthly).

There are two other scheduling tools that I use for different reasons. My favorite for scheduling all of my Instagram posts is called Grum. It’s the easiest to use, it always worked and I purchased it several years ago as a deal from Sumome for a lifetime subscription for $39. It’s no longer available for purchase and I am so thankful I bought it. It’s been so, so worth it to me. I love it!

I also use Tailwind for something. I use it for the Smart Bio on my Instagram account. If you’re not using this feature you are missing out on so much! This is available on the free version and what it does is let you customize your Instagram bio to include links to anywhere buttons etc. Check out mine here and see how much better it is! I

These tools are what I use to create and I couldn’t run my business without them. So far we’ve covered

  • Graphic Design tools
  • Social media scheduling tools
  • Hardware
  • Other (general products

Next week, I’ll cover email marketing, important APPS, themes & plugins.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments below! If you ask I will answer.



Rena McDaniel


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