#TheList | 2024
Each year I look for the best tools and apps to scale you out of your business.
Happy New Year 🥂
I’m delighted to bring you the 2024 list of tools, apps, and resources that will help you scale out of your business which I update quarterly. SCALING:lab’s sole focus is helping business owners get their time back and cancel burnout once and for all.
The First Pillar of Business Scaling™ is automation: using free or cheap tech to do work for you (and in your sleep). It is the simplest and fastest way to begin freeing your time. I hope the updated list helps you make this year better than ever.
PS: Subscribers to the newsletter are now entered into a monthly raffle to win access to the course of their choice. Make sure you’re signed up!
Finance Apps Master List
Money is CRITICAL to our success, yet many of us have a whole lot of emotions surrounding it. Each of us learned what money means through subjective experience, for better or for worse, which often results in avoidance. The result is messy bookkeeping and missing trouble signs until it's too late. My Bonus Accounting Guide and Financial Planning Spreadsheet will help. Below are the tools I trust to put those principles into practice.
"You Need A Budget" saved my business and personal life from embarrassing bouts of overdrafts. Learning to budget is a bit of a mindf*ck, as it's thinking forward, not tracking spending. Check the Academy Library for the recording of the YNAB For Business Workshop.
I started using Wave when it launched in 2010. It's a simple, straightforward, and free accounting service that grows as you do and gives you the documents your CPA needs.
CPAs and tax preparers specializing in filing U.S. taxes for clients abroad (like me!). Save this resource if you have itchy feet and that travel (or expat) bug. Do let them know I sent you. 😉
Tried and true. I caution clients that Quickbooks is often too large a platform for newpreneurs. Aim to integrate it into your business after year one, or expect a bit of frustration from navigating features you don’t yet need.
Another app I've trusted since 2010 to process payments. Their app is super easy to use but is surprisingly robust. Can accept payments worldwide.
The payments I use today. It can accept payments worldwide from myriad sources, including credit cards, bank transfers, IBAN, SWIFT, BitCoin, and more.
For international bank transfers. This is useful for folks who are living outside the United States or have clients in multiple countries. You can still use it for US>US bank transfers. They also offer banking (with 3% interest!) and a debit card.
For payroll, taxes, and business management in the United States. It is extremely robust and handles a lot of the headaches for you (plus offers consulting on the confusing stuff).
Open Source Apps Master List
Using tech in our businesses is the first action toward automation and scaling. But what if you're uncomfortable with their data policies or devious alliances? I hear you (that's why I left Facebook!). That's where Open Source tech comes in. Open Source means that the code is open to the public and the company is 100% transparent about how they use your data to operate. 🎉 What's more, Open Source tech is often free or donation-based, rather than a paid offering. The drawback is that some apps aren't ready out of the box and need some customization before they'll work. Below is a growing list of the Open Source apps I trust.
I couldn't live without this messages app aggregator. It's a single app where all your messaging apps (except Signal) can live. I have Discord, Slack, Telegram, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Hangouts, Circles, and even some custom chats all in one place! Not to mention it's Open Source and free.
Coordinate your apps across hardware so your updates happen everywhere. Think DropBox, but better.
Hate Zoom? Jitsi is open source and offers 90% of Zoom's features!
For selling products and building a store.
Also highly trusted for building an e-commerce store.
An open-source client management system to help you stay in touch and make those sales.
Get that sweet sweet online marketing automation without giving your list to MailChimp.
One of the largest and most respected website builders in the world.
An open-source scheduling plugin for WordPress users.
Open source scheduling app (that has a sense of humor).
Trusted A.I. Master List
I'm becoming a massive fan of utilizing AI in business. It makes things faster, easier, more streamlined, and easier to automate. My goal is to save you time so you have more freedom — AI does just that.
NOTE: some of these apps have been mentioned on other lists. 😉
Transcribes conversations with multiple people. I'm a fan of blogging while I walk thanks to this app.
Rewrites your text to make it sound more professional. Great in combination with OtterAI (above).
Rewrites content over and over so you can repurpose it across platforms (ie. write a blog, then rewrite it as a YouTube script, rewrite it for your newsletter, rewrite a section for social media, etc.)
Similar to Jasper, except it slices and repurposes your videos so you can post clips to YouTube and TikTok, etc.
Especially useful for podcasters. Helps chop video and audio into small chunks, removes "uhms" or "ahs," and adds visuals to important key points, creating a vibrant and interesting video for your followers.
Optimizes your ad placement across the web so you don't waste money or spend a lot of your budget on a marketing manager.
Synethstia AI Videos
Build a video introduction of your product or service using this AI.
AI Writing Playground
Or just skip the writing and let AI do it all for you. This app is by OpenAI — a trusted source + authority of this tech.
Generate images (including logos)!!! I used this with a startup client and, as a result, they may decide not to hire a designer to create their logo — it was that good! Also by OpenAI.
A Chat GPT extension for Chrome. It provides prompts to help you use Chat GPT for SEO, content development, and marketing.
Turns your long-form YouTube videos into short vertical videos perfect for social media. I tried several different apps and this one is the best at the process without too many steps.
Social Media Master List
This list will help you get started with social media automation and simplification — even if you hate social media management! 😎
Use this app to create a quick summary of your blog post for social media (so you don't have to create more content after writing that big blog!).
Marketing platform built specifically for Instagram.
Schedule your social media posts with a visual layout and database of your images in one place.
Schedule social media posts PLUS repurpose video across platforms.
Get insight into what people are asking so you can answer.
PDF, Image, and other conversion tools. They’re growing their toolkit to help make content development (long- and short-form) easier and faster.
Automation App Master List
Let's get your business automated so you start making money in your sleep! 🎉 Automation means that your business can run without you, that your apps and systems talk to each other, and fewer mistakes are made. You may find that some of these apps are also mentioned on other lists. I wanted to give you a central location to find some of the best automation apps on the web so you can get right to it. So here we go!
Connect anything to anything. Seriously.
Connect many things (not as powerful as Zapier IMO, but the first to market, back in the day).
AI that acts for you — from website data scraping to auto-messages, this has my mind blown.
Completely automated onboarding and private client management, including billing.
Automate your social media across a calendar. I love Later because it will hold an unlimited database of content assets (photos, memes, etc) for you so you can post on a whim. It works with a lot of the platforms others struggle with. There is a free version, but it’s limited to 10 posts/month across all platforms.
Let folks book themselves onto your calendar (but only in slots you allow!). You can also use Calendly to combine calendars with team members to ensure everyone is available when someone books a slot.
Build sales funnels that convert in your sleep.
Build courses and funnels to sell your knowledge in your sleep.
Automate + optimize your ad placement with AI.
Automated chatbot for your website or WhatsApp to start the sales process in your sleep.
Outsourcing Master List
The Third Pillar of Business Scaling™ is Hiring. While I encourage everyone to eventually hire a dedicated assistant, the first hires you should make ought to be small outsourced tasks. These are the training wheels of hiring, and it will help you learn how to delegate a task, the hours available, and the desired results. Don't forget to use the Hiring Guidebook!
The #1 VA company in the world — based in India.
Hires people with advanced degrees in disadvantaged regions (this is my preferred option because it uses international economics to benefit disadvantaged regions).
US-based batchwork VAs.
Ain't nothing wrong with good ol' Fiverr!
Outsource your design needs.
Marketing Master List
***Note: This is a separate list from Social Media tools***
Power your contacts list to always keep up with leads, customers, and partners. A good CRM should connect to your email directly, remind you when to reach out to various lead types, and house all your notes/data on each contact in one place. Cloze does that and keeps tabs on their social media so you always have something to discuss. I’m not an affiliate but I am a dedicated customer.
Slightly less powerful than Cloze but plugs right into Gmail. This was my first CRM and it was a great introduction.
Uses a Kanban-like board to help you move deals forward. If you’re a visual thinker, this CRM might be for you.
Cost is driven by multiple pipelines (which you should have). Considered one of the most powerful CRMs on the market, today.
Answer The Public
Shows you the most common questions asked in Google for any topic.
Portent Title Generator
A hilarious blog post title generator to help you get creative with your topic. Sometimes I just play with it for fun.
Synthesia AI Videos
Create an AI avatar to speak in your promotional videos.
Will rewrite your text to sound more profesh!
Uniquely rewrites text to easily repurpose across platforms.
The #1 email marketing tool on the web.
Keep track of how many clicks (and from where) your links receive so your future self can determine what efforts (and budgets) are worth it.
Know what's trending so you can post about it or target ads!
AI Writing Playground
Tired of writing? Let AI do it for you.
Voice transcription. I love using this to "speak" my blog drafts.
HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
Get a daily email digest of calls for interviews from reporters around the world.
Pitch guest blogs and pay for promotion on major sites.
Tasking / Productivity Master List
If you don't task well, you can't scale well. The rule of thumb for tasking is to get it out of your head. Holding tasks in your head uses valuable mental energy that could be focused on growing your business. I'm a massive fan of combining a digital and physical task system. Learn about that in the Bullet Journal Course.
Here are the task managers that SCALING:lab members say work well:
The task manager I use with my assistant because it offers both lists and kanban views.
Arguably Asana's #1 competitor — only offers kanban view.
Remember The Milk
Sends tasks where and when you need them.
Combine the power of task lists with project + team management.
A powerful all-in-one collaborative space for teams and tasking.