AN A-Z LIST OF THINGS I USE AND LOVE
Ever wondered what email marketing provider I use? How about my favorite gluten-free tortillas? What camera I use for all my Instagrams? Or what about the sites I get royalty-free music and photos from? This is my A-Z List of things I use and love.
Some of the products and services listed below include my affiliate link. I wanted to be completely transparent about this and you should know that using my affiliate link gets you the same exact price, I just make a little bit of money from your purchase. Think of it like giving me a high five, but with that high five I can afford to buy more t-shirts!
Let’s dive in…
A: American Express Delta Skymiles Platinum Card (link)
Whoa, what a freakin’ weird thing to start this list with right? Well, I use this damn card all the time and it actually has decent rewards (by no means am I a credit card reward wizard). Each year this card gives me a free companion flight anywhere in the US and helps accrue points that can be redeemed for flights and hotels. Using this card in 2011 to pay for all my business expenses got me to Platinum status on Delta and I got upgraded to first class on nearly any flight I took. It was glorious (and I was already spending the money anyway!). You won’t find another credit card on this list because this is my favorite one. Oh, and the American Express iPhone app is badass. Seriously. It’s really well done.
Price: $195 per year
B: Badger.com (link)
Badger.com is my domain registrar of choice. Whenever I have a new project idea, I immediate run to Badger.com to see if the domain is available and to buy it. My good friend Conrad runs things at Badger and is incredibly transparent and honest when it comes to domain name stuff. Plus, they never badger you (see what I did there?) to add features or pre-select five year domain renewals.
Price: $15 per domain
C: Cotton Bureau (link)
Listen, you don’t become “the t-shirt guy” if you don’t love t-shirts. Cotton Bureau is a crowdfunding/purchasing site where cool t-shirts are put up for sale. The designs have to be approved by the Cotton Bureau staff and then have to sell a certain amount before they can be printed. Cotton Bureau handles the screen printing to keep the quality high and I think I’ve backed 10 t-shirts so far? Love this place.
Price: Free to browse, $25-30ish per shirt
D: Dropbox (link)
If you’re still using external hard drives to backup your computer, you must get Dropbox and ditch the clunky drives. I made the switch to cloud backups a few years ago and haven’t looked back (or had any issues). I use Dropbox to backup everything on my laptop. It’s also a great resource for sharing files with people or creating publicly accessible links to stuff on your hard drive.
Price: Free up to 2GB, $9.99/month for 1TB, and bigger plans.
E: Everlane (link)
Sticking with the clothing trend, I have to give a shoutout to Everlane. I first found them when I was searching for a new Dopp Kit. Then I found out they made high quality clothing (sustainably) and were completely transparent about their process, pricing, and profit. Freakin’ awesome. Their newsletter is one of the few retail companies I look forward to getting because the stuff is so fairly priced.
Price: Get out your wallet! (not expensive, just a ton of great stuff)
F: Flywheel (link)
I’ve used a bunch of different website hosting providers over the years and none of them compare to the customer service and usability of Flywheel. If you have a WordPress website or are thinking about creating one, I would 10000% recommend Flywheel to you all day long. Rick and his team are awesome and have helped me solve so many silly issues that no other hosting provider would care about. Flywheel is a fantastic resource for anyone who manages WordPress sites for other people too (you can manage billing per site, add collaborators, and lots of other stuff). This site, JasonDoesStuff, is proudly hosted by Flywheel!
Price: $30/month (1 site), $100/month (10 sites), and Custom Plans
F: Fujifilm XT-1 (link)
What? A second “F???” I know, I know. But hey, this is my blog so I can make up the rules and add duplicate letters to the alphabet. Even though I’m a fan of the camera on the iPhone, I still enjoy taking some higher quality photos here and there. As a previous multiple DSLR owner, both Nikon and Canon have provided me with quality equipment over the years. However, I recently made the switch to the Fujifilm XT-1 and I’ve been absolutely loooooving it. It’s not drastically smaller than a DSLR, but it’s more compact size definitely makes a difference. Plus, the ability to use my iPhone as a wireless viewfinder is pretty freakin’ cool. In case you were curious, I own the 14mm, 35mm, and 55-200mm lenses.
Price: $1,200 (body only)
G: GoSquared (link)
I always used Google Analytics before and it was confusing. Nothing was intuitive or easy to find. When my friend Paul Jarvis introduced me to GoSquared I was in love. Every thing I could possibly want is right on the dashboard (unique visitors, referring pages, visitors currently on the site, location, etc). I share an account with my girlfriend, which is a fun little hack, and we have probably 10 websites on GoSquared. Oh, and you can share access to sites with other people (like Google Docs or Dropbox)!
Price: $18/month (free trial for 14 days)
G #2: Gumroad (link)
Gumroad is a really simple and easy to use e-commerce solution. I remember when they popped up a few years ago I sold a nerf basketball using them. It took me a matter of minutes. I use Gumroad for random one-off or unique things I sell (like my consulting calls, review videos, etc). The simple sales pages are customizable and can be embedded on your own website so your potential customer never knows Gumroad existed. Here’s myconsulting call as an example.
Price: Free to use, they take a 3% transaction fee on all purchases (like PayPal, Stripe, etc)
H: Honey (link)
I found the Honey Chrome Extension a few years ago and always forget I have it turned on until… *bing* it pops up and tells me there’s a coupon code I can use on the website I’m about to buy something from. It’s a simple Google Chrome Extension that runs in the background and searches for coupons based on whatever site’s checkout page you’re currently on. It doesn’t always find coupons, but it’s nice to save 20% off stuff here and there.
I: Incompetech Music (link)
This is a royalty free music site I found during the IWearYourShirt days. Since I still create a video here or there I’m often in need of some background music. Incompetech has a ton of different music styles and the majority of them are instrumental and royalty free (and organized by music type or keywords). If I can’t find it on Incompetech I’ll look on AudioJungle, but I always try going the free route first.
J: Journal, by Landmade (link)
Yeah yeah yeah, I kind of phoned it in here. But hey, I love journals and I couldn’t think of anything else for the letter “J.” Crazy right? If you know of anything cool that you think I should check out, shoot me an email. Otherwise, I’m enjoying my cork journal from Landmade.
K: Kickstarter (link)
I went back and forth on whether to use the letter “K” for Kickstarter. But then I realized how much I love Kickstarter and how powerful of a marketing platform it can be (if used correctly). Kickstarter has introduced me to some really cool projects and companies over the years. I’ve backed at least five project per year for the last few years, some of them at the $5 level and some at the $1,000 level. Some recent projects I backed are:
And as a little plug to a good friend, if you’re thinking about running a Kickstarter campaign, you should definitely check out FundYourDream.
Price: Hide your wallet!
L: LeadPages (link)
LeadPages is something I discovered in 2014 and have really enjoyed using. If you aren’t handy with creating websites or landing pages (read: writing code and doing design work), then LeadPages is worth its weight in gold! With a few clicks of the mouse you can have a simple landing page set up for almost anything. Plus, they’re really great at helping convert leads into email subscribers which we’ll get to next. Oh, and if you’re a WordPress user their WP Plugin makes it super easy to make custom URLs on your domain (here’s my sponsorship course as an example).
Price: $37/month or $67/month
L #2: Letterspace (link)
I write 500 – 1,000 words every single day. I’ve used over 10 writing apps and never enjoyed one over the other; until Letterspace. It’s a free app for Mac (desktop and iOS). It apparently syncs via iCloud, but I haven’t managed to make that happen yet. Regardless, it’s beautifully designed and doesn’t have any of the extra buttons and crap that distract you from writing.
M: MailChimp (link)
For years I used an incompitent email marketing provider because I simply didn’t understand the value of email marketing. When I made the switch in 2012 to MailChimp, everything changed. I love the design and usability of MailChimp and have started using their segmentation and automation features a bit more. There are tons of email marketing providers out there (and I’ve tried a bunch), but MailChimp is my personal favorite.
Price: Free up to 2,000 Subscribers!
M #2: Must B Nutty (link)
This is the ONLY food item in this list. I found these guys via my friend Web Smith on Twitter. Gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, almond flour tortillas. I use these to make tacos or tostadas with my girlfriend, or we put a little Kerry Irish Gold butter on them, sprinkle some coconut sugar and cinnamon, and make a little healthy dessert.
Price: $9.99 (1-pack), $29.49 (3-pack), $56.99 (6-pack)
N: NounProject (link)
My girlfriend Caroline introduced me to Noun Project and it’s a designer’s dream. Have you ever wanted an icon for something but just couldn’t find anything on Google Images? Yeah, your problems are solved with Noun Project! You can search terms like “question mark” or “microphone” or “person” or “exercise.” There are so many awesome icons to sift through and Noun Project makes it suuuuuuper easy.
Price: Free! Almost all icons are free with attribution to the creator or are $1-2.
O: “Open” by Andre Agassi (link)
I have another list of my favorite books, but I had to give Open, by Andre Agassi a mention. I’ve read a ton of non-fiction over the past year, but Open was probably the best book I’ve read to date. Tennis holds a special place in my heart because I worked for the ATP right out of college and got to watch Andre’s last match at the US Open, but it’s still an amazing book. I loved Andre’s writing style, his vulnerability, and his incredibly detailed memories of his matches and life. A must-read in my opinion!
P: Pocket (link)
My friend Clay Hebert introduced me to Pocket a few years ago and I really enjoy it. Think of it like bookmarking with tags and good design. So instead of having a bunch of toolbars or folders full of website bookmarks, I use Pocket and store everything with tags. I can always go back later and search Pocket for an article, website, product, etc.
P #2: Product Hunt (link)
I visit Product Hunt daily. It’s a great place for finding new apps, new books, new podcasts, new services, etc. I’m proud to say I was Product Hunt user #609 and have enjoyed watching them grow as a company. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my own projects/products on Product Hunt and seeing a huge spike in traffic and purchases.
Q: Quirky Ascend (link)
I was originally just going to share Quirky.com because I’ve purchased a few cool products from them, but then I visited the site and saw the Quirky Ascend. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought the garage door opener I keep in my car is antiquated and ugly. The Quirky Ascend makes any garage door opener operational from an iPhone for just $100. I. Can’t. Wait. It’s about time our smartphones did more smart things!
R: RODE Microphones (links below)
Someone reached out to me from RODE in 2010 and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I own the RODE Smartlav, RODE NT-USB, and RODE Podcaster. They make fantastic audio equipment and have been great to me over the years. I use the Smartlav to record audio in videos where I’m not at my desk. I use the NT-USB on most of my Skype calls. And I use the Podcaster for interviews or anything recorded.
S: Slack (link)
I’d heard about Slack a year ago from my friend Rafa, but I didn’t dig very far into it. However, with recent product launches and collaborations, Slack has been instrumental in keeping track of multiple teams and multiple projects. Think of it like a Facebook Group, but with outstanding design and functionality (and a beautiful iPhone app). Slack just makes it easy to talk to people and their Mac App is great because I can switch between a ton of teams. Also, Slack has a great video explaining their product.
I used to be a Freshbooks user, and while they’re great, Square is just a bit better when it comes to design and ease of use. I use Square Cash to send money with the tap of just a few buttons on my iPhone. It’s ridiculously easy to setup and there are ZERO fees when sending money (maximum of $2,500 per day I think?). I can’t remember, but I do think you need to use your debit card if you are sending money. If you are receiving money with Square Cash you can input any bank account. Square Invoices on the other hand let you quickly and easily setup invoices. I have a few clients that still need invoices for things, so it’s nice to be able to whip these up with ease and know they’ll look professional (and are easily payable by credit card!).
S #3: Stripe (link)
WTF? A third “S??” Ya, it’s fine. Stripe is the cat’s meow (if that’s still a thing that’s really good). They just know what the heck they are doing when it comes to online payment processing. We use them for Teachery. We use them for the Bundle of Awesome. I’ll be using them many more times over this year. Plus, their customer service is fantastic. If none of that made sense to you, just know Stripe is a way better alternative to PayPal.
Price: Free to sign up, 2.9% per transaction + $0.29
S #4: SoundCloud (link)
Yes. It’s a 4th “S” just deal with it. I’ve gotten really into podcasting and SoundCloud just makes it easy. Their embeddable player is really slick and you can see it in action on both my podcasts: Invisible Office Hours and Sleeping With The Boss. Plus, the SoundCloud player is playable directly in Twitter or Facebook when you share an audio clip (which is awesome). I know there are a few ways you can host and submit a podcast to iTunes, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using SoundCloud.
Price: Free, $6/month, or $15/month (depending on amount of content and features you want)
T: Teachery (link)
I mean, c’mon, I have to promote a product I’m actually building! If you’re thinking about creating an online course (which I highly recommend) you should absolutely give Teachery a look. My co-founder and I have spent nearly a year creating what we think is the easiest online course building platform. Teachery was built with two things in mind: #1 Ease of use and #2 Course creator profitability. This Teachery blog has a bunch of great free resources too.
Price: $0/month, $49/month, or $179/month
T #2: Treehouse (link)
If you’ve seen the cover of my book Creativity For Sale, then you know how much I love Treehouse. Lots of entrepreneurs send me emails asking me what they should be reading, doing, etc to figure out what they want to be building or creating. I recommend to all of them to dig into the amazing content on Treehouse’s website. From learning design, CSS, how to build an iPhone app, basic marketing skills, and much more, Treehouse has a fantastic library of content that’s accessible and good for people of all ages and skill levels. I can’t recommend Treehouse enough!
Price: Free for 2 weeks, then $25/month or $49/month
U: Ugmonk (link)
One of my favorite t-shirt companies, although Ugmonk is much more than just a t-shirt company. The founder Jeff Sheldon creates beautiful apparel and products and has been doing so for years. Ugmonk is the ultimate story of build something slowly and with a focus on quality. Every once in awhile a t-shirt pops up that I have to grab, but lately I’ve just really enjoyed watching Jeff share behind the scenes of Ugmonk.
Price: Free to browse!
U #2: Unsplash (link)
I mentioned royalty free music earlier, well this is my go-to place for royalty free photos! Unsplash has some of the most beautiful photos from some of the most talented photographers. I head to Unsplash on a weekly basis to grab a new image for a blog post or something I want to put a quote over and share on Instagram.
V: Voyage, by Kindle (link)
I know, I kind of cheated here, but again, it’s my list and I can cheat. I’m new to the world of book e-readers, but have enjoyed the experience using the Kindle Voyage. While the experience of browsing the Voyage could be a ton better, the experience reading a book is really solid. Plus, you can’t beat having 1,000 books in the palm of your hand. I wasn’t sure how I’d adjust to using an e-reader but the Voyage is solid.
W: Wistia (link)
I use Wistia for video hosting for my online courses and a few other projects where I don’t want videos to be branded by other companies (YouTube, Vimeo, etc). They’ve done a fantastic job creating a video player that’s both easy to use and beautiful. I’m a big fan. Oh, and you can actually embed Wistia videos in emails with MailChimp (something you can’t do with YouTube, etc).
Price: Free (with Wistia branding), $25/month (what I use)
W #2: WeMo (link)
One day in 2013 I had an idea in the shower. I wanted to create a simple gadget that plugged into an electrical outlet and let you control that outlet via my iPhone. Well, after some Googling I found the Belkin WeMo. Dangit Belkin! I will admit I think there’s an opportunity to make a simpler version of this product, but I have two WeMos in my house: One that controls our living room light and one that controls our upstairs office lights. You can schedule the lights to turn on/off at certain times, you can control them from your iPhone while in Hawaii (like we did!), and you can add on other products from Belkin (light switches, etc).
Price: $40 on Amazon
X: I was going to try to get cute here…
But there’s no product I use or care about that begins with “X.” Remember this xylophone though??
Y: You’re Getting Old (link)
Truth be told I was drawing a blank on “Y.” Then I asked my friend Paul and he pointed me to You’re Getting Old. Put in your birthday and see a whole bunch of fun stats, facts, numbers, and more related to your age. It’s fun!
Z: Zenlist (link)
I’m a huge to-do list fan. I have to-do lists in my notebook, on post-its, on a piece of paper taped to my wall, in Google Docs, in projects on Basecamp, blah blah blah. The great thing about Zenlist is it only allows you to list 3 things. I use it to list my 3 biggest projects of the day, but you could use it to do 3 small steps of a bigger project. I just dig it.