I love sharing information about the things I use, consume, and enjoy. The list below is full of various things I am constantly recommending from business tools and resources to my favorite podcasts and books. Note: Many of these items are affiliate links. All that means to you is I get a small commission or referral credit if you click on them. There is no additional cost to you and the commissions help me provide all the free content you love. Scroll down to see more, or use the jump links below.
When I first started podcasting, I spent hours online trying to find all the right tools and tricks I needed to get my podcast up and running. I also get asked A LOT about what I use. So here is a short list of tools and resources you can use to get started on your podcast.
Podcast Microphones and Accessories
The first advice I have to anyone that wants to do a podcast is to just start. All you really need is some way to record and you can do this with the internal microphones in your speaker phone.
Once you’re ready to buy a mic for yourself, the one I use the most and really like is a Shure SM58 Microphone. I also have an Excelvan BM-800 that is a bit less but you do have to purchase a phantom power pack with it. Also, don’t forget to purchase a USB adapter cord so you can plug the microphone into your computer.
Your microphone needs a microphone stand. You can get this awesome table top one, or you can get floor stand. Some other items I love but aren’t necessary are the Yeti microphone. Also, a pop filter helps reduce harsh “p” and clicking sounds when you talk. Basically, it helps smooth out the sound of your voice in the microphone. Finally, you’ll want some studio headphones so you can make sure there are no sound quality issues while you are recording (it will really suck if you get home and realize you had sound issues and your recording is no good.
While you can record your podcast as a mp3 file, you might have to do some editing with the sound file plus add in some intro and outro music. I personally use Garage Band on Mac, but for PC users, Audacity is a very popular free editing tool to use.
Once you have the podcast recorded, edited and put together, you will have to upload it to the internet to share with the world. To do this, you have to create an RSS feed through a hosting site. Just like a website, podcasts need to be hosted somewhere.
I personally use Blubrry and love it. It integrates right into my WordPress site and pushes the feed to all the popular places to find podcasts like Itunes and Google Play. There are tiered plans depending on how much data you need. Spotify is another option I like too and is very popular amongst many podcasters.
Additional Podcast Recommendations
If you are an Orlando local and an Orange County resident, the Melrose Center at the downtown library is a great place to record a podcast. They have everything you need from recording equipment to editing, and it is all free for Orange County residents. All you have to do is take a short intro class and have a library card to use the facilities. If you don’t live in Orange County, they have non-resident passes, but there are small fees for using the facilities.
I think it’s important to look at your business, even if it exists solely online like it’s your store front. While the cost to entry for a small online business is a lot less than needing a physical store front, there are still tools you need to consider. Think about your website in this way: the website domain is your real estate, the hosting is like your electricity, and the tools you use on and throughout your website are like the infrastructure to your business, and your social media is your marketing department.
I use Blue Host as my website hosting company. They’re super easy to navigate and you can purchase domain names right from their site. It also easily integrates WordPress which is the website software I use to build this site. It is open source and free and very easy to customize. Once you install your WordPress site, you will want to pick a theme. I have used Genesis Themes and really love them (my DianaCGriffith.com page is run on one). I also have bought themes from Theme Forrest for myself and clients and have found good themes from there.
Editorial calendars are important when planning out your content for your blog. I use Coschedule which integrates right into your WordPress blog. I like it because I can schedule my blogs, make content notes, and even schedule all my social media from one place. If you work with a team you can even assign posts and tasks within Coschedule. It really has everything for your content calendar needs.
Mail List Tools
I am a big fan of email lists, and here’s why: you own it. Unlike social media and other forms of marketing, a mail list is a way to connect directly with your customers in an intimate space: their inbox. An easy program to get you started on an email list for free is Mail Chimp. I find it really easy to use and use this program with some of my clients. While Mail Chimp allows you to send a certain amount of emails a month for free, if you really grow your list, you’ll have to switch to a paid version.
In order to get more people to opt-in to my email list, I use OptinMonster. There are a lot of opt-ins forms to choose from and honestly, I find them to be the best looking opt-in forms I have found.
Social Media Tools
I like to say that good social media is planned spontaneity. As you build your brand, social media is essential and these are some of the tools I use to plan, create, and schedule social media.
For Instagram, I love editing my photos in A Color Story. They have many more filter choices than the native Instagram App. When I’m ready to schedule my Instagram photo, I like to use Later App, it allows me to save hashtags, and schedule out when I want to put up my post. When it is time to post, the image is forwarded to my phone and I just have to open the notification and paste the copy I already prepared.
For my Twitter Feeds, I personally like Hootsuite, because I can create lists that I want to follow based on Twitter lists I have created or hashtags I want to research or follow. I find it an amazing monitoring tool if you want to keep an eye on trends in various social media streams.
For Pinterest, I have used Tailwind to schedule pins and loved it. It’s so easy to use and the auto scheduling tool allows you to keep a steady stream of content rotating into your Pinterest feed at all times.
Photo Editing Tools
For easy photo editing, I have used both PicMoney and Canva. This past year, I started using Photoshop personally because I wanted to expand my graphic design abilities, but both PicMonkey and Canva are great online tools for the beginner. I rotated between both for years and still jump over to them when I need to do something quickly that I haven’t quite mastered in Photoshop yet.
If you run a small business where you offer services to clients and require contracts, invoicing and other miscellaneous like tasks, I can not recommend Dubsado enough! It has been a total life saver. In Dubsado, you can create workflows that will automatically send emails, contracts, invoices, and forms right to the client. You can track leads, set up invoice reminders to send out, and so much more. There is even a task list with due dates and the ability to assign to products, clients, and other team members.
I really can’t sing the praises of Dubsado enough. You can work with three clients for free (this includes leads) but the paid version is so worth it to save you time and energy in those mundane everyday tasks. Plus you get $50 off the annual subscription is you use my link above.
While Dubsado really covers all my organizational needs, before I switched, I was using a couple of different tools for task organization and time tracking. Asana is really a great tool for task management. You can break down your lists by project and assign different team members to tasks. For time tracking, I have used Toggl in the past and have enjoyed the tracking reports it has provided.
The reason I started my podcast was that I wanted to contribute to a medium I love. Below are some of my all time favorite podcasts.
Of course, I have to give a shout out to other amazing Orlando Lady Bosses that are making kick ass podcasts themselves. If you want a serious business podcast for creative entrepreneurs, check out Angelica and Charisma’s podcast. On the Heart and Hustle Podcast, they tackle all types of business concerns that face creative entrepreneurs. I love this podcast because Angelica and Charisma have a great report with each other, and they find great creative entrepreneurs to interview. They make me wish I had a co-host.
My Favorite Episode: Best Project Management Practices ft Diane Kinney of The Versatility Group
They say you never forget your first love, right? That is exactly how I feel about Stuff Mom Never Told You. This was basically the first podcast I started listening to. In 2017 they switched to new hosts Bridget and Emile who I really enjoy. However, for years I listened to Cristin and Caroline, but they left to pursue their own thing (psst…looks like they’ll have their own podcast eventually). I totally encourage you to listen to the back episodes with C&C too because there is so much great info about all things women past and present.
My Favorite Episode: A History of Panties
This podcast boasts it’s for long distance besties everywhere. While I think that is where the podcast started, it has turned into so much more than that. However, I do wish Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman were my besties too. This weekly podcast offers so much to the modern young feminist. They talk about all types of women’s issues, current events, and they even talk openly about feminist issues and how the current administration plays into it all. Everything they talk about comes with a bit of snark, an intelligent discussion, and is a must listen for millennial feminists out there (older feminists will enjoy this too!
My Favorite Episode: She’s Running
The Goal Digger podcast is a great business podcast with straight forward business advice for those of us who are running online businesses. The episodes are usually under a half hour and are packed full of useful information about how to run an online creative business. New episodes come out on Monday and the host, Jenna Kutcher is great about taking one topic and breaking it down into easily manageable snippets of information that you can take action on. This is the podcast I love to start my Monday Mornings listening to.
My Favorite Episode: How to Graciously Say No (and Not Feel Guilty About It)
Every single time I listen to this podcast I wish I were taking notes! This is such a great podcast for business women. This is a Forbes podcast hosted Morra Arron-Mele. Each episode is packed full of great confidence building information for professional women. The title is aptly named because of the almost universal experience many professional women have had when feeling overwhelmed by a work situation. This podcast lets you know it’s ok to be a strong capable woman who also has vulnerabilities.
My Favorite Episode: Awesomely Luvvie: The Vision that Worked
Growing up, I was a definite book worm. I would walk to school, nose planted firmly in a book. I seriously can’t believe I never got injured, but I guess my nose is just in my smart phone most of the time now. However, nowadays, I’m usually too busy to sit down and actually read through a book anymore save for a couple times a year where I might plow through three in a row.
I once heard that some of the most successful people read tons and tons of books. How do they fit it in? I’m always in awe. For me, to keep up with all the books I want to read, I use Audible, Now I can get a book in on a long commute, cleaning the house, or taking the dogs out for a walk. With Audible’s help, I can now go through about 25-30 books a year!
For a long time, I felt stuck, and I didn’t know where to turn to. In those times, I reached out to books for advice and direction. Here are some of the great self-help books that have helped me along the way.Even now, if I’m feeling stuck or in a time of transition, I pick up a book to give me some perspective. Here is a list of some of my favorites in the category.
Bosslady Business Books
Ladies know how to write! While there are some great business books out there written by the fellas, there’s something different about getting advice from a bad ass business lady that can build my confidence. Here are some of my all time favorite #bosslady business books. These books below will give you some great advice on how to navigate your career as the intelligent successful woman that you are.
Straight Up Feminism
I believe in feminism, it is something that has truly changed my life. When you’ve heard the good word and have experienced the transformative powers it has, there’s no way you don’t want to spread that with everyone. Learning more about the true principles of feminism and applying that knowledge and language to how I interact with the world, my family, and myself has changed me. Here are some of the books that have influenced me along the way.
Memoirs from Strong Ladies I Love
While many people enjoy fiction, my favorite beach read is definitely a good memoir from a strong lady. It is absolutely my favorite category of book.
If I had to pick one, my absolute favorite book of all time is Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. I love it with all my heart and I love her so much for writing it. Memoirs allow me to see the real portrait of women whom I admire. It gives an inside look at their struggles, successes, and everything in between. It’s one of the first places I found real depictions of women and not just the Hollywood version of them.