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It is not a random list of tools and resources. I handpicked them carefully because I deeply care about your success. Using the right tools is one part of your success. It’s critical to me that the recommended tools are not a distraction of your already busy workdays.
I am tired of using too many apps but gaining little improvements to my life. You should be, too. If you spend more hours setting them up then effectively using them, overall you lose time, energy and don’t get the crucial stuff done.
Find the ones that have the biggest impact (think: 80/20) and stick with them.
But don’t let the FOMO (fear of missing out) dictate your life.
If you are excited about new apps, schedule time on the weekend to try them to see whether they fit your work rhythm.
@Startup founders & technologists: Even though it’s in our DNA, we need to be disciplined and reject our impulse always to try new stuff when it comes to productivity.
This discipline allows us to achieve greater results by deploying a few apps in a much more efficient and effective way. Most first-time startup founders are too optimistic and let their emotions interfere with their work outcomes. At the beginning of your startup journey, it’s fine to do things that don’t scale.
Do Things that Don’t Scale. — Paul Graham
Looking into the future, I don’t think we will have any problem finding new apps (think: Producthunt), but better bundling them into a good workflow that fits our individual work patterns. What works for someone, doesn’t necessarily work for someone else.
Moreover, I think most people only make use of 20% of all the features app offers. We get easily distracted. We quickly create a fragmented personal behavior by using too many different apps for simple tasks. Or, we stop using them altogether because we are overwhelmed and miss a system and some structure.
My goal is to use technology in my favor, not against me by increasing my daily app effectiveness to 80%. I want you to achieve similar results. That’s why I am not only sharing a list of tools but will also publish setup guides and a productivity system that allows you to find your individual and team workflows.
Having said this, my rules when it comes to using technology and apps for daily work are:
- As few as possible (quality over quantity).
- Simple & intuitive.
- Automatically synced across all devices (smartphone, Mac & tablet).
- Stable, older than 12 months (no closed beta or early release versions).
Starting something is all about making decisions. However, too many choices paralyze us. The paradox of choice leads to decision fatigue.
Simply put: Entrepreneurs must constantly make two different types of decisions: ones you can go back on (revocable decisions), and ones that are permanent (irrevocable decisions).
Revocable decisions, such as pricing or which tools we use, should typically be made as soon as the questions arise. Irrevocable decisions, such as taking a round of funding or signing a 5-year lease, however, require a lot more thought.
Please keep in mind that my tools and resources aren’t selected randomly. I carefully chose them based on my work experiences as well as tons of interviews I’ve done with startup founders and digital entrepreneurs.
If you want an endless supply of apps & inspirations and face the paradox of choice, please go through the lists below:
- Steve Blank: Startup Tools
- Tim Ferriss: The 4-Hour Workweek Tools
- YCombinator: Startup Library
- StartupWeekend: Resources
- The Startup Foundry: Startup Toolbox
- Pat Flynn: Smart Passive Income Resources
Apps For Building a Personal Brand
David Cummings, a successful serial entrepreneur, recommends startup founders without an idea to build a personal brand that will help their future company. I think that even startup founders who already started their startup journey should build a personal brand through blogging.
One simple reason: Writing is an important skill every startup founder must master because writing is a process that breaks down problems, and puts them into a structure and system via words. Within Amazon, for instance, every meeting gets started by reading a 6-page memo of the topic at hand.
As you will see in my startup resources section, the most successful entrepreneurs regularly write and blog. (PS: doesn’t your business card look great with your name.com website on it 😉
- Bluehost: I use Bluehost for all my websites. I found their 1-click automatic WordPress installation and excellent customer service – via phone and chat. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND using Bluehost for your first site.
- WPEngine: Instead of the PC of hosting (Bluehost), rather prefer the Mac version of hosting. Then you should sign up with WPEngine. Class leader in speed. Jason Cohen, great founder, who created a remarkable company!
- GoDaddy: To register a domain go to GoDaddy and search for your name.
- Themeforest: It is a great marketplace to find WordPress themes from developers and designers around the world. My favorites are (1) Enfold – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme, or (2) Lista | Newsletter Form Landing Page.
- OptimizePress (OP): It is a website editor for WordPress. The first version of StartupGeist was entirely built on OP without coding knowledge, just some common design sense. It’s great because it’s easy to customize (landing pages, blog templates, etc.), relatively cheap (97$) for 30+ templates, and great extra features (OP WordPress plugin).
- Rainmaker Platform: Now, StartupGeist uses Rainmaker. It’s great for content marketers (it feels like Apple combining hard- and software and so enabling a great user experience.)
- Squarespace: Alternative to Bluehost and without the trouble of registering a domain, you can use Squarespace. It is a great start for bloggers.
If you want to keep it simple though, you ought to use Medium. However, I highly recommend establishing a brand by owning your domain. Read here why writing is an important skill every startup founder must master! For David Cummings, successful serial entrepreneur, it’s the primary step to follow for entrepreneurs without an idea because it will help your future company.