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21 Powerful Tools You Can Use to Skyrocket Your Success

If it weren’t for all the tools I use to help my business succeed, I’d have checked myself into an insane asylum a long time ago.

Hi, it’s Björgvin and we’re in the fourth installment of the 5x’ing Your Studio’s Success.

If you missed the first three posts, check them out below:

Today I’ll be sharing my favorite tools I use all the time to help me save time, be more productive, look more organized, and get more $#!t done!

Let’s dive right into it!

Productivity Tools

The amount of information that speeds past us every day is immense. When your mind is constantly being stimulated I feel like your brain is constantly on overdrive as well. The upside of that is that you tend to get a lot of ideas. The downside of a lot of ideas is that you’ll never be able to remember them all. That’s why I highly advocate the use of productivity tools such as these ones in order to stay organized, on task and always remembering your ideas.

  • Wunderlist -If you’re running a creative business, you’ll get ideas. Don’t forget them. Wunderlist is the list-taking app I use every time I get an idea that I have to remember. Whether it’s ideas for blog posts, jokes, song titles etc, it all goes in here for safekeeping.
  • A calendar – If you’re scheduling studio time or managing people, you need to manage your calendar. I use a combination of iCal and Google Calendar. If it’s not scheduled in the calendar, it won’t happen. I use my calendar as a hybrid to-do list and appointment scheduler. If it’s a “needs to get done today!” I’ll have a specific colored calendar to remind me. It also helps my assistant to see my calendar so she can schedule meetings when I’m free.
  • Pomodoro Timer – If you need to hunker down and focus, doing it in 25-minute increments does wonder for your productivity. If you’re not familiar with a Pomodoro timer, it’s a special timer that’s set to 25 minutes intended for focused work. Once the timer counts down, it gives you a five-minute break. I like using it when I’m writing my eBooks. That kind of deep and thoughtful writing is hardest for me and it’s nice to get a breather every 25 minutes.
  • Facebook News Eradicator – If you’re wasting time on Facebook and wondering where all your free time went, you’ll need this. This Chrome extension is fantastic! It replaces your entire newsfeed with an inspirational quote. That way, when I reflexively log into Facebook, it just shows me a thoughtful quote and I go “Well….I guess there’s nothing here to see…back to work!”
  • Evernote – Wunderlist is for quick notes and ideas. Evernote is for more serious brainstorming. Whenever I need to take an idea from Wunderlist and expand on it, I’ll pop it into Evernote. I use it to outline articles, brainstorm ideas and clip interesting web pages I find online to review later.
  • Focus Brain Instrumental Electronic Spotify Playlist – I can’t concentrate when there’s music with vocals and lyrics because I’ll immediately get distracted by the meaning of the song. However, working in a silent space is too depressing so I crank up all kinds of instrumental playlists on Spotify instead.

Online Marketing Tools

My business is almost exclusively online so I rely on a lot of different web marketing tools to help me share my message. I thought some of you might want to take a sneak peek under the hood to see how this business fits together, so here are some of the tools my business couldn’t function without.

  • Email Marketing – Email marketing is crucial for creating an audience online. Whether you’re a studio that wants to keep in touch with clients or a music teacher with a home studio, email marketing is key to interacting with your audience. I use Aweber to share my stories with my readers, but any great email marketing software will do. Activecampaign, Constant Contact, MailChimp and ConvertKit are all great alternatives.
  • A shopping cart software -If you’re selling services online, a shopping cart software of some sorts is crucial. I sell my eBooks like Step By Step Mixing and video courses like EQ Strategies through a shopping cart software called Sendowl. It has a simple interface and is user-friendly. Like with everything else on this list, there are many other alternatives. I know bloggers who use Kajabi, Thrivecart, and Infusionsoft so there’s no single software that’s crucial.
  • PayPal and Stripe – Necessary for receiving payments for products and services. A no-brainer necessity.
  • Amazon – If you want to be an authority in your niche, having a book gives you credibility. It doesn’t hurt if it’s a best-seller with rave reviews like Step By Step Mixing. The Kindle author platform is very straightforward and easy to use if you want to self-publish your books like I do.
  • WordPress – If you want to reach people online, you need a website. My websites are built on WordPress and I think it’s the easiest way to create a platform to reach your audience. There are alternatives, but I’ve never looked into anything other than WordPress.
  • Bandcamp – Bandcamp is great for independent musicians who want to sell their music. Back in the Long Wait days, we released our songs there, and you can still find our music there, like our tongue-in-cheek song about our Jolly Desperado Santa.
  • CD Baby – If you want physical distribution and also get your music on streaming services, CD Baby is the easiest way to go. There are alternatives, but I’ve always found CD Baby very easy to work with.

Delegation Tools

Like I touched upon yesterday, I’m only good at a fraction of what keeps this business running. The rest I delegate to experts that are smarter and better than me.

  • Fiverr – Don’t feel embarrassed by your designs. Spend $5 to get a pro to do it for you. I get all my fancy PDF reports and cartoon images designed on Fiverr, in addition to any small random tasks I can’t do myself.
  • 99 Designs – If you need serious design work but don’t know what you want until you see it, 99 Designs is for you. All of the covers to my products, from the funny Step By Step Mixing blender to the fancy Drum Mix Toolkit cover were designed by master designers at 99 Designs.
  • Upwork – For long-term contracts and bigger jobs, I use Upwork to find qualified individuals to help me out. I found my book editor, James, on Upwork back in 2015. To date he’s edited six of my books and become a good friend and confidante. I wouldn’t be able to write my books without him.

Writing Tools

Writing English as a second language isn’t very difficult for me anymore. However, I do still make a bunch of mistakes so it’s good to have a few tools to help me realize the error of my ways.

  • Hemingway Editor – The Hemingway app helps you edit yourself. It helps you be more concise and use simpler language when you’re explaining a complex subject (like audio engineering or entrepreneurship). I don’t use it all the time, but when I’m writing long articles or stories I tend to put my words through Hemingway to help me clean up my prose.
  • Google Docs/Drive – I use Google Drive for almost all of my document management. I write and edit all my books in Google Docs because it allows me and my editor to work on the document at the same time. I also give my beta readers access to my manuscripts through Google Drive so they can directly comment on my drafts before I finalize them.
  • Grammarly – I use Grammarly Premium to help me edit my blog posts. It’s not always perfect, but it’s great for spotting repetitive words, disjointed sentence fragments and unclear language.

Meeting Tools

When I need to meet with coaching students online or set up conference calls with peers and partners, these are my go-to tools.

  • Calendly – Calendly is super easy to use and helps you reduce the back and forth communication when setting up a meeting or a quick phone call.
  • Zoom – I use Zoom for all of my coaching students because it allows me to record the call so they can rewatch it at their convenience if they ever need to reference a specific topic we covered.
  • Skype – A no-brainer tool to easily chat with people all over the world.

What Tools Do You Use?

These were some of the most important tools I use to succeed with my business. I hope you discovered some new ones that might help you out.

Your action task for today is to jot down the tools you need to take action in a more productive and impactful way so that you can successfully reach your goals faster. What area of your creative career is most frustrating to you? Is there a productivity tool or a system you can use to reduce that stress?

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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