Everything on this list I have used myself and love. This document does contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a commission. Please see full terms here.


CREATE PDFS & SCREENCASTS

Make those packets and tutorials for your clients!

Word or Google Docs
Good for writing, easy to save as a PDF!

InDesign
Make gorgeous PDFs and worksheets for your clients.

Acrobat
Create fill-able forms and worksheets for your clients.

Loom
Free software for screencasts with a simple Chrome extension!

Screencast-o-matic
Record screencasts for tutorials or presentations.

Camtasia
If you wanna get fancy with your videos.


CONTRACTS & ACCOUNTING

Keep yourself protected!

Contract Killer
Open-source contract for web designers and developers. Woohoo!

Small Business Bodyguard
Need more than a simple contract? Check out SBB for tons of templates and steps to follow to set up your business, legally.

Annette Stepanian
Annette is a super-smart lawer for creative business and has a plethora of contract templates you can purchase and tweak!

17Hats
You can streamline everything from quotes to contracts to invoices, all in one easy step. Not only does it make you look amazingly organized to your clients, but it makes your life much easier--so you can spend less time doing admin tasks and more time doing billable ones.


WEBSITE CREATION

I’m pretty old-school when it comes to making websites. I use the basics, and that works for me.

Paper + Pencil
Seriously, it’s the best place to start. Graph paper is my favorite when planning out websites.

GIMP
I no longer use GIMP, but before I had the Adobe suite, it was my graphics software of choice. It honestly does almost as much as Photoshop does, and it’s free. If you’re not ready to invest/subscribe in Adobe, give GIMP a whirl--you might be pleasantly surprised.

Photoshop / Illustrator
To be honest, these days I don’t even do mockups and I skip straight to coding a design, but I still have both Photoshop and Illustrator around for editing photos, making graphics, and crashing my computer for no reason.

Notepad++
This is a really basic text editor that I use for coding. One of these days I’ll get one of those fancy ones.

WordPress
Every site I create is built in WordPress. Not only is WordPress extremely powerful, it’s also incredibly customizable. I’m able to build just about anything my clients can dream up with WordPress.

StudioPress / Genesis Framework
At this point in my career, I work exclusively with the Genesis Framework. It makes coding much faster and the resources and community mean that if you ever get stuck, someone’s got your back.

Sridhar Katakam
Sridhar has the best code snippets for the Genesis Framework. Totally worth the subscription, and saves me hours from having to code things on my own. #knowyourstrengths #ihatejs

Code College
My friend, Brad, has an amazing collection of courses to teach you how to code! Seriously, it's a little ridiculous just how much good stuff this guy has created. Definitely check his school out!

Up and Running with Beaver Builder
My friend Joe has put together a comprehensive guide to using Beaver Builder to streamline your website creation process!

Digimorph
Cinthia, my friend and fellow workshop creator, is brilliant when it comes to Google Analytics. Whether you want to take a course, or hire her to set up GA for yourself or a client, she's your Google Analytics powerhouse!


WEBSITE HOSTING

Having a great website host for yourself is important--but having your web design clients on a great host might be even more important!

Siteground
Perfect for yourself or clients. Siteground’s GoGeek plan is my favorite, as it allows for simple staging sites, which makes your life as a designer/developer easier.

Flywheel
My favorite hosting for clients! Flywheel is managed WordPress hosting, and they make it incredibly easy for you to create a new site for your clients, and then transfer billing to them for site launch. Plus, if you have clients who are a little lazy with things like running updates, Flywheel has their back with core updates and security.

WP Engine
For clients with large sites who need managed hosting, WP Engine is where it’s at.


EMAILS & EMAIL MANAGEMENT

Gosh golly, we get so many emails these days. If only there were some tools to make it easier...

Gmail / Google Apps
Nothing’s better than Gmail for emails. I use Gmail for my email account (I hook my domain email to it), or Google Apps has some great features for businesses.

Streak
I love Streak for organizing projects within my email, sending emails later, and tracking whether my emails have been read.

Say What?! - Save $10 with this link!
Having trouble composing the perfect email to that rude client? I’ve got your back! I’ve written email templates for all of the most common situations freelancers run into. Simply copy, paste, tweak, and hit send. You’re done.

Set it & Forget it
Newsletter bumming you out? Automate it. Leah’s course on newsletters, email funnels, and automation, makes newsletters a breeze!

ConvertKit
Want to automate your newsletters, sales funnels, create email courses and more? ConvertKit makes it easy! I LOVE ConvertKit and can’t imagine using anything else for my mailing list at this point.

ConvertKit Club
If you want to get the most out of ConvertKit, join my friend Elizabeth's ConvertKit Club! ConvertKit Club is an affordable way to get the timely and expert training and support you need to really utilize the unbelievable power of ConvertKit.


SYSTEMS & ORGANIZATION

Streamline your processes and organize your business!

Google Drive
I store most of my files on Google Drive for easy access no matter where I am--plus easy file sharing with clients or collaborators.

Google Calendar
Google Calendar is great for getting organized. Use it to schedule your ideal weeks, client projects, personal events, and more--and it’s free!

Calendly
Tired of clients calling you whenever? Use Calendly to let clients schedule calls at times that are convenient for both of you. Calendly syncs with Google Calendar, so you never have to worry about double-bookings.

17Hats
Organize your admin with 17Hats. You can streamline everything from quotes to contracts to invoices, all in one easy step. Not only does it make you look amazingly organized to your clients, but it makes your life much easier--so you can spend less time doing admin tasks and more time doing billable ones.

Freedcamp
My project management system of choice, Freedcamp is free, and you only pay for what you want to add on. That means if you don’t need one thing, you’re not stuck paying for it--pay only for what you need, or not at all if the basic account is enough for you.

Stress Less & Impress
Leah’s course on systems is a great foundation for any business! Learn to streamline all your processes so you can stress less and impress your clients.

Set it & Forget it
Newsletter bumming you out? Automate it. Leah’s course on newsletters, email funnels, and automation, makes newsletters a breeze!


OTHER USEFUL TOOLS

NoteShred
Safely send passwords and other information to your clients!