7 Blogging Resources, Tools, & Investments That Rocked My World in 2017

7 Blogging Resources & Tools That Rocked My Blog in 2017

Hey’all, I’m back for an end-of-the-year post. I love these types of posts, both reading others and writing my own.

Last week I wrote a very brave letter to my email list about the biggest and MOST important blogging lessons I’ve learned in 2017. In that letter, I shared some of my biggest fears, vulnerabilities, and shortcomings.

I thought about reposting that on my blog (that email was almost 2000 words!), but I’m just keeping that a secret between me and my subscribers. Instead, I wanted to write a follow-up post on the positive external influences that had on me this year.

Want to hear more from me? Sign up to my email list. (Hint: You can do so by signing up for any of my hidden freebies on my blog.)

*wink wink

Okay, now let’s dive into the best blogging resources, tools, investments and maybe revelations of 2017.

#1 Best Podcast: MIND Your Business by James Wedmore

I’m going to kick off the start of this post by mentioning my favorite of ‘em all. Okay, let’s be fair. Maybe it’s not my favorite one, but it’s my latest discovery and to say I’m obsessed with this podcast is an understatement.

I discovered James Wedmore’s Mind Your Business podcast a few months ago, but I didn’t have time to start listening to it until late November. I was running a small launch at the time and honestly, it was probably the one thing that kept me both sane and excited throughout those few weeks.

We all know how launches can be nerve-wracking, intimidating, and overwhelming.

Related: How to do a Mini Launch Without Burning Out

James has been an online entrepreneur for 10 years now and he started his podcast because he felt like there is a gap in the entrepreneur marketplace. People were always talking about marketing strategies and tactics (what he calls the left-brain stuff), but no one talks about the mindset, woo-woo and feminine side (aka the right brain stuff).

To give you a quick overview, here are a few things:

  • He doesn’t believe hard work and hustle is the secret ingredient behind successful entrepreneurs (despite what your parents and bosses might have told you) — P.S. and he’s right!
  • His podcast has a mix of “mind” topics (duh) from more popular topics like spirituality and meditation to “wow, what the heck is that? I’ve never heard of it” topics like “the margin for magic” and EMDR
  • He has both guest experts on the shows and solo episodes. I really like this format because when I want to listen to an influencer’s podcast, I really want to hear THEIR perspective on things and not listen to a whole bunch of guests I don’t know. But I have to say that he has some decent experts and I’m so glad I became aware of new topics.

(P.S. I was a psychology major in college so I’m attracted to most of his psychology-related stuff.)

I know you’re probably busy so I’ve curated a few episodes that you might really want to listen to first.

1| Episode 20: Know Thyself, Know Thy Business

Hands down, this was the episode that made me fall madly IN LOVE with his podcast. Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s also his most popular episode (according to his website)!

To be honest, I was quite turned off by the headline of the episode (haha). As someone who previously did copywriting, I like headlines that speak to people. And when I hear the word “thy”, it reminds me of Shakespeare (something I dreaded reading in high school). #sorrynotafan

But in the span of two weeks, I’ve listened to this episode TWICE because it resonated so much to me. I truly believe that knowing your strengths will help you so far in no matter what career path you choose. Now, of course, the Myers-Brigg is only one source of inspiration– it’s not the only holy grail bible to follow.

Related: How to Find Your Strengths in Life

2| Episode 114: How to Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind For Automatic And Lasting High Performance with Jim Fortin

The words “mind” and “high performance” really have a sweet spot in my heart. I love Jim’s framework of “be do have” in reprogramming your subconscious.

If you’re someone who experiences self-doubt or self-limiting beliefs about yourself, you will love this episode! Most of us tell ourselves that “once I have money, I will start a blog.” But Jim champions a different approach: you need to become, act and feel like the person and THEN you’ll begin to see the things you want coming in.

There are lots of big names in the online space that talks about money mindset and the woo-woo stuff (that’s still a term I’m not comfortable with). I listened and went through some free content from influencers like Denise Duffield-Thomas, Gabby Bernstein, and Danielle Laporte, but never felt as excited to learn. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more left-brained?

I can really go on and on about the podcast, but I’ll stop here.

Best Digital Courses + Programs

I like creating digital products and I’ve taken my fair share of courses this year. I really wanted to only mention one item from each category, but I ended up with three. These three are completely different and don’t compete with each other.

#2 90 Day Year by Todd Herman

Todd is a smart guy and well-respected in the industry. I was really skeptical of investing in this program because it was $2000!

Holy crap!

I’ve learned of him last year and I knew I was interested even though I had no idea what a “high performance coach” really was (Think Nike’s marketing).

When this program was open for enrollment again back in June, I made the most spontaneous decision to enroll.

For one, I was on the email lists of one of his many launch affiliates. It was everywhere. It was hard to escape haha. But I knew I wasn’t ready to buy a $2000 program yet. Then after the enrollment period closed, I had some withdrawals. I knew I wanted to get in, but the price point was not something I wanted to pay.

Then he briefly re-opened his launch window for a downsell offer. And I knew this was my chance.

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling.

Honestly, I don’t really know the exact difference between the $2000 and $500 offer, but I heard the cheaper version didn’t come with most of the bonuses (which I didn’t care for anyway) and doesn’t offer a ticket to his live event.

And prior to that, I barely consumed any of his pre-launch content, which was a 3-part video series. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of video series so I really didn’t know what I was getting into.

So you can say, I bought the program blindly with the exception of hearing raving reviews from his affiliates.

It was a scary purchase since I’m use to buying courses that are usually cheaper, but this course made it to my top 3. The program really walks you through how you set your goals. Also, I think this course should be a prerequisite to any entrepreneur, no matter what niche you’re in.

I still haven’t gone through the whole course yet, but have gotten massive results from the things I’ve implemented.

There were some things I knew already, but it’s so different when you actually have an expert confirm your thoughts. It’s like when you’re waiting for someone to give you that green light.

In the simplest terms, there is something about productivity, goal-setting, vision, and so much more inside.

#3 Initiation Brand Kit by Cerries Mooney

Now if $2000, or even just $500, makes you fall out of your chair, I want to tell you this: not all great products have to be expensive.

This is where Cerries Mooney’s Initiation Brand Kit comes in. It’s not often that someone creates a freebie that rocks my socks off. But I love her free branding quiz.

FYI, she doesn’t talk about color branding — not that stuff. It’s more about psychological and archetype branding, based off of Carl Jung’s 12 archetypes. You can take her free quiz here. Once you answer a few simple questions, she’ll send you a PDF so you can learn more about your brand archetype.

I ended up buying her Initiation Brand Kit, which is a very easy and digestible 5-day challenge. I can’t believe it was a pay-as-you-can product. I mean, it can’t be more affordable than that, right?

Because her free content rocked my world, I ended up buying her Surrender Kit as well. I still haven’t had time to go through that yet.

#4 Kopywriting Kourse by Neville Medhora

Neville is such a hilarious guy and learning from him is super fun and easy. I took his course when I was offering copywriting services. His simple and to-the-point writing is totally my cup of tea (even though I prefer to drink coffee more).

You don’t have to be offering copywriting services to learn this stuff. Whether you’re writing a blog, sending a weekly newsletter, creating an email funnel, or even engineering your next Instagram caption to take over the world, you will need to know copywriting.

He does have a course to offer, but he gives away 70% of his stuff for free! So if you can’t afford the course ($500, I know, it’s that number again!), his free stuff will take you very far already!

Software That Gives Me Peace of Mind

I love how technology simplifies our life so you know I can’t end this post without mentioning my two loves.

#5 *Active Campaign

If you’re just starting out and on a budget, I really recommend Mailerlite. But once you’re growing and bringing in a larger income, creating more email sequences and freebies and all, you might want something more robust. Again, it really depends on how you use your list.

Related: Mailchimp vs. Mailerlite: Which one is better bang for your buck?

I like Mailerlite for new bloggers and teach you how to set it all up inside my workshop, Blog Successfully. Because it gives you everything for FREE and you don’t need to worry about paying for something like Leadpages ($300/year), it really is the best place to start.

I switched to Active Campaign earlier this year and I love it! Maybe because Active Campaign isn’t created JUST for bloggers (like ConvertKit), not many bloggers recommend it. But many bloggers use it too and I know a fair share of people who have switched from ConvertKit to Active Campaign.

It does everything ConvertKit does and more! Also, Active starts at one-third of the price of ConvertKit.

I love having my automated email sequences and welcome series in place, knowing that ActiveCampaign will send out emails to my new subscribers everyday even when I’m asleep.

Imagine not having to repeat the same stories to new people who come across your blog. #gamechanger because I get to reserve a lot of energy as an introvert.

#6 *Leadpages

Now I had the biggest mental block wrapping my head around investing in Leadpages. I know it’s the most recommended lead-collecting tool in the online space, but at $300/year, it’s not cheap.

$300 was expensive, but I ended up paying $400… but for their two-year plan.

Ha!

So why did I invest in Leadpages?

Not because I wanted to pay that $400, of course.

I’ve wanted to give my website a new look for the longest time. You know get rid of some old stuff and do some closet cleaning and decluttering. I bought a new WordPress theme I loved, installed it and realized that all the links to my popup opt-in forms broke!

What the heck?! (A blogger’s worst nightmare)

I was using Popup Ally Pro before and it worked fine on my last theme. I’m sure the WordPress plugin isn’t restrictive to any WordPress theme so I don’t want you to think the wrong way. I could’ve gone in and fixed some things, but I really didn’t feel like it.

For one, I didn’t enjoy the user experience of the plugin, to begin with. It wasn’t intuitive and there were too many options to customize. If you’re not tech-savvy, I really don’t recommend the plugin. I do like the Nathalie Lussier who sells the product though (she was the main reason I bought it in the beginning — Okay fine, it was also cheaper).

I felt like when all this happened, it was a sign that I should go for Leadpages. I use to not like the plain look of their lead boxes, but their stuff is A/B tested and proven to convert.

So if something works, why try to change it yourself? It takes a long time to A/B stuff, you know?

Also, I want to spend less time as possible dealing with the tech on my blog. There’s other stuff I want to focus on like product and content creation, working with my messaging, and connecting with you.

I spent one weekend switching everything over and I’m happy with my purchase. Leadpages is A LOT easier and much more intuitive to use. In fact, I regret not going with them in the first place.

When you think about it… all the time it takes for you to make a buying decision, then implementing the wrong buying decision, and now you have to undo your mistakes… you could’ve easily spent it on doing more productive work that made you those $300 back.

If it’s a task you enjoy, it’s worth it. But if it’s not, there’s something to think about.

#7 Favorite Book: You Are Badass at Making Money by Jenn Sincero

Seven is my lucky number so I’m going to keep this list at that.

I read a handful of books this year, including:

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Mason
  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
  • Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist by Sally Hogshead
  • You Are Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

Quite honestly, most of the books I started, I never finished so I can’t remember all their titles.

So coming down to a favorite book was both hard and easy. But if there was one I had to pick, it would be Jen’s You’re Badass at Making Money.

Other than the title really makes me want to laugh (and slightly embarrassed), I actually did some of the exercises in the book after reading it. The journaling prompts did help me lift up some mental blocks.

I really wanted to love Mark’s “Not Giving a Fuck”. Frankly speaking, I love that title. It really speaks to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love his messaging and I agree with what he said about:

Instead of asking “how can I get rid of my problems?” the question becomes, “What are the problems that excite me? What are the problems for which I am willing to sacrifice for, to work for?”

I think I’ve always known this principle even when I was younger, but I just couldn’t articulate it as well as he did. But he didn’t give me any new light-bulb moments and the book was more of a pep-talk kind of thing. Unlike “Badass”, it didn’t have exercises that I can take action on (or I can’t remember if it did).

But if you’re someone who needs to hear that “tough love” message, you’ll love the book!

Now your turn!

What were some of your favorite resources, tools, and investments of 2017?

I’m all ears! Leave a comment below.

**(This page contains affiliate links. This means if you buy through this link, I’ll get a small commission, but rest assured, it won’t cost you anything extra! Any and every product that I promote on this blog is something that I’ve purchased, tried, used, and have seen results from. You don’t have to use this link, but I do appreciate it if you do. If you found this post helpful, it allows me to continue to write more content for you in the future.)

Until next time,

Judy

Judy

Hi, I'm Judy! I've owned at least four blogs over the last 10 years, from general lifestyle to skincare to blogging. Combined with my experience in digital marketing tech startup, I give away all my blogging and productivity tips and secrets that will make bloggers and creative entrepreneurs successful online.

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