Welcome to the Hello Tech Pros Resources page, a curated list of tools and websites I strongly recommend for starting a podcast or running an online business.
Before checking out all of the tools and resources I use and trust, I have an important disclosure.
I recently moved hellotechpros.com off of GoDaddy and onto SiteGround for one reason: performance. I don’t get a ton of traffic (yet), but when an episode gets popular on Product Hunt, I do get a spike that was crippling my old server. It’s no fun at all when you are getting reports that your website is down and no one can get to your popular new post.
The customer service team at SiteGround is top-notch. They answered all my questions before I signed up and even talked me OUT OF spending money on a tier that was above my current needs. After I signed up, they even handled transferring the site from my old provider and getting it up and running perfectly at no extra cost.
You can use a single SiteGround account to host multiple domains, so no need to buy another hosting account when you want to throw together an MVP or test out an idea. I highly recommend SiteGround for your WordPress site.
Email List: ConvertKit
I use ConvertKit to manage my email list. If you want to do business online you MUST have an email list manager.
I started with the free tier from MailChimp, but quickly decided to upgrade to ConvertKit because of the way it handle’s emails. Most mail list services require you to manage a unique list for every cohort (or collection) of people you want to communicate with. For instance, if you have subscribers and customers, those would need to be two different lists. ConvertKit solves this data-duplication problem by using tags. Each email in your list can be tagged multiple times. For instance: “subscriber”, “downloaded-giveaway” and “purchased-product”.
ConvertKit allows me to track my relationship with a lead as they engage with different links on my site and emails. On a person-by-person basis, I know what they like and what they don’t like, and can build content specifically for them.
Logos, Voiceovers, Small Tasks: Fiverr
I like to test out minimum viable piece of sh!t (MVPOS) ideas without spending a ton of time or money getting it stood up. Fiverr is a great resource where you can hire freelancers to do quick and dirty tasks for as little as $5.
Fiverr has you covered in almost every category, including graphics & design, digital marketing, writing & translation, video & animation, music & audio, programming & tech, advertising, business and lifestyle.
The ATR-2100 is the mic I’ve used for every single podcast recording. I did my homework before selecting this mic and made the decision based of the following criteria.
Sound Quality. The ATR-2100 sounds great. I listen to a lot of other podcasters and check out the gear that they use. This one was recommended over and over again. I’m glad I went with what sounded good on other shows. If it sounds good on my show, it will sound good on yours.
Price / Performance. The ATR-2100 is less than a hundred bucks. I picked mine up on Amazon for about $60 and glad I went with this model over the $400 model that other podcasters recommended. To my ears, this mic is awesome for spoken content. My guests are all blown away when we dial in on Skype.
Mic Stand: Heil PL-2T
When I bought my ATR-2100 microphone, Amazon also recommended a $15 mic stand boom, the most popular product at that time. I went ahead and bought it because of the numerous 5-star reviews but soon regretted the decision. The product I bought had a few flaws that annoyed me every time I recorded a show. First, the mounting bracket was too small for my desk so I had to rig it sideways on the desk leg (and scratched the leg all up). Second, it wouldn’t stay in place. It had a bit of impotence and the mic kept drooping further and further down throughout the interview. Third, the arms were articulated via springs that mad a really annoying ringing sound every time I bumped the stand (because it was mounted sideways and constantly drooping). This made editing my original shows a pain in the rear.
After about 30 episodes I decided to upgrade to the Heil Sound PL-2T overhead broadcast boom. SO HAPPY! It mounts perfectly on the back of my desk top, next to my monitor. The swing arm pivots smoothly and stays in place. The articulated arms don’t have external springs. The mic cord is routed nicely through the device, keeping everything tidy. The Heil PL-2T looks and feels pro. Solid investment around $120.
Scheduling: Acuity Scheduling
Acuity Scheduling provides the calendar / scheduler I use to schedule all of the phone calls and podcast sessions with each of my guests. Other than my podcast media host and email, this is the most critical tool I have in my toolbox.
There are several great things about Acuity Scheduler that I love. The first is that it syncs with Gmail calendar so if I add something to my personal schedule like a lunch meeting, Acuity Scheduler automatically knows to block out that time period so that guests can’t double-book me.
The other must-have feature is the custom forms that Acuity Scheduler allows me to build for each type of appointment. This way I can capture everything I need to know about a guest prior to the interview.
Hard drives crash. Stuff happens. Disaster recovery is no joke. That’s why I use Backblaze to keep my data safe. Their system is set-it-and-forget-it so I don’t have to remember to run a backup. The Backblaze system is always looking for new or updated files on my computer and then synching them to their cloud services in the background. I have about 4 TB of data backed up and if my machine gets totally wiped, Backblaze will send me a USB external hard drive with everything ready to transfer to my new system.
Backblaze isn’t just for complete restores. I recently went on a trip to visit family and realized that I hadn’t transferred the audio files from a recent interview to my production team. Nervously, I checked the Backblaze file restore site and breathed a sigh of relief seeing my audio files were there and available for cherry-picking restores. I didn’t need to download all 4 TB, just the critical files needed to keep my business moving forward. Crisis averted.
How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection
Jia Jiang came to the United States with the dream of being the next Bill Gates. But despite early success in the corporate world, his first attempt to pursue his entrepreneurial dream ended in rejection. Jia was crushed, and spiraled into a period of deep self doubt. But he realized that his fear of rejection was a bigger obstacle than any single rejection would ever be, and he needed to find a way to cope with being told no without letting it destroy him. Thus was born his “100 days of rejection” experiment, during which he willfully sought rejection on a daily basis–from requesting a lesson in sales from a car salesman (no) to asking a flight attendant if he could make an announcement on the loud speaker (yes) to his famous request to get Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the shape of Olympic rings (yes, with a viral video to prove it).
Jia learned that even the most preposterous wish may be granted if you ask in the right way, and shares the secret of successful asking, how to pick targets, and how to tell when an initial no can be converted into something positive. But more important, he learned techniques for steeling himself against rejection and ways to develop his own confidence–a plan that can’t be derailed by a single setback. Filled with great stories and valuable insight, Rejection Proof is a fun and thoughtful examination of how to overcome fear and dare to live more boldly.
How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money
Stop rushing into businesses born from half-baked ideas, misguided theories, and other forms of self-delusion. A lack of proper validation kills more businesses than anything else. As Joel Barker says, ‘Speed is only useful if you re running in the right direction.’ Will It Fly? will help you make sure you are clear for takeoff.
It answers questions like:
- Does your business idea have merit?
- Will it succeed in the market you’re trying to serve, or will it just be a waste of time and resources?
- Is it a good idea for YOU?
In other words, will it fly?
Chock-full of practical suggestions you can apply to your business idea today, Will It Fly? combines action-based exercises, small-scale ‘litmus tests’, and real-world case studies with anecdotes from the author s personal experience of making money online, hosting successful podcasts, testing niche sites, and launching several online businesses.
Will It Fly? will challenge you to think critically, act deliberately, and dare greatly. You can think of the book as your business flight manual, something you can refer to for honest and straight-forward advice as you begin to test your idea and build a business that takes off and soars.
In five parts, Will It Fly? will guide you through the validation of your next business idea:
- Part one, Mission Design, helps you make sure your target idea aligns with and supports your goals.
- Part two, Development Lab, walks you through uncovering important details about your idea that you haven’t even thought about.
- Part three, Flight Planning, is all about assessing current market conditions.
- Part four, Flight Simulator, focuses on the actual validating and testing of an idea with a small segment of a target market.
- Finally, Part five, All Systems Go, is for final analysis to help you make sure your idea is one you are ready to move forward with.
A Leadership Fable
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.
Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech’s CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni’s utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.
Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.
How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
No gimmicks. No Hyperbole. No Magic Bullet. The Compound Effect is based on the principle that decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, presents The Compound Effect, a distillation of the fundamental principles that have guided the most phenomenal achievements in business, relationships, and beyond. This easy-to-use, step-by-step operating system allows you to multiply your success, chart your progress, and achieve any desire. If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you want.