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Resources

Most Recommended

The tools you need to succeed at every level

Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Resources section, a curated list of the tools and websites I strongly recommend for building and optimizing your business. I have tested every recommendation on this page. Many of the resources listed here are crucial to running my business (or were crucial to developing SPI to where it is today).

Before digging into the awesome resources I know and trust, an important disclosure:

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

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Bluehost

#1 for Hosting Websites and Blogs

All of my niche websites are hosted on Bluehost. Why? Because they make it incredibly easy to get a new site up and running with their one-click automatic WordPress Blog installation.

You can use your Bluehost account to host multiple domains—no need to pay more for hosting when you’re ready to start another website. Also, they provide outstanding customer service. Phone is best, they are happy to talk direct.

I highly recommend using Bluehost for your first website, and you can get started now at $2.75/month, which is an exclusive Smart Passive Income reader deal!

LeadPages

#1 for Creating Landing Pages

LeadPages is by far my favorite tool for creating high-quality landing pages quickly and easily.

LeadPages helps you convert viewers into subscribers or buyers. Best of all, it works both with WordPress and non-WordPress sites.

I highly recommend using LeadPages for your first info product.

ConvertKit

#1 for Building Email Lists

ConvertKit is my number one recommendation for email list management.

ConvertKit makes managing your email list and setting up autoresponders so easy and user-friendly. Segmenting my email subscribers into groups so that they get content specific to their individual needs has never been more simple.

I highly recommend using ConvertKit for your email list building.

SamCart

#1 for Selling Products

SamCart is the easiest to use shopping cart you can use to sell your online products. From courses to eBooks and more, SamCart has amazing features such as sales page templates for easy setup, 1-click upsells, and more! I’m also an advisor for the company, so it definitely has the Pat Flynn stamp of approval!

Click the link to check out a 14-day free trial of SamCart!

Build Your Blog / Website / Course

Bluehost

It’s worth mentioning again: all of my niche websites are hosted on Bluehost. Why? As I said above, Bluehost offers the convenience of hosting multiple domains under one account. Plus, Bluehost boasts amazing features, and their team provides exceptional support.

Get started now at only $2.75/month, which is an exclusive Smart Passive Income reader deal!

SPI Pro Theme on Studiopress

For years, people have asked me to create a WordPress theme that is easy to use, effective, and looks great.

Now, thanks to my partnership with StudioPress, you can have the same exact WordPress theme that helped me grow my business online.

Make your online business unforgettable with the SPI Pro Theme.

Teachable

Teachable is my favorite tool for building online courses. I’ve built Smart From Scratch®, Power-Up Podcasting®, and Build Your Own Brand with Teachable.

It’s easy to use, powerful, and you don’t need to know any difficult coding to set up your page and connect your payment information.

Start Email Marketing and List Building

ConvertKit

ConvertKit makes managing your email list and setting up autoresponders so easy and user-friendly. Segmenting my email subscribers into groups so that they get content specific to their individual needs has never been more simple.

I highly recommend using ConvertKit for your email list building.

Pat's Step-By-Step How to Start an Email List Tutorial

Another one of my completely free, step-by-step tutorials! This one will teach you how to start an email list, which I consider your business’s most valuable asset—this is the key to connecting directly with your audience. I walk you through the technical setup and teach you how to write and promote your email list.

Start Your Podcast

Pat's Step-by-Step How to Start a Podcast Tutorial

Here is my completely free, step-by-step tutorial for starting a podcast. In six videos, I show you everything you need to start a podcast, from gear selection, through recording and editing, to submitting your show into iTunes. Many podcasters have used this tutorial to get their first podcasts on iTunes.

The Smart Podcast Player

The Smart Podcast Player is a simple, powerful, and versatile WordPress-only web-based podcast player that delivers the awesome audio experience you and your listeners crave. Features include social sharing, responsive design, and a joyful, dedicated support team.

Music Radio Creative

Get high-quality custom intros, outros, and commercials designed for your podcast. You can choose from a wide range of styles and voices. I used Music Radio Creative to design the intro for the AskPat Podcast.

TwentyFourSound

Do you need help with podcast (or other audio) editing?

Courses That Actually Work

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business

Ramit Sethi’s Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Business is a must-read for aspiring online business owners, taking you from having no idea how to start a business to launching your own business in seven in-depth steps. Plus, it’s free!

Ramit is one of the smartest entrepreneurs in the business, so I highly recommend that you check out his amazing guide.

Create Online Courses

This free cheat sheet delivers 7 Steps to a Successful Online Course, and is a great place to get started if you want to build online courses.

This is from David Siteman Garland and his awesome online courses material. David is one of the most popular guests on the SPI podcast.

Power-Up Podcasting®

Power-Up Podcasting® was built with you in mind. If you’re a first-time podcaster and you’re looking for help with each step along the way, this is the course for you.

You’ll learn everything you need to know to create, strategize, launch, and market a successful podcast.

Smart From Scratch®

Smart From Scratch® is a hands-on, comprehensive course that enables you to develop a business idea, validate it, and determine if that idea is viable to pursue.

I’ve both failed and succeeded in building products and businesses, and I’ve poured these experiences into Smart From Scratch to give you insight into business strategies that truly work from start to finish

Build Your Own Brand

Build Your Own Brand is a free 5-day challenge to help you build a brand and website you can be proud of.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a website for a while, the Build Your Own Brand challenge is for you.

Teachable

Teachable is not only really user-friendly, the folks at Teachable are amazing. I love the company. They are dedicated to ensuring students have the most supportive and successful online course experience ever.

An excellent choice for online course students and online course creators!

Books That Will Inspire You

Let Go: Expanded Edition

In Let Go: Expanded Edition, I update my original book, Let Go, with eight new chapters, and delve deep into the act and art of “letting go” as the essential part of growth we need as humans and business owners. I hope it inspires you!

Will It Fly?

This is my newest book all about validating your next business idea without wasting your time and money. Thanks to you and the SPI community, it is a Wall Street Journal bestselling ebook.

Ask by Ryan Levesque

Ryan Levesque’s Ask explores an essential aspect of business we often forget about: asking open-ended questions. By doing this, as Ryan explains, you can truly understand your audience’s pain points so you can deliver a top-quality service or product that’s 100 percent matched to their needs.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Chris’s book is a sweet blend of The 4-Hour Work Week (but more realistic), and Rework (but more actionable). He draws upon a wide variety of on- and offline businesses for his examples.

The Pat Flynn Book Club

In this monthly email newsletter, I share a book that has helped me to improve my business. Join the list to receive book recommendations and occasional extras.

Legal Stuff and Trademarks

LegalZoom

This company will assist you with easy online incorporation or LLC creation. They are not a law firm, but can connect you to a lawyer near you if you need one. I’ve used them for business incorporation.

USPTO Trademark Search

Before you create a business, I highly recommend that you search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s search tool to make sure that the mark you want hasn’t already been registered or applied for.

Case Studies that Show You Exactly How to Get Started

The Niche Site Duel Hub

This is where eighteen other people and I shared the journey of building a niche site from scratch and doing our best to rank number one in Google and make money. Check out how I got my niche site to a number one ranking and began earning an income in about two months!

Keep Your Website Secure

Sucuri

My websites are my business and my livelihood! I don’t want any intruders, so I pay a yearly fee to make sure that if anyone tampers with my sites, it’ll be taken care of right away, with alerts/notifications letting me know what’s up. Sucuri is definitely great for peace of mind, if anything.

Limit Login Attempts

Install this plugin to limit the number of times someone can attempt to login to your WordPress admin panel before getting blocked. This helps to stop those who keep trying to break in by logging into your website with different passwords (and there are tools to help speedup this process).

Plan Your Editorial Calendar

CoSchedule

This is my new favorite toy! CoSchedule is a tool that allows you to schedule posts ahead of time, but it’s much more than an editorial calendar. It’s a complete marketing engine for your blog posts as well, allowing you to advance-schedule tweets and social posts promoting your content as you’re publishing your post. It’s also is a great tool to collaborate over your entire content schedule with your team. CoSchedule is a must-see for any blogger.

Use Images to Enhance Your Blog Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Using Images on Your Blog

This is a post I wrote with everything you need to know about using images on your website. It’s important to know that you can’t just pull any ol’ image from the internet and use it—you could get in trouble! Read this to stay safe and worry-free.

iStockPhoto

This is where I purchase royalty-free images that I use on my sites. There’s never a shortage of really great images to choose from.

Create Good-Looking Videos

ScreenFlow (for Mac users)

This is the screen capture software I rely on to create high quality, cleanly edited tutorial videos. If you’ve watched any of the software walkthroughs on SPI TV, then you’ve seen what Screenflow can do. It’s a great teaching tool.

Camtasia Studio (for PC users)

PC users, this is the screen capture tool for you. It offers many of the same features as Screenflow, but designed for PCs. Use it to create walkthrough videos to teach your audience.

Bamboo Pen and Tablet

This is the pen and tablet I use to make drawing on the screen extremely easy.

SplashEO

This company creates professional intros and outros for your videos. Gideon Shalwick, the owner, is a good friend and I was totally blown away both by the quality and turnaround time.

Canon Rebel T4i

This is the camera I use to record videos on my own. While I always recommend to start shooting video with your smartphone, when you’re ready to upgrade to a DSLR camera, this is a great choice. I like the auto-focus feature (in video mode while recording, which is rare), and the flip out screen so you can see yourself and make sure you’re where you want to be on screen.

DIY Video Guide

My videographer, Caleb Wojcik, has created a comprehensive guide to shooting your own video. His instructions are clear and easy to follow. I rely on Caleb for help with all my questions about video.

Gear for Live Streaming

Whether it’s Periscope, Facebook Live, or something else you’re doing live, here’s the gear you can use to make it easy, and make it look GREAT!

Helpful Storage Tools

Dropbox

Dropbox not only allows you to safely and securely storage your business files, but, if you’re working with other people, it makes it easy for you to collaborate on shared documents. The basic plan is free.

Sell Your Products with These Shopping Carts

SamCart

SamCart is the easiest to use shopping cart you can use to sell your online products. From courses to eBooks and more, SamCart has amazing features such as sales page templates for easy setup, 1-click upsells, and more! I’m also an advisor for the company, so it definitely has the Pat Flynn stamp of approval!

Click the link for an exclusive 60-Day Free Trial to SamCart!

Paypal

Paypal is just okay as a solution for selling products, but you’ll need to create an account in order to receive payments from the previously mentioned shopping carts.

Boost Traffic to Your Product Pages with Advertisements

Google Adsense

Make money by placing relevant ads on your website, generated from advertisers using Google Adwords. This is free to use, but you have to register for an account.

Google Adwords

If you want to begin advertising on Google, use Adwords to select keywords and locations, and then pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement.

Facebook Ads for Newbies

Rick Mulready is a genius when it comes to Facebook advertising. I highly recommend his Facebook Ads for Newbies course, which will help you create killer Facebook ads on less than $10 per day!

Automate Your Business Processes With Ease

Deadline Funnel

Deadline Funnel gives you a way to automate your business marketing funnel by giving each prospect a unique and authentic deadline so they have a valid reason to buy—and buy now!

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a powerful email marketing platform that does a tremendous job of automating processes in email list management, allowing me to focus my efforts elsewhere while it hums along beautifully.

Tools for Launching From Scratch

How to Launch a Website

Get ready for your ultimate guide to launching a brand new website for your business! I wrote this article to help you tackle all the things you need to know to launch a website, from setting goals to creating your pre-launch buzz.

How to Not be a Newbie Blogger

Even if you are a newbie blogger, in this article I’ll show you how not to be one—from creating a professional website domain name to formatting your blog posts to adding video and everything in between.

How to Write a Book

In my very first episode of SPI TV, I covered How to Write a Book: The Secret to a Super Fast First Draft. If you’re anything like me, you have an idea for a book but you just can’t seem to get started. I’ll show you how you can write a book—and fast!

Tools to Help You Nurture and Grow Your Business

SumoMe

From the creative minds of AppSumo comes an amazing suite of free tools to help grow your blog and increase traffic. Over 10,000 blogs (and counting!) use these free tools.

LeadPages

LeadPages is an excellent tool for growth. LeadPages helps you convert viewers into subscribers or buyers. Best of all, LeadPages works both with WordPress and non-WordPress sites.

Click here for a free webinar replay that demos the software and shares tips to help you grow your email list rapidly.

Typeform

Typeform is an excellent tool for creating surveys and forms to embed on your website. I use Typeform to power my contact page. It’s as easy to use as Google Forms—but it’s much prettier. Their free plan is pretty powerful, and you can unlock additional features (like skip logic) with a paid plan.

THE Backlinking Strategy That Works

One of my most popular posts, which goes into detail about my backlinking strategy and how I was able to climb a brand new niche site to number one in Google. This is an up-to-date version (2014) of one that was originally written in 2010.

Tools to Help You Promote Your Business

How to Master a Webinar

On SPI Session #29, I invited the webinar master, Lewis Howes, onto the show to discuss how you can conduct (and master) a webinar. Lewis will guide you through all the webinar tricks, tips, and techniques you can use to really make webinars worthwhile for  your business.

3-Part Video Series

There are many ways you can promote your business. One of them has been tested and honed by one of the greats, Amy Porterfield. On SPI Session #137, Amy explained how you can promote a product launch with a 3-part video series!

Secrets of a Successful Product Launch

On SPI Session #170, Ramit Sethi is back again to give you the secrets you need to know to launch a successful product, from the dos and don’ts of preparing your launch to generating maximum profit and impact on your launch.

Keyword Research Tools to Choose Your Target Market

SEO Keyword Ranking

This is an excellent tool to keep track of the keywords you’re working on. It has an easy-to-use interface perfect for beginners.

Long Tail Pro

This top-of-the-line keyword research tool is the one I recommend for anyone new to keyword research. Many SPI users have told me that it’s more user-friendly than Market Samurai. I’ve tested it myself, and it’s hard to disagree.

I’ve interviewed the owner, Spencer Haws, on Episode 66 of the SPI Podcast. He’s a great guy who is always looking to improve this piece of software for his users.

Click this link to get a special discount off the regular price!

Automation for Greater Optimization

Upwork

Formed by the merger of Elance and oDesk, Upwork connects you with freelance writers, programmers, and web designers around the world.

Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder is the best and quickest headhunter service on the web if you’re looking for high-quality virtual assistants (VAs). It’s run by my buddy, Chris Ducker, and I highly recommend it.

WP Curve

If you run your website on WordPress, WP Curve is a lifesaver. By signing up, you’ll have instant access to thousands of WordPress developers who can help you with boosting your web presence, increasing your search engine traffic, and more.

System.ly

System.ly is a great tool that enables you to scale your business faster with proven marketing automation systems. Try a free consultation!

Tools to Help You Gain the Most Value from Your Business

Rev

Rev is a quick and simple-to-use transcription service I’ve used for my podcasts and videos. It’s pretty inexpensive too.

Succession Planning Essentials for “Solo Entrepreneurs”

This is a guest post that shows you how to plan for your business’s future. What would happen to my online business if I died?

Life Insurance Essentials for Businesses

This post covers the ins and outs of life insurance for business owners, including how to protect your family with life insurance as well as protect your business in the event of an unexpected death of a key employee or partner. Chris Huntley is my personal life insurance agent.

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