This article is about what updates I have made in my toolkit for my business. And you know, it’s funny, I didn’t really think this would be that interesting of a topic. But I’ve talked about this now in an accountability group that I’m in and part of a mastermind, and people are fascinated, right?
Everyone wants to know what tools, what tool stack everyone else is using, because maybe we’re missing something.
So here we are, this is what I have made for changes for my business in 2022. And I want to call this out for a second. I’ve taken this time I’ve had with a little bit less client work to do some long-overdue business upkeep. And I ended up calling it the $20,000 project. Probably, after factoring in all the time that it’s taken, if I were to do this for another business of my size I bet it would be a $30,000 project. I did it all in about a month and a half, working a very minimal schedule and traveling for two weeks in between. It’s a big overhaul project. Don’t feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to change all of your tools at once as I did, but this is what I did. And I did it in this order. Because every time I thought about changing one of these tools, I realized, well, I’m going to redo my website anyway, I need to do that first.
So I started with my website.
WordPress update from Elementor to GeneratePress & basic Gutenberg
The website has always been on WordPress; I was using the Elementor Page Builder plugin. And I’ve moved to Generate Press and plain old Gutenberg.
Why? I did it for page speed. No matter what I was doing, I could not get my page speed above 39 using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. And I tried various ways to raise this from image compression to caching, but nothing was working. I thought, well, this seems like the next step. I was due for website redo anyway. I figured why not learn a new page builder? And boy did I learn, but it brought my results up to a 78. And sometimes depending on when you run it even up into the 85 range, so 39 to 85, or even just 78, that was a good page speed upgrade, which means my time invested on my website was valuable and was a good idea.
Alright, so with that said, Generate Press is a free theme, and Generate Blocks is a free plugin. It’s free. It’s amazing. It helps feel like a regular page builder like how Elementor or Beaver Builder or Divi would feel. Now I did upgrade to the pro level which is not free. I did it for easier management of the mobile-only section since I am a little bit design-heavy. I don’t have a bare-bones “clean” site. So I wanted to make sure that my mobile site was very good and easy to use. Note: you could easily use just the free Generate Blocks Plugin if you wanted to do this.
I moved my whole website to a staging area and made sure it all worked. About a week and a half later it went live. It was not a long drawn-out project. Because as it turns out, I don’t have that many pages on my website. What I did do is set up a subdomain. So my main website is britneygardner.com. And I set up a subdomain workwith.britneygardner.com, for my calendar and my funnels.
I replaced FG Funnels with several other tools.
That brings us to FG Funnels. It has been replaced by a lot of different tools. And this is where the whole tech stack aspect comes into play. I am moving to MailerLite for my email and I’m saying goodbye to FG funnels for the management of email campaigns. And specifically, I’m saying goodbye to their horrible lack of statistics and reporting. And I’m saying goodbye to Mailgun for the actual sending of emails.
Why am I doing this? Well, I already referenced I could not easily get to my email stats. If I wanted to look at the various emails in a simple sequence, let’s say a webinar sequence, I would have to:
- click into the sequence
- click on an email
- tab over
- and then scroll down to see the stats that I want to see
So that’s four clicks, and then I had to:
- go scroll back up
- and then x out
- and then go click on the next email to get the next email stat of that sequence
And there was no way to export this data. I’m heavy on content measurement. And content does include the emails I send. I want to know which emails are performing well in my business and carrying their weight in my business. If I’m going to go through the time and create an email sequence, I want to know which parts of it are not doing their job, right? Since I can’t export that data from either Mailgun or FG funnels, which is on the Go High Level backbone, then I couldn’t get the information I needed.
MailerLite for email
That really is one of the reasons I replaced FG funnels. With that said, why do not go back to Active Campaign? That’s what I used before. And there was always a glitch in my account. I was being sent to their engineers every two weeks, but they never were able to fix it. And it just made me a little bit leery and a little bit nervous about going back there. I know a lot of people other people are using ConvertKit. And that’s a wonderful thing. I did consider it, but I was reading really great things about MailerLite, and I’ll be honest, their lower cost was attractive.
Amelia WordPress plugin for calendar + appointments
The next aspect of the FG funnels controlled for me was the calendar and booking appointments.
So my calendar is now using the Amelia WordPress plugin and I’m running that on the subdomain as well to keep my main site nice and speedy. I do like having it all in-house and it was a one-time cost. If it wasn’t a one-time cost, I would likely have gone back to Acuity. I had no problems with Acuity; it was a good system.
And while I’m not thrilled with Amelia’s tech support, I don’t think I’m going to need a lot of it in the future, now that it’s all set up. And it’s just nice having it all in my own business, right?
StudioCart for funnels and shopping cart
Funnels were the next part the FG Funnels actually took care of for me, so my funnels are now all on WordPress using that same Generate Press Page Builder and using the WordPress StudioCart Plugin for the cart tool. I did consider Thrive Cart as I have a lot of friends who are extremely happy with Thrive Cart. But the StudioCart plugin made it so that I could build in WordPress rather than in Thrive Cart. I just like building in WordPress. It’s not like a limited page builder that I feel like some of the other page builders are.
StudioCart’s support team is quick with responses and I’ve been very happy with both their product and documentation. I always end up with a few “special case uses” that require questioning tech support, and I was thrilled with how easy they made it to figure out my problems.
MemberVault for my learning management system
And then courses – that was the other aspect I had contained within my FG funnels house.
So courses are moving back to MemberVault. MemberVault’s owners are amazing. I always loved them, and I’m so happy to be back in their world. And I’m really happy to be supporting great owners who foster a good, ethical community and a safety culture. It just makes me happy to be a part of that.
Moving from Zapier to Pabbly Connect
When I moved to FG Funnels at the end of 2020, I was really happy to have all of my things in one place. That’s why one tool is so attractive to many! The allure of not having to have so many zaps, and connecting everything was nice, but I’m back to having zaps connecting everything now that I’m using multiple different tools.
With that said, I am moving from Zapier to Pabbly. Zapier is a fairly expensive cost, right? I pay for it once a year. So it’s not an actual revolving monthly cost, but it’s a big cost and more than many monthly subscriptions run. I did buy the Pabbly lifetime deal. Again, once I’m done it’s a very attractive prospect for a business trying to run lean and mean, right. And I was really interested in that. So far, I’ve had very good luck moving all my zaps over to Pabbly with just a couple of small hiccups along the way. I’m still in the process of actually moving, but I will be there before I have to renew my Zapier one more time.
All right, these are the tools that I am continuing to use in 2022 and beyond.
- I will be continuing to use the Adobe Suite. I’m a big fan of Adobe. And I’ve always used them, they’ve always been good to me. So I use Photoshop, I use Bridge, I use Premiere Rush and After Effects, if I do video editing, and their Adobe Express is what I use for all my social media graphics, all the podcast quotes.
- I’m still using Busy Cal rather than Apple’s calendar, I’m happy to pay for it. It’s a good system
- I use LastPass instead of One Password. Now, that was a change. I did that because it has easier sharing and more people are using LastPass. And since more people are using it, it just made sharing with my team easier for all of them.
- And I’m still using Zoom. Everyone is kind of on the Zoom bandwagon, but I don’t just use Zoom for meetings. I also use it for my phone. If you call my business phone number, you’re actually calling Zoom. Bet you didn’t know that! (Also fun fact. And since I like synchronicity, I’m going to call this out since no one ever noticed. My standard zoom meeting room ID is actually my business phone number. That’s one of those cool perks you got when you have Zoom do your phone system as well.)
I hope this has helped you plan out some of your tech stacks for the future. These are the updates I have made in 2022. I’ve given you the reasoning for why I have made them.
As a rule, I really like one-time payments, it makes my budgeting much easier.
And I also really like working with ethical owners.
So most of the tools that I have like purchased here with most of the tools I have talked about, I do have affiliate links for them that will be in the show notes for this. And if you are looking for the same thing, feel free to use my link. I’m not asking you or telling you that you have to but I like supporting good ethical businesses. I would imagine if you were listening to the show you felt the same way. So feel free to do that.
Are you ready to create a measurable content plan?
*many of the linked tools are affiliate links. This will not cost more for you (and in some cases actually gives you a discount!) and may result in me earning a commission. Rest assured, everything I’ve linked I’ve personally used in the past and/or still do today and they are my whole-hearted recommendations regardless of commission.